We Caught the Terrorist, So Let’s Have More Restrictions!

by wjw on December 26, 2009

Some goofy terrorist wannabe named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab set off an incendiary device in his own lap on an aircraft, and scorched the living fuck out of his thighs. (Of course “thighs” may be a euphemism here.)

(He was on a watch list, apparently, so I have to wonder why he and his thighs weren’t checked out before he got on the plane.)

According to the FBI, Umar is in custody and singing like a canary, which is what people who have inadvertently burned off their parts tend to do.

As a result of Umar’s action, we will no longer be allowed to hold things in our laps during the final hour of a plane trip. For fear that we might burn ourselves. Or something.

“Among other things,” the statement in Air Canada’s Web site read, “during the final hour of flight customers must remain seated, will not be allowed to access carry-on baggage, or have personal belongings or other items on their laps.”

(“You can take away my John Grisham doorstopper, sonny, when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.”)

Note the genius move here. It screws with the passenger’s comfort, stokes air rage, makes us hate the government, and doesn’t increase our safety by a single iota!

Because, y’know, Umar can still set fire to himself 65 minutes before landing, and these new regulations won’t stop him.

Urban December 27, 2009 at 7:19 am

The airlines won't mind that for <90 min flights you can't leave your seat. Simplifies handling of the walking cargo a lot.

I'm really worried about the "lights on during landing" part: There's a genuine safety reason for dimming them.

Michael Grosberg December 28, 2009 at 11:19 am

One of these days they'll decide that passengers that are awake and conscious are a security hazard. We'll all be put to sleep before the flight and will be awaken, "Lost"-submarine-style, upon arrival.

…On second thought I'd really like that to happen 'cause I hate flying.

Platypusak December 29, 2009 at 4:55 am

I work at a travel agency and we have a solution. Upon arrival at the airport all human cargo will be stripped to their undies and issued an orange jumpsuit. Once in their seats each passenger (sorry – piece of human cargo) will be handcuffed.

dubjay December 29, 2009 at 5:57 am

Apparently the new restrictions have been repealed, so we were only afraid of Nigerians for two days.

Ralf the Dog December 29, 2009 at 5:00 pm

The new line of defense against terrorists are the dry cleaners and the sewing shops. If a nice young man comes into your store and asks to have "Magic powder" sewn into his underpants, he may not be a normal perv or a drug dealer. He may be a terrorist.

Please call the police if contacted by a person wanting you to make an underwear bomb.

john_appel December 30, 2009 at 4:39 pm

"Apparently the new restrictions have been repealed, so we were only afraid of Nigerians for two days."

I've seen at least one reference to some kind of pushback from the airlines that business travelers simply wouldn't put up with the proposed restrictions (over on the Atlantic's Business channel, I think) but there was no attribution. Still, if true, it's a positive sign that there is, in fact, some recognition that there's a point at which these silly security theater steps cause actual economic harm.

Shash January 1, 2010 at 6:29 pm

An interesting note on this, On 12/24, I connected at Schipol on my way to the UK. I was required to take an internal security check and go through a body scanner. The scanner was so good it identified the Earplanes I had in my pocket. I could even see the different densities of the earplug materials myself.

The Darwin's Award hopeful on flight 253 would have come up for a full body search had he gone through that scanner.

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