The Daily Post recently ran a column by a man whose 93-year-old, wheelchair-bound mother was stopped by airport security. When we heard the story, we all thought, "How stupid."
These stories always elicit flabbergasted disgust: Famous people, Congressmen and other odd-sounding targets randomly stopped for more thorough searches at security checkpoints. People inevitably respond with a desire to target the people who are targeting us i.e. "Muslim-looking" people and want the little old ladies left alone.
But at the time I gave passing thought to another side of that seemingly ridiculous story. The face of James von Brunn popped into my head.
Brunn, now deceased, was the white supremacist who last year killed a security guard in an attack at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial. He was 88 at the time of the shooting.
If an 88-year-old man can attempt a killing spree in the name of the white race, I see no reason why one couldn't do the same thing in the name of radical Islam.
And now middle-aged women are suspect, too. In fact, the arrest by the FBI of the woman dubbed "Jihad Jane" makes the idea of using any sort of profiling seem at the least ineffective.
Jihad Jane, also known as 46-year-old Colleen Renee LaRose of Pennsylvania, was arrested late last year in connection with a terror plot to kill a Dutch cartoonist who committed the unforgiveable sin against Islam of drawing the likeness of the Prophet Muhammad. The FBI said LaRose made her intentions to help terrorists well known through Internet postings. Her arrest was kept secret until LaRose's alleged cohorts could be snared in the same net.
While it's not uncommon for the terrorists to have sympathizers, LaRose adds a new wrinkle in that she is a middle-aged, suburban American. She is alleged to have claimed that her blonde hair and fair skin would help her "blend in with many people."
In other words, she's not a dark-skinned, bearded man dressed in Middle-Eastern garb. She's an average-looking white woman who could be standing in line behind you at the airport or next to you at the food court at the mall. And she's not on our side.
And that should scare the hell out of you.
John Walker Lindh, "the American Taliban," moved to Afghanistan and took up arms against us. A group of students tried to do the same recently in Pakistan. Actions like these are not unprecedented.
As for LaRose, she made a trip to Stockholm, and her indictment says she planned to move to Europe and marry a known terror suspect.
All of this apparently came as quite a shock to her American boyfriend.
"She never talked about international events, about Muslims, anything," Kurt Gorman told the Philadelphia Daily News.
If her own boyfriend didn't know, how in the world can the TSA be expected to figure it out?
So the next time you find yourself pulled out of line, don't go thinking, "But I don't look like a terrorist," because that argument just doesn't hold water anymore.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.