Based on news reports, it is becoming even more clear that The Department of Homeland Insecurity, and its most visible element The Transportation Insecurity Administration, are getting nearly out of control. At least they are also getting mostly negative press at this point which may – but I have my doubts – get congress to put a leash on them.
But I have just encountered two more reports that I find disturbing.
First, this morning while I was waiting for my PT appointment – this would have been shortly before 7:30 PST – there was someone being interviewed in studio at CNN who, according to the closed captions, was saying something to the effect that the airport screenings are providing a deterrent preventing more terrorist attacks. I think he was also implying that we should put up with this nonsense and act like quiet mice when dealing with their so called security procedures.
Then, there was a report linked by a friend on Facebook that claims – and I have no way to independently verify these claims – that a group of soldiers returning from Afghanistan were searched by TSA and a Gerber multi tool and a pair of nail clippers were confiscated, but they were allowed to bring their unloaded firearms on board. The claim was that the confiscated objects could be used as weapons, but the unloaded firearms weren’t.
Now maybe I’m wrong, but somehow I suspect that an unloaded M4 Carbine, or M9 Pistol would be much more effective of a weapon than a pair of nail clippers. Even unloaded most guns are still effective as clubs. And if someone doesn’t realize that the gun is unloaded, it could be just as intimidating.
Frankly, if it were up to me I’d rather have a group of soldiers traveling with me in an airplane be allowed to have their pistols, at least, loaded or ready to be quickly loaded.
Besides, I suspect that even most sharp objects are no longer of much use for taking over an airplane. Since shortly after the attacks nine years ago, commercial airplanes have had strengthened and lockable doors between the passenger space and the cockpit. Therefore, no pilot is ever in personal danger and can maintain control of the airplane. They still could, in theory, be intimidated by hostage taking – but how many people would let anyone armed with just a bladed weapon hold hostages on an airplane these days?
But instead of using our resources to develop intelligence which might have stopped some of the recent aircraft based attempted attacks earlier, we are implementing more and more useless security procedures aimed at passengers. How long will it be before a significant number of people decide that flying isn’t worth it anymore?
For what it is worth, I will be flying next Friday (December 3) and again the following Sunday to get up to San Jose for SMOFcon. I will probably decide that making my trip is more valuable to me than having an x-ray that could show some screener an impression of how I look unclothed. But that won’t stop me from thinking that it is a waste of time when other methods could probably be more effective and less expensive.