Tuesday stupid: "If my bra is a threat to national security, we're in big trouble."

Columnist Paula Simmons’ doesn’t like US airport security. Who does? But like most liberals, she takes what could have been an enlightening (if uncomfortable) incident and doesn’t learn a thing that didn’t fit her pre-existing political opinions.

To fast-forward the story a bit, we have a Canadian op-ed columnist entering the US at an airport. Her underwire bra dings the metal detector, so she gets the “special female” inspection.

No normal person likes the special inspections. Our intrepid columnist is no exception.

She eyes my bosom suspiciously. It’s not the kind of ogling I’m used to.

I’m a robust 34 FF. That’s the kind of full-figure that needs support akin to a good bridge truss. Over the years, my breasts have attracted their share of attention. Back when they were still perky enough to stand up all by themselves, they were generally considered quite distracting by the men of my acquaintance. But that was 20 years and 50 pounds ago. These days, I look more like a centrefold for National Geographic than Playboy, and my underwire is a wardrobe essential. Still, I never imagined my plunging cleavage could be viewed as a threat to homeland security. The guard puts down the wand and starts a thorough manual search. She doesn’t ask me to take off my shirt — though I’d almost rather she did.

Instead, she slowly, methodically palpates every millimetre of my underwire, starting with the poky bits under my armpits, making her way around to my sternum, feeling carefully, one presumes, for suspicious lumps or gaps. Next, she takes my two breasts, one in each hand, and weighs them carefully, like a shopper trying to choose the right mangoes.

“Balanced,” she mutters. “Nice balance.”

I’m calling shenanigans on the “balance” comment. Audacity of hope, perhaps? But never mind that. It’s where this incident takes her that shows that Simmons’ doesn’t put much thought into security, or even writing her column.

My story is nothing special. It doesn’t involve border security holding up firefighters from Quebec on their way to put out a fire at a historic New York State hotel or a zealous American guard stopping a Windsor ambulance attempting to rush a dangerously ill man to a Detroit hospital. It’s just another small example of the way our culture of fear has eroded common sense and civility. The danger of a zero tolerance mentality is that we lose the intellectual flexibility to exercise sound human judgment. When we blindly follow rules, when we waste time and energy defending ourselves from imaginary enemies, we actually create the potential for real threats to overtake us.

Actually, she has accidentally stumbled into the central problem with how we’re handling airport security. It’s not that the enemies are “imaginary” as Simmons seems to think (and 9-11 didn’t dissuade her from that opinion), and it’s not that we’re exercising “zero tolerance.” It’s that we can’t focus our finite security resources efficiently on real threats. We can’t profile. We have to go after underwires and grannies and little kids to keep flying imams from suing, to keep CAIR from crying and to keep lame liberal Democrats from making all critical thought on terrorism and security policies illegal.

“Since Sept. 11, many Muslim Americans have been subjected to searches at airports and other locations based upon their religion and national origin,” [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] said. “We must make it illegal.”

It’s not the bra or what’s inside that’s the threat, it’s the poorly functioning politically correct brain.

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