Some random items to cover today, sure to amaze your friends and baffle your enemies:

1. When will people start to ask some serious questions about why it is that the federal government must be the entity to administer airline and airport security? The TSA fails time and time again in stunts carried out by journalists and watchdog groups. These stories get mentioned, occasionally, on page B23 of mainstream newspapers, usually under a headline like “Fraternity prankster sneaks knife onto flight”. The latest reported failure concerns the Nigerian bomber, who is reported to have connections to Al-Qaeda. Early reports indicated that a passenger was responsible for neutralizing this guy– more ominously, reports also indicate he was assisted in his quest by someone who helped him to board the plane without a passport.

The response by our supposedly benevolent and clearly incompetent government is to issue regulations that prohibit passengers from getting out of their seats. But the response is always some kind of limit to our freedom. Always. Regardless of the party nominally in power. Consider:
  • The 9-11 killings led to the execrable Patriot Act, which gutted the ancient right of habeas corpus— which dated back more than 500 years.
  • The bureaucracy created to ensure “security” in our country makes up lists of potential “terrorists” that encompass pro-lifers, states-rights and individual liberties advocates.
  • The Real ID Act was also foisted on us, which is supposed to make us “safer” by laying the groundwork for a national ID card, and by computerizing sensitive personal information. This of course works really well to keep illegal immigrants from getting driver licenses and auto insurance, thus raising our insurance premiums and causing hit-and-run cases to spike. It doesn’t work really well to keep airlines from being attacked, as this latest case shows. Also, it allows crooks to “skim” our personal information off of our passport and “smart” IDs.
  • Every reported failure by the government causes ordinary citizens to suffer greater governmental control, pay more money, and become accustomed to being treated as sub-human.
  • Long lines, no shoes, no belts, no water, no shaving cream. Now, the call is out for immoral “full-body scanners“. Why? So we will be safer. Yet a foreigner without a passport but with a bomb waltzes on the plane.

When will people wake up? This is ludicrous. If these terrorist threats are real, why are we so content to allow the government to continue to administer airline security? It has failed miserably. Why not allow the private companies to take over this function? Private companies have a vested interest in their planes not being blown up. Bad for business, yes? Private companies are motivated to succeed because their very existence is at stake. Not so with the government. Private companies have experience in providing for the security of their assets and customers. Armored cars seem to be a good example of a security system, privately implemented, that works well. Obviously, the nature of the threat is different in an airport, but the principles involved are the same.

About the only reason the government still does this is because it wants to. It wants the control. It either believes that it can do this job better, despite every appearance to the contrary, or else it doesn’t really want the airlines to be too secure.

Did I just say that? Yes, but you know I’m a little off, right? I mean, what if there really isn’t a terrorist threat? Nah, impossible.

2. The reports of the “defrocking” of St. Christopher have been greatly exaggerated, despite what you may have heard. I overheard part of a conversation at a restaurant recently concerning this topic. No, I wasn’t eavesdropping. The parties involved were members of what my brother labelled, in an attempt at humor, the BHC– as in, the Blue-Haired Crowd. They were speaking very loudly. All of them proudly stated they went to 12 years of Catholic school.

Well, one guy begins on how he wasn’t going to give any money to the local seminary. Another talks about the lack of certainty in religion, and how the Catholic Church can be wrong. “Just like when they defrocked St. Christopher.” Loud agreement by most, complete bewilderment by one. So, the guy relates how they said he didn’t exist a few years ago and just booted him from the calendar, and “now you’re not allowed to wear St. Christopher medals anymore.” At this point I am slightly tempted to try to intervene, because this is not true. But I hold back, just in time to hear this retort:

“But I saw ’em sold over at Catholic Supply.”

Whoa! This was the first time I began to doubt myself. Being sold at Catholic Supply is, at best, a 64% indicator of Catholicity. Don’t get me started. So, I thought, maybe I’ll blog on this.

The deal is this: St. Christopher is a saint. He existed. He was a martyr. His cult goes back at least a thousand years. His feast day is July 25, shared with St. James the Greater.

In 1969, the same people who tried to destroy the ancient Mass also were thoughtful enough to denude the Roman calendar of many, MANY saints. I mean, who would want to venerate a Saint when they could instead celebrate the awe-inspiring Year II, Cycle B, Wednesday after the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time? Thank goodness, St. Christopher was not allowed to gunk up this new religious experience.

In any event, some of the saints were determined by somebody somewhere not to have enough historical evidence to allow them to be on the “official” calendar. This point of view is explained fairly well here. However, even the sceptics admit that he existed– they just don’t like the traditional pious stories believed about him.

But St. Christopher remains a saint, and his feast day is unchanged. It is still marked on the traditional calendar on July 25, and he is still listed in the Roman Martyrology– the official listing of Catholic saints. Catholic Encyclopedia has an nice entry here.

3. The combination of the above two items leads me to conclude with a third. Somebody asked me over the weekend about how the blog was going. I made a polite reply, and then opined that my target audience might be very, very, very serious Catholics who love Catholic tradition, distrust the federal government, know what a tunicle is, believe that an apocalyptic event is about 5 minutes away at any given time, wish the Spanish Armada had won– and those who love them.

That’s why the seven of you reading this are my favorite people in the world. Have a great Wednesday!

Saint Christoper, pray for us!