Airport security: losing sight of what’s at stake

Earlier this month, British airport security detected a plot by terrorists to bomb trans-Atlantic jetliners in midair. When the terrorists’ plans were foiled, I know that I felt a sense of relief. Finally, we have airport security that we can count on. However, my initial jublication was replaced by a sense of foreboding. The truth is there were, and still are, chances that we could be attacked any day.

When I watch the news, the war between Israel and Lebanon scares me. To openly hate a country that much just for the predominant religious beliefs of its citizens is terrifying. To know that fundamentalists hate us Americans is even worse. But I can take a sense of security from knowing that we have good people working every day to prevent these kinds of attacks and wars.

Even I have seen the different ways in which we apply our technology to detect attacks. When I was in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., over the summer, I saw a large glass chamber during airport security checks. I stepped inside and a poof of air was emitted. Curious, I asked security what the point of it all was. He replied, “It’s to smell explosives on you.” I was floored. To this day, I find it pretty amazing that we can come up with things like that.

You would think that Americans would be grateful for all the methods that our country has come up with to keep us safe. It troubles me to say that this is not true. Only a couple of days after the attempted attacks, people started to complain because it has been taking longer to check people in and out of airport security.

Some of these complaints are very trivial. A mother remarked that she was upset because she couldn’t carry snow globes on the plane with her. Others are mad because they can’t bring toothpaste with them in their carry-ons. I’m wondering: Is it really necessary to have your toothpaste on you at all times? Do you really feel like jeopardizing national security because you forgot to brush your teeth?

We as Americans are losing sight of what’s at stake. There are people out there who can’t be reasoned with or talked to. There is no “mediation” because fanatics have lost their sense of reason. They believe in certain things, and if others don’t agree, these terrorists will kill. They don’t tolerate differences. That is why we as Americans should not have to tolerate them. We have to stop them, because if we don’t, their ultimate goal is to wipe America off the map. Permanently.

So the next time you’re in an airport terminal and you’re in a long line, don’t complain. But think about what’s at stake. Think about what is out there. You can’t see or hear them, but they are here, planning the next big 9/11. Remember all the good and brave people who died that day because of irrational, fundamentalist thinking. But also remember it could happen again. Is complaining about toothpaste and snow globes really worth your life?