Following the lead of anonymous air marshals (see Eric Leonard’s KFI news story), some in the blogosphere are piling on Annie Jacobsen. One blogger calls her a “sniveling little twit.” Kevin Drum pooh-poohs “Panic in the Skies.” Armed Liberal advises Annie to take a “chill pill.” And Commissar at Politburo Diktat writes:
We are freaking out. Panicking. Overreacting. Getting jumpy. For Chrissakes, GET A GRIP, comrades. We (I mean Ms. Jacobsen) are, by the words of our federal air security officials, creating a danger in the air.
I respectfully take issue with this characterization. Let’s remember what exactly Annie and Kevin Jacobsen did on their flight. By one unnamed marshal’s own words:
Jacobsen and her husband had a number of conversations with the flight attendants and gestured towards the men several times, the source said.
Who’s freaking out? The unnamed marshals who spoke to KFI are popping veins over the Jacobsens for having merely discussed their concerns with the flight crew and “gestured towards the men.” The couple didn’t jump up and scream “We are going to die!” They didn’t faint or have heart attacks. And they didn’t confront the 14 Syrians while they all stood up before landing, went to the bathroom, and congregated in the aisles in violation of security regulations. (No one confronted them, for crying out loud. That is the problem.)
The Jacobsens didn’t even muster up the courage to say meekly to the Syrians, “Hey, could you please sit down. You are making me nervous.” And they didn’t blab to other passengers about their fears.
The Jacobsens talked to the flight attendants and they kept to themselves. In fact, in their MSNBC interview, Kevin Jacobsen said he sat quietly with his wife and son during the landing and resignedly wrote about his concerns in his journal. Out-of-control menaces in the air? Come on.
The message that the alarmed and panicked marshals are sending out is that if and when we view suspicious behavior, we should all just sit tight in our seats, shut up, and do nothing until it’s too damned late lest we possibly risk blowing their cover.
Meanwhile, Tom Ridge and Norm Mineta ask us all to be vigilant, buy our duct tape, hand over our nail clippers and knitting needles, keep our lips sealed, and relinquish complete control and responsibility for homeland defense–and self-defense–to The Professionals.
Two words: Hell, no.
Some annoyed bloggers wonder why I keep “flogging” this subject. For the same reasons they keep discussing it themselves: Very simply, it’s interesting and it’s important and there’s much to learn here about how both the government and citizens should properly respond to real and perceived homeland security threats. If you’d rather read about what the Bush twins are wearing and who saw whom at what restaurant, you are in the wrong zip code.
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