Fixing Airport Security

The US needs to do a few things regarding airport screening and security.

1) Get rid of the TSA.

When has a government-controlled entity ever functioned efficiently or effectively? If TSA fails in its’ primary function to prevent dangerous people or items from boarding a plane, what ramifications do they face? Hearings and more regulations? Nothing substantial anyways. A majority of TSA agents don’t care if a plane is hijacked because of their negligence. Now that they’re allowed to unionize, they’ll probably keep their job should they make a fatal mistake, or at the very least, keep collecting a paycheck while an endless investigation takes place.

Getting rid of the TSA should be something that becomes a true bi-partisan effort. Republicans would struggle to find an organization that is more wasteful than TSA. For liberals, they have a chance to axe an organization that requires travelers to choose between submitting to a nude body scan or having your genitals groped. Privacy FTL.

Eliminating the TSA shouldn’t lead to a loss of security measures. An airlines’ lifeblood is directly tied to the safety of their passengers and anyone that tells you a government organization has more incentive to continue airline safety and security than the actual airlines is clinically insane. So what should we do? Easy, privatize the security screening process. Make the airlines accountable for who and what they allow on their planes. They have the most to lose should an unfortunate situation develop on a plane (other than families of potential victims).

TSA doesn’t really do a good job at providing security, but rather puts on a rather weak facade that makes passengers feel more secure about themselves. I guess it catches stupid terrorists that use passports made out of construction paper and crayon. TSA confiscates things like guns, bombs, toothpaste, nail clippers, Gatorade and mouthwash and a smart terrorist can easily fool a high-school educated TSA agent. Passports and boarding passes are easily forged. If a terrorist is committed to getting something on a plane, he will. The fact that I got a four-inch flip-blade knife on an international flight to Australia, but had my 6oz bottle of mouthwash confiscated tells you the effectiveness of TSA.

A stupid terrorist will try and bring a knife on a plane. A smart one will improvise and make one once he gets on board. TSA’s 3-ounce rule does not apply to medical supplies – like saline solution for contact lenses. If you bring a bottle of that through, regardless of the size they’ll let it through and onto the plane. And they most likely won’t even bother to check if the liquid inside actually is saline solution.

I’m somewhat surprised that we haven’t heard much from the airlines themselves over these matters. Maybe it’s because the continued existence of TSA relieves them of having to screen their own passengers. All they have to do is scan a boarding pass.

Again, try and think of something constructive the government does better than the private sector. You can’t, can you? The TSA takes a sizable burden off the individual airlines, but at the same time, it sacrifices quality and effectiveness. TSA has the potential to be an effective agency, but they do not have properly qualified people, and they certainly don’t employ experts in security or profiling.

2) Get rid of Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security.

It’s painfully obvious that she has little, if any, knowledge of how an individual in her position should handle her responsibilities. She is severely under-qualified for such a position and lacks even a basic understanding on security of anything, let alone the most powerful country in the world. Kick her ass to the curb and appoint someone with appropriate qualifications and extraordinary understanding of what a position like that requires. I highly doubt a satisfactory individual will be appointed by the current administration. Many of TSA’s shortcomings stem directly from Napalitano’s inept leadership.

And stopping the 7-year old girl makes sense?

3) Start profiling.

Yes, anyone can decide to walk onto a plane with deviant intentions. But there’s one main demographic that markets their desire to kill as many Americans as possible. Every single one of the 9/11 bombers was visibly Middle Eastern, both by appearance and name. Selecting travelers for additional screening at random is a terrible method of trying to find threats. Target people who are most likely to be threats. I’m not advocating letting someone like me waltz onto a commercial airplane without adequate screening, but you don’t have to worry about me causing any ruckus once onboard, unless of course you’re serving Pepsi instead of Coke. Then I might fuss a bit.

I’m more likely to die tripping over my own clumsy feet people-watching at an airport than to die in a terrorist attack. It’s scientifically proven that driving to the airport is far more dangerous than the actual plane ride itself.

Profiling is not politically correct, but few things that are actually worth anything are nowadays. Is protecting a Muslim’s feelings more important than ensuring the safety of air travel? TSA seems to think so. Do I? Probably not. There is one group of people whose goal it is to kill as many Americans as possible – and a vast majority of them don’t look like my grandmother.

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Posted on November 17, 2010, in Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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