A modest proposal for limiting terrorism on airline flights

A modest proposal for limiting terrorism on airline flights

Terminal 5
Terminal 5 at Rome’s Fiumicino

For past nine days, my family and I were immersed in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Rome and the southern region of Campania. Despite the unfortunate extent to which Italian culture has become Americanized since my last visit two decades ago — pastas we sampled, as a case in point, arrived drowning in a sea of gloppy sauce rather than being barely moistened by it — Italy continues to work its timeless magic on locals and visitors alike. You can still spend a morning, as we did, trekking up to the crater atop Mt. Vesuvius, the afternoon pondering the eerie silence of Pompeii, rendered a ghost town by that same volcano in a matter of hours one summer afternoon two millennia ago.

But the biggest lesson the trip afforded about the frailty of life was occasioned not by some ruin in Rome or a panoramic vista in Sorrento. Rather it was on the way to Rome’s Fiumicino Airport at the end of our stay. I told our driver that we were flying Delta out of Terminal 5. “Of course,” he replied in broken English, having ascertained that we were American. He explained that all U.S.-bound and Israeli flights on domestic carriers originated out of Terminal 5. “The terrorists,” he added dryly, “they fly out of 1 through 4.”

Arriving stateside, I did some minor digging and found out that this concession to the realities of a post-911 world dates to 2008, when the rather sterile Terminal 5 received its first passenger. From that point on, anyone bent on murdering a planeload of Americans or Israelis headed home from Italy’s capital was largely out of luck.

But — liberals will be quick to assert — this is profiling. It is not. Profiling is only as invidious as it is obvious. A black driver pulled over by police, even if only briefly, can legitimately claim he was inconvenienced. A middle easterner shepherded to one airport terminal rather than another suffers no such disadvantage. If anything, it’s Americans and Israelis who pay the price for Rome’s segregated terminals insofar as Terminal 5 is furthest out.

Of course, no security measure is one hundred percent infallible. Homegrown Islamic terrorists like shoe bomber Richard Reid can still fly out of Terminal 5. So can any middle easterner with a U.S. passport. Plus, as one writer critical of the experiment at Fiumicino observes, there is nothing to prevent terrorists from targeting the terminal building itself.

In the final analysis, however, separate terminals for the Great Satan and the evil Zionists — a practice that has since spread to other European airports — cuts down on the likelihood of a terrorist attack far better than the long lines we have in airports here at home. Even if TSA officers were better trained, the waits and the foolish gestures toward perceived safety, such as shoe removal, cannot rival the common sense of separate terminals.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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