Idiocy vs Terror

Posted on December 27th, 2009

So here’s the scene:

Terrorists? Yes. Children's toothpaste? No way.

Terrorists? Yes. Children's toothpaste? No way.

A woman is at the airport with several small children. At least one is crying and one needs a change. She puts all the carry-ons on the conveyor belt and fumbles for a collection of boarding passes and passports. Several drop on the floor, and she attempts to pick them up while holding one barefoot child and trying to keep track of the rest. (All their shoes have been placed into bins that seem to have disappeared completely.)

“Just a second lady,” says the uniformed TSA official. Another one appears with a  frown and holds up a tube of Tom and Jerry toothpaste. “We found this.”

There is a pause because the TSA officials assume that the problem will be obvious to the traveler. When she just looks confused they inform her that she has violated federal anti-terrorism transportation safety rules. They hold up the toothpaste and glare at her for almost endangering everyone’s lives with the purple toothpaste.  For a second the children actually are quiet as they watch the strange men in blue uniforms with gloves throw away the only toothpaste they like. Then they start to wail.

In the next line, another man approaches the security checkpoint. He gives his name as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He seems very nervous. The security officers looks him up the the computer and see that he in on a terrorist watch list. Another entry in the computer indicates that Mr. Abdulmutallab’s father had called the U.S. Embassy to try and turn his son — the Al Quada terrorist — in.

Much to the relief of the TSA officials, a search of his carry-on reveals no purple toothpaste. They give him a smile and direct him where to pick up his shoes. He walks by the mother standing in the middle of screaming, unchanged, barefoot children all clutching at her demanding that she get their toothpaste back immediately.

Just one question.


There is no airport with more terrorist threats against it than Ben Gurion. Yet I have never had to take off my shoes and do the barefoot shuffle through security. How does Israel prevent people from blowing up our planes?

"No toothpaste?"

"No toothpaste?"

I don’t think I am divulging any state secrets when I say that for starters: Guys who are named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and have proven ties to international terror organizations do not get on the airplane. They are not searched for Tom and Jerry toothpaste — they are searched for explosives.

Way before they even get that far, single travelers with no luggage are questioned to see if they appear half as nervous as Umar was said to be.

This is not rocket science. Do not praise the incredible Israeli ingenuity on this one. Praise us for computer chips, solar power, and agricultural breakthroughs. Those require clever people. The security procedures just require people who are not idiots to be in charge.

Why is it so difficult to understand that the most effective way of stopping a terrorist from blowing up a plane is by not letting him board one.

No clothes flights. Coming soon.

No clothes flights. Coming soon.

Yet we all know that this common sense approach will be ignored. One day in the not too distant future I will be sitting on the plane stark naked and with absolutely no baggage as per the latest TSA  rules. I will turn to the guy sitting next to me and watch as he pulls some strange looking substances out of his artificial…

Just use your imagination.

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  1. good one Yarden! you articulated what we are all thinking.
    where’d you get the “no clothes” flight photo? hysterical…

  2. Gidon says:

    And Laura – did you see who his “Advertiser” is here to the right?
    (in case it changes – “Kosher Casual” LOL)

  3. susan terry says:

    great article Yarden!!! I love reading your stuff, keep it up

  4. Dennis Berman says:

    Let’s get serious! Every flight should have three planes! One for naked men, one for naked women, and one for luggage. Problem solved!!!

  5. Dave says:

    On my way to Israel on this last trip, I watched a TSA agent “pat down,” a frail, 70+ woman, feeling all around her breasts, in full view of passersby; no screen, no dignity. I was appalled.

  6. Sue Sussman says:

    Sue Sussman,
    We just returned from Israel where they asked us a few questions about who we visited, where, our grandchildren’s names, etc. They looked us in the eye and said “have a good trip”. In the States, we take off our shoes, take out our quart bag and then they examine my husband’s CPAP machine. When will the US learn? Actually look at who wants to board and use some common sense–is he anxious, nervous, evasive, no luggage, etc. Learn from the experts–Israel!! I enjoy all your blogs. Keep up the good work.

  7. libby anfinsen says:

    Jordan, It is time you gathered your pearls and tales of wisdom and compiled them in a book that will sell like kosher hotcakes…..libby

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