Kevin Drum reports:
Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes has somehow gotten hold of a copy of the no-fly list used by airport authorities to screen for possible terrorists. So who’s on the list?
Gary Smith, John Williams and Robert Johnson are some of those names. Kroft talked to 12 people with the name Robert Johnson, all of whom are detained almost every time they fly. The detentions can include strip searches and long delays in their travels.
"Well, Robert Johnson will never get off the list," says Donna Bucella, who oversaw the creation of the list and has headed up the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center since 2003. She regrets the trouble they experience, but chalks it up to the price of security in the post-9/11 world. "They’re going to be inconvenienced every time … because they do have the name of a person who’s a known or suspected terrorist," says Bucella.
You know, I’ll bet if there were some senator named Robert Johnson, the FBI would figure out a way to make this list a little more user-friendly. Maybe we should try to elect one.
People who expect to have evil — "I don’t want his dates Googling him" — kinds of kids will, over time, tend to name them John. The non-criminal class will then shy away from those names all the more. We need only a few generations for the new separating equilibrium to be established…