Later tonight, President Obama will speak to the nation from the Oval Office, addressing Americans’ concerns about Islamic terrorism (although he’s sure not us that term). The Commander-in-Chief will call for more gun control, most probably recommending that Congress “close the terrorist loophole.” That’s the ability for citizens on the TSA’s “No-Fly list” – run by your good friends at the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC) – to exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. The List’s lack of due process or accountability notwithstanding. I’d like to know why it exists in the first place. Specifically . . .
Why shouldn’t a suspected terrorist be able to fly on a plane?
The airplane’s anti-ballistic cockpit door is closed and locked. The (ostensibly) TSA thoroughly disarms and checks everyone who flies, confiscating deadly shampoo bottles and X-raying exploding shoes. We also have [drunk, depressed, sleep-deprived, corrupt] U.S. air marshals on board selected flights. Isn’t the No-Fly List’s existence an admission that airplane security is a failure? Maintaining a No-Fly List for suspected terrorists is the same thing as saying “a clever terrorist could beat our system.”
But wait! There’s more!
If the feds are monitoring a suspected terrorist – within the bounds of the law and due process – isn’t it better to let them fly so our intelligence services know where the suspect is and where they’re going? If a suspect drives, well, anyone who reads a Jack Reacher novel (in the original English) knows how to shake a tail. People who fly leave a record of their travel (which is why Jack never flies and fictional terrorists spend so much money on fake passports and plastic surgery).
I ain’t done yet . . .
If someone is too dangerous to fly on an airplane, aren’t they too dangerous to drive? It’s not as if car bombs don’t exist. By the same token, terrorists are known for strapping bombs onto their bodies (e.g., the French terrorist’s “suicide vest”). Doesn’t that mean they’re too dangerous to walk? Given how easy it is to get lost in a crowd, shouldn’t we have mobile terrorist screening centers at key points in front of schools, Christmas parties, etc. to catch suspected terrorists on the “No-Walk List”?
OK, now I’m ready to ask the question. What is the point of the No-Fly List? Setting aside it’s prima facie unconstitutionality, what is the point?