Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is that an explosive in your pants or are you just happy to see me?

Loyal readers of my blog (are there any? probably not since I am not a loyal blogger by any means) will recall that during the 2008 presidential campaign, I often commented on politics.

During Obama's first year, given events unrelated to Obama, I have not renewed this topic for dicussion.

Until today.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Now, I am not a right wing bible beater. I am not about to reverse Roe v. Wade. I don't need crosses at my state building or creationism taught in my public schools.

I just want the Feds to butt out. Leave us alone. Let us do what our founders came here to do - make our own way. Freedom folks. Scores of immigrants came and come to this country because you can make your own destiny. You can be a part of it. It is all up for grabs. And if merit it, you will succeed. That is American Exceptionalism.

It is under attack. I am not going to go into the laundry list of items that the Obama administration would like to control. You can listen to all sorts of ranters, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin, Andrew Breitbart etc. who will tell you about them daily. But lest you think its all bluster, wait until it all starts to effect you. Because it will.

But I digress.

In 2006, I boarded a Northwest Airlines 6 am flight out of Newark New Jersey to Minneapolis Minnesota. I was returned from a law firm audit on business. As per usual, the TSA line was backed up with all the am flights going out around the same time, we pushed through security like a bunch of drones. Open laptops, take off shoes. Zip lock of chap stick, contact solution, keys and coins. Boarding pass? Check. License? Check.

An hour later, as the plane taxied out to wait for takeoff, I heard a noise that caught my attention. It was more than a snip. It was a cutting noise. Glancing to my right, I assessed the row of my fellow business travelers. Still sneaking checks at their blackberries or already ensconsed in insular activities with headphones. I listened.

Snip. Snip. Cut. Persistent.

I mumbled to my neighbor - "do you hear that?" Maybe something was wrong with the plane.

"No. What is it?"

"Not sure." I glanced right again, and back a row. There in seat 4F, was a middle age white woman, wielding a pair of large kitchen scissors, cutting construction paper. Snip. Snip. Snip. She cut away, chatting with her neighbor who appeared to be a stranger to her.


Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't the 9/11 hijackers take down the planes with box cutters? How did this woman get those scissors, with blades at least 5 inches long, on the plane. I kept looking around. None of my neighbors seemed at all concerned or had even noticed this woman and her shears.

My brain buzzed. What do I do? No one else seems to care. This woman could be a Sunday school teacher for all I know. I looked to the flight attendant. How had they not seen or heard this woman and her scissors?

Finally I decided I didn't care who this woman was - whether white, black or purple, she shouldn't have scissors on a plane. This was post 9/11. This was NUTS!

As I was sitting in the bulk head row, I motioned to the first class attendant, who was completely put out to have to deign to the cattle class.

I whispered: "Sir. The passenger in 4F appears to have a pair of scissors."

"Screening passengers isn't my job. It is the TSAs."

"Excuse me?" I was flaberghasted. Did I hear him right? He was going to do nothing! My mind went blank with shock and frustration.

He turned his back on me and returned to first class. However, what I said to him must have sunk in. The next thing I knew, he and another flight attendant did a couple of unscheduled laps on the plane. I saw then, the head stewardess, address the scissor lady and return to back of the plane for take off.

After we had reached cruising altitude, the first class steward came to me. He assured me that the scissors had been confiscated and apologized for his initial response to my report.

Ummm, yeah. Upon return to Shakopee, I wrote a letter detailing what had occurred. I forwarded it to Northwest Airlines and also the Minneapolis Tribune. Neither party responded. So many questions ran through my head, mostly - why was I the only one who cared about this woman and her scissors? And then of course, the stewards first response - its not my problem. Why don't we want to be responsible for our neighbors anymore? Just pretend not to see, its easier for everyone.

Thankfully, a Dutch man didn't pretend not to see Umar Abdulmutallab’s pants on fire. He made it his problem, and by doing so, is a hero for thwarting a terrorist plot that would have killed 300 people. It wasn't an alleged plot -it was a real one, Mr. President.

Mr. President, it would behove you to do your job, that is, to protect us. Stop fidding around trying to manage things that the private sector and charities are perfectly capable of managing. If you don't, forget the 2010 mid-terms, you will be out and back in Chicago as soon as you can say "One Term Administration".

And if you aren't already disturbed, as you should be, check out the time line on when the President's staffers told him about the Christmas Day Terrorist Plot vs. When Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.