IN PRAISE OF RANDOM ACTS OF SECURITY
by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
Boca Raton, Fla.
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- We all cringed as third graders when Miss Stecklow at P.S. 233 in Brooklyn pointed her pencil-sharp index finger around the room to randomly select a pupil to write his or her homework assignment on the black board.
Banking, securities, insurance, sales tax, or fire safety examiners randomly marching into your store or office once every one, or three, or five years, might keep you honest. In the first week of 2004, Maryland officials in suburban Baltimore got it right for a change. Homeland security, if thought out by business people and state and federal business regulators and not just public safety agencies, would embrace the logic of the illogical. Planned and predictable is bad. Random and reckless is good. It is a reckless, abusive, annoying, expensive, inconvenient nuisance for Maryland cops to stop thousands of cars in a sudden roadblock, and ask you to pop your trunk and show your driver's license. It is also brilliant. The European air carriers that balk at mandatory sky marshals on U.S. bound flights claim it is their current secret, random, clandestine security system which leaves terrorists guessing and mixes up routine schedules and procedures. When a bank knows in advance that on Monday morning the annual visit from the state banking examiner will take place, there is an orderly and cordial scenario. The coffee pot is clean, the tellers look extra nice, and the managers clear their desks to devote ultra-polite quality time with the inspectors. It serves a purpose for routine audits. However, it has none of the impact that a surprise visit does, and the banking staff may reveal more than they intend. The point is that already-overregulated small and large businesses were hit with even more rules and regs after 9-11 and the PATRIOT Act. Orange and Red Alerts that place the airport in Amarillo on the same threat level as JFK Airport are overkill, over-budget - and overlooking criminals. It's just my humble opinion that Miss Stecklow had it right. The random nature of inspections or security keeps everyone on their toes and puts more fear into evildoers than fixed, blanket measures. Close Hartsfield for three hours for no reason. Lots of Atlantans will be furious, but it will confound and terrify terrorists as they try to plan attacks. On one weekday afternoon at 5 p.m., divert all traffic off of the Long Island Expressway and look for cars with expired license tags ("plates" to the yankees whio read this). When a Rome-to-Boston flight arrives - yes, arrives - some morning, subject all of the arriving passengers to an El Al-type security interview before they proceed to immigration and customs. For no particular reason other than to ness strengthen security. Does my randomness theory violate the spirit of civil rights and individual liberties? Absolutely. Next question... .
Former UPI Newsman Mark Scheinbaum is heard twice daily on Doug Stephan's "Good Day" radio program at wwwdougstephan.com and serves as chief investment strategist for Kaplan & Co. based in Boca Raton, Fl wwwkaplansecurities.com