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Monday, October 20, 2014
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Published: Monday, 1/9/2006

A dearth of common sense

Two unrelated stories in Friday's Blade made it clear that simple common sense remains elusive in the post-9/11 era.

The first story reported the good news that Manuel Bartsch, the German teenager from Putnam County who spent the holidays in jail as an illegal immigrant, had finally been released and allowed to return home to Pandora and classes at Pandora-Gilboa High School.

Arrested and jailed in the Cleveland area on Dec. 21, four days before Christmas, after innocently inquiring about his status, young Bartsch was turned loose only after immigration officials decided they really had no basis for keeping him locked up.

Couldn't that have been determined within, say, a day or two of his arrest?

The young man still faces a hearing, and his long-term status in this country remains unclear, but it appears he will at least be able to finish his senior year with his classmates.

The second story described the predicament of an airline passenger who was detained in Houston at Bush International Airport - how ironic - on the grounds that his name showed up on the government's list of people with possible ties to terrorists.

Turns out the young man just wanted to go see his grandma. He's 4 years old. He apparently shares the same name as another individual on the terrorist watch list, as do thousands of other Americans named Edward Allen.

Persuaded by the kid's mother that he meant them no harm, airline agents allowed him to board.

Both incidents underscore the folly of government and corporate policies that only see things in black and white. Yes, we need to guard against legitimate threats, but neither of these boys qualified.



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