Seriously Needing Oxygen

August 19, 2007 | Filed Under 00Publius Contributor, Democrats/Leftists, Family, Lee Culpepper, Media Bias, Military, Patriotism, Security/Safety, Society/Culture, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

-By Lee Culpepper

I joined the Marine Corps after college because I felt compelled to serve our country and to defend the rights of others. I feel proud to have served in the Corps, and I believe my experience taught me a greater appreciation regarding the incredibly high cost and value of freedom.

Consequently, I simply cannot think like those Americans who take our freedoms for granted. I also fail to understand how any American can recklessly abuse our freedoms. My father used to describe such people by saying, “Son, some folks live their entire lives with their heads between the wrong two cheeks.”

Even armed with my father’s wisdom, I could hardly believe two stories I was reading recently, except that they involved The New York Times and the ACLU. Last week, Steven Levitt, co- author of Freakonomics, published his Freakonomics Blog on The New York Times website. In “If You Were A Terrorist How Would You Attack,” Levitt gleefully offers some ideas for how terrorists could most easily wreak chaos in America, and he smugly solicits more ideas from any oxygen-starved readers willing to respond. Naturally, I question why our government has not exercised its primary responsibility to protect us from such a menace. At a minimum, officials should question Levitt to see if he’s actually smart enough to deny serving as an al Qaeda-propaganda strategist. Being so full of himself, who knows what he might reveal? As a courtesy, government agents could at least encourage Levitt to breathe some fresh air. People who honestly believe they are assisting the government by publishing such treacherous garbage, a claim Levitt makes, are clearly lunatics that present a danger not only to themselves, but also to others. On the other hand, if they are intentionally undermining the American effort to protect us from terrorists, they should be tried for treason and hanged. Certainly during a war, the government should keep such people under surveillance for those individuals’ own protection.

When it comes to morons, one naturally thinks of the ACLU. Recently its lawyers filed a federal lawsuit that accuses a Transportation Security Administration official and JetBlue Airways of discriminating against a man of Arabic decent. He describes himself as a “new American…fighting for his rights.” The problem began when airport officials asked Raed Jaraar to change t-shirts before boarding his flight. The shirt he was wearing boasted the ambiguous message: “We Will Not Be Silent” — scribbled in Arabic and English across the chest. The vague message, the Arabic writing, the age and sex of the passenger – BUT MOST OBVIOUSLY HIS ETHNICITY – would be considered logical clues to people getting enough oxygen to their brains. Fortunately, some clear-thinking and observant passengers reported their concerns to officials. How the trained security officials failed to detect these raging red flags probably points to public education’s failure to develop critical thinking skills – a topic for another article. Meanwhile, here are some simple analytical questions that an inquisitive security guard could have asked in this situation: “Cool shirt, who or what are the “we” in its message? About “what” are the “we” refusing to remain “silent”? And why is the message unclear?” (That’s just polite conversation.)

However, the pathetic effort to resolve this incident demonstrate the grave danger that other people’s lack of oxygen presents to the rest of us. Officials asked Raed only to switch t-shirts! They should have removed this guy from the initial flight, questioned him, searched him, and counseled him regarding the danger of where his head appears to be had they then determined he was not a threat. Based on the objective facts, he very well could have been an al Qaeda operative probing the alertness of our security measures. Better safe than sorry.

As Raed appears to have been just a regular guy short of oxygen, he should thank al Qaeda and his own bad decision to wear that t-shirt to the airport for his inconvenience and his problems that he encountered. If he wanted to exercise his freedom of speech without setting off alarm bells — at an airport — he should have chosen precise language. In fact, why not something like “Real Muslims Hate al Qaeda”? It’s loud, clear, controversial, and protected.

Sure, now my idea might end up on some terrorists-supporting blog as a way these savages can disguise themselves as American supporters. But then again, with where terrorists’ and their supporters’ heads are located, just their pretending to support America might jeopardize their chances of meeting all those promised virgins.

As for the rest of us, I suggest we remain vigilant and keep our heads where we can breath.
Lee Culpepper is a Marine turned high school English teacher. Currently, he is writing his first book, Alone and Unafraid: One Marine’s Counterattack Inside the Walls of Public Education. Lee is also a contributing columnist for The North Carolina Conservative, The HinzSight Report, and The Publius’ Forum. An increasing number of publications, including The Conservative Voice and, have run his recent articles, as well.

Lee can be reached at

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