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01/06/2006 Archived Entry: ""

Thanks to Lee for sending along this blog post...
--Item: Words "Suicide Bomber" written in an airline passenger's journal lead to interrogation (turns out to have been the name of a song or music band).
--Item: Forgotten briefcase sets off bomb scare at a post office.
--Item: 4-year-old Houston boy on "No Fly List".

All this fear and paranoia does no good, because it won't stop the next terrorist attack. People should be more afraid of Bush & Co.'s spying on them, of the growing police state, etc., than the chances of a nearby stranger being an actual terrorist.

Airports are creepy places these days, not because of the chances of actual terrorism, but because minor misunderstandings are blown out of proportion, where mindless TSA agents are unable to exercise common sense, and where "intent" no longer matters in whether something is a crime.

And now they are going to start doing "behavior analysis".

If you are shy and keep your head down, or if you have a tendency to sweat easily, or if you value privacy and are easily offended by searches, or if you have a "geek personality", you could become a terrorist suspect.

The last time I was pulled over by a cop for speeding (around 4 months ago), the Texas DPS trooper, who looked like a cocky guy in his 20's, kept asking me why I was "nervous". It was at night, and his headlights were blinding me, which naturally puts me in an inferior position. Also, I might not have eaten or slept normally that night, which could play havoc with my blood sugar level and cause me to appear nervous, such as my body shaking, or not being able to stand up straight without shaking a little. The trooper harassed me for five minutes, convinced that I was hiding something. His radio was turned up so loud I could hear the dispatcher calling my name and four others as "clear" (no outstanding warrants). I had to make up the story that I was nervous because it was the first time I had been pulled over in years. He finally asked me whether I had any drugs, guns, or "bazookas" in my car. Is that supposed to make me laugh -- was he testing my sense of humor, and was my lack of laughing at his bazooka comment, evidence that I was hiding something? He scanned my car with his flashlight, not opening any doors. I got off with a warning, but he seemed confused by the way I acted, as if I was hiding something. This was around 11 p.m. at night. I'm sure airline travelers are facing the same or worse harassment, all because they look "nervous".

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