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Airports: The new Roman arena/Ann Coulter slams security shakedowns and stealing property ^ | Thursday, November 22, 2001 Thanksgiving Day | Ann Coulter

Posted on 11/21/2001 11:10:47 PM PST by JohnHuang2

WND Exclusive Commentary
Airports: The new Roman arena

© 2001 Universal Press Syndicate

If the airlines had hired the most expensive consultants in the world to try to figure out a way to make the flying experience even more unpleasant than it was before Sept. 11, the consultants would have given up in despair. But chalk one up to American ingenuity: The airlines have done it on their own!

Getting a head start on the holiday season, airport security guards have already begun their Christmas shopping by stealing air travelers' belongings. Unless they pilfer possessions worth more to you than making your plane and avoiding an enormous hassle, there's nothing you can do. And the guards know there's nothing you can do, which adds to the innate charm of security personnel.

A security guard took a piece of my jewelry at the Spokane Airport last Saturday with approval from his Olympic Security supervisor. The alert supervisor called airport police when I asked for her name.

I want it back. It was a silver charm from Aspen in the shape of a bullet with a great deal of sentimental value. But in a strange coincidence, a few hours later, it was missing from the Olympic security box of confiscated loot. It's probably already wrapped.

If you are not a half-wit – and not Christmas shopping from other people's stuff – you will instantly recognize that a silver charm is a silver charm, and it doesn't matter if it's in the shape of the anthrax virus. Even a real bullet can't cause any harm without a gun. A silver charm soldered to a key chain is less threatening than a tube of lipstick. Of course, my lipstick would undoubtedly also have been deemed a grave security risk by Olympic Security if it had been in the supervisor's color.

Since Sept. 11, that silver-charm key chain has been through airport security dozens of times. But security guards are getting nervous. There are only 29 more shopping days till Christmas!

There has been more caterwauling about the Bureau of Prisons listening to the conversations of prison inmates suspected of plotting terrorist attacks than to the universal intrusive physical inspections of Americans trying to board airplanes. If law enforcement officers ever dared paw through the belongings of an Egyptian immigrant named Mustaffa with the fascist intensity of airport security patting down little old ladies suspected of flying to Iowa, the country would go nuts with righteous indignation.

As long as the airlines insist on going through the manifestly absurd exercise of treating all passengers the same in an obscure desire to impress The New York Times editorial page, the airlines ought to abandon the personal inspections altogether. We can't keep weapons out of prisons; we certainly can't keep them off airplanes – not even by turning airports into the pleasant and welcoming environment of a federal penitentiary.

Indeed, after airport security confiscates any jewelry that might make a nice Christmas gift, the airlines hand out weapons on the planes. They still serve wine in glass goblets that can be smashed to create jagged glass daggers. They still serve soda in cans that can be twisted apart to create razor-sharp knives. They still have emergency exit doors that can be opened during flight, causing the plane to crash.

Not to worry, though. If you think about it for up to three seconds, it will occur to you that airports are attractive to terrorists for only one reason: There are airplanes at airports! And what is alluring about airplanes is that they can be turned into cruise missiles or blown up in the air.

If terrorists just wanted to kill a bunch of people in one place, they could go to shopping malls, restaurants, movie theaters – anyplace, really. So why aren't there security guards at shopping malls pawing through our purses and stealing our jewelry?

The only safety precaution that will make the planes safer would be impenetrable cockpit doors and bomb checks for luggage – two security measures airlines doggedly refuse to implement.

While still completely vulnerable to another terrorist attack, Americans submit like good Germans to these purposeless airport shakedowns. Most sick, and most predictable, is that some Americans are relishing their new roles as fascist storm troopers.

In a famous study conducted at Yale in the '60s by professor Stanley Milgram, members of the public willingly administered what they thought were fatal electric shocks to another human being – simply because they were told to do so.

Believing they were participating in a study on memory, the volunteers watched a "pupil" being strapped to a chair and wired to electrodes. The volunteers were then taken to the next room and told to read questions to the pupil and to administer increasingly powerful electric shocks for every answer he got wrong. The electric-shock buttons appeared to go up to 450 volts and were clearly labeled, "Danger: Severe Shock."

