Friday, November 19, 2010

TSA Enough is Enough!

It is amazing to me the price we are paying as Americans for political correctness and the ability to travel via our domestic airlines.

No need to remind me that most Muslims are not extremists bent on killing thousands of US civilians. (Yes that's a hint of where I'm going with this).

But at some point you have to ask yourself when is enough enough? When will the traveling American public get fed up with the physical governmental shake down and virtual mugging every time we want to board a commercial airliner?

When will we put down our one permitted carry on bag that doesn't exceed the required dimensions rather than stand in line for 2 hours and be treated like convicted felons just to fly in a 17 inch wide seat to Atlanta?

During the past decade we have seen more and more of our civil liberties eroded in the name of national security and public safety. So much so that the ability to travel from place to place freely in our country has been completely compromised. Not only must we present a state issued ID card to purchase an airline ticket, but we are required to show it before entering TSA screening, again after screening and at anytime during our travel if so requested.

Now the TSA is telling us that flying is privilege and not a right.

Therefore are we to assume that it is a privilege to be digitally strip searched or if we desire the privilege of an extensive groping aka security pat down?

Airline travel had become a nightmare long before 9/11. Now the TSA, the same group of bureaucrats who single handedly quadrupled the sales of men's black dress loafers for the traveling business crowd, has their hand down my pants and up your skirt.

The effect of all this "groping" and "looking" makes us travelers just that much more irritable, as if we aren't already annoyed with all the delays, long lines, airline "up-charges" and fees plus being stuck in a tin can for hours on end during arrival gate backups and departure push back delays.

I get it, the days when flying was fun are over. I know for me it was a flight from Daytona in the middle seat stuck between a 200 pound hooker and a 300 pound redneck with a dead rattle snake wrapped around his straw hat that included two Budweiser beer cans on either side.

But how much longer before people just say enough, when a cheap fare isn't worth the pain of air travel?

Besides the obvious Constitutional questions of unwarranted searches, the one question that needs asking is does any of this madness even work?

Granny Bomber?

The real value of the full-body scans, are by many accounts uncertain.

“It remains unclear whether the scanners would have been able to detect the weapon Mr. Abdulmutallab used in his attempted attack,” says a March report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Abdulmutallab is the "underwear bomber".

Italian security officials stopped using the scanners in September. "We didn't get good results from body scanners during testing,” said Vito Riggio, the president of Italy’s aviation authority, describing the scans as slow and ineffective.

British scientists found that the scanners picked up shrapnel and heavy wax and metal, but missed plastic, chemicals and liquids, reported UK newspaper The Independent in January and plastic, chemicals and liquid are what makes up a bomb.

In other words we've spent millions on technologies that might protect us from past terrorist attempts with guns and knives but does nothing to protect us from current threats and evermore creative future threats.

“Some of these technological responses to terrorism really start to seem like placebos,” says Susan Herman, President of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and law professor at Brooklyn Law School. “To the extent that people understand what the benefits are, and the invasion of privacies are, giving up their privacy for machines that make them feel better, but don’t do the job of preventing any terrorist device from getting on an airplane.”

(I always thought it would be a cold day in hell before I agreed with anyone at the ACLU. Hold on while I check the temperature. Yep scary outside and cold!)

There are nearly 67,000 TSA workers, most in my experience are poorly trained, rude and semi illiterate. Each day these glorified security guards are assumed to be on the look out for terrorists and underwear bombers. They are not doing anything, they are for the most part slackers who are happy to earn $12.50 an hour and get a pension after 5 years.

In hopes that man power alone will stop a terrorist attack we have hired thousands of these people to complete a gargantuan task, one that the cost to the taxpayers in hard dollars alone is unimaginable. Once you figure in the costs of work force delays and stress on the traveling public you have the GDP of Thailand.

Suspected Gummi Bear Bomber?

What if we just sealed the borders? Subjecting only those traveling internationally to this insanity while the majority of us traveling from Charlotte to say Topeka or anywhere within the USA can get on our planes without the hassle of the porno scan, or sexual assault while touching my junk?

What if we made all of Middle Eastern descent stand in the long lines while the rest of us wait comfortably in the airport lounge? Yes I'm talking racial and ethic profiling.

What is the common denominator of ALL airline terrorists? Bingo! They are of middle eastern descent. (Yes I admit Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist and that he was not a Muslim but did he blow up an airliner.)

Not that Midwesterner's aren't to be suspected. According to the TSA Texans are responsible for most of the hand guns seized this year. 7 out of 12 guns seized at TSA check points belonged to passengers from Texas.

OK so if you're from Texas, get in the line, and all you people that look like you're crack heads get in the line as well, make that the back of the line.

I won't give you all the numbers but the TSA is really proud of their confiscated items which in addition to the 12 hand guns include hundreds "sharp objects" nail clippers and the like and 100 thousands gallons of misc liquid.

During the first 9 months of last year the Transportation Security Administration proudly says it has seized 123,189 items from passengers at the three New York-area airports, including a baby alligator.

Among the tens of thousands of prohibited items seized was a 6-foot-long African spear and a gassed-up chainsaw. Good job TSA, but I think we could have spotted the 6 foot long spear and chainsaw without spending a billion dollars and feeling up the entire population of Long Island.

There is no proof that all this expense and passenger harassment has resulted in preventing one single terrorist attack. The truth is that Muslim extremists will continue to evolve. Toner cartridges this month, will become iPhone bombs next month.

The creation and continued expansion of the TSA has sent only one clear message to terrorists, and that is you have won because now we are terrorised by our own government.

If our borders were secure and our immigration policy not so insanely open we would not be spending 6.3 billion (a number projected to double in the next 3 years) to employee people to insult and abuse us.

As politically incorrect as it seems, looking for bad people, that is singling out people with beards, burkas and the like is the answer and the TSA is already doing this. If you are the lone passenger aboard a flight with a Mideastern name you are on the radar. Chances are if you have ever flown to the middle east you are on "the list".

Apparently ethnic profiling like water boarding is ok, but in a don't ask , don't tell sort of way.

So how about easing up on the rest of us? The airline industry and the good guys aka the traveling public can't take much more.

By the way I noticed that all TSA employees are now wearing latex gloves, so I'm pretty much convinced that before long we'll be told that the cavity search we're about to receive is also a privilege.

Fine, let's just get it over with, but really do you have to use the whole fist?


Anonymous said...

I'm all for safety measures but I agree, Cedar, today's rules and procedures are beyond ridiculous. Surely, there has to be a better way. It will be interesting to see how many airports actually go with the private sector screeners instead of TSA... not sure they are any better but it is a pretty damning statement of TSA that such a movement is out there.

Anonymous said...

I'm of the thinking we could do a lot better without spending the 6 billion? Are you sure about that number Cedar?

Anyways thats a lot of green when I think maybe if we'd just nuke some of these stan countries we'd at least knock them back a few 100 years and by the time they got around to it our grand kids could figure out to take care of matters.

Anonymous said...

Profile just like the rest of the world. Otherwise we are going to get hit its not matter of if but when.