When I did stand-up a hundred years ago, I used to do a joke about how aviation security was always a few steps behind the terrorists. First someone tried to light a bomb in his shoes, and now we all have to take our shoes off before getting on the plane. Then someone tried to use liquids to make a bomb, so we can’t bring large quantities of liquids on the plane. I can’t wait for the day terrorists try to put a bomb in a baby. Because then we won’t be allowed to bring a baby on the plane. And who could argue with that?

That’s what this reminded me of.

The US has extended an air cargo ban to cover Somalia as well as Yemen and banned ink and toner cartridges from passenger flights, in the wake of last month’s failed bomb plot.

High risk cargo will receive extra screening and parcels must be certified to have come via established shippers.

The strictures come after bombs hidden in cartridges were intercepted on route from Yemen to the US in cargo planes [...]

The printer cartridge ban affects cartridges over 16 ounces (453g).

Maybe we should stop bringing in cargo from Somalia and Yemen, or maybe we should just screen that cargo with diligence and care. But what exactly is so special about printer cartridges of more than 16 ounces that cannot be replicated inside some other household item? It seems like a fantasy to assume that banning toner and ink cartridges will make anyone safer.

We were told by George W. Bush six years ago that all this additional cargo screening would cause a “massive tax gap,” so I’m pleased, I guess, that adults are in charge who don’t put taxes ahead of security. But really, large-sized toner and ink? Outside of being a boon for the domestic large-size toner and ink manufacturing industry, I don’t see what purpose that serves.

More from the New York Times.