As you or loved ones prepared to get on planes at LAX, Long Beach or Burbank over the holiday weekend, you likely faced long lines, trepidation, perhaps even that fatalistic thought: Will I make it to the other side? This after a Nigerian man with ties to Yemen allegedly tried to blow up a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas day. It might have worked, but his detonator apparently failed, and passengers and flight-crew members were quick to subdue the man and put out flames that had reached the inner wall of the plane.
But, in a moment of Rove-like spin, U.S. Deptartment of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, speaking on the Sunday morning talk show circuit, said, “One thing I'd like to point out is that the system worked.” Really!? So, the system is civilians, flight attendants, some towels and a lucky break that a device filled with the potent explosive called PETN didn't blow a hole in a plane carrying 278 passengers. Napolitano came to her senses Monday, however, and announced on NBC's Today show that “our system did not work in this instance. No one is happy or satisfied with that. An extensive review is underway.” Three days later. What was she doing, reading My Pet Goat?
Well, we're glad she finally got a clue. No, nothing worked really. Not the intermittent bomb-detection systems. The shoe exams. The wands. The behavioral analysis. The limitations on liquids. The terror-watch lists maintained by authorities, one of which suspect, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was actually on. All a giant fail. All for naught. Luck saved flight 253 over Detroit.
So as you prepare to board that flight at LAX we don't blame you if you ask yourself, “Am I feeling lucky today?” Because, in reality, that's the system we have.