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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Has Airport Security Gone Too Far?

             In the weeks to come, many of us will take to the airways as we travel for the holidays.  Since 9/11 we have seen an increasing amount of invasive and time devouring security tactics thrust upon us, making air travel a most unpleasant experience.  Between TSA security and continual add-on pricing foisted upon us by the airlines, flying is something I try to avoid.

             Since I live on the west coast and much of my and my wife's family are scattered throughout the United States, we have usually taken our trips via whichever airline has the best Orbitz pricing for what we want to do.  Not this year.  This Christmas we are going to drive and forget about the hassles of flying.  Sure it will take longer and it will mean hotel expenses, but I don't mind a road trip even with the risk of inclement winter weather.  And it's easier to change my driving plans than it is to alter flight plans.

            I miss those more relaxed days of flying when everyone could go to the gate and you could see people off or meet them as they exited the plane.   It was much more pleasant when you didn't have go to the airport two or more hours ahead of the flight in order to get through security. 

             The most recent violation to our privacy has been the latest news fodder.  Potentially dangerous x-ray screening equipment is the most recent addition to airport security.  Those who are randomly selected to go through this machine are scanned while some perverted drooling TSA agent studies their naked bodies on a screen.  It's supposedly anonymous, but as far as I'm concerned it's plain weird.   They say it's all safe, but I don't know if I want to take a chance on finding out.

           Of course, one can opt out of this scanning procedure and instead choose the getting-to-know-you intimate feel-up by your friendly TSA agent.   This might be fun under certain circumstances, but, please, not at the airport by some surly federal employee.  Who might be getting out of this?  An outcry is coming from Muslims complaining that this would be against their religion.   Let's see---do I see a problem with this?

            We pretty well know who the typical terrorists have been in the past.  Shouldn't there be more focus on certain more suspicious parties, and less on you and me and our families.  There has got to be a better way of approaching security on airlines.  The previous bad guys had for the most part already been spotted and under surveillance by our government before they ever got on a plane.  Why were they able to fly so easily?

            I truly believe that most of the security issues arise before anyone even gets to the airport.  Somebody in law enforcement is not doing their job.   Sure, some security measures need to be taken at the airport, but maybe not to the extreme level that they have come to.  What do you think?

Has airport security become too extreme?

          What do you think are the best solutions?    Do you have a pretty good idea about who the terrorists are most likely to be these days?   Are some profiling measures necessary?    Have issues with airport security and the hassles of flying affected your travel habits?   Will you  be flying this holiday season?


  1. Yeah, sigh, I miss the old more relaxed days also. It's one of those catch 22's, in order to preserve freedom we have to seemingly lose some freedoms. Sucks.

    But I hadda laff at this:

    "...the getting-to-know-you intimate feel-up by your friendly TSA agent. This might be fun under certain circumstances, but, please, not at the airport by some surly federal employee."

    Teehee. Yup, now if the TSA was a cute, shapely young thang with a twinkle in her eyes, hmmm ... I'd be like, "Hey! I'll give you exactly one hour to stop that!"

    LOL and wink.

  2. People get upset with 'profiling' here in the US, but I've witnessed it firsthand in other countries.
    It is a drag now though. Just what I needed - another reason to hate flying.

  3. It's a bit of a catch 22. I didn't mind the extra measures at first, but they are getting a little ridiculous these days.

  4. I think airport security has gone way overboard. If in God's secret and sovereign design, He has ordained that a plane go down, it will go down. Reasonable measures are expected but not going to the point of "under the undergarment exrays" and physical touching of private areas. It is no secret for the most part who the terrorists are.

    Luggage search, dog sniffing, metal detectors, bag searches are a hassle but reasonable.

    Regardless of bleeding heart liberals and such, there are always certain times that racial profiling is necessary.

    Quite honestly, airport security and such has not altered by flying, the culprit is the economy, and my unemployment - that has altered flight plans. No, I will not be flying this holiday. As a matter of fact we were drving to CA for the holidays on gifts from my two daughters, but quite unexpectedly we had tranny problems with the Buick so we took those gifts (with the girls blessing) and fixed the car. So now I am staying home for the holidays.

    Wouldn't you know, who is crying that such screening is against their religion? Tough - comply or don't fly. No special treatment! No concessions. But watch our weak, frightened government make concessions.

  5. My general feeling is, if someone doesn't like it then they can choose not to fly. True, no one wants to have to go through all that hassle...but I'll never be able to fully get away from the horrible visions of 9/11. I never want something like that to happen again, and if these ridiculous security measures give us better odds at keeping this country from another such disaster I'm willing to put up with the hassle.

    The bag fees, on the other hand, are atrocious.

  6. Security by definition is an intrusion. It requires one to seek an unknown. Do we want to be safe or have convenience?

    As to our own, may I point out Timothy McVey looked just like you and I.

    As to someone not doing their job... I equate fighting terrorism to fighting cancer, just no cure for evil.

    Now finally, I do NOT fly and as to someone touching my junk.. that is not required to ride in my truck.

  7. Ah, Arlee, you probably seen that I commented yesterday on a similar post over at WHO WANTS TATERS, so I might repeat the horrible story I wrote there as well:
    I've had a friend who was once strip-searched at the airport (because they found a 100 euro bill in her wallet that she didn't report to the customs because she forgot she had it in there) and during the search she even had to take out her tampon from between her legs and show it to them! Talking about humiliating airport searches :(

  8. I understand what you mean Lee, we all know terrorists exist and we taks a chance ecah time we board a plane but it;s the same here. I get worried if they announce there is a thunder storm ahead,
    They have stopped all planes from my local airport to Spain for the winter so to visit my son I have to get to Gatwick which takes 3 trains.Travelling is not the same anymore.


  9. Marvin --If they have to do it, they should make it fun.

    Alex -- Profiling is logical. Better to inconvenience a smaller sample of people rather than everybody.

    Matthew -- You have to begin to wonder where it will all end.

    Gregg-- You really said it all here in your comment. Sorry about your trip, but that's probably what the government would like to see.

    Tracy -- I tended to believe what you state here, but upon studying the issues many questions started to come up. How much more are we willing to accept. And how many more people with questionable backgrounds and intents are we willing to continue to allow in our country. Wouldn't it be better to create more inconvenience for certain specific persons before they get to the airport rather that every single one of us. Believe me, if the terrorists want to create havoc and destruction, they will regardless of how much security we have.

    Jules -- But maybe those of us in our vehicles will be some of the next ones to be under scrutiny. Are you ready for roadblocks? We already have ridiculous car inspections to "test for pollution".

    Dezmond -- Yes, I read your story there and it is a good example of how far this intrusiveness can go. And I think it will go further if it's not put in check.

    Yvonne-- Looks to me like the terrorists are winning. Or maybe they are just the excuse to restrict our personal freedoms.

    Stephen McCarthy - I've been starting to think about this topic and seeing more and more that what you've been saying may be correct.

  10. It's a tough call. No one wants a plane full of people to go down because of a nutcase with a hard-to-detect explosive hidden in his undies. But I suspect we'll be taking more road trips and flying less.

    So if the govt. is responsible for airline revenues crashing, does that mean "govt" will have to bail them out? :)

  11. Nothing in life can ever be completely safe....
    To make something totally safe would probably defeat its purpose in the first place.

    LEE, one final thing...
    When you have an opportunity, please check back and reread the "Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends" blog bit that I started on the 14th but was too intoxicated to finish. I completed it yesterday and I think you might kinda like it a bit.

    It was far from done when you left your comment.
    Thanks, Bro!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  13. If something slips by that could have been caught by the security measures, then you could certainly claim that they should have been scanned/searched. Then again, such instances are rare, compared to the number of flights every day/year. The security could also be called a nuisance, but I think that flying's generally safer with it.

  14. r-LEE BOID ~
    Patricia Stoltey makes an excellent observation when she writes: "So if the govt. is responsible for airline revenues crashing, does that mean "govt" will have to bail them out?"

    Actually, that's no laughing matter and a real possibility. And of course we all know whose money bails out these companies that are "too big to fail", right?

