'Scuse Me: Is That a Bomb You're Wearing
Or Just a Prayer Box?
Oh dear. Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the plane...
Let's not delude ourselves into thinking that common sense will ever hold sway over any religion or religious belief. Christians have Pat Robertson and his deals with the devil, Muslims have fanatics who are hijacking the religion itself, and now the Jews have prayer boxes that look like little bombs strapped to their heads and arms. Jesus!
And to think we are debating whether to profile passengers in the never ending quest for airline safety during this "war on terror".
I refer to the story today about a 17 year old Jewish passenger who was reported to have "inadvertently" created a bomb scare on board a US Airways flight from New York to Louisville on Thursday, January 21, 2010. An alarmed passenger alerted the crew and the plane was diverted to Philadelphia. If you're interested read the story on Yahoo's The Buzz Log, January 21, 2010. (link: http://buzz.yahoo.com/buzzlog/93331?fp=1).
In short, the young Orthodox Jew was wearing said prayer boxes (pictured above) called a "tefillin" in Hebrew, or a "phylactery" in Greek. And no, "phylactery" isn't the name of a dinosaur, although in my not so humble opinion, some religious beliefs in ALL religions are dinosaurs.
Now one should assume that airport security in New York would have diligently inspected the strapped-on contraption and determined, as was determined in Philly after inconveniencing a few hundred passengers and airline/airport staff members, that the tefillin was not a bomb.
However, we shouldn't be too hasty. If there are bombs that look like shoes, and airport security can't identify them as bombs, then what makes us think that airport security could determine that a prayer box that looks like a bomb, isn't a bomb? Maybe security simply thought that NO ONE would be bold enough to actually wear a bomb in plain sight, so they just let the young man go through without inspection.
Or maybe they DID inspect the tefillin and let the youth go through without, you know, informing the airline crew that the bomb-looking thingy strapped to a young Hebrew man wasn't actually a bomb.
But that would have required common sense on the part of airport security.
Rabbi Benjamin Blech, assistant professor of Talmud At Yeshiva University in New York told the Associated Press that the incident was a "...wake-up call for religious sensitivity." Here we go again with the drunken diversity and sensitivity nonsense I wrote about November 30, 2009 in my essay "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Mosque."
"We should," he stated, "be aware of ignorance just as much as we should be aware of terrorism."
NO. We should be much more aware of terrorism than we are of terrorism! By his logic of religious "sensitivity", we should be sensitive to shoe and underwear bombers for their religious beliefs. Sensitivity is a two way street, Rabbi.
Will this mental feast of diversity and sensitivity never stop?
Come on everyone! Let's just use some common sense from now on, religious beliefs notwithstanding. Is it too much to ask that if you can't tell bomb jokes at an airport ("Hi, Jack!!!") then you should refrain for an hour and a half flight from wearing anything that resembles a bomb?
Next time you fly, SAY your prayers: Don't strap them in black boxes on your head and arms!
Rick B. Baker
January 21, 2010
© 2010 by R. Burnett Baker
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons