Just for posterity, the name of the rock I've been under is Roy. Yeah... I didn't know about the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber [attempt] until yesterday when I caught up on my Rachel Maddow show and news podcasts. As such, there are a lot of points to cover, so let's get right to them.
The facts: A man named Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab boarded a Northwest Airlines Flight (#253) going from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan while wearing - oh yes - underwear with an explosive called PETN sewn into the pouch. Apparently, there were 80 grams of the substance in the man's nether pants, which CBC News reported was enough to blow a hole in the side of the aircraft had the man been able to successfully detonate the substance with the syringe of acid he'd brought.
The man: Mutallab is a 23-year-old student - called a dream student by his professors - from a wealthy family who fell in love with the cause of the Taliban at an early age. He led peaceful protests for the US and UK in the war on terror while acting as President of the University College London's Islamic Society. Though, it is known now that he was groomed by al Qaeda while in London. Mutallab was charged on December 26th, 2009 with attempting to blow up a US aircraft.
The controversy: Controversy? Other than the fact that he tried to blow up a plane on Christmas? Well, it wouldn't be worthy of The Riot if there wasn't. So, in a nut shell, people are trying to claim that Mutallab's case is unique. The Rachel Maddow show reported that many conservative politicians and talking heads are calling for Mutallab to not be tried by the Federal Courts, and they believe he should not be afforded the same rights as any other criminal in this country. The problem with this idea is that there is a man named Richard Reid who tried pretty much the same thing 8 years ago with PETN in his shoe. He's now spending his life in federal prison. That seemed to work out.
Also, airlines are - of course - beefing up security. Except, they're just stopping what this one guy did in this one incident. Like, Northwest is now stopping people from having blankets on their laps or walking around the cabin one hour before landing. This doesn't really stop anybody that - for instance - wants to blow a plane up in the first hour of flight or, say, any other hour other than the last.
Yet another instance in which we're just cleaning up the mess after an event happened instead of proactively preparing for the next possible attack. I just really hope that this doesn't fuel another conservative surge of racial profiling...
Love and Lyte,