Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dumb and dumber

So now you can't touch your stuff for the last hour of your flight.

Why? Because once someone tried to do something bad on a plane in the last hour of its flight. (Now, I'll bet that's happened before and it's simply slipped the TSA's minds. Then again, a lot of things have slipped their minds.)

Now, is this going to stop a terrorist? No, because most terrorists can tell time, just like about one-tenth of airline employees responsible for working out scheduling. They'll simply start their stuff 90 minutes before their flights land.

What it's going to stop is people like you and you from flying. (Not you and me. I gave up on the airlines a W ago.)

You'd think that people like Secretary Napolitano would realize this. You'd think they'd realize that instead of consistently staying a step behind most terrorists (notice that the last couple of guys trying this stuff were stopped in the act anyway?), they'd see that they need to be a step ahead.

But no. You can't bring liquids on a plane because someone might have had liquid explosive once. You have to show your shoes because someone had explosive shoes once. Now you can't get up because a terrorist got up once. (I can't wait for the lawsuit that'll follow someone with medical concerns being unable to get to the bathroom in the last hour of a flight.)

All this security theater doesn't prevent people from bringing explosives on a plane. Would it really be that hard to make the security at airports more reasonable (by hiring more competent people to work the lines, for one thing)? Would it really be that hard to put security people on planes to stop this stuff, because we're already relying on passengers to do this?

Look. The security theater isn't working. This latest jackass brought explosives onto the plane. And the entire show depends on catching people before they get on the plane.

I hate to say this, but Obama is failing in this area as badly as W did. The TSA isn't the answer. "Tighter" security isn't the answer. Better, smarter security is.

Then again, in a couple of years, it probably won't need to be better or smarter. There will be few enough passengers that the TSA can probably question each one in detail.

Update: Great minds think alike.


  1. OMG...I cannot imagine sitting in my seat for an hour with nothing to do. It would make me crazy. will this really help security.

    The no moving around the cabin thing on international flights is horrible. I cannot sit in my seat for 10 or more hours without feeling the need to move around. This was the worst part of all of my international flights.

    I don't think that people will stop flying because of the airlines stupidly. We still like to go places. The article said that the airline industry was down 20% in the last year due to the economy. That makes sense...but business people are not going to stop flying and people like me are not going to stop flying...we will just become more disgruntled.

    When I worked at A back in 2001 one of my co-workers was fired for incompitence...falling asleep while working, making stupid mistakes and basically being a dumb ass. Then next time I saw her, she was working security at the airport. Seriously, how could that occur. Better standards on security employees is a much needed change.

  2. People are already finding alternative methods of travel (like me, for example). Of course that only applies when you have multiple options; for longer trips, you pretty much have to fly, and unfortunately there really aren't many options.

    The problem is that if you continue to fly out of bad airports and on bad airlines, they have no incentive to change. Sending in complaints is nice, but how often does that result in changes? To whom would you send complaints about airport security?

    The big problem with airport security is that W decided we needed a ton more security (after 9/11), but didn't bother to fund it or provide training for people, so what we ended up with was what you saw: people with a pulse. As near as I can tell, Obama hasn't changed that either. The employees have to come from somewhere, and obviously we don't have thousands of qualified security personnel sitting around at home, waiting for jobs.


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