    LEE: Ha!-Ha! That's not fair, man! You headed me off at the pass. You responded to my comment BEFORE I EVEN HAD A CHANCE TO LEAVE A COMMENT!
    Guess you could see this one
    a-comin', eh? Ha! :o)

    Well, for the benefit of your readers who have not read my previous blog bit on this subject (which means ALL OF THEM) I'm posting below just the portion of it that I sent to the TSA a few months back:

    [*After attempting numerous times to Email the following to TSA and encountering nothing but system failures and a TSA personnel runaround, I decided to post the following in the comment section of the official TSA blog.*]

    To Whom It May Concern At The TSA:

    Here in Phoenix, Arizona, at Sky Harbor Airport, the TSA has now installed full body scanners at Terminal 4.

    I have taken the time to inform all of the airlines that operate out of Terminal 4 that I will no longer consider flying with them until TSA's scanners have been removed from their Terminal.

    Yes, I understand that the full body scans are currently optional and are not involuntarily forced upon any customers. But at fifty years of age and having been around the block a few times, I am also fully aware that unless We The People oppose this invasion of our privacy, the full body scanning will become a requirement for flying in the not too distant future. Government, under the guise of promoting security and convenience, will always attempt to gather as much power over the people as possible, and only a "push back" from the citizens will clue the government in that it has finally gone too far. The most effective "push back" is usually one that hurts another's pocketbook - that's the sort of reaction that really gets one's attention.

    For this reason, I am now boycotting all airlines that permit the TSA to utilize this new (and soon to be involuntary) form of personal invasion. The United States of America is being transformed into a virtual prison camp and I, for one, am voicing my disapproval.

    With each passing year "the land of the free and the home of the brave" is becoming increasingly more cowardly and less free. If a protest of TSA's over-the-top (and through-the-clothing) invasion of privacy and assault on individual rights must begin with my own personal boycott, then so be it.

    I will be encouraging everyone I know to join me in my boycott until the TSA has removed its full body scanners from every airport in this country and some sense of reason and restraint has been restored in our quest to find a balance between security and privacy.

    Stephen T. McCarthy

    LEE, I'm really glad to see that you are taking these things seriously. I'm not at all boasting but I think I can safely say that any reasonably intelligent person who studies these matters for 16 years, as I have done, can't help but get a fair amount of it right.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

  15. It always seems like they lock the barn door after the horse is gone..making us take off shoes once the explosives are found in shoes (and not since again)...I do think enough is enough. A 100% safe measure can never be had, and if it is terrorists we are looking for, then most likely it will be someone from a particular part of the world. Too bad if it sounds like racial profiling.

    I dont know what the answer is. And to think that once upon a time, we were more concerned with drug contraband. How things have changed!


  16. Patricia -- That's a good point, although with all of the fees the airlines are adding I don't think they're doing anything to generate goodwill and create more business.

    Andrew -- You're right and there's nothing quite as thrilling as living life on the edge.

    StMc -- I was thinking about your earlier post when I wrote my post. I'll finish reading the one you postponed due to inebriation.

    Golden Eagle -- I think we are safer, but I also think there are some better measures.

    Sig -- You're right. I just think the government wants to control the people. If they weren't so darn politically correct they could solve a lot of problems.

  17. Oh it's all messed up Arlee. Recently when picking up my daughter from the airport, my son had to go through the detector three times before they figured out that it was a foil gum wrapper that kept setting it off. And they were getting frustrated with him. I just stood there laughing from the other side!
    I don't have any answers but I do feel that it is terribly disorganized. Love Di ♥

  18. This whole TSA screening thing is way out of control. But they're afraid of profiling certain groups, which they should be doing, at the expense of everyone else. Just looking at the line of people at the airport its easy to see most people are not a threat to blow up a plane just by looking at them. The answer is simple, profile those groups most likely to be involved in terrorist activity and give them cavity searches. Grab their crotches. Let the rest of us go through with minimum scrutiny.

