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Friday, January 17, 2014

A news mountain out of a teenager’s pipe bomb molehill

The news story about the pipe bomb security lapse by a Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) guard at Edmonton International Airport is but the latest example of a mainstream media blitz on a story that’s more about personal stupidity than it is about airport security.

Air transport security in Canada is about as effective as its likely ever going to be or, for that matter, needs to be. No one can guarantee humans will not do very stupid things for the simplest of reasons. And all the training in the world will not shield security agencies from occasional lapses.

When things do happen, of course they need to be thoroughly investigated and corrective action needs to be taken. And then we all need to put the incident behind us and move on.

The young lad at the centre of the news storm has confessed in court and been sentenced for his stupidity. Yes, boys and young men occasionally do things that they later regret and acknowledge to be pretty senseless. I know I have.

The CATSA has, apparently, told CBC News that a review was done and “…changes were made to ensure this type of security failure could not happen again, and employees were disciplined, including being suspended.”

But the story won’t die. Or rather the news media won’t let it. All that really needs to be known already has been reported. Perhaps, if this was a trial in a court of law, every minute detail of what went down might be relevant for the record. But for everyday lives, who needs to know what sort of wrapper was around the bomb, its graphic description and measurement or all the other minutiae relating to the incident?

When all is said and done, nothing came of the incident—no one died, the bomb never exploded. The security guard or guards have been disciplined and the young man has been scolded by a judge and been sentenced. Let’s stop trying to make this into some kind of major scandal.

Has the incident raised legitimately troubling questions about safety of air transport and how the incident was handled by CATSA? Sure it has. But it was a one-of. And it’s highly unlikely that one can train one-ofs out of existence.

Finally, the news media and the opposition parties need to back off and stop trying to blame the federal government for this.

Nothing more to see here, so let’s all move along.

1 comment — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. Except maybe we should change to the Israeli methods and do profiling and interviewing.

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