Thoughts on the TSA – Part the First

Just back from some business travel, and, since I used airplanes, I fell repeatedly under the tender ministrations of the TSA. Couple thoughts:

OK, I get it – because of this guy:

we all must now take off our shoes and run them through the x-ray machine before we board an aircraft.

And, while I don’t remember hearing about it at the time, I guess there was somebody like this guy:

Who, using only his (no doubt C-4 laden) belt managed to threaten to destroy numerous Americans and aircraft, because now we’re also asked to take off our belts and run them through the scanners. I don’t think the evil Belt Bomber actually managed to blow up the plane – the Shoe Bomber didn’t, either – because I’m pretty sure I would have heard about it.

But, following this inexorable logic,where’s the love for this guy:

If you haven’t flown commercially lately, I’m sure you’ll be shocked, not to mention *terrified* to hear that I and hundreds of millions of other people have gotten onto commercial aircraft *without having to run our underwear though the x-ray machine*! Why is our all-protecting government asleep at the wheel on this?

Slightly more seriously, let’s compare the cost of doing all this with the cost of just letting people walk onto planes with their shoes and belts (and underwear) undisturbed. Let’s optimistically allow 1 minute per flight per passenger to remove and replace his shoes and belt – that’s about 770 million minutes, or 20 *lifetimes* of 75 years each, per year, spent making us safe from dangerous shoes and belts. While I personally only spend maybe 20 or 30 minutes a year futzing with my shoes and belt to get through security, on the whole, we pay the price of flying a 20-person flight into the ground each year to protect us from the likes of those jokers above – who conspicuously failed to blow anything up or kill any Americans.

And there’s no guarantee, either that doing the stupid shoes-and-belts(-and-underwear) dance saves lives or that not doing it costs lives – we never did it before, and no airplanes were ever belted or shoed (or pantied) out of the sky.

It makes a fellah wonder: is the point of all this really our safety? Really? The Underwear Bomber looks like a fairly normal guy – but then, we don’t check underwear now, do we? I’d say there are numerous other indicators that All Is Not Right Upstairs with the Shoe Bomber and perhaps the hypothetical Belt Bomber that we could have maybe identified them as possible risk using common sense rather than x-ray machines. Ya know?

But I’ll save that for another post.

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Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

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