Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A False Sense of Security

Happy New Year! This year I have only one real resolution - to take a shower and get ready every day. I figure that is going to be a pretty good accomplishment, at least for the first few months after the babies arrive.

But if I wasn't already committed to flying to my family reunion this summer, my resolution would probably be never to fly again. Ever. Not because I'm scared of terrorists or anything - no terrorist is going to be able to do his evil deeds without an entire plane full of people beating the crap out of him - but because I'm scared of airport security. Seriously.

Yesterday I read that passengers in Newark airport were delayed for six hours (SIX!) because someone slipped through security without being checked. Planes were grounded, everything was shut down, and TSA panicked their way through trying to find the man who breached security while passengers started filling out change of address forms (home address: Newark Airport) to send to the post office.

The fact that I'm irritated by this is nothing new - I have always been annoyed by post 9-11 airport security - having to put my 3 oz. liquids in a clear plastic bag while waltzing through with an entire box of liquid medications and needles, no questions asked, just doesn't make any sense. They let people through with baby formula, juices, and Gerber graduate food. And yet, when Michael was two months old, I still had to remove his shoes so they could see if I'd sewn bombs into the linings.

Note to self: if you want to commit a terrorist act, disguise your explosives as baby formula or medications.

In the wake of the underwear bomber, some airports are resorting to strip search by x-ray. Frankly, I think this is pretty much pointless, but if they want to take a glance at my personal, um, space, then they deserve what they get. Do stretch marks show up on those things? I hope so. I'd like to give them a good scare.

Now, I'm not annoyed with airport security in general. I'm annoyed that airport security in its current state is completely pointless. Old grannies and frazzled moms are being hassled while young, middle-eastern men are being allowed to pass through without a second glance. If I were a terrorist and someone tried to stop me from going through security, I'd start yelling about racial profiling and lawsuits and watch the screeners panic.

Airport security is about as effective as bag checks at museums - what good does it do to have someone poke a stick and a flashlight in your bag for two seconds? Or to have you walk through "metal detectors" that can't seem to detect the fact that you just walked through with a metal-framed stroller?

Does this really make anyone feel better? Do people not realize that someone could fill up a private plane with bombs and fly it into a building without going through a single security check? There are so many ways of getting around the "safeguards" that I can't even count them (and who better to figure out ways to do that than terrorists who are bent on destroying us?). But, I'm starting to think the goal of terrorism is no longer to kill us all in one fell swoop, it's to annoy us to death by causing new regulations to be put in place requiring airport officials to frisk our toddlers as they go through security. Or to cause days-long delays on our flights by leaving "unattended" bags full of tissue paper scattered around the airport.

Americans will put up with these delays because it makes them feel safer, and the terrorists will be laughing themselves silly as they figure out a way to cause some really big tragedy. We won't notice anything suspicious because we will have poked our eyes out with sticks after being stuck in an airport for 37 hours, and the bag screeners will be too busy confiscating fingernail clippers to notice anything important, like the "Hi, my name is Plane Blower-Upper" sticker attached to that terrorist-looking guy.

So what's my solution for airport security? Big guys, with Uzis.

That would be so much more effective than confiscating my 4 oz. hand lotion.


foculbrown said...

I agree with what you are saying. I have little desire to fly because of the hassle and uselessness of airport security. If my family wasn't so far away (or if I wasn't so far away from my family), I would give up flying all together and just drive. The TSA is doing more than high ticket prices to kill the airline industry. Thanks guys!

Sara said...

AMEN about a thousand times over. I'm so tired of the entire hassle, it's ridiculous.

Thankfully, I rarely have to fly anymore - though I've still boarded an airplane at least once a year since 1995. this year will be no exception - as I've already to committed attending a wedding on the east coast.

But I wish I could swear off it entirely. I never liked flying anyway. Now between ridiculous security regulations, baggage fees and no food - I've used up all but my last nerve.

I'm saving that one for my flight in May.

Megan B said...

Amen on the airport thing. >:(

Good luck on the shower thing :)

The Davis Clan said...

Pointless is right. I was 7 months pregnant traveling with my 2 year old alone from SLC to Seattle. The only people search on our flight not once but twice (at security and the gate) was me and a really old woman who looked like she just finish chemo. Everytime they made her get out of her wheelchair (which was given to her by the airport security)Take off her shoes and the whole bit. Yet on our flight there were many others that I would have wanted search. Makes no sense.

Evil HR Lady said...

At the Zurich airport you don't go through security until your plane is almost ready to board. There is a security station for every few gates.

Therefore, if someone sneaks past security, at most you'd have to re-screen two planes worth of people.

It makes so much more sense.

jmm43 said...

My favorite was when TSA yelled at my three year old for not coming through the x-ray machine on his own while they were yelling at his father for folding the stroller improperly.

Dr. Mom said...

While going through airport security last Sunday, the security guard actually said, "I was hoping to see through your skirt." I "think" she (yes - it was a she - does that make it better or worse?) meant that then she wouldn't have to use the wand or pat me down. Oh lucky me - it wasn't see-through so I got a little action at the airport. Yikes!

mathmom said...

Wow Bonnie. If you manage to shower and get dressed every day this year I will bow down at your feet. I'm impressed with your ambition.

As to the flying thing, I have no clue. I haven't flown since 9/11. How lame is that?