Monday, April 09, 2007

See suspicious acts? Feel free to report them

Don't be deterred by political correctness or the fear of a lawsuit. Put safety and security first.

By Michael Smerconish

Suspicion - n. partial or unconfirmed belief that something is wrong.

I flew to California and back last weekend. Sitting at LAX waiting to board my return flight, I heard the usual announcement, advising me to be attentive to my luggage and to report any suspicious behavior.

Suspicious was never defined.

Nor do I think it needs to be. To me, suspicious would include anything reminiscent of 9/11, the day that 19 young Muslim men cut throats and crashed airplanes.

Were I to have seen a half-dozen Muslim men praying and chanting before boarding, then speaking angrily about the United States and George Bush, and making references to Saddam Hussein, al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, I'd have thought it suspicious. And if I then saw those individuals request seat-belt extensions without being overweight, or conferring in the cabin before dispersing to seats near each of the plane's entry and exit points, I'd certainly have flagged a flight attendant.

That's exactly what some passengers claim to have observed on Nov. 20, 2006, as they boarded a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix. They thought it suspicious. They reported it. And now those folks find themselves on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

That led Congress to vote, 304-121, to add language to the Rail and Public Transportation Act to protect public-transportation passengers - including airline passengers - from being sued for reporting suspicious behavior.

All 121 dissenting votes were from Democrats.

Entire article here.

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