It’s been a very fast month.
I know, I know, I’ve not written a new column in a whole stupid month,
where the beep am I? Well, the problem is, each time I’ve sat beack to
write about something, the situation changed. As fast as things are
going of late, I’d have had to write a column every day. I wrote
several times in the last month, but each time I did, the suituation
changed, requiring a re-write. It’s months like this that I marvel
that the people who do this for a living can generate any output at
all. Anyway, I generally find myself trying to stick to one specific
topic per column. Alas, it didn’t work that way. I really don’t fully
know the reason why. Perhaps it’s the larger tension we find ourselves
in these days, butI find my notes on events of late coming out in
shorter spurts.

Here’s a bunch of them, in no particular order, then, just as they’ve
occurred to me over the last two weeks and I’ve written them into my
Palm Pilot.

** It’s time to tighten up our visa policy. The terrorists in the case
of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, those involved in the more
recent (1998, I think) plot to bomb New York’s subway system, and the
CIA shootings, back in 1993… all of these were Middle East aliens
who either were granted a visa that should never have been issued or
had overstayed a visa and should have been expelled. Apparently, our
lessons were not learned. State has no clue as to how many such people
there are in the country. That is the first duty of any government.

**It’s time to put some serious money into border guards on our
northern border. Our border patrols were under serious cutback under
the Clinton misadministration, and President Bush should set that to
rights. I keep seeing reports that some of the hijackers got here by
way of Canada into Maine, In at least three different reports I’ve
found FBI Director Robert Mueller says that at least some of the 19 or
so hijackers had no proper immigration documents. Now, before you
misunderstand me, our relationship with Canada is a good one, and one
to be kept… but one that needs management. Canada has a
no-questions-asked immigration policy. There are those in Canada, even
today, who cringe at the idea of tightening those policies Add this to
the fact that many of our border crossings between the US and Canada
are unmanned, and you have a recipe for easy entry of whoever wants
into the US. This apparently is exactly what happened prior to 9/11,
and according to some at the State Dept, is a method used by terrorist
groups for many years. And of course, Mexico?.. OK, you get the idea.

**It’s time to rethink our no-gun policy on domestic flights . If it’s
known that passengers are armed, nobody will even TRY to hijack a
plane… and if they did, their attempt would fail. Picture it;
Someone stands up and says: “OK, This is a hijacking!” … the last
part of the sentence being drowned out by bolts being drawn back. At
the very least, paying an armed guard, and advertising that fact? but
making sure the guard looks normal. Potential hijackers not knowing
who the guy with the gun is, is an advantage. Yes, there is the
argument that suggests any firearm in the plane, even by a trained
guard will down the plane. But consider the people in the WTC. Sure
the people on the plane may (or may not) be hurt, but at least the
plans of the terrorist are thwarted and people on the ground are
saved.. Consider the idea that had only one person per plane been
armed, who was not a hijacker, at least 4000 less people would have
died, even if we assume that the Terrorists didn’t know there was
someone in the plane capable of thwarting their plans, and the planes
had crashed. Had the terrorists known that such a person or persons
existed on those flights, the attempt to take over the plane would
never have been made. And it seems to me these ideas are valid outside
the environment of the plane, as well. There’s clear evidence that in
the case of the passengers in the flight that crashed in a western
Pennsylvania field, that in the absence of law enforcement, self-help
is desirable, and in fact crucial. This seems to me to be what we
should be keeping in mind as we create laws, which attempt to protect
us from ourselves, by means of removing those tools we use to protect

** Security should make sense. We’re busy trying to shore up our
security procedures at airports, and that’s a good thing. But it seems
to me that we we’re not looking at these ideas through the filter of:
“Would this have stopped 9/11 from happening?” A good chunk of the
ideas we’re seeing enacted for added security most clearly would not
make it past such a filter. Tight security procedures are all well and
good, but practical application of the theories presented, and the
laws and procedures which result from those theories, are in order. In
the absence of practical application, laws are doomed to failure, as
are ANY laws created in such an environment.

** What kind of image are we projecting? Literally! I am willing to
bet that a lot of the problems between us and other nations and other
cultures is a misunderstanding based on what others see of our culture
in our media. Consider it this way: When was the last time you saw a
movie that made the military look good? How about one that cast a
positive light on the Christian religion? Or Judaism? One that showed
us that the American family is supposed to be a cohesive unit, much
less one that actually WAS?

**President Bush has shown himself to be a very capable leader. He is
doing what needs to be done in this situation, and more. Perhaps this
needs to be laid out because after 8 years of Clinton, we’ve lost
touch with the way things are, and what a real leader is.

The definition of a hero, is someone who does what’s needful,
regardless of who it is that gets the credit… or for that matter,
any other consequences. . We saw many of these in New York and

The definition of a leader, similarly, is is someone who gets others
to do what’s needful, not because the leader orders them to, not
because of a punishment if a thing is not done. The leader is
successful in convincing people that a thing is needed, so that they
act on that need of their OWN choice… not the leader’s choice..
Ironically, it is often that thereby the followers become heroes. This
is something that Mr Bush is wildly successful at. Which, it seems to
me, means he is a genuine leader.