The volunteers readily administered the shocks while listening to the pupil cry out in pain. Two-thirds of the volunteers continued to administer the shocks even after the pupil emitted a blood-curdling scream and then suddenly went totally silent, apparently dead. The study was shocking. If asked to do so by an authority figure, a majority of people will kill another person completely unknown to them.

It would be interesting to know if professor Milgram advised the airlines on their own fascinating study examining whether millions of Americans will allow themselves to be treated like convicted criminals for no purpose whatsoever. The only alternative is to stop flying.

'High Crimes and Misdemeanors'
Get Ann Coulter's scathing case against Bill Clinton. Now available from WorldNetDaily's online store.

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
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Quote of the Day by deadhead
1 posted on 11/21/2001 11:10:47 PM PST by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
What's her problem? This is all for your own good. Swallow it all and stop complaining.
2 posted on 11/21/2001 11:11:43 PM PST by Demidog
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To: JohnHuang2
She's got it right. I won't fly, if it means giving up my rights.

Let the Airlines go bankrupt, for all I care.

3 posted on 11/21/2001 11:56:16 PM PST by Drammach
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To: JohnHuang2
I've been a business/software consultant for over 12 years. I've flown to almost every major airport in the United States, several in Canada, two in the UK, four in South America, and three in Europe. One year I booked over 300,000 miles.

I've been posting on this site concerning airport security, have written several letters to the FBI... The gov't still doesn't have a clue. For that matter, the passengers still have their heads up their collective asses.

Let's do the numbers; if it takes 1.5 hours to get to an airport, wait 4.0 hours to go through security, 2.5 hours "wheels up time," .25 hours taxiing time, .25 hours deplaning time, .25 hours for limo pickup, 1.5 hours limo delivery time to domicile... that's a lot of time. When you factor time to/from rental car services that's another collective 1 hour.

The next time I have to go to Pittsburgh, PA, I will drive and write off $.33/mile.

Farther than that, I'll spend the week-end in said city.

I'm fed up with the entire airline industry and their immigrant, illiterate, donut-eating, sloppy "support staff," condoned by the airlines' independent contractors and *mindless* FAA regs.

My brother has been building private heliports all over the World since 1976. To this day, he is confides his frustration towards the bewildering array of morons in the FAA. . Oh Well... signs of the times.


4 posted on 11/22/2001 12:29:34 AM PST by Cobra64
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To: JohnHuang2
I want it back. It was a silver charm from Aspen in the shape of a bullet with a great deal of sentimental value. But in a strange coincidence, a few hours later, it was missing from the Olympic security box of confiscated loot. It's probably already wrapped.

This reminds me of an incident on an overseas military base where fresh fruits were not allowed on a plane going to the States. A lady had a cake with fruit on top. It was OK, the fruit had been cooked with the cake. But a military customs inspector confiscated the cake in error. The fun began when the plane developed mechanical difficulty and the passengers deboarded. The lady came back for her cake and found the customs inspector chowing down.

5 posted on 11/22/2001 12:48:10 AM PST by nolu chan
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To: JohnHuang2
"As long as the airlines insist on going through the manifestly absurd exercise of treating all passengers the same in an obscure desire to impress The New York Times editorial page . . . "

Is this correct? I sure as hell hope that they are searching the Arabs' checked baggage for bombs . . .

