WaPo editorial argues federal no-fly list for terrorists should include those who defy mask mandates

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Two plus years into the pandemic, there are a few truths that can be spoken without too much fear of retribution, one being that getting vaccinated doesn’t mean you will not get Covid-19 and that you cannot spread it, although officials continue to insist the vaccine does reduce the severity of symptoms. Another truth slowly coming around centers on the effectiveness of wearing masks, where a CDC study on schools showed that when it comes to cloth masks most people wear, they did not have a “statistical impact.”

Yet, many in the media continue to push a worn narrative, as seen this week from The Washington Post editorial board, which expressed support for a federal no-fly-list that would include passengers who resist mask mandates during their flight.

The stance came at the same time the New York Times reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “withheld critical data” on vaccine boosters and hospitalizations out of fear that the information might be misinterpreted, stating that the data was “not yet ready for prime time.”

“The federal government does not maintain an official no-brainer list’ of policies,” the board wrote. “If it did, there’s a good chance many Americans would applaud if one were a rule barring violent, unruly and disruptive airline passengers from the skies.”

“Applause has been exactly the reaction on some planes when aggressive passengers were removed following moments of onboard mayhem, often related to mask mandate…nonetheless, some Republicans in Washington are grandstanding, rejecting no-nonsense measures to keep passengers and crews safe on airlines,” the column continued.

The newspaper linked to this video:

“Grandstanding Republicans” were the target of the piece, for allegedly trying to “protect unruly passengers with a letter sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“The senators wrote in response to a proposal from the chief executive of Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian, who suggested a no-fly list be established by the federal government. In his view, and in that of the main union representing flight attendants, a list barring even the relatively small number of passengers convicted of unruly onboard conduct would be useful to combat an explosion over the past year of such incidents, most of them related to mask-wearing,” the board writes.

“The senators’ tortured logic is that a no-fly list for unruly passengers opposed to onboard mask mandates would seemingly equate them to terrorists who seek to actively take the lives of Americans and perpetrate attacks on the homeland,” as they wrote in their letter,” the piece continued. “The key word there is ‘seemingly,’ which the senators stretch beyond its breaking point.”

The eight Republicans who signed the letter were said to be members of the “Aviation Threat Forgiveness Caucus.” The signees include Sens. Cynthia M. Lummis (Wyo.), Mike Lee (Utah), James Lankford (Okla.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Ted Cruz (Tex.), John Hoeven (N.D.) and Rick Scott (Fla.).

In conclusion, the editorial board essentially compared the threat of a non-mask wearing “miscreant” to that of a terrorist. Seriously.

“If the government moves forward with a no-fly list, it should take reasonable steps to calibrate its impact, including by ensuring that bans on individuals are temporary, for a duration linked to the offense’s severity, and by establishing a process by which sanctioned individuals can appeal,” the piece said. “But most people are clear on the difference between a terrorist and a miscreant who assaults a flight attendant. And most are equally certain that both pose a threat and should be banned from the skies.”


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Tom Tillison


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