Terror, TSA and the grand illusion

Terror, TSA and the grand illusion

Most years, on this date, I repost Ten years after - A 9/11 retrospective, originally written in 2011.  You can still read that piece by clicking HERE.

This year I'm reposting the following, written in 2013:

The Transportation Security Administration was created in the wake of 9/11 under authority of The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush on November 19, 2001.

The name itself seems a bit bureaucratic, but the fledgling agency was transferred from the Department of Transportation in March of 2003 to the 4-month old Department of Homeland Security.

As terrorists developed new tactics, changes were made to enhance security screening. When liquid explosives were discovered in someone's carry on, we were limited to bringing just 3 bottles of liquid in containers holding no more than 3 ounces.

Because of an unsuccessful attempt to detonate a shoe bomb aboard a plane, we now have to go through screening barefoot.

Fortunately, they didn't follow suit after the attempted underwear bombing.

Watching  TSA folks make minute and unnecessary adjustments to our belongings on the conveyor belt seems to beg the question:  Is all this so-called security actually making us safer or is it just lulling us into complacency? 

Going through security yesterday at Denver International Airport, I noticed a fat lady-at least she appeared to be a fat lady-covered head to toe in black fabric, only her eyes visible.  As she approached the first checkpoint, the one where you present your ticket and ID, I thought to myself, "This ought to be interesting".

It was more than interesting. It was eye-opening. The TSA lady stared at the big black thing in front of her and then nodded, allowing burqa-lady to continue through security.

When I reached the checkpoint I handed over my ticket and drivers license, which the TSA lady scrutinized intently.  As politely as I could, I mentioned that I thought it was bullshit that someone, ostensibly a fat woman, could waltz through security wearing a mask.

TSA lady assured me that they would never let anyone through security unless they were able to establish their identity.  She seemed to believe what she was saying.  At least she looked me in the eyes and said it with a straight face.

So, who's fooling whom?

On a dive trip once, some tools were confiscated from my backpack because they were 1/2 inch too long.  I was pissed because I maintain my own equipment and can't always find the tools I need for repairs. 

When I got to my destination however, I discovered that my dive knife was still in my backpack, the one from which they took a couple of small wrenches.

Obviously, we can't just open the terminals and allow everyone to carry on whatever they choose, explosive or otherwise.  There has to be something though, between real security and the dog and pony show that has become the TSA.

It may be politically correct to treat a (supposed) woman in a mask as if she was just like everyone else, except that she isn't.  Most of us don't travel incognito.

Anyone who can not suspend his or her religious obligations for a few moments isn't entitled to the privilege of air travel, even if it doesn't feel like much of a privilege these days.  

The Bill of Rights guarantees access to the skies, friendly or otherwise to no one.  

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