Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Sky is Falling

Although it has only been a couple days since the latest large-scale terrorist attempt, I am already sick of hearing people complain about not being able to take anything on board the planes. "What, no carry on luggage? I am enraged." Honestly, it is sickening. Simply put, no one has the "right" to carry luggage onto a plane (or even get on a plane for that matter), nor does a complete ban on carry on luggage impermissibly intrude upon our "civil liberties." (As an aside, I hate that phrase, "civil liberties." What does that mean exactly? It is one of those phrases that people toss around and assume that it has a generally accepted meaning, which it does not. Rather, I think people are better served by being more concrete in their terms. Just my two cents).

Look, I understand that having to sit on a plane for hours on end without having a novel, or your make up mirror, or your cell phone, laptop or really anything else is probably a real inconvenience. In fact, I think it sucks that I could not bring a lousy book onboard because I know I am no threat. However, I also understand that there are people in this world who are trying to devise ways to explode the plane I am on using the very items I wish to bring on board. Therefore, I guess if it comes down to a couple hours of inconvenience to know that I will arrive safely at my destination, sign me up. Granted, it is probably unlikely that terrorists will actually hijack my plane, but why would anyone want to take even a one percent chance? That seems ridiculous to me.

Also, let us be clear, no one has a "right" to fly on an airplane. Even under the most expansive reading of the Constitution, I defy anyone to find where it reads, "You have the right to fly and bring anything you personally deem reasonable aboard." People voluntarily contract with the airlines for air travel. Like every other non-compulsory contract, people have a choice. Either they agree with the terms or they do not. If someone is unhappy about the carry on luggage ban, that person has two choices as I see it. First, s/he can make other travel arrangements for his/her trip. I understand that this may be slower, less efficient and more costly, but at least s/he can bring whatever s/he would like. Since s/he has such a principled stance against our government's security policies, I am sure the extra time, money and hassle is but a small price to pay for being right and liberated from US government “oppression.” Second, s/he could just accept that times are a-changing, this is a dangerous world and small insignificant sacrifices are required to stay safe. I know everyone likes to talk about "big brother" and how the man is keeping everyone down, but get a grip. It is a couple boring hours on an airliner packed with strangers. I think arriving in one piece is more important letting the jerk in seat 4A read yet another book about how to make millions in real estate.

"I know I am not a threat so the rule is stupid" really seems to be the premise of criticism lodged against this travel ban. Could you be more self-centered? (ala Chandler Bing from Friends) It just does not make a lot of sense to me. When I fly, I am glad to see that there is security screening. In fact, there should be more. I understand that part of it is that certain people will always react negatively to any constraints the government tries to place upon our lives. However, they are usually the same people who will go to great lengths to criticize and blame our government if/when the terrorists strike again. It is easy to throw stones, but it is a lot harder to think of, and implement, real life solutions.

Relatedly, my good friend Preston brought this well written article to my attention. It covers similar ground, but in a much more cogent and articulate manner. Well worth your time. For a more "emotional" take on the issue, make sure you hear what this guy has to say.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well put Stegall. You are absolutely right. If people do not like the additional security, drive or take a boat. You do have a choice. Just because you can't take your bottle of Derek Jeter's cologne with you in a carry-on bag, don't go saying that your rights have been violated.


8:33 AM  

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