Glenn Reynolds on CNN Today
A Question For Kerry

Terror In The Skies and Freaking Out Over Nothing

I haven't commented on the Annie Jacobsen story because so many better bloggers have done so in spades. I watched her hour-long interview on MSNBC. I've read ten or twenty articles about the incident and countless blog posts.

Michelle Malkin (thank the lord that she's blogging!) has been standing against some of the idiocy surrounding the ordeal. Here are a few points that I think are important to this debate:

1. If the Jacobsens' story is true, I believe that it was a 'dry run'. There were too many weird coincidences...

2. If I were on the plane, I think that I would have a difficult time NOT getting up and telling those men (who all got up and went to the bathroom during the descent to LAX) that they need "to sit down, NOW." What happened to those guys with the t-shirts that read "Stand In The Aisle and See What Happens!"? I'm so surprised that the passengers did nothing. I'd much rather find out that I was wrong about an attack and sincerely apologize, than find out too late that I was right and did nothing to save my child, my spouse, or myself (let alone 3,000 people).

3. I know a few Air Marshals. In fact, when I blog about going to Cubs or Sox games, I am usually with a friend of mine who happens to be an Air Marshal. They are extremely well trained and completely in control of themselves. They will never identify themselves to passengers until after they have contained an incident. Therefore, I think it would be fine to speak your mind about proper behavior on a flight - just don't expect an Air Marshal to do anything unless the flight is in jeopardy.

4. Trust the government with my family's lives? Are you out of your *bleep*ing mind?! After the FBI, Air Marshalls, and Homeland Security checked out the Syrian band players, they let them go...but the Syrian men were here on expired Visas. Nice going, fellas...

So, there's a lot of respectable bloggers criticizing the Jacobsens for freaking out (just check out the links at Michelle Malkin's post).

I, too, am critical of the Jacobsens. They didn't do enough...

Update 07-25-04: Due to recent emails and some gentler comments about racism and this issue, here's something that I feel needs to be said:


Men of middle eastern descent acting suspiciously on a plane. Come on, who gets up on a descent to use the bathroom?! All at the same time?! Next time I take a flight with Snopes, I'll ask him to join me at the Men's Room...

Let me ask you this question that I've posted before - When was the last time, upon seeing a plane in the sky, that you hoped that some crazy Mexicans didn't take control of the plane?

While that question will eventually be rendered irrelevant soon as Al Qaeda is recruiting non-Arabs/Middle-Easterners (Padilla, anyone?), I think by calling concern "racism" you are finding excuses to not look at the root cause of this problem - "Islam" and the Muslim societies that produce hate.