Only In America . . . TM

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


Beginning next month all terrorists will be required by Federal law to wear a sign saying, I am a terrorist. "The purpose of this bill is to make it easier for the security personnel in our airports to identify terrorists," according to Quentin Nabob, the independent Senator from Hawaii who introduced the bill in Congress.

"You can install new gadgets and technology and bomb sniffing dogs until you're blue in the face," he said at a news conference held in Washington, D.C., yesterday, "and you'll still never be able to stop a determined terrorist. We need a more definitive method of identifying the bad guys, and I think this bill will go a long way toward supplying that."

The new legislation requires all members of recognized terrorist organizations to wear the identifying signs any time they go into a federal building or airport. "Anyone violating this law will be liable for penalties of up to three years in jail and a five thousand dollar fine," a spokesman for Senator Nabob said, "and penalties for a second or third violation will be even more severe."

Other provisions require specific signs - Bomb, Knife, Gun, etc. -- to be worn any time a person is carrying any of these prohibited items. The original version of the bill allowed generic signs - Explosive Device, Hand Held Weapon and the like -- in order to preserve individual privacy, but that portion of the bill was deleted by the House and Senate Conference Committee.

"We have been asking our airport and building security people to do far too much with far too little for far too long," Nabob said in a copyrighted interview, "and it's high time we gave them the tools they need to do their job."

Under the new rules the majority of airport passengers will not have to suffer the metal detectors, baggage x-rays, and manual pat-downs that have created long lines and multiple-hour waits in the past. Only those wearing one of the federally mandated signs will have to go through the inspection process; everyone else will be allowed to go straight from the ticket counter to the boarding gate.

"This will go a long way towards relieving the congestion in the nation's airports," the Senator said. "And it will certainly help us to identify terrorists without engaging in ethnic profiling or violating anyone's civil rights."

But this is still just a stopgap measure, according to sources inside the Congress. There is another bill in the works that will make it mandatory for all terrorist organizations to register with both the federal and state governments. Also, in addition to the signs, it will require each member of a registered terrorist organization to carry a photo ID and have an identifying tattoo on their forearm.

"Once these provisions are in place," the spokesman said, "it will be virtually impossible for a terrorist to board an aircraft or go into a public building undetected."

Your Congress cares about you.

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