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December 16, 2005

Another One From Joe Scarborough

I fly a lot -- not like Superman or Sister Bertrille, lacking in their skills I'm limited to airplanes, mostly those operated by American and United Airlines.

As a result, I pass through the TSA's screening menage enough that I'm familiar with every variant -- despite the fact that all airport screening crews work for the same gubmint agency, they seem to do things differently at different airports.

I'm not a very well organized traveller, I tend to procrastinate, during multi-destination trips, when it comes to booking my next flight, from, say, point B to point C, and sometimes do so only a day before making a flight. This sends up a flag at the respective airline itself, and their computers put through an automatic request for a behind the scenes baggage inspection and a session at the screening point with Mr. Wand.

I've been through airports that required removing shoes, a few that didn't, some that restrained you from leaving the scanning area until all your possessions(pocket items, laptop, etc) had cleared the conveyor belt, and many whose agents were not very thorough. I blogged back in October about how a Swiss Army knife I'd totally forgotten about, buried deep in my computer carrying case in August, had travelled through a whole bunch of airports, including O'Hare, Midway, Dulles, National, Orlando, JFK and others before being found by a diligent screener at Logan in early October.

While headed for a recent flight from Reagan National to O'Hare on a day that was really, really quiet, I found myself in a quagmire of utter confusion at a screening point because some idiot had left the shoulder strap from a carry-on bag hanging outside the plastic bin you put your stuff in for scanning and it got itself jammed in the conveyor belt. Suddenly several of the screeners were over there attempting to wrestle the strap loose(they looked like the Keystone TSA Screeners) while others tried to reroute the line to the adjacent conveyor belts. Talk about professionalism, it was indeed a professional mess.

But beyond these vagaries in the millieu(man, too much French for this time of the morning --meeelyiewww-- gag--choke!) of being established as a probable non-terrorist and a safe bet to allow aboard the airplane, there is still the issue of political correctness that overshadows the entire experience.

And that is the policy of including every kind of person in the "special attention" category... except those whose profiles most match those of the kind of terrorist all this extra security and extra hassle was added on to keep from getting aboard airplanes to begin with.

Young Arab males, one of the ACLU's protected categories, along with pedophi-- oops, there I go, off on one of my digressions -- okay, this time I'll stay on topic.

Sure, we've all been over this many times, but our entreaties seem to be falling on deaf ears. Instead of responding to realistic criticism, the TSA is indulging in appeasement tactics. Sure, this pass card program they're gearing up for will make things a little more convenient for us frequent flyers, at least until we all have them and the lines we access become longer than the lines of those who don't, and sure, it will be nice for those who have little pairs of scissors and souvenir letter openers in their carryons to be able to keep them -- it really doesn't matter, anyway: A terrorist can order a can of ginger ale and rip it open to make a nasty slashing weapon, for one of many examples I could make but won't, I don't want to give anybody any even "better" ideas they don't have already.

The point is, those who most fit the terrorist profile are the ones who need to be given the most attention, not a little old lady from Kalamazoo or a four year old girl clutching the latest Barbie and sucking her thumb.

I'll say no more, and let former Congressman Joe Scarborough say the rest.

Posted by Seth at December 16, 2005 02:47 AM


Wow we need more Joe's in power. I agree with him and say, it's time we get serious about this. Being PC will kill this country.

Posted by: Raven at December 16, 2005 05:08 AM

Amen to that!

Posted by: Seth at December 16, 2005 05:49 AM