6 posted on 11/22/2001 12:52:56 AM PST by Neanderthal
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To: JohnHuang2
I am amazed at all the so-called "security improvements" since 9-11. As an airline employee, I can tell you with certainty that the biggest security problems are the people who have access to the airplanes from the inside. Catering employees, mechanics, baggage loaders, fuelers, etc., all have an unlimited means of sabatoging an airplane. It fact, I have heard from airline sources that on one of the hijacked planes of 9-11, the box cutters were strapped underneath the passegner seats, indicating that it was an inside job. I don't hear any cries of increased security for those who have access to the planes. Background checks aren't going to eliminate these threats. And as for "reinforced cockpit doors".....what happens when a crewmember has to leave to go to the lavatory????? Bottom line is, if these murderers want to use an airplane and its passengers as a weapon, they will find a way.
7 posted on 11/22/2001 1:06:40 AM PST by hmc48
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To: JohnHuang2
some enterprising capitalist might suggest we have a UPS booth in tandem with the "security check", so you can mail those 24k expensive (but deadly)nail clippers, and offensive jewelry home. That'd make sense though.
8 posted on 11/22/2001 1:33:30 AM PST by Revelation 911
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To: Drammach
Let the Airlines go bankrupt, for all I care.
I'll second that motion. I want my portion of the 40-60 billion in tax dollars back. I'll never fly commercial airlines again. The bulk of them are now federal employees, problem is, they like their new powers too much for my comfort. They haven't figured out the basics yet, it wasn't little ole ladies that made 9/11 possible, it was ARABS. But why should common sense play a role in any of this? Blackbird.
9 posted on 11/22/2001 2:02:31 AM PST by BlackbirdSST
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To: Revelation 911
Never happen.

My cynical take on this is that the most likely scenario is that the stasi are getting brownie points on the amount of booty they steal. And, I suspect they're allowed to keep some (or all) of it.

If they don't like the your laptop computer (i.e., battery isn't charged), or don't like the looks of your camera, they take it, and you can't have it back.

Does anyone with two synapses really believe that a $3 thousand dollar laptop computer -- with a dead battery -- will actually go into the dumpster?

I don't. I think it will go home with someone -- and I suspect that the "someone" will quite likely be the stasi that decides to confiscate it.

The only way I will get on an airplane is in a box, if my survivors decide to ship my corpse back to my place of birth to bury it. And since I cannot fathom that occurring, I think it safe to assume that I will never again set foot on an airplane.

Given the uber-rude treatment I endured prior to 9/11 -- and the hair-raising "thrills", such as hearing the pilot say that he thinks he can land the damn thing, after flying in circles for an hour, trying to unjam a stuck slat -- it's no great loss. BTW, he didn't bother mentioning the problem until after the hour or so spent circling (which happened right after he announced that we'd be landing in ten minutes), and even at that, it was obvious that he was lying through his teeth. When the problem first manifested itself (when he announced we'd be landing in ten minutes), the plane went into a sudden, fairly steep bank, which it remained at for the duration of the time until he announced that he thought he could land it. During that time, I heard lots of whirr-whirr, like they were trying to get something working. I thought it was stuck landing gear, but I was wrong.

Why do I say he was lying? Because it was obvious that he couldn't get the slat unstuck. Instead, he retracted the other slat. How do I know that? Because he landed the damn thing at breakneck speed. It flew onto the runway at such an incredible speed that it didn't visibly slow down until about 3/4 the length of the runway. He hit the reverse thrusters the instant the wheels touched the runway, and kept them roaring until the very end of the runway. I looked out the window and watched things on the ground go whizzing by at an incredible clip. When the thing finally slowed down, and he turned left, I saw two rows of firetrucks with lights flashing. The liar then came on the PA again and said don't let that worry you, we told them we didn't need them, but they were having an exercise anyway. Right, and I'm the Queen of England.

That was one of my "adventures". Another time I was on a plane that couldn't get the wheels locked, and was trying to decide whether or not to ditch on a frozen Lake Erie. Did they mention that to the passengers? Nope. My mother told me, after hearing about it on the news. Another time, while climbing after taking off from Newark, while at maybe a thousand feet altitude, the plane made a violent 90 degree bank left, and stayed there for about 30 seconds. I looked across the aisle and saw the ground out the left window, and watched the other passengers turn white. I wondered if the thing would straighten out before it hit the ground (nothing holding it up at a full bank). Again, no comment from the luftfuhrer. My guess is that they were trying to avoid a midair collision. One other time, coming in to land at Denver, I look out the window, and what do I see a few hundred yards to the right? Another plane, coming in to land on the same runway. Oops.

Well, I've made up my mind. Screw 'em. I can't think of anything I'd want to take with me that I'd really want to risk having the vermin steal, so I'll drive. If it's too far to drive, I'll take the railroad. And if the railroad doens't go there, then I guess I don't really need to go there either. Travel is overrated anyway.

