2017-03-16 Thu

Clear Thinking

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No, itís not about terrorism. Itís about counting. The stuff we learned by the age of four.

Most of us.

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It is John Kelly in the news. He is Homeland Secretary. In charge of security for the U.S.A.

You would rather hope that a person in such a position could think, or at least count.

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When you hear ďI have no ideaĒ or ďI canít countĒ, you are listening to (or in this case, reading about) someone who canít or wonít think.

How many people live in Canada? I have no idea. Yes you do. Since the global population is around seven billion, you have an idea that Canadaís population is significantly less than seven billion. You may not know what Canadaís population is, but you have an idea of what it is not, and therefore you have an idea of what it is.

ďI canít count the number of airplanes that have not been blown up in flight ...Ē, well, you can, actually. It is significantly less then seven billion, I can tell you that right now.More to the point, you donít need to count, it has already been done for you by some agency that probably has the words ďGlobalĒ and ďAviationĒ and ďSafetyĒ embedded in its title.

I imagine that the fellow in charge of Homeland Security has direct access to those figures.

But even then, you still have an idea. How often do you hear of a major airlineís plane being blown up in flight? Perhaps twice a year.

What about petulant business rivals or drug cartels? Maybe one a week.

At best you are looking at fifty airplanes that have been blown up in flight over the past twelve months.

Given that commercial aviation is only a hundred years old, and malicious bombings of in-flight planes is relatively new, we can probably set the upper limit at about thirty planes per year for a hundred years, so say three thousand in-flight bombings.


If three thousand works for you, use it. If not, go back and clarify some figures, recalculate.

But THINK! Donít react.

Once you have your figure for blown-ups, just subtract it from the number of flights that were not blown up in the same period.

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This too doesnít surprise me. I have crossed borders many times, sometimes confidently, sometimes not so. I remember seeing two officers raise their rifles during a crossing in Perpignan in 1979; not at or because of me, but because of two other guys in the queue.

Immigration can be scary fir the most law-abiding people.

I suspect though that only those who have sold all they have (at rock-bottom prices), trampled hundreds of kilometres to one border, struggled to understand visas in a foreign language, and are still homeless, stateless and so on, I suspect though that only those people can attempt to understand people who sneak across the border at night,

You, for your part, will not understand my trepidation at a border-crossing, because you do not share my lifelong experiences of crossing borders, even legally.