Terrorism Theater

Here's why I hate to fly, post 9/11. All of the counter-terrorism measures enacted at US airports are just prop-comic jokes - supremely unfunny ones to boot. Shoe bombs? Liquid explosives? Only on television or in James Bonds films, not practical in the real world. Restricting wine openers and cuticle scissors? Ridiculous. One can make a deadly weapon out of a myriad of devices, including a credit card or a photo id! Try bending a card you no longer need in half, that sucker quickly becomes a sharp, sharp blade. Confiscating bottles of liquid in huge garbage barrels? If the bottles of water are so dangerous, why are they kept in the crowded areas of airports for hours? Obviously nobody is really scared of these liquids, yet the TSA guards become rapidly belligerent if one attempts to notice this fact, or any other inane Terrorism Theater prop.

Does any of the Terrorism Theater Kabuki make us safer? Doubtful.

Patrick Smith (a commercial pilot) explores the topic in detail:

But of all the contradictions and self-defeating measures T.S.A. has come up with, possibly none is more blatantly ludicrous than the policy decreeing that pilots and flight attendants undergo the same x-ray and metal detector screening as passengers. What makes it ludicrous is that tens of thousands of other airport workers, from baggage loaders and fuelers to cabin cleaners and maintenance personnel, are subject only to occasional random screenings when they come to work.

These are individuals with full access to aircraft, inside and out. Some are airline employees, though a high percentage are contract staff belonging to outside companies. The fact that crew members, many of whom are former military fliers, and all of whom endured rigorous background checks prior to being hired, are required to take out their laptops and surrender their hobby knives, while a caterer or cabin cleaner sidesteps the entire process and walks onto a plane unimpeded, nullifies almost everything our T.S.A. minders have said and done since September 11th, 2001. If there is a more ringing let-me-get-this-straight scenario anywhere in the realm of airport security, I’d like to hear it.

I’m not suggesting that the rules be tightened for non-crew members so much as relaxed for all accredited workers. Which perhaps urges us to reconsider the entire purpose of airport security:

[Click to read more of The Airport Security Follies - Jet Lagged - Air Travel - Opinion - New York Times Blog]

I just drive, or don't go at all, if at all possible.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 1, 2008 1:39 AM.

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