Calling a Swede a Swede

Imagine, if you will, an alternative universe where perception is slightly altered to reflect a different reality. In this universe, terrorists are Scandinavian -- Swedes, to be specific.

We should not generalize, and it is clear that not all Swedes are terrorists, but all terrorists are Swedes. These radicals have perverted the beautiful Nordic religion of peace and turned it into an ideology of hatred.

The facts clearly show that the men who try to smuggle bombs onto airplanes have blond hair, blue eyes, are between twenty and forty years old, believe in the supreme god Odin, and carry names like Ingmar Johansson.

They talk funny and they love smorgasbord, which is a traditional Nordic meal with lots of raw fish, and every Swede can drink alcohol in amounts that would kill six reindeer within three minutes.

How do we make sure these bomb-laden Swedes don’t board our airplanes? How can we recognize these radical Nordic terrorists? Should we check dark-haired Asians called Honda? Italians called Ferrari?

Would it be acceptable to single out Swedes trying to travel by air? Or should we, trying to avoid offending Swedish sensibilities, check every person with an airline ticket in general and especially focus on inspecting their crotch? After all, Swedes love to wear their bombs in their underwear, so maybe non-Swedes also wear bombs in their underwear, right?

This may sound ridiculous, but there is no reason we should inspect the crotch of a three-year-old girl carrying a teddy bear if we know her last name is Martinez. So isn’t inspecting every air traveler a terrible waste of money and time? Yes it is. But there is a rationale to all of this.

We turn every traveler into a suspect because we cannot focus on our core group of suspects, the Swedes, although they have shown themselves willing to blow themselves up in our airplanes. Yes, yes, I know -- not all Swedes are terrorists. We are talking about a tiny group of potential killers. The problem is that they are all Swedes and all are followers of the god Odin. I can’t help it that they perverted their wonderful religion and hate our guts.

So if we know that some Swedes are really trying to kill us, would it make sense to check German travelers? Worldwide, we daily check millions of passengers of every race, color, gender, and age, while we basically are looking for young male Swedes called Johansson and who are Odinists. But we don’t dare to openly define the threat. It may upset the Swedes, and they are a pretty violent bunch of people who don’t want to be singled out as terrorists. They may try to hurt us if we call them terrorists. They don’t want us to insult their Nordic religion, which is, as we all know, a religion of peace ... until we insult their religion.