10 posted on 11/22/2001 2:09:11 AM PST by Don Joe
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To: JohnHuang2
Time to let our FReeping voices be heard? I did my part:
Email to Spokane Airport:

I am writing to express concern over published reports of theft by security personnel in your airport. In the fragile public relations environment airlines face, it would seem wise to avoid such incidents, and to work diligently to rectify them when they do occur. Certainly in the case within the past week of the silver charm taken from Ann Coulter, a nationally syndicated columnist, I would think you would want to do everything possible to avoid damaging the public perception of your airport.

Please do the right thing. Make sure Ms. Coulter's property is returned to her, or punish the individuals involved. Such an act of integrity would go a long way toward rebuilding your good faith relationship with the American people.

Prove us wrong about you. Thank you for your time.

Respectfully yours,
L. Ross

Here's the email address if you're interested:

11 posted on 11/22/2001 7:37:20 AM PST by LARoss
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To: JohnHuang2; ChemistCat; JMJ333
Gee whiz, Annie.  You reckon?  I tell you what, you scratch
a statist and you get a libertarian every time.  How about folx
like you sending the Feds into back yards to confiscate
vegetation the homeowner may be growing for his
own use?

And they don't just stop at removing the vegetation.
There's a good chance the owner will go to jail.

The next time you write a column bashing libertarians,
Annie, remember about the 'fascists' at the airport who are
protecting you ass from being hijacked, then have a
thought for the patrons at California state-legal
medical marijuana clinics sent to jail for seeking
relief from their physical ailments.

12 posted on 11/22/2001 9:24:20 AM PST by gcruse
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To: LARoss; gcruse
Thanks for the email address and for the ping.

In my letter to this person, I suggest the use of a file box at the gate. If a passenger has something you really really don't want him or her to take on board, drop the item into a padded envelope and write the name of the passenger on an area of the envelope with protected dry erase. (Plastic panel, clear plastic cover over the panel.) The envelopes all go in a file box, and the file box is locked and put in with gate checked stuff (strollers, wheelchairs, and the like.) Theft would be harder.

Of course, my preference (also stated in the letter) would be for the Todd Beamers of this country to carry weapons on board. I can see a little airport shop selling guns and plane-safe ammunition.
13 posted on 11/22/2001 10:13:28 AM PST by ChemistCat
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To: ChemistCat; WhyisaTexasgirlinPA; JeanS; Pokey78; innocentbystander; TLBSHOW; anncoulteriscool...
ChemistCat -- Excellent suggestions!

Ping to others who support Ann.

14 posted on 11/22/2001 11:50:52 AM PST by LARoss
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To: LARoss
Thanks for the ping! Amazing......
15 posted on 11/22/2001 6:45:09 PM PST by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
Why no pictures yet ?
16 posted on 11/22/2001 7:20:43 PM PST by anncoulteriscool
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To: anncoulteriscool
You talking to me? Pictures?
17 posted on 11/22/2001 7:35:34 PM PST by WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
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To: WhyisaTexasgirlinPA
Hi there! I pinged you as a concerned citizen -- I'm not even sure if you are an Ann Coulter fan! No need to reply openly to that one -- have you ever seen the poor toasted souls on FR who dare to admit they are not fans of "our Ann"? LOL

The picture request has to do with FR's sacred rule: any and all Ann Coulter threads must include pictures. Otherwise the male FR population goes into severe contortions of withdrawal. It's not pretty. ;^)

18 posted on 11/23/2001 8:16:23 AM PST by LARoss
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To: Demidog
Great Moments in Getting It: Ann Coulter discovers the downside to the "law 'n' order" cult. Welcome to the club.
19 posted on 11/23/2001 8:23:18 AM PST by Romulus
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To: JohnHuang2
Let me get this straight. Her 'jewelry' is a bullet strapped to a chain? And that is sentimental?

Ok. Not exactly the Chritsmas gift that I will be looking for for my loved ones this year.
20 posted on 11/23/2001 8:35:08 AM PST by jojonomo55
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