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Thinking about air travel

Posted by Richard on November 29, 2006

Ben Shapiro came up with an interesting thought experiment:

You are sitting in the concourse of an airport, preparing for your flight, when out of the corner of your eye, you spot six Arab men praying loudly in Arabic.

"Okay," you say to yourself, "that’s a bit disquieting. But praying isn’t terrorism."

You glance at your watch. It’s time to board the plane. Sure enough, there’s the boarding announcement. Suddenly, you hear the six Arab men chanting loudly. "Allah! Allah! Allah!"

"Okay," you say to yourself, "maybe they’re still praying."

You board the flight and take your seat. You notice that two of the Arab men sit at the back of the airplane, two more sit in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle, and two sit at the front of the airplane.

"Okay," you say to yourself, "perhaps they couldn’t get seats together."

A few seconds later, you hear a stewardess explain to another passenger that the six Arab men moved from their assigned seats to the new seating arrangement. And it seems that the two Arab men up front are now asking for seat-belt extensions.

"Okay," you say to yourself, "they don’t look overweight. But perhaps they have indigestion."

Except that the two Arab men quickly tuck the seat-belt extensions underneath their seats. Then they begin speaking in both English and Arabic about President Bush, the war in Iraq, al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

You spot another passenger signaling a stewardess. Minutes later, the six Arab men are escorted from the airplane.

Secretly, you’re breathing easier. You make it to your destination without further incident. But when you turn on the television that evening, you see the six Arab men telling the media that their removal from the flight was a reflection of American xenophobia and ignorance.

Go read the rest to see what he imagines happening over the ensuing months. And then a year later. See if you don’t feel a shiver down your spine.

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