I think it’s time we admit that the Transportation Security Administration is almost as much an enemy to the flying public as terrorists are. After all the resources that have been pumped into this agency, all they’ve really succeeded in doing is making travelers’ lives miserable. The attempted bombing of an Amsterdam to Detroit flight on Christmas Day demonstrates this, yet again. Certainly, there is plenty of blame to go around as to how this guy wound up on a plane to begin with. But the more immediate problem for travelers is that the TSA continues to react to these incidents with more and more restrictive rules that treat us all like suspected terrorists and don’t actually make us any safer.
As has happened in the past with shoes and liquids, among other things, the TSA’s new knee-jerk rules following the Christmas Day event are based on the precise manner in which the most recent attack was carried out–as if an attack could never be carried out in any other way. So in their infinite wisdom, the TSA declared that travelers on international flights to the US would be forced to stay in their seats for the last hour of their flight with no access to their carry-ons, nothing in their laps, and no potty breaks.
The phrase “Security Theater” has taken flight on the Internet as an apt description of the TSA’s actions. Everything they do is for show to make the flying public think they’re taking actions that will make us safer. But these rules have no impact on terrorists, just the rest of us. To the rational mind, these measures make no sense.
Who’s to say a future terrorist won’t just try to detonate a bomb earlier in the flight? How exactly does a magazine or book in your lap be deemed a security threat? What’s a mother supposed to do about her crying baby? Why must we all be treated like criminals because of the .0001% chance that a potential terrorist might be on board?
Run a background check on me when I book my ticket, pat me down for potential weapons and explosives or run me through an x-ray machine at the airport if you must. Those things at least make sense from a security perspective. But don’t strip away my food and water, my reading material, and my ability to use the restroom all in the name of my safety. I know those things won’t deter a terrorist. All they do is turn airline passengers into prisoners. If they keep this up, it won’t be terrorists who drive us away from air travel and destroy the airline industry, it will be the TSA.
I’ll have an opportunity to witness the new security rules firsthand in 3 weeks when I fly home from Puerto Rico, which is apparently being subjected to the international rules, despite the fact that it’s part of the U.S. I am hoping that reason prevails and these new “security measures” are abolished by then, but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll let you know how it goes.