Punishment for looking like a terrorist — Five shots to the head

If you happen to be Brazilian or a Sikh or Portuguese or some other swarthy, dark-haired culture, don’t enter the London subway systems looking suspicious. As far as police are concerned, your suspiciousness carries with it the death penalty. You can’t be allowed to trigger a hidden bomb, even if you don’t have a bomb. Your looks combined with the terror in the hearts of the police and the citizenry means you will be shot and killed, and then it can be determined if you are a real threat. Or the police will shrug and say, "Oops. Sorry."

If you see the police checking you out, you have to make an instantaneous decision. If you stay put, and they think you may have a bomb, say your prayers and prepare to die. If you run, you had damn sure better run fast and not get caught and not get shot. If they catch you, you will be dead very quickly. If you run, you had better run very fast and do whatever it takes to escape. Learn all the escape routes of the subway system. Don’t carry explosives to let you pass through locked doors, because those will be used as evidence that you are a terrorist. Just remember that if you run, you will either escape and live or be caught and die.

It is just a matter of time before the same principle is true in New York and other world cities. Of course, if a person who looks like actor Edward Norton ever detonates a bomb and the "every-man" looks is associated with terrorists, then not only swarthy, dark-haired men will be targeted by police, but all of us will be at risk.

Whoever thought that riding the subway would be a life-or-death propositions each time out! Life in the Age of Terrorism will progress from bad to worse and eventually the whole world will know what terror is like, either from exposure to terrorists or to anti-terrorists. It will all blend together until no one feels safe.

Someday people will begin to wonder if it might have been smarter just to negotiate with the terrorists, including bin Laden to see if we couldn’t have avoided this expensive carnage. But it will be too late. The genie will be out of the bottle. The Uzi will be out of the locker and into the hands of the Bobby. The fear will be spread equally into the hearts of all.

Welcome to the expanding Age of Terrorism.