9/11/2013 - Islam, the TSA and our grand illusion of security

The Transportation Security Administration was created in the wake of events on this date in 2001 under the authority of The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, passed by Congress and signed on November 19, 2001.

The name itself seems a bit over-reaching, but the fledgling agency was transferred from the Department of Transportation in March of 2003 to the 4-month old Department of Homeland Security. Take-away: expect long lines at the airport.

As terrorists employed new tactics, changes have been made to accommodate enhanced screening.  Because of some liquid explosives discovered, we’re only allowed to carry 3 oz bottles of any liquid.  Because of the attempted shoe bombing, we have to go through the metal detectors barefoot. Fortunately, they didn’t follow suit after the attempted underwear bombing.

Watching the TSA guy make minute and unnecessary adjustments to our belongings on the conveyor belt seems to beg the question: is all the security hub-bub actually making us more safe or just lulling the gullible among us into complacency? As one of cyberspace’s head skeptics, you can probably guess my answer.

Going through security yesterday at Denver International Airport, I couldn’t stop watching a fat lady-at least she appeared fat, anything could’ve been hiding in there-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 nonchalantly and pleasantly as I could, I mentioned that I thought it was bullshit that someone, supposedly a woman could waltz through security wearing a mask.

TSA lady reassured 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 who? Or is it whom?

On a dive trip once, some tools of mine were confiscated from my backpack because they were 1/2 inch too long. I was pissed because I maintain my own equipment and I like to be prepared for unexpected repairs. When I got to my destination, however I discovered that my dive knife was 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 bring 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 defer his or her religious sensibilities for a few moments isn’t entitled to the privilege of air travel-even though it hasn’t felt like such a privilege lately.  Nothing in the 1st Amendment guarantees anyone the right to fly to Orlando in disguise.  Let them buy their masks at Disneyland like everyone else.  Or take the bus.

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Filed under: Commentary, Current Events, Religion

Tags: 9/11, Islam, TSA

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