Theatre of the absurd -- 11/22/10
There's lots of complaining going about these days about the latest nonsense being foisted upon air travelers by the TSA -- the backscatter X-ray scanners and the grope-and-grab "pat down" searches.
All of which is total nonsense, along with the take off your shoes and take off your belt and empty your pockets and have no more than three ounces of shampoo in a container in a one quart plastic zip bag and have all of your documents ready and in the interests of diversity they have to make sure that they seize the the Congressional Medal of Honor being carried by a World War II veteran in his eighties because it might be used as a weapon and no mother may carry a frightened and screaming toddler through the metal detector but make the child walk through because that is what the rules say und you must obey the rules und the rules will save you from the terrorists.
Security theater. Welcome to the world of make believe. If we surrender our rights and our freedom and hold our breath and cross our fingers and close our eyes as we walk through the magical mystery gate, then shall we be safe from terrorists.
All of this nonsense has not caught a single terrorist. The attempts -- such as the shoe bomber and the underwear bomber -- were all stopped by passengers. There can never be a repeat of the 9-11 hijackings because the cockpit doors are now locked and bullet-proof and any attempt will probably result in the hijackers being pounded into pulp by the passengers. (Which will then likely result in the braying jackasses on MSNBC wailing about the ignorant brutality of the American people, especially those who are not among the correct-thinking elite.)
Ben Franklin once declared that those “who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
We have wasted billions of dollars every year on this TSA nonsense, billions wasted just as surely as if we had just dumped them into industrial size document shredders. And we have gained no actual security, just an empty theatrical show, an attempt to persuade the public that the government is actually doing something. There will be no more 9-11 style hijackings. That door is closed.
The greatest danger now is an exploding package in the cargo hold... and all of this TSA theatre of security nonsense does absolutely nothing to prevent that; in fact, it just makes such a disaster more likely because it wastes money that could be used to fund programs to check air cargo.
And, given how many millions of people have turned to driving rather than put up with the time-wasting and insulting TSA rituals, the statistical death toll attributable to those extra highway miles, are probably greater than would have been caused by the loss of an airplane every year. [ Think I'm making this up? See this study by three professors at Cornell University.] Ah, but reality must not distract us from enjoying our TSA kabuki theatre.
However, I would be happy to put up with even the latest procedures on one condition: the rules apply to everyone.
All members of Congress must pass through the TSA showtime just like real people do. No special VIP check-in, no special entrances. No Nancy Pelosi and her family flying back and forth on Air Force jets she orders up. No Barney Frank flying on the private jets that belong to his rich friends. They all go through exactly what we do. The same for all federal bureaucrats. No bypassing security for the Secretary of the Treasury. Sure, he can cheat on his income taxes, but he absolutely must go through the regular TSA nonsense.
Oh, Air Force One? Well, isn't it even more important that everyone flying on that aircraft be properly inspected than on some random SouthWest Airlines flight? Empty your pockets, take off your shoes, belt, watch, jewelry, and... and now assume the position.
I found this amusing although I wish they had used the Chuck Berry version. (Charlie, put down that coffee before you play this.)