TSA focuses on the wrong things

If there was a group on Facebook called “Not a fan of the TSA,” I’d join it.

Of course, I’d probably be placed on the no-fly list just for joining.

But I do not like the Transportation Security Administration one little bit. It’s not the individual officers that I dislike (though some of them missed their calling as bill collectors and DMV employees). It’s the total waste of taxpayer money that I find distasteful.

After the Christmas Day attempted bombing of that Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, I was not looking forward to flying today and encountering the “stepped up” security barriers that CNN and NPR have been blathering about for two weeks. After walking through security (I removed my shoes but not my belt or underwear, thank goodness), I don’t feel even a smidgen safer than I did when I was walking through loose metal detectors at the airport years ago.

I was such a security risk, I shut down an airport once. Yup, dangerous little anarchistic me. Shortly after 9/11, the crack TSA team at the tiny Central Minnesota airport where I was attempting to board a — gasp! — international flight detected a “bomb-making substance” on my laptop. The bright bulbs at the airport let me — the presumed bomb maker — board the plane, and the plane jetted off. They then shut down the airport and called in the bomb squad only find my keyboard had been smeared with — gasp! — glycerin-based hand lotion.

I got my computer back eventually, and I’m sure some TSA supervisor patted himself on the back for narrowly escaping another tragedy. In reality, it was an exercise in futility.

See, terrorists are clever. And they are willing to kill themselves, let alone get caught with a bomb-making substance in their underwear. I’m sure the next step is Al Qaeda surgeons implanting bombs inside terrorists’ bodies. Americans are under the mistaken conception that they can actually control these suicidal maniacs.

If we would loosen our grip just a little, we could enjoy using real knives in an airport restaurant, move briskly through an I.D. check at the gate (even check our identity against a no-fly list), and bring cheap bottled water and enormous bottles of shampoo with us on our carry-on luggage. But instead, we’re talking about x-ray machines that show every nipple (but not the contents of your bodily cavities, by the way) and smackdowns on the use of electronic devices during the last hour of flight.

We cannot control chaos, people.

A better use of tax dollars to keep us safe: More air marshalls and better training for travelers. Yes, training for us, the travelers. Who ultimately brought down the fourth plane on Sept. 11, 2001? Passengers. Who tackled the Christmas Day bomber? A vigilant — and fearless — passenger.

Imagine if the flight attendants’ pre-flight script included tips on spotting suspicious behavior instead of ridiculous instructions about using the seat cushion as a life preserver (c’mon, Capt. Sullenberger’s miracle landing on the Hudson was a miracle, not an everyday occurence). What if we were all forced to share a greeting of peace like we do in church before take-off? The guy with his hands in his underwear instead of sharing a peaceful handshake might be considered suspicious, don’t you think?

I’d rather risk coming under the suspicions of the passenger next to me than pay for another one of those sharp-looking TSA uniforms that give the illusion of control.

Might force everyone on the plane to be a little more Minnesota-nice, and whether there’s a terrorist on the plane or not, that couldn’t hurt.

4 responses to “TSA focuses on the wrong things

  1. Holy smokes! The warmer weather must have overheated MinnesotaTransplant…you are hot on the TSA. I sure hope you make it back to your winter wonderland and without the cavity search.

  2. The reason you are not supposed to use your electronic devices on the last hour of the flight is because they might interfere with the flying instruments in the cockpit (and your safe landing). I’m surprised you don’t know this when you are related to a pilot.

    • minnesotatransplant

      You’re not allowed to use electronic devices during descent, but more recently, there was TSA talk about not allowing passengers to leave their seats OR use electronic devices during the last hour of flight (before descent). This was so passengers couldn’t do any funny business (like light their underpants on fire), not because it interferred with flight instruments.

      For the record, I’ve forgotten to turn off my cell phone and I’ve used my headphones during take-off and landing, and we took off and landed just fine. It’s a bogus scare tactic used by flight attendants to keep passengers alert enough to turn their seat cushion into a life preserver should the need arise. I’ll bet the pilot we know would confirm that if this wasn’t a public forum.

  3. I totally agree, the TSA is overboard and if someone is really determined to bring a bomb onboard a plane, they will find a way. I forgot a small water bottle in the bottom of my purse today on the way home from Phx and got pulled aside while they searched through the rest of the contents of my purse and gave me the third degree. Good grief!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s