Sunday, August 13, 2006

I think I have figured it all out. I think I know who is behind al Qaeda and likely all other terrorist organizations. I will lay it all out for you below, but first I must rant a little about the new security precautions being taken at airports throughout North America and around the world.

By now, we all know about the alleged terrorist plot that was uncovered this week in the UK and Pakistan. The alleged terrorists were planning to smuggle liquids in common beverage containers onto a plane and mix them up mid flight to make a bomb. The media has assured us this could be done, and in some cases gone into great details explaining just what would be required. (Note to junior high schools: keep a closer watch on the boy’s room this fall.)

The USTSA, CATSA, and other organizations around the world have reacted swiftly and banned all liquids and gels from carry on baggage. I read of one woman who had to throw away $50 - $60 worth of cosmetics. I have seen pictures of garbage bins at security overflowing with toothpaste, shaving cream, juice bottles and a plethora of other now-banned substances. Let’s assume that each tube or container cost the person attempting to carry it on about $1, and let’s estimate that each garbage bin holds about 500 discarded items. Using simple arithmetic we can conservatively estimate that each full bin represents $500 in wasted money for air travelers. For all this waste, is air travel safer today than it was last Saturday? Not likely.

I am pretty sure that if terrorists concocted this plot that they probably have a few others up their sleeves which do not involve liquids and gels. For example, I have discovered that you can make a pretty nasty improvised weapon from a shredded soda can. I can get a soda can from just about any flight attendant on any flight in the world. They have not been banned despite their obvious threat. If I can come up with something so easily without a mind bent on destruction, imagine what an international organization devoted to terror could come up with?

Banning liquids and gels from carry-on baggage is likely going to do nothing to reduce the risk of terrorism on planes. Instead it will increase the inconvenience to the 99.9999999% or air travelers who are not terrorists.

When I travel for 4 days or less, I always carry on everything I will need, including toothpaste and shampoo. I do this for a few reasons: first of all because I have been inconvenienced more than once by airlines losing my luggage, and second because it saves time at both ends of the flight. I suspect that many people who fly short-haul for business or pleasure will now seriously re-evaluate whether it is even worth it.

What the screeners need to focus on is identifying liquids and other objects that could be used for nefarious purposes and throw those out instead. A blanket ban on liquids and gels is ridiculous. It is like when they started banning nail clippers. It is a rule that simply doesn’t make sense and only serves to punish good honest people.

For those who think that the agencies involved are justified in banning these substances, it should be noted that this plot had been tried and foiled before. Over 10 years ago terrorists had planned and even somewhat successfully tested a plot involving liquid explosives fabricated in-flight. Despite this, we have still been able to bring juice and toothpaste onto planes

To me this just proves that the terrorists are winning. We are not defiantly standing up to them, we are cowering in fear. Is this not exactly what they want? Is that not why they are called terrorists? Each time we allow our freedom to be chipped away the terrorists are winning another small victory. We should be more afraid of the freedom we are losing than the miniscule risk that the plane we are boarding is going to be the target of terrorists.

I do not think that I will feel any safer flying now than I ever have.

Now that I have that off my chest, we will switch the focus to the real reason you have read the entire preceding rant. I have considered all the evidence and I have a theory about who is behind the global terrorist activity. I think this will be very shocking to people, but also very logical.

Consider the items that have been banned from carry on baggage in the past 5 years:

Nail clippers

Finger nail files





Shaving cream


Now, think carefully about who stands to benefit most from travelers having to discard these items and re-buy them when they reach their destination? If you are thinking the pharmacies of the world, you and I are on the same page. I have a hunch that the next major terrorist plot uncovered will have found a way to improvise a weapon from latex and Q-Tips.

Somebody else phone the CIA, they are no longer accepting my calls.


Sharon Baxter said...

So when are you breaking into the pharmaceutical sector?

6:17 AM, August 15, 2006  
Andrew Baxter said...

I'm going to stear clear of those shifty organizations.

11:14 AM, August 15, 2006  
Auntie Sue said...

Andrew, you could do a column in any daily newspaper that would knock the nation's socks off. Your insight, honesty, common sense and humour combine into an excellent read - I'm glad to be back.

2:53 PM, August 17, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home