Tag Archives: overreactions

Bagels Are a Threat to Aviation Security

A college professor flying to Washington, D.C. was forcibly removed from a US Airways flight after passengers reported that he put a suspicious package in an overhead bin.

What was inside? “[K]eys, a bagel with cream cheese and a hat.”

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Regulation of the Day 159: Playing Chess

Yacahuda Harrison, 49, likes to play chess. He and six of his friends were playing the classic strategy game in an Upper Manhattan park. Their game was broken up by “A squad of cops in bulletproof vests,” The New York Post reports.

This is because it is illegal for adults to be in said park unless they are accompanied by a child under 12 years old. The law is intended to keep molesters away from children.

No children were in the park when Harrison’s chess game was busted.

He and his accomplices were ticketed and have a December 28 court date.

Regulation of the Day 124: Kissing Your Girlfriend Good-Bye

How do we know the terrorists are winning? When a man kissing his girlfriend good-bye at Newark Liberty International Airport results in the evacuation of an entire terminal, 200 delayed or canceled flights, and re-screening for thousands of passengers.

There is a word for this: overreaction. If this how the government reacts to a threat that is 20 times scarcer than being struck by lightning, we are doing something wrong.

Yes, the criminal kisser was wrong to sneak under a security rope to get one last peck from his girlfriend. But closing down an entire terminal at a major airport for six hours is overdoing it. Just take a look at the offender.

His name is Haisong Jiang. He is 28 years old and very much in love. He emigrated to the U.S. from China in 2004, and met his girlfriend at Rutgers University. She recently moved to California, though they remain together. Mr. Jiang is still in the New York area, pursuing a biology Ph.D. When he receives his degree later this year, he plans to move to California to be with her. He is clearly not a terrorist.

Mr. Jiang’s forbidden kiss was recorded by surveillance cameras. It was clear that he was sneaking a kiss, not a bomb. Even so, a five-day manhunt ensued. Mr. Jiang was arrested and tried. Fortunately, his sentence is a light one: “a $500 fine and $158 in costs and fees,” plus 100 hours of community service.

I was a bit worried that he would have been shipped to Guantanamo Bay, frankly. Hopefully retired Maj. Gen. Robert Harding, the new head of the TSA, will take steps to make airport security more rational and less driven by fear.