  19. The security measures have gone way too far. And the REALLY scary part is that the next time there's some kind of breach, the TSA will find even more ways to tighten security. If we allow body scans and getting felt up, it's not going to be long before we're enduring random cavity searches.

    It needs to stop.

  20. Oh how I love South Africa. No one wants to blow us up or kill us, airports are easy, roads are good and the scenery is amazing. We're not at war with anyone nor are we invading someone Else's country. So what is this freedom you are fighting for? Reading your post and the amazing number of comments I begin to wonder about your definition of freedom. Jesus tells a story about the sparrows not being able to fall to the ground without Gods permission. I prefer to live like that thanks.
    God bless you my friend.

  21. Oh, Lee... just fire me up!

    1) I actually find flying somewhat EASIER now. My reason? I usually fly with my kids and they are so much easier to keep an eye on when only passengers can go through security. But I know that wasn't your point. And it isn't really what fired me up.

    2) Terrorists. I would HATE to see racial profiling adopted. EVER. Yes, my son, when he was four, had his bag randomly chosen to be searched and I was annoyed as we dug out the crayons, juice boxes (before you had to limit liquids), snacks, books, stuffed animals..., but at the same time, terrorists don't all look the same.

    I live in Michigan. You may have heard of people like Timothy McVay? Or the Unibomber? There are plenty of white nuts. And nuts aren't above using kids. I think the random thing helps, and it definitely saves a lot of perfectly innocent people who happen to 'look like terrorists' because maybe they wear a veil, from unreasonable harrassment.

  22. Arlee,
    Thank you for bringing this important topic up. Enjoy your drive, it's the best way to see the sights!
    Wow, that is so sad what your poor friend had to go through to be strip-searched like that.

    Thank you for posting that letter to the TSA.

    I hope that the land of the free remains so...

  23. Diana -- I don't know about the disorganization necessarily, but I do think the focus of attention is in the wrong place.

    Stephen Tremp -- Okay, you said it, I didn't. Well, maybe I did in a round about way.

    Karen -- You are right. The terrorists keep trying to think up new ways to attack. I seriously doubt whether the planes are their main focus--it's just misdirection to muddle the issue.

    Geoff- Yes, we are probably doing too much worrying that distracts us from where our real life energy should be focused.

    Hart -- Profiling makes sense. After all we all use profiling to some extent in everything we do in our lives and there is a complete logic to it. And like I've said, I not as big on the airport screening and security as I am on screening the people who are coming to this country in the first place. After all, how many Somalian muslims or radical muslim students do we need coming into our country. We can see the problem that is occurring in Europe. I don't think we need that problem in the U.S. It's time to tighten and control the gates to our nation, which already has tons of problems, and say no the the "tired poor huddling masses". We cannot give refuge to the entire world, especially at the expense of giving up our freedoms and the way of life that we have cherished.

  24. Lisa -- Thank you for your words and I agree with you about our freedom.

  25. Part 1 Of 2:


    You nailed it, Buddy!
    I think sometimes non-Americans have a better understanding of America and Americans than do Americans themselves!

    Some of us here seem to have a very odd understanding of the meaning of "liberty". Some of us here seem to think that giving the Federal government carte blanche to harass us, is somehow equated with freedom. Some seem to think that discarding intelligence in a politically correct effort to avoid offending anyone at any time has somehow got something to do with freedom.

    Some of us Americonned people have no understanding whatsoever what one of our greatest statesmen meant when he said:

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety!"
    ~ Benjamin Franklin

    You see, Geoff, here in America we have a peculiar sort of animal called a "liberal", and these liberals are never even half as smart as they like to believe they are. They form opinions based on little bits and pieces of information tossed out into the wind -- usually by other liberals. Actually studying a subject for a good long while and in-depth is not usually part of a liberal's modus operandi.

    Worse yet, these liberals seem to think they're so much smarter than were the "dead White guys" whose well-debated and magnificently conceived principles were responsible for the greatest form of government ever established in the annals of Man, that they blithely turn their backs on the brilliance of their Founding Fathers and then later wonder how everything could have gone to hell.

