Nothing will wipe a grin off your face faster than a squad of Navy SEALs rappelling into your anonymous compound from a Black Hawk. But while Osama Bin Laden is dead and gone, and unable to mock America's clumsy efforts to protect its planes from our Homeland-fueled fantasies, his disciples are more than capable of laughing at us.
And laugh they do. How could they not? We've given them a lot of material, thanks to the Transportation Security Administration.
Shelbi Walser, seventh-grade jihadist?
Consider the case of Shelbi Walser, the Texas seventh-grader with a genetic bone disorder who was flying to Florida for medical treatment last week. TSA agents detained her at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, claiming she had "bomb residue" on her hands. After a 45-minute wait, agents simply let her go without conducting any further screening.
What's so funny about it: Walser was obviously a scared little girl, not a junior suicide bomber. The punchline isn't that she was that a sick child in a wheelchair was held by the TSA, but that the agents just let her roll on to the terminal without testing her wheelchair, which Walser later confessed had probably come into contact with fertilizer. What's laughable is that millions of Americans now believe that somewhere in a Yemeni warehouse, giddy terrorists are building their latest weapon: an exploding wheelchair. That's so 1990s.
Andy Ramirez covets your iPad
You've probably seen this video of TSA screener Andy Ramirez, who is accused of swiping an iPad at Orlando International Airport. The device was left in the terminal by ABC News, and a few days later, it came calling for the iPad with a camera crew. Ramirez hemmed and hawed before handing over the tablet computer, which had been tracked to his house. He"s been fired.
What's so funny about it: TSA agents taking iPads from passengers is only funny in the sense that it's ironic -- the very people who are supposed to be protecting us are stealing from us. What's leaving the terrorists in stitches is the fact that Ramirez apparently didn't know iPads can be tracked. And he's supposed to be screening passengers for weapons and explosives? Hilarious.
Cancer patients could be hijackers
Michelle Dunaj is dying of leukemia. The Michigan woman wanted to make one final trip to Hawaii, but the TSA screeners in Seattle had a few questions for her before she boarded her flight to the islands. Like, what's with all those prescription drugs you're carrying? What are these saline bags? Oops, did we just break one? Sorry. And could you please lift your shirt in public so we can get a closer look at the feeding tubes?
What's so funny about it: The terrorists aren't laughing at Dunaj. After all, they probably know a thing or two about pain and suffering. No, it's the fact that she's become the poster girl for TSA harassment. Going after a cancer patient is a new low, even for the bad guys, and despite it all, the TSA still hasn't caught a single terrorist. Not one.
The radical Islamists who attacked the United States on 9/11 didn't just succeed in bringing down a few planes and buildings. They made an entire country overreact, say critics, and America willingly sacrificed some of its most fundamental constitutional rights in order to have the illusion of safety. Observers now believe we've created an overfunded, ineffective federal agency called the TSA that harasses children and terminally ill passengers and steals from travelers.
We can do better. The TSA needs to slim down, get smarter about how it screens passengers, and stop the airport theatrics, as many experts have already suggested. Indeed, as I have also suggested on my consumer advocacy site.
Today's TSA is a joke. Unfortunately, the only ones laughing are the terrorists.