Sunday, April 4, 2010

Security Checks on Flights to U.S. to Be Revamped

In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, we were given definitions of science and of religion to give these terms explicit meanings in order to close the issue of curriculum.This article makes it clear that we need some more definitions. In light of the December bombing of 2009, the government has attempted to come up with an informational system that will prevent potential bombers from getting onto planes. “The new approach will replace a broader layer of extra scrutiny that had been imposed recently on all passengers from 14 countries, most of which are Muslim.” The word Muslim is not said anywhere else in the article. In fact the “new” system is not profiling, because it uses information. Ok, so what is profiling? says it is “the use of specific characteristics, as race or age, to make generalizations about a person, as whether he or she may be engaged in illegal activity.” (Merriam Webster has commercial and racial profiling but not generic profiling.) So what is the difference between that and the new government approved safety system? According to the administration official “It’s much more tailored to what intelligence is telling us and what the threat is telling us, as opposed to stopping all individuals from a particular nationality or all individuals using a particular passport.” To me that just sounds like profiling tailored to the needs of the profiler. All of this brings me back to the word “Muslim”. I understand that in an attempt to stop potential terrorists from blowing up planes we need to target and stop those who are trying to blow up the planes, and at the moment most of these people are coming from Muslim countries. I get that. And I can understand the logic behind it. But can we do that? If judges on the Supreme Court can set precedents ruling that Rabbis are not allowed to say a carefully constructed prayer at a high school graduation because it would offend at most 50 students and their parents, how can we put limits on Muslim countries that basically says “Muslims are terrorists” which offends a few million people? Unfortunately I do not know enough about how airport laws work. Airline companies are privately owned and this issue deals with flights coming into America from other countries. Do the airline companies have to check with the host countries before they put these new systems in place? At the very basest level, isn’t there a possibility of that hurting the American businesses? I know that the business and economics is not the priority of the government and I don’t think that it should be, but I do think that it is a valid question as long as the government is going to try to control as many aspects of business and economics as it can. The first two words of this article are “President Obama” followed by “has signed off on new security protocols for people flying to the United States” which from a grammatical view was a bad word choice cause “signed off” could mean he hates it or approves of it, but the President of the United States has endorsed this security system. At the moment, I don’t think anyone will even think of questioning it because everyone is so afraid of being blown up on a plane. But just for a minute, imagine if this was to go to court. The questions being “Is this a constitutional security system?” and the answer would probably be “of course, desperate times and desperate measures you know…” but would it fly if fear was not in the equation? Is putting security systems based on “intelligence” coming from different streams of government intelligence to screen all those entering the United State from these 14 (many Muslim) countries going to offend people, and is it Constitutional to do so? What do you think?

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