Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | December 28, 2009

Air Insecurity

The age of the cattle car is over!  No more will airline passengers only be poked, prodded, verbally assaulted, stripped searched, and otherwise physically and mentally abused by an overreaching arm of their own government.  It is about to get much worse.  On the heals of the unsuccessful attempt to bring down an airliner in route from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas day, air travel in the months ahead will more likely resemble disheveled train cars headed down the tracks toward Nazi death camps!  We’ve all seen those old photos.

For the life of me, I’m not sure why we put up with this: We arrive at the airport two or more hours early to stand in line to process our travel tickets; then we stand in another line to have our checked luggage screened; then it is on to another line where we take off our shoes, empty our pockets, and—if we are lucky—pass quickly through a metal detector and then to our gate, where we wait another hour to board the plane.  If we are unlucky, we get “wanded,” patted down, strip searched, maybe interrogated, and otherwise treated worse than the common criminal.  And we aren’t even read our rights!  Sorry, I’ve forgotten: We have no rights when flying!

Once aboard the plane, we are wedged into a space that would be confining for a munchkin on a crash diet, made to turn off our cell phones—our last link to the world beyond the bars—made to breath really bad air, deprived of food and water, and otherwise dehumanized to the best of the government’s (and the airline’s) ability to do so.  The biggest insult is that we pay out hard-earned money to be treated this way.   And we keep coming back for more!  “Beat me again; I like it!”

As if all of this isn’t already bad enough, now we will not be able to get out of our seats to use the facilities during short flights, we will not be able to access our carry-on luggage (make sure your medications are in your pocket), and we will not be allowed a blanket, a pillow, or a laptop computer for comfort.  I fully expect that airlines will soon begin lashing passengers to the wings in order to increase the number that they can carry on the plane.  On the wings or in the cabin: it will be the same great experience from the passenger’s perspective.

I have flown twice since 9/11, the day when the government lost its collective mind concerning air travel.  The first time was elective (I had not yet fully appreciated the insanity); the other of necessity, more or less.  My rule of thumb since then is that I will not even consider flying if I can reach my destination in a day’s drive.  I have changed my rule.  Beginning today, I will not even consider flying if there is a land bridge between home and my destination, no matter how far away the destination.  You may do as you like.  As for me, I am simply not participating.

I will give up my laptop when they peel my cold, dead fingers . . . !

“Every time we respond to one of these incompetent plots by banning books on laps or snow globes, we hand terrorists a victory.  This reactive approach to security will be a disaster.” -Mark Steyn (conservative commentator)
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Responses

  1. ShoudA been a writer.

  2. Mike – How much of paragraph #4 is true? You know I fly by necessity. Can’t use the facilities on short flights? Can’t have access to carry-on luggage????

  3. That is what they are saying, though I heard a report today that some of these things may be left to the pilot’s discretion. Air travel has become insane. The problem is that all of the resources are now directed toward normal folks who are not a threat. The focus has been taken off the real threats out there. I don’t know why ID “fly cards” can’t be issued, much like passports, for people who pass background checks. These people could then walk through a simple metal detector and head for the gate–like things used to be. The intensive scrutiny of everyone flying is not only impractical, but dangerous, as it tends to look right past the real threats.

  4. It’s common knowledge that the more we expect our government to protect us, the more personal freedom will be compromised.

    From what I’ve heard about the Christmas Day Northwest Airlines event, the Nigerian paid for his ticket w/ cash and didn’t have any luggage. This alone should have had him jerked out of line and scrutinized more closely. We really should expect the security guidelines that are currently in effect to be followed before implementing more rules.

    Actually, I’m surprised and shocked that he wasn’t caught, since he deliberately broke rules that should have had him busted. He’s supposed to be a well-educated, smart man, but even an idiot knows you don’t pay for your ticket w/ cash unless you want to invite trouble.

    Then he apparently botched the explosion that he was attempting from the passenger compartment. Wouldn’t you excuse yourself to the bathroom to assemble your bomb–away from the prying eyes of the other passengers? Makes me kinda wonder if he didn’t WANT to be caught, you know?

    Still, it all makes me glad we drove to Cape Cod for Christmas. What’s twenty inches of snow on the road to deal with by comparison? At least I could read a magazine while I was biting my knuckles. 😀

  5. Robin, I was wondering, too, whether he really wanted to be caught. Apparently, he was smiling when he was taken down. I can only imagine that his directive read something like, “You go blow yourself up, or we will come and get you, and your death will not be nearly as quick and painless.” Now he has it all: He has his life; the protection of the US government (for what that is worth); three great meals a day (no doubt prepared to Muslim specifications); cable TV, fitness club membership; and, as my brother-in-law would say, a new girlfriend named Abdul Bubba.

    There are much simpler and much more effective ways to secure air travel. The behemoth that has become airline security is unmanageable at this point, and intolerable from the perspective of most would-be passengers; and—beyond this—it simply doesn’t work, as we have seen. Thus, the point of my post: I will not participate in it. So look for me on the highway somewhere between Michigan and Orlando near the end of February!

  6. Sorry to have wandered off-topic. I do wonder about leaving some security decisions to the “pilot’s discretion.” Like he doesn’t have enough to think about just flying the plane… now he needs to wonder whether he should trust his passengers with a little more personal freedom, or not? Why should he be expected to lay his job on the line when he makes that call. He’s a pilot–they fly planes. Talk the TSA passin’ the buck. Sheesh.

    It’s all one big mess, that’s for sure.


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