Only In America . . . TM

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


The FAA announced today that it will require American-based commercial airliners to carry a live bomb on board during all flights, domestic or foreign, beginning the 15th of next month.

Dwight Randolph, head of the FAA's Safety and Security Division, told reporters at a press conference held in Washington, D.C., this afternoon that the rule requiring all commercial flights to carry a bomb on board "has been instituted by this department as a positive safety measure designed to reduce the odds of a terrorist bomb being placed on American airplanes. This will make the skies much safer for citizens of this country, help defuse the terrorist hysteria now rampant around the globe, and aid in the restoration of the economic health of America's airline industry."

When asked by reporters to explain how placing a live bomb on an airplane could possibly be considered a safety measure, Randolph referred them to a transcript of last month's meeting of the Rules Committee of the FAA's Safety and Security Division. At that meeting, Daniel Plotnick, professor of mathematics and physics at Pottawattamie University, testified that "the odds of a terrorist bomb being placed on a commercial American airliner have been calculated to be approximately 3,500,000 to one."

After a hushed conference between committee members the chairman, Alfred Braneded, asked the professor, "What are the odds of two terrorist bombs being placed on the same airplane?"

Plotnick was unable to answer the question directly, but said that he could calculate the answer in about two days if the committee would arrange for him to have access to a computer at least as powerful as the one he was accustomed to using at Pottawattamie University.

Braneded promptly recessed the hearings for two days and made arrangements for Plotnick to have the use of one of the FAA's computers to perform his calculations. When the hearings resumed, Plotnick informed the committee members that "the odds of there being two terrorist bombs on the same plane are more than 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (one billion billion) to one."

The members of the Rules Committee caucused for several hours, then Chairman Braneded announced that "after careful analysis of the statistical difference between the odds of having one bomb on an airplane and the odds of having two bombs on the same airplane, it has become obvious that a rule requiring every airplane to carry a bomb on every flight would reduce the chances of a terrorist bomb being placed on any given airplane by a factor of more than 3 billion to one. Faced with numbers like these, we would be criminally negligent if we didn't recommend the immediate adoption of such a rule in the interest of public safety."

After answering a few more questions, Randolph summed up by telling reporters, "if this rule increases aircraft safety as much as we have projected, then I am going to make a recommendation to the President that we use the same means to prevent terrorist attacks on United States property everywhere--by hiding a live bomb on the premises of our government buildings around the globe."

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.