Wednesday, April 30, 2008

You'll just have to wait for the marshall, Marshall

In a world where danger could lurk around every corner and inside of every Snickers bar, it only seems necessary that we have lists lying around, dictating who can and cannot do certain things. We tend to love making these lists, whether it's merely for the people who can't write checks at the gas station, or if it's for people that are such a threat to society that they would never get released from prison (a list that Charles Manson puts himself on, willfully). In fact, we love making lists so much that the Internet devolves into a series of nothing but lists at the end of the year, with magazines and newspapers following a similar course. In the wake of 9/11, a new list was brought to prominence, and we've been just as eager to fill that one out as many of the others. That list, of course, is the list of people who aren't allowed to fly for one reason or another.

These no-fly lists have come under attack because of standard passengers being denied their flights (or at least heavily delayed) because they share a similar name to a suspected terrorist. But that's at least somewhat understandable. After all, as a society, we're starting to accept that you can't judge a terrorist simply by skin tone, and therefore it's better to be safe than sorry, even at the cost of convenience. Thank goodness the people charged with keeping the planes safe in the air can still get on board.

What? Some air marshalls have problems, too? Well that just isn't right. It's not like anyone can go and become an air marshall. Sure, there's always the outside risk that someone could kidnap them, steal their uniform, take their ID, and manage to know enough of the protocol to sneak through, but that just isn't very likely. As a general rule of thumb, if someone claims to be an air marshall but then has to ask what to do with the little metal thingy attached to the nylon straps in the seats, you may have someone who's a fraud. More to the point, if they don't instinctively know where a good portion of the airport bars are, you just might have someone who is donning the uniform for the first time. Oh yeah, and another good tip off would be if they happen to not speak any English.

Seems like the people charged with protecting the flights while they're in the air would be the ones given a little more lee-way. Of course, it all comes down, in many occasions, to a matter of names. Which is why we suggest that all air marshalls change their names, possibly to something incorporating "Marshall" itself. That way, they can be more easily recognizable for their job duties, and they can try to revive the name. If that fails, they could take the alternate name of "Jordan Holycowihavetoprotecttheplane", but that could lead to a messy signature.

On the plus side, Jordan is gender-neutral, so it works both ways!

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