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Warning to Sports Fans: You Might Spot Them in *Ethnic* Restaurants

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Okay - I will not be laughing if terrorists bomb one of Vancouver's Olympic venues. But the U.S. government's warning to American sports fans traveling to the 2010 Winter Games to (as a report on CTV's Vancouver 2010 site put it) "watch out for al-Queda and other extremists, especially on transit and in restaurants, churches and other areas outside official venues" strikes me as a bit loopy. How does one pick out an extremist from among a group of thousands of sports fans (someone wearing a burkha)? Something tells me Eric Rudolph wasn't wearing a ghutra when he bombed Centennial Park during the 1996 Olympics.

Nothing wrong with staying vigilant; Richard Jewell, the man who found the bag containing the bomb in Atlanta, probably saved thousands of lives with his quick thinking (and look what it got him). But in the absence of a specific, credible threat (the U.S. State Department has denied any), the warning only serves to remind me of Bob Dylan's classic, "Talkin' John Birch Society Blues," here rendered as "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues." Any extremists in your toilet bowl?

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