So some nut from Nigeria blows up his lap on a flight landing in Detroit on Christmas Day and now all travelers on U.S.-bound flights will be subjected to pat-down searches and will be banned from getting up from their seat for the last hour of their flight – whether they have to go to the bathroom or not.
In addition, passengers are having their pillows taken away.
This is no joke.

Under new U.S. Transportation Security Authority rules, passengers are being told that they cannot have blankets or anything in their laps including books, magazines or newspapers during that last hour of flight.
Am I missing something here? Who exactly wins in this case?
If you scored this one for the terrorists, I have to agree.

Why is it that no matter what happens, whenever there is an attempted attack on airlines, no matter how feeble, air travelers are the ones who pay and terrorists score another victory by further disrupting air travel?
In this case, the major question is why the suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, of Nigeria was even on this flight.

Just a month earlier, his own father, a prominent Nigerian banker and former government official, had reported him to security officials as a potential risk because of his radical views.

Nevertheless, Abdulmutallab’s visa to the United States had not been revoked, his name did not appear on the “no-fly” list and he was allowed to board the airplane.
It seems to me the proper response here is to do a better job of responding to known risks – or suspected risks – like Abdulmutallab rather than doing pat-down searches of grandmothers and taking their pillows away.
(If you want a chuckle check out this piece posted today by Andy Borowitz of the Huffington Post titled “Homeland Security considers making people fly naked.“)

– Paul Gullixson