CLOWNS TO THE LEFT OF ME, JOKERS TO THE RIGHT

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So I won’t be able to take a lighter with me if I plan on traveling into the US anymore. Another victory for Homeland Security and the paranoia meter goes up a notch. Granted, I can still take 4 packs of matches (why not 3 or 5?) so my wicked little habit will remain unchecked.

Other than that wingnut Richard Reid who tried to set off a shoe bomb, I have trouble finding any other examples of where a flame producing device has been used, successfully or unsucessfully, to cause trouble on an aircraft. Next thing you know they’ll ban matches and I’ll be stuck with rubbing sticks together. I was going to say using flint but we all know that flint could be shaped into an arrowhead and a terrorist could then find a sapling and some twine and fashion a rudimentary bow with which he could then hijack the flight. Well, maybe not, but you get my point.

Air travel in the US is now so unbelievably complicated and uncomfortable that you wonder why anyone does it anymore. I have that target tatooed on my forehead that must scream troublemaker because I get singled out for additional screening almost everytime I fly. Or perhaps it’s my Canadian passport but that’s another story I examined in the previous posting.

No law enforcement agency wants to be accused of racial or religious profiling but the wholesale distrust of every single traveler is going to ruin the airline business. I’m certainly not advocating a witchhunt at the departure gate and I really don’t know what an equitable solution is but something’s got to give or we’ll all be forced to fly naked soon.

I’m used to pulling out the laptop, MP3 player, Blackberry and digital camera at every check in. I don’t mind taking off my shoes (why is concrete and tile so damm cold?) or even my belt but would it really be necessary to take my Zippo away? I know a flaming barf bag makes a formidable weapon but have you flown lately? There’s not enough oxygen pumping through the cabin to get the thing lit properly. I might be able to light the cheap perfume that the obese woman in the seat beside me insists on bathing in but it would take a while with all the recycled crap they refer to as “air” circulating. I’d have better luck beating a flight attendant over the head with a rolled up in flight magazine filled with ads for horribly expensive and incredibly crappy things that no one in their right mind would ever buy. I’d force her to take me to a cockpit door that can’t be opened with a fire ax. And then what? “Give me more pretzels or we’re going to Cuba!”

Sleep tight America, your security agencies are protecting you from crazed Canadians and their $1.69 Bic lighters. Mission Accomplished!