Friday, June 24, 2011

Bigger isnít better

Texas is huge. Its legislators are scattered all over the vast landscape. What is really scary is not when they are scattered, however, but when they come together in Austin. It is amusing to see what bad ideas they will come up with next. After all, everything is bigger in Texas, including bad ideas.

These bad ideas have resulted in some strange Texas laws, like the one that requires the acknowledgement of a supreme being in order to hold public office. This one is on the books despite the fact that the U.S. Constitution specifically prohibits any religious test for holding office. But Texas seems to believe it can do whatever it wants.

Now we are seeing another "Don't mess with Texas" act of bravado, plus a spectacularly bad idea.

Texas wants to interpret its laws so that federal employees at airports who perform a search that touches a person's private parts without probable cause are subject to arrest for "official oppression."

The Transportation Safety Administration seeks nothing more than to protect the flying public. Remember the 3,000 people who were killed on 9/11 when terrorists flew planes into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers? That threat has not abated.

"Shoe bomber" Richard Reid wanted to blow up a plane, and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear" bomber, tried to set off an explosion on a Christmas flight from Amsterdam. We can only imagine the screams for the president's head if a plane going into Dallas-Fort Worth airport were blown up by terrorists.

Whether to travel, whether ever to get on an airplane, is up the individual. But Texas does not have the right to deny security to passengers who do, like the 270 people, mostly students, who died when Pan Am 103 was blown out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988.

The Department of Homeland Security, is working with countries all over the world to make sure flying is as secure as possible. TSA legitimately says security is not a game. Passengers should continue to expect an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology and canine teams.

Undoubtedly, the parents of those kids who died over Scotland would have been willing to do a few more things to make their children safe and secure. We bet they would not be all that amused by the really bad ideas of the Texas Legislature.

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