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Weekly Commentary  

The security challenge

As more information continues to come out about the nearly disastrous Delta Airlines flight, one thing is certain - security at all airports will be tighter and take longer to get through.

Somewhat ironically, as the public becomes aware that the would-be slaughterer of children and other innocents was already on a watch list, the question is asked, "Why wasn't he on a no-fly list?" Why was he allowed to board the plane in the first place? Simple - democratic countries believe in protecting human rights and the presumption of innocence.

Good intelligence work carried out by courageous operatives who risk their lives probing the murky underground of killer networks like al-Qaeda leads to data being collected on suspected terrorists. The problem is, without those wannabe murderers actually committing a crime, it is very difficult to do a lot to stop them until it may be too late.

There is always information being gathered around the world on people who infest the internet sites and the teaching grounds of those who invite and incite slaughter in the name of religion. Problem is, if an airline or a government agency tries to take pre-emptive action against such an identified individual they had better be prepared for a law suit or human rights charges.

No airline company wants to be in that predicament and no government official, elected or otherwise, wants to face charges or accusations of being discriminatory.

Of course, we all rightly agree in the protection of our human rights and the due process of law. So do the murderers. They see democratic principles and protections as weaknesses in our society and they work hard to exploit them. They know very well that unless they are actually caught with explosives, it is very difficult for well meaning security forces to do much to stop them, outside of painstaking preventative methods.

These are the methods that will now lead to longer line ups at airports, increased costs, and of course, increased agitation. I am in and out of airports all the time. It is not uncommon for me to see a traveler showing frustration towards security personnel who are just doing their jobs.

They must treat every person the same. They cannot let up on their procedures just because the traveler in question looks like they would never hurt a flea. These security people have a job to do and that job is now going to be more time consuming and more detailed.

The upside to all of this increased scrutiny is that it will be safer to fly than it was last week, before this recent incident. It's just going to require a little more patience from all of us.

There was another silver lining in the dark cloud of this attempted mass murder.

In the face of danger, free thinking citizens took action. People who were raised to protect others - not blow them to pieces - put themselves in extreme danger to stop a cold-blooded killer.

They succeeded and free-thinking societies filled with citizens who will not be intimidated by suicidal child killers or the cowardly clerics who incite them will continue to prevail. The purveyors of twisted theocratic thinking will continue to be diminished. But as Edmund Burke and others have said down through the ages, the price will be eternal vigilance.

I'm up for that. Hope you are too. See you in the line up.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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