Travel advice for the Islamo-fraidycat set
On Aug. 18, three siblings boarded an EasyJet flight at London's Stansted airport. Maryam, Sakina and Ali Dharas were en route to Italy for a holiday. But before the flight could take off, they were asked to debark for questioning by police.
Another passenger, apparently an amateur detective, deduced that because they are brown people and the two sisters wear hijabs — Muslim head scarves — they must be Islamic State terrorists, which, of course, they weren't. The plane eventually took off, but presumably the incident cast a pall over the Dharas family's holiday, as well as throwing the other passengers' travel plans at least a little off-kilter.
This is far from the first reported incident of its kind. It's probably far from the last. But it COULD be the last if those suffering from constant, crippling fear of sudden violent death at the hands of terrorists read this and follow a few simple rule of the (so to speak) road.
RULE NUMBER ONE: Stay home. Really. Under your bed if possible (that is, if someone you trust is willing to bring you food and water, empty a bedpan a couple of times a day, and perhaps run to the library for new reading material every so often). It's unlikely that the terrorists will hunt you down there. Of course, you're more likely to be struck by lightning than attacked by a terrorist anywhere, but under the bed is probably pretty safe with respect to lightning, too.
RULE NUMBER TWO: If you absolutely, positively can't avoid leaving your home, travel by private car. NOT by taxi! You might get a driver who's brown, has an accent or wears headgear you find strange.
RULE NUMBER THREE: Before entering a business establishment, circle the parking lot a couple of times. You wouldn't want to be surprised by scimitar-waving jihadists while ordering your double cheeseburger, fries and shake.
RULE NUMBER FOUR: It should go without saying, don't travel by commercial aircraft, bus, etc. If you're making a long trip and can't drive yourself, charter a plane or limo or whatever. Tell them you want a "very American/British looking" pilot/driver. I'm sure they'll know what you mean.
RULE NUMBER FIVE: If you can't follow rules one through four, then pretty please with sugar on top sit down, shut up, and refrain from acting like an idiot in public and making everyone else's life more difficult.
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.