Wednesday, August 04, 2004

One if by sea; two if by sea

I generally avoid certain topics because I fear that events may overtake what I have written while the words are still whirling around on the presses.

Having said that – as we approach the anniversary of the horrible attack on the United States on September 11, 2001, by Saudi Arabians – I am curious about our precautions to prevent another attack.

Have you noticed that in one recent week the Statue of Liberty was reopened in New York and at the same time, the Department of Homeland Security elevated the colored terrorist-threat-level poster boards in New York to fuchsia.

No big thing, you might say, but curious.

Let me tell you what I have observed with my own old eyes: seaport security.
First, I remind you that virtually all our oil comes by sea.

While we routinely stand in line to be humiliated at all airports, seaport security hasn’t changed very much since 9/11 or since the establishment of the unruly Iraq colony – at least not around here, as far as I know.

I was in my little boat the other day doing an odyssey in Florida when I passed a big shipping port. It seemed to be humming along quite nicely. A huge cargo vessel was being loaded. A little activity could be noted around the brand-new passenger terminal even though there were no passenger vessels around.

I pulled my boat up alongside the cargo vessel and looked up – way up – at the containers being loaded. The ship was, I believe, about the size of the U.S.S. Cole which was blown up in a port like this by some suicide bombers in a boat about the size of mine. Seventeen US Navy personnel were killed in the attack.

I may look harmless, but in the security business that doesn’t count for much. If that weren’t true, your Granny wouldn’t have to remove her shoes at the airport security check-in, getting her all rattled and practically ruining her vacation before it even starts.

Little coves at the port were wide open and I saw nothing to prevent me from sailing right in. Maybe I am wrong. Maybe if I tried it, a SWAT team would appear with automatic weapons and blow my stupid brains out.

But an evildoer with the same access and a dinghy full of dynamite could have pulverized most of the port and made a significant contribution to the demolition work needed for the redevelopment project being contemplated by the nearby city.

The port brings in containers by sea from foreign lands. BOOM! Cargo is trucked in. BOOM! Lots of containers are loaded on railway cars. BOOM!

Who worries about airplanes? The elusive Osama has done that.

... kenmatthews@yahoo.com

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