Houston Councilmember Andrew Burks gets credit for thinking outside the box. Unfortunately, that also includes thinking outside of reason.
Back on September 18, when American embassies were under attack around the Middle East, Burks took part in a contentious local issue about allowing food trucks downtown. It is an important issue around the country. Traditional restaurants have felt their business pinched by nearby food trucks. However, Burks is the first to put together that al-Qaeda terrorists might get a hankering for a taco or a hot dog and decide to blow-up downtown with a collection of 40-gallon propane tanks stolen from food trucks or destroyed somehow.
Really. Burks was not joking. If so, this is real progress in the war on terrorism. When al-Qaeda must change tactics from airliners filed with jet fuel to propane tanks from food trucks, then we must have them on the ropes. From the Houston Press came Burks’ warning:
“I’m concerned about safety issues as it relates to 40 pounds of propane per truck,” said Bradford. “Forty pounds of propane per truck! But there’s no limit to the number of trucks — you could have 10 trucks lined up with 40 pounds of propane each — is that correct?”
“Anything catastrophic like that could be a real hard damage and hard time for Houston, Texas or anywhere,” commented Burks. “And you know that in the times which we live in, I think this is totally outrageous. I’m outraged by that. Because the reason is that in these times when people get bombed in embassy attacks and we put this type of bomb directly here in front of us and we know we could be causing trouble…”
Of course, propane tanks can be found everywhere. People attach them to their barbeque grills and motorhomes. Gas stations and hardware stores have refilling stations. Restaurants and bars have propane heaters. This is not like we are restricting fissionable material in an attempt to thwart terrorism. These ubiquitous propane tanks can’t be exploded by normal bullets but only by an explosion or fire.
Next time, Burks needs to refresh his science and common sense before taking a position that is good for a few laughs but isn’t going to solve any problems or make us any safer.