Bill in Portland Maine makes some sensible comments about airport security, but with more snark and links than I could muster:
A quick check on airport security:
Liquids and gels have been banned in carry-on baggage. This is silly and ineffective. But aren’t ya glad they thought of it 5 years after 9/11?
X-ray machines are reliable tools to detect explosives in shoes. Except the, uh…Liquid or gel kind.
Cargo is still not inspected nearly enough. Packages under 16 ounces don’t even require paperwork. (The explosion aboard Pan Am flight 103 was caused by a device that weighed less than 16 ounces).
The Muslims-only line—underwritten by FOX News—still hasn’t been set up yet, dammit. And new TSA officer Mike Gallagher hasn’t shown up to begin the Muslims-only full-body-cavity searches. (Apparently he’s still finishing his temp job as a nursery school crossing guard.)
Meanwhile, the TSA is under strict orders not to touch any passenger’s monkey, no matter what might be ticking inside its ass.
I feel safer. How `bout you?
Yeah. Next time I fly, I’ll be thinking of my PDA, laptop, bottle of water, Swiss army knife (the Perl of Leathermen) and other implements of destruction in the unscreened luggage compartment beneath me.
Hey, thanks for the shoutout. I appreciate it.
Let’s hope that the Democrats can overhaul the TSA when they take the House in November. Lord knows it ain’t exactly boosting my confidence at the moment.
Yeah. One of the problems with security is that it can be hard to gauge how effective you’re being: if you do X, and no attacks occur, is it because X is foiling attacks, or because the attackers weren’t going to take that route anyway? And how many attacks have you foiled?
Public perception is also a problem, because a lot of good security is hidden. Security cameras and cargo screening are pretty unobtrusive (to say nothing of, say, signals intelligence at Langley), so it’s easy for people to forget that anything is being done. Passenger searches at the terminal, on the other hand, are much more obvious, so even if they don’t do that much, they give the impression that a lot is being done.
So in that sense, having a bit of security theater can be good: it reminds people that hey, security matters. But if I had to choose between security that works but doesn’t look like it, and security theater, I’ll choose the former.
I would like to hear from people who have experience great humiliation at airport security checkpoints. Please be specific in your story details, like were you strip searched, touched inappropriately, were your personal hygiene products dumped out before everyone? The more embarrassing, the better. Please be honest. I’m gathering stories to use for media interviews during which I will be a guest on this topic. Thanks!
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