So, all were aflutter in my adoptive hometown, Chicago. The news channels and my e-mail inbox were full of reports about Al-Qaida's failed attempt to fly explosives to a Chicago synagogue. According to the authorities, one of the packages was found on board a cargo plane in the U.K. Today, a British cabinet minister, flanked by a grim-faced David Cameron, announced, according to The Guardian's top headline, that, henceforth, the British have:
"imposed an immediate ban on large ink toner cartridges in hand luggage."
So, the British government's response to the latest terror scare is....to make air travellers' lives even more miserable - at least those passengers who are wont to schlep large ink toner cartridges in their hand luggage. For the rest of us: we can be calm in the knowledge that the large ink toner cartridges, that may contain explosives, are in the cargo hold. Wait a minute. Isn't that just like that plane that the British seized which, we are told, could have blown up?
Really, for the authorities' placebo sedative to work, the plan at least has to have the appearance of fixing the problem. This absurd plan makes one thing abundantly clear: there isn't much our fearless leaders can do to give us added security. (And they are doing plenty to make us unsafe, thank you very much.) Actually, I'm relieved that this latest security directive doesn't require us to give up any more of our civil liberties.
Except, of course, for the right to bear oversized ink cartridges. In our hand luggage.