We have rules, people.
Sure, I feel sorry for those 47 passengers stuck on a Continental Express plane for nine hours at the Rochester airport, but just because they’re trapped in a device where excess flatulence violates EPA standards doesn’t mean they should be allowed outside the jet.
We can’t let people wander willy-nilly at our airports late at night because, heaven knows, even a blue-haired grandma or a nearsighted professor or a Nintendo-crazed kid might actually be a world-class terrorist who is going to hide in a broom closet until dawn, headlock the pilot of a 747 who’s having a triple latte, put on his uniform and commandeer the plane, take off, fly the jet into the command center at ESPN over in Connecticut, bring down sports broadcasting and cause widespread panic, tempting Vlad Putin to lob a few SS9s our way, starting World War III and causing the collapse of civilization and, not incidentally, indefinitely postponing the start of the NFL season.
Can’t have that. Right?
Wrong. Wrong, that is, on the whole paradigm in which we Americans frame air travel these days—security threats lurk under every bush and babushka; and yet the best commerce is utterly unfettered. In fact, we kind of have those two upside down.