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Paying the price

Dear Editor(This is a yet another letter to the Editor of the RhinoTimes),

Great piece on the Wall Street Journal opinion page by Heather MacDonald. Her assertion: Politically correct rules established by the Department of Transportation are undercutting our safety/anti-terror effort regarding questioning who should be subjected to additional screening on air flights.

She provides several specific illustrations – her summary:

1. The DOT’s “but for” rule (i.e. “but for this person’s perceived race, ethnic heritage or religious orientation, would I have subjected this individual to additional screening? If answer is “no” then the action may violate civil rights laws”) in actual litigation practice, when challenged becomes a “never-ever” rule.

2. Never ever may ethnic heritage, religion or national origin play a role in evaluating risk.

3. But common sense says that Islamic terrorism makes it reckless to disregard the sole ironclad prerequisite for being an Islamic terrorist: Muslim identity, or its proxies – national origin or ethnic heritage. Of course, Muslim identity should be at most only one factor, but is a critical one.

This all reminds me of what my old Russian language professor told me 40 plus years ago. Professor Robert Vlach was a Czech by birth and served in the pre-WWII Czech foreign office. He was outraged at the European inaction in the face of the Sudetenland takeover by Germany, and was a resistance fighter against the Nazis. He fled Eastern Europe in 1948, just ahead of the communist takeover of then-Czechoslovakia. He told me once, “You Americans are so schtoopid, (he had a thick Czech accent and he was shaking with emotion), you allow your laws to be subverted by people who would do you harm, and you do nothing. Your country will pay a terrible price for this someday.”

A chain smoker who never recovered from the physical ordeals he suffered during WWII. He died prematurely a few years later. I have often remembered his comments, most especially on Sept 11, 2001, and more often lately as this whole issue of the war on terror drags on. Vlach would have been apoplectic at the state of political correctness in the country today, but he would have applauded the Patriot Act. Robert Vlach was someone who knew firsthand the danger of not confronting dangers.

I hope we don’t allow “do-gooder” activist judges to subvert our national security in the name of political correctness.

Mike Crouch