Diapers and Dynamite

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I flew on a plane a couple of weeks after the ban on liquids went into effect. I have chronically dry hands, and when traveling I used to keep a small tube of lotion to slather on them every couple of hours. No longer: lotion is an instrument of jihad, and is not allowed through security.

I was reading a book while waiting at my gate for the plane to arrive. As I flipped a page of the book I was reading – with some difficulty, given my dry hands – a small, unruly child ran past me in a shirt and a diaper, her mother in pursuit.

Excuse my indelicacy, but this was patently unfair. The crumb-cruncher probably had some baby lotion and diaper- rash cream slathered on her that morning. The kid was sure going to be wet by the time our six-hour flight was over. And disposable diapers are designed to hold moisture by wicking it into a gel.

This little jihadist-in-training was in possession of up to four banned substances, and they let her right through security.

I’m not being flip. If the goal is to keep religious extremists from blowing up airplanes, and we know they routinely strap bombs onto children, there is every reason to believe terrorists will pack their explosives on a child’s rump rather than in Gatorade bottles and toothpaste tubes, if that’s what it’ll take to get through security. Babies and incontinent Arabs are a new danger.

A guy tries to ignite a shoe, they start X-raying shoes. Some people supposedly plot to ignite liquids, they ban liquids. This can’t go on much longer. Either the reactive security paradigm will have to change, or civilian air travel will be a practical impossibility within a decade.

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