Ohio terror waiver wastes time

The state government wants Ohioans to be safer. So they’re demanding that terrorists identify themselves.

As of April, applicants for government-sponsored jobs in Ohio are required to sign a new form. The form asks the prospective employee if they belong to or help fund a terrorist organization.

Because the University receives state money, student employees must now fill out these documents.

Will terrorists willingly admit to their activities and affiliations to the country they are attempting to infiltrate?

Does that seem realistic? We don’t think so.

Instead of wire-tapping our phones or sifting through our garbage, the Ohio government is choosing a more direct approach. Ohio is simply asking us individually whether we are terrorists.

If terrorism is really a vague form of guerrilla warfare, a person who is making it their secret life mission to harm us would not tell us so – and especially not just to get a job cooking food on campus. Members of groups like Al-Qaida are extremists, not extremely stupid. If a person is able to make it through flight school and manage to smuggle weapons onto an American airline, he knows how to avoid looking a government official in the face and admitting, “yes, I am a terrorist.”

And that’s why the crisp, new form in Ohio employment packets isn’t going to filter the terrorists out of our higher education system.

It’s somewhat like filtering water with a chain-link fence – none of the impurities are removed and terrorists continue to slip through the gaps.

Expecting terrorists to identify themselves is not the only fault to be found in this bureaucratic joke. The cost in time to the organizations now required to obey this mandate of the state is worthy of consideration. We can’t tell you exactly how many hours Ohio employers will spend sifting through an extra form in new hire packets. We do, however, think wasted time is wasted money.

The federal government has devoted significant resources to departments intended to weed out suspected terrorist cells. Now, the Ohio’s state government is wasting employers’ valuable time and energy. In spite of these attempts to make citizens feel safer, these efforts show few concrete results. It’s time for the government to approach combating terrorism in a new and local way.

By dedicating sufficient funds to local agencies like police departments and sheriff’s offices, those most familiar with the people and places they monitor would be empowered to protect the people they serve.

Ohio lawmakers should reconsider this new policy. Until that happens, let’s hope that other states don’t follow Ohio’s example.