brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

Airports Are No Safer Today Than They Were Yesterday

I went to the airport to pick my sister up on Christmas Day.  She called as soon as she could after the plane hit the ground.  As soon as I got word I made a beeline to the airport.  It took about twenty minutes for me to get to the east terminal of St. Louis Lambert airport.  I must’ve been there a little early because I had to circle several times.  Airport traffic was relatively light.  The departure lanes were virtually empty with a handful of cars idling.  The arrival lanes were a little busier, but there were no lines of people or cars.  Even the various parking lot and hotel shuttles seemed a bit lackadaisical.

But nevertheless, the TSA was out in full force.  There must’ve been three people standing outside the departure gates with their yellow TSA jerseys outside their heavy winter waist jackets.  Down at the arrival gates there must’ve been at least another six TSA agents outside.  And I’m sure there were twice those numbers outside the main terminal.  I imagined these guards were walking up to any car idling too long in the wrong area.  I spotted my sister inside the terminal and pulled over at the nearest gate.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t in the proper lane.  I was in the area reserved for the shuttles.  But I was going to do a quick stop and grab so I didn’t think it was a big deal.

I jumped out the car and opened the rear hatch.  My sister saw me and pulled her luggage out to the car.  I was reaching for my sister’s luggage when the TSA agent hollered at us from the passenger lanes.  Hey, those lanes are reserved for shuttles!  I took a second to stop what I was doing to look at the guy.  Without saying anything in reply I went back to getting my sister’s luggage into the car.  When I looked back up the agent turned to harass somebody else in the passenger lanes.  We hopped into the car and took off.  I really did not feel any safer with the knowledge that the TSA was there protecting us from would be terrorist.

It took me a moment, but I didn’t connect the TSA’s show of force to the terrorist attempt to bomb the Northwest Airlines flight on its final approach to land up in Detroit’s Wayne County airport.  Some guy who claimed to be an agent of al Qaida tried to ignite a device containing a high explosive attached to his body on a flight from Amsterdam.  But instead of a big bang fatally crippling the plane, the device sparked a fire burning the perpetrator instead.  That was all authorities needed to issue their red alert.

In response to the incident, some airline passengers were told that new government security regulation prohibit anyone from leaving their seats an hour before landing.  They won’t be allowed access to carryon baggage or to have any items on their laps.  Passengers in other countries bound for the United States undergoing body searches.  President Barack Obama was notified of the incident and was monitoring the situation with regular updates from his vacation spot in Hawaii.  The nation’s airports are on full alert and are trying to close the doors now that the horse has left the barn, or at least tried.  And what’s sad is that the only reason they caught this horse was because it stumbled and tripped as it crossed the threshold.

The resulting high profile circus act we’re being subjected to now is like Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane showing up waving his gun around after the Duke boys left the scene.  I honestly feel no safer knowing that someone is out there giving people static because drivers are pulling their private automobiles into the shuttle lane.  I don’t see how putting every airport on high alert actually makes for a safer country.  We don’t put every bank in the country on high alert when one gets robbed.  We don’t put every school on high alert when one suffers an altercation.  When there’s a fire in an office building we don’t pull everybody out of every office building across the country.

But let somebody do something stupid at an airport and the only way we can put our minds at ease is if we allow our security personnel to work overtime to make sure everybody who comes to every airport is driving in the proper lane.  The public is being manipulated into thinking that our safety is worth the extra harassment we voluntarily subject ourselves to at the airport.  Most of us have been trained to think that it’s perfectly normal for us to have our persons searched and our waits extended because somebody a thousand miles away tried to get on a plane with an oversized tube of toothpaste.  There are simply more people in the airport’s vicinity focused in the wrong direction.

The broadcast news stands ready to play interviews of various air travelers standing in various airports giving their happy testimonials about putting safety ahead of their personal convenience, trying to give us our airport behavior role models.  It’s no big deal and we should be happy to do our part to make sure all of us are safe.  But few people are actually asking how these inconvenient changes are resulting in a safer travel environment.  This is whole affair is a perfect example of how critical thinking is set aside and given the backseat to our need to conform.

Saturday, December 26, 2009 - Posted by | Holidays, Life, Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. If everyone had an ID/profile that they were not ashamed of they would have it posted on some site somewhere on the internet and every passenger would know who he/she were sitting next to. Al Qaida members are easy to recognize because they have not made any Facebook friends.

    Comment by chris tidman | Sunday, December 27, 2009 | Reply


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