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Sunday, February 26, 2006Today is February 26
Most people may not remember, but I certainly recall where I was February 26, 1993. It was a Friday and I was working on a report for my college writing class when the television broke into an uproar. The World Trade Center had been bombed.
I remember watching the breaking news, seeing people coming out of the stairwell’s of the building with soot covered faces. It was snowing that day and in between the flakes hundreds of emergency vehicles had clogged the West Side Highway responding to the attack. Back then, there was the Fire Department of New York, the New York Police Department, and New York City EMS.
I distinctly remember thinking how that was something I might want to do in my free time. It would be another year and four months before I joined the FHVAC and almost two years before I actually became a certified EMT after the college thing just didn’t work out. The perpetrator of the attack, a Kuwaiti named Ramzi Yousef was arrested on February 7, 1995 in Pakistan. He was convicted on November 12, 1997 and is being held at the Supermax prison ADX Florence.
So why mention it here and now? Well, in case no one noticed the United States was about to hand control of six US Ports over to a foreign nation who has had ties to financing this attack on US Soil. Some parties in the US have called this “Arab bashing” and “racial profiling” amongst other things.
I don’t see the Arab bashing. What I do see is profiling… but not necessarily racial profiling. I see this more as political profiling or perhaps even religious profiling. How can the US allow control of its ports, which by the way are some of the most insecure entry points into the US, to be operated by a known supporter and funder of terrorism against the US and its allies? More importantly, how can we allow it to be governed by people who cannot peacefully deal with a few cartoons they might find religiously offensive? Does this mean that all products coming from Denmark and through those ports will be turned around?
People are always asking the theoretical question of “how much does freedom cost?” when talking about the intangible concepts of profiling and government surveillance. I think we should resolve the tangibles before we start worrying about the intangibles. By the time we figure all the intangibles out we’ll find our ports are owned by countries overseas, the southern border owned by Mexicans, and the northern border owned by the Canadians.
If idealists insist on arguing over the intangibles now, then blanket the tangibles. Pass legislation forbidding foreign governments or corporations from owning and operating assets within the United States. Someone needs to take notice and learn a lesson from history… or let’s just start a pool on what US target will be hit next by those cartoon connoisseurs overseas.