In Preparation for Boarding, Please Turn On All Electronic Devices


Our safety remains Priority No. 1 for the brave, conscientious guys and gals of the TSA! Now, according to Homeland Security boss Jeh (pronounced jeh) Johnson, the agency has deemed it necessary to “crank…up” security at overseas airports, for reasons not entirely clear. But let’s get something straight, shall we, pal? The TSA doesn’t need to explain itself. Dependent on them, as we are, to Keep Us Safe, and to ensure that we aren’t blown to bits while traveling by air, our job is to accept their decisions without question, sort of in the way that the citizens of North Korea, say, are expected to reflexively embrace the decisions of Glorious Leader, or whatever he calls himself.

The TSA’s recent decision not to allow aboard airplanes electronic devices whose batteries have run down comes in the face of no particular threat, mind you, but shut up and do what you’re told, or, alternatively, go back to Russia.

As The Agency sees it, one’s disinclination, or inability, to turn on his iPhone, let’s say, suggests that the device has been gutted and filled with explosives.


Your tax dollars at work!

British Airways, very good Germans that they are, hasn’t merely affirmed to The Agency that they will cooperate fully, but have gone above and beyond; whereas The Agency recommended only that devices that couldn’t be turned on be confiscated, BA is going to forbid the owner of such a device to board his or her flight. This column will not be surprised to learn, later in the summer, that the owners of “dead” devices are dragged into soundproofed interrogation rooms and flogged with robber hoses.

I don’t know about you, but I know that I commonly forget to plug my cell phone in to recharge before retiring at night. I am not now, and have never been, a suicide bomber, but in fairness, how can BA be sure about that? How can the TSA?

On Christmas Day four and a half years ago, Umar Farouk Abdultmutallab boarded a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam, hoping to detonate an explosive devised by the Saudi chemist Ibrahim al-Asiri, and a couple of days ago, some idiot was discovered to have concealed a small knife in his shoe (rather than affixed it to his forehead with duct tape), again at Detroit. Does it not stand to reason that USA-bound passengers should be turned away at their British boarding gates for having forgotten to charge their Samsung Galaxies overnight?

I’ll concede that a significant number of Middle Easterners seem to hate Americans, and that a tiny percentage of them want to blow Americans up. But I believe that, as someone who flies a lot, you might prefer my plan for avoiding detonation more palatable than the TSA’s. Mine involves giving the Muslim world ample reason to love us, rather than despise us. With one percent, let’s say, of what “our” alleged liberation of Iraq cost us, let’s build schools, hospitals, and universities throughout the Middle East, stop killing the relatives and friends of suspected terrorists with drone, and then, within a few short years, dismantle the TSA. Which isn’t, of course, to suppose that there wouldn’t remain a miniscule chance of some homegrown lunatic, some latter-day Timothy McVeigh, trying to blow up a plane. Would you take that miniscule, statistically almost imperceptible chance to avoid being hassled every time you fly? II would, in a heartbeat.

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