Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Element of Risk

Let's face it, we're always going to be at risk when we fly.  No amount of airport security will guarantee 100% safety from a potential terrorists once we're on the airplane.

Tonight I was watching Chris Matthews on "Hardball" debate the subject of enhanced airport security with the full body scans and the pat downs.  While I usually agree with Chris, on this subject I do not agree.  Chris, with the typical arrogance of most of the talking heads on TV and cable, says he travels a lot and "doesn't have a problem with airport security."  Well goody two shoes for Chris.  So he's not bothered.  That still doesn't address the problems of others who are humiliated by the new airport security with the body scans that show the nude body and the invasive pat downs.

Chris asks the question of the person he is bullying "What do you expect the TSA employees to do?"  I have an answer for that.  Have the public empty their pocket in a container to go through the conveyor belt and have them walk through a metal detector.  This is the procedure that was used before the Shoe Bomber and the Underwear Bomber.  This security check will catch anyone carrying a concealed weapon.

If someone acts suspicious or airport security has reason to suspect the customer, pull them aside and interview them to get more information.  Do the work.  Don't go through the kubaki dance of airport security.  What we have now is Security Theater.  This version of airport security is ineffective.  All it does is annoy, humiliate and delay the customer. 

Using the logic that TSA is using now by gradually uping the ante of airport security with ever more invasive procedures, the day is not that far off that customers passing through airport security will be the same as prisoners being stripped and subjected to deep cavity searches before they enter prison.  Think I'm kidding?  Think about it.  Under the guise of protecting us from terrorism, the TSA thinks they have unlimited power to do whatever they deem necessary to "protect us" from the terrorists. 

The best security has been proven since 9/11.  All attempted terrorists have been thwarted since 9/11 by passengers on the airplane.  The Shoe Bomber was caught by fellow passengers.  The Underwear Bomber was caught by fellow passengers.  The only reason the 9/11 terrorists got away with what they did was because our airports and passengers were operating under the old way of thinking for handling airline hijackers.  On 9/11 they caught us by surprise.  That won't happen again. 

As far as stopping weapons from coming on a plane confiscating finger nail clippers isn't going to do it.  What about a terrorist with long finger nails?  Grab an airline attendent by and threaten to gouge her eye out with a long fingernail, isn't that a weapon?  How about fingers?  They can be used to strangle. 

There is an element of risk in airline travel.  We can only do so much for airport security before the line is crossed and the general public loses all of its right to privacy.  Let the Chris Matthews of the world go through all the body scanners they want to.  Let them go get the enhanced pat down.  However, we citizens of this country still have a consitutional right to decline such demeaning and ineffective methods of airport security. 

The terrorist threat exists.  That's what terrorism is all about, they terrorize.  They have been successful so far.  Remember when suicide bombers tried to stop the Israelis from going about their business?  The Israelies refused to change their way of life and hide.  No matter how many were killed in a suicide bomber event in an Israeli market place, the Israeli's would clean up the bloody mess and return the market to activity immediately.  That is the way you deal with terrorism, refuse to be intimidated.

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