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Amazon, eBay, Homeland Insecurity, Hot Pants Bombers, and Common Sense?

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Once in a while a Blogcritics commentary needs an explanation. Please, do not readjust your set. Sure, you may be a bit hungover from New Year’s Eve, exhausted, and are suffering from a football overload, but you are reading this correctly. This is one of those 'follow the bouncing ball' kind of things. Please, be patient, and would you mind clicking on the links in the next couple of paragraphs? There is a method in the madness. If you do not allow Amazon cookies, then just ignore the next couple of paragraphs. Blogcritics and Amazon have a deal kind of thing, so don’t worry about the shameless plugs.

Please follow Janet Napolitano’s bouncing head (which will soon be rolling) and open each one of these links. Please open them in new windows. I am using Safari, which opens in tabs, and Apple Snow Leopard.

This year I helped my mother, who had been quite ill, do her Christmas shopping. My shopping is different from hers, so she and my father "gave" their three grandchildren Amazon Kindles (which, by the way, they loved). Last summer I was looking for a different cover for my Kindle 2, so I bought a hot pink cover. New Year’s Eve I was on Amazon looking at a Sony SLR. I have been waiting for ages for the prices to go down, which they have.

If you have not clicked on the above links, please open a new window and do so. After you have opened them, please close the window.

Now, please open a new window and go to Amazon. What do you see if you allow cookies? You should be looking at suggestions for purchasing a hot pink Kindle cover, a Kindle 2, Snow Leopard, and a Sony SLR. By now you are asking what on earth does this have to do with Homeland Insecurity, the Hot Pants Bomber, and common sense?

I am a Republican. I have a tendency to wax snarky about Democrats, Libertarians (sorry Dave), liberals, and really pathetic "conservatives." Even as a George W. Bush loyalist and (nearly) card-carrying neo-con, it doesn’t take a heck of a lot of gray matter for me to figure out that al Qaeda is testing the Obama administration and its response to terror the same way they did Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. After x number of years and three administrations it just makes common sense. And it looks like we’re not seeing a lot of common sense when it comes to dealing with those pesky No-Fly Lists and airline security.

This brings me back to my little Amazon tutorial. If companies like Amazon or eBay can embed tracking cookies and figure out what I like to purchase (I am a very good customer, trust me) then why can’t Homeland Insecurity farm out the tracking of these blasted No-Fly Lists to a company with some brains and innovation like Amazon, eBay, or Google and let them deal with it. Further, anyone who has ever used Excel knows how easy it is to create a list that can have almost infinite possibilities.

Let some pointy-headed bunch of bureaucrats in Homeland Insecurity input names, photos, finger prints, personal data, travel visas, education, and so forth into a database and let We the People have access to it.

Oh, wait — it is all about classified information, isn’t it? This is about allowing We the People to be We the People — you know, the We the People who allegedly conquered outer space, won the West, fought a bunch of wars, kicked the tushies of little snot sociopaths like Hitler, exploited the Internet after Al Gore invented it.

You want to make airline travel safer and maybe even catch a few of these freaks? It’s all so simple that the Feds will never do it. Makes too much sense. Publicize the blasted No-Fly terror list. It would even be the best way to get Granny off the list and get the vile little sociopath across the street on it. It is about recognizing that we have a problem. It is about conservatives admitting that terror is a criminal thing and liberals admitting terror is a national security thing. It is about admitting we are at war with a group of jerks who have corrupted a religion and that not all practitioners of that religion are evil jerks.

For years Robert Stack hosted a television series called Unsolved Mysteries. John Walsh took the heartbreak and anger over losing a beloved child and turned it into America’s Most Wanted. Why can’t we do the same thing with the No-Fly List? Why can’t we do the same thing with terrorists?

Then there is profiling. The politically correct among us say we simply cannot profile people who might be offended. It might make little Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab uncomfortable and offended. Conservatives want everyone profiled. There could be a better way, and I am loath to admit it.

It could be that the cowering, lawsuit-terrified school administrators may have come up with a solution and they don’t even know it. Educators are constantly watching their students who show signs of being alienated from society, obsessed, perhaps violent, social outcasts, maybe have problems with girls, anger issues, and are easily brainwashed. People who work with kids are well aware that those who come from underprivileged backgrounds aren’t always the ones with the problems. There is an entire set of difficulties that the can go along with being the child of wealth, privilege, and very busy parents.

You see, the al Qaeda brand of terror is not a poor man’s game. It is about men who can afford to zip around the world doing the international study thing, connect to the Internet, rent expensive cars, and tip strippers. They have been brainwashed by cowardly imans who hate and are willing to get their disciples blown up to prove their point

Golly, we’re talking Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab!

We’ve tried the “no fly” thing the government’s way. When one considers the odds, the number of flights, people who fly, it is apparent that someone is doing something right. Maybe all this hype about the Hot Pants Bomber is simply political posturing. Then again, why not let We the People be pro-active about those No-Fly Lists and put up a website with names and faces? It would give everyone something to do, surfing the list while standing in those annoying airport security lines.

Heck, we might even be able to catch one or two of ‘em and let some lucky airline passenger hit it big with a reward. You see, it all goes back to Truth, Justice, the American Way, and getting rich quick. It might even save a plane or two!

Nah, makes too much sense. We’re dealing with Homeland Insecurity. Please remove your shoes and your underpants while going through airport security. Oh, and smile, you’re on candid strip search camera! Be sure to catch your photos on YouTube later today!

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About SJ Reidhead

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Interesting idea.

    Or perhaps, rather than Amazon, the DHS should follow the model of websites like Am I Hot Or Not?, on which site users post photos of themselves which are then rated by other users for hotness on a scale of 1 to 10.

    We could rate photos of suspected terrorists in a similar way.

    ‘The Department of Homeland Security presents Should I Fly Or Not?’ Hmmm…

    :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Haven’t read it yet, SJ, but the writing flows. Welcome back after long silence.

  • http://www.thepinkflamingoblog.com/ SJ Reidhead

    Roger – thanks!

    I’ve been working on the blasted book! Can finally see the light at the end of a very narrow tunnel with it, so getting around to a little BC writing again.

    SJR

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, good luck with the big project. I know it’s nerve wrecking but then again, for a writer it’s the only time when they’re truly alive.