Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Practical Citizen Response to Air Safety

What can the flying public do to protect themselves from terrorists aside from making sure that their flight carries at least one Dutchman? Given what I can read about the personality profiles of potential bombers, it would appear that a good suggestion would be for all passenger to make decided efforts to converse with others in the departure lounge and especially all seatmates as you are settling in for your flight. Folks who appear to be traveling alone and do not respond openly with pleasantries, names, family details, destinations, or at least a smile and a vigorous head nod should be reported to the cabin crew as borderline suspicious and candidates for further checking on whether they are they coming from Yemen with a one way ticket purchased with cash or traveling on a two year visa but checking no luggage. Granted some perfectly innocent folks (like the fellow who really was sick in the bathroom) might be wrongly flagged, but on balance more simple greasing of the social contract with fellow travelers could be a reasonable and practical citizen response to an increasingly intolerable situation even if it doesn't catch terrorists. At the least you have tried to be pleasant within the trying confines of today's air travel. In the best case you might expose the nervousness of someone who has every reason to be hostile, uncommunicative, uncomfortable, or ill. In the end it is an immediately proactive strategy and is probably more efficacious than expecting congress or the government to solve the problem.


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