    This certain sort of animal lives in a kind of 'Alice In Wonderland' where everything is upside down in their minds. The only difference between Alice and the Liberal is that at least Alice was CONSCIOUS of the fact that everything was upside down.

    Yeah, you're right, Geoff, a great deal of the Americonned people have a strange idea about what constitutes "freedom".

    I've got one for ya, Geoff, and this one's a real head-scratcher: Most of the Americonned people are so out to lunch that even when the "impossible" happens right before their eyes, and all of them see it, they still don't even bother to shout, "Wait a minute! Hold on here! How could that happen?"

    Continued Below…

  26. Part 2 Of 2:

    For example: Let's say that a bunch of terrorists supposedly hijack airplanes and fly them into two massive buildings. If the two massive buildings suddenly come crashing down in perfect form, just like a controlled-demolition, but the Americonned people are told that it was caused by burning airline fuel which undermined the structures, the Americonneds will all say, "Yeah. OK. I can buy that."

    But then if a third building (we'll call it "Tower 7") should later collapse in the identical way that the first two buildings did, even though it was never hit by an airplane and thus there was NO burning airline fuel to blame for the perfect collapse, and various fires on some of the floors of this Tower 7 was the only known damage to it, the Americonned people won't even think to shout, "Wait a minute! Hold on here! How could that happen?"

    No, they don't even question the plausibility of it all. They merely get in line at the airport, take off their shoes, empty their bags, pose for the camera that photographs them underneath their clothing, or stand still while the government boob runs his or her hand all over their body. Yeah, these people have strange ideas about freedom! Freedom from fear, however, the Americonned people most definitely do NOT have. They are fed a plateful of fear every day by their government and they eat it all up and then say to their government, "Do to me whatever you must, but please just keep me safe."

    Geoff, I would have left Amerika some years ago if it weren't for the fact that The Bible tells me that what is on the bleak horizon and coming soon is going to affect the whole Earth. There's nowhere to run to. But enjoy what you have while you still have it, Brother!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  27. I don't mind flying, but it's become such a hassle that we just don't do it any more unless it's an absolute must. My feelings about the latest security measures are mixed. Bottom line is we need to figure out how to get ahead of the curve, and do it, instead of still playing catch-up after ten or so years.

  28. they've definitely taken things too far. what they should do give u.s. citizens more respect above and beyond foreigners with visa's and/or green cards. racial profiling is a necessity as far as i'm concerned. if's santa's elves committed a terrorist attack and declared war on us, wouldn't you be on the lookout for elves? you wouldn't be groping basketball players and or giants too, would you?

  29. C'mon Lee-

    That "getting-to-know-you" feel up is all the action I ever get these days!

    Don't take that away!

    Seriously, if all of this really made things "safer," I might buy into it.

    But trust me, running my toxic sneakers through the X-Ray machine is a disaster of Hiroshima-esque proportions waiting to happen. Not to mention that the sock odor is probably carcinogenic.

    9/11/01 was a tragedy, no question about it. Europe has suffered a lot of terror attacks, and my memory is that they do not have all of these "precautions."

    They live life and accept risks.

    I've known for a long time I'm going to die one day.

    While I'd rather that not be in a terror attack, I'd prefer that to death from old age while in the airport security line.


  30. I stand corrected on my rose-tinted memory of Europe-most of my time there was in the UK and I just saw Yvonne's comment that things are similar there.

    Maybe I can find accounting work in South Africa...I better research their marijuana laws....

  31. Great post! I totally agree that they've gone way too far, with these latest measures and I for one, will not be flying until they stop this insanity. The idea of searching women, in particular, when none of the terrorists have ever been women, is ridiculous! And what are the odds of a terrorist strapping a bomb to his crotch!? They need to beef up the profiling and act accordingly.

  32. Stephen McCarthy -- That was a great comment. You should post it to your site.

    Carol -- I love flying, but I like it the way it used to be. The government and the airlines have taken the pleasure out of flying.

    Bud -- very well said. I love your example.

    Larry - You are too funny, sad to say.

    Marguerite -- That's why I'm boycotting and trying. I'll wave as I pass thru Lafayette on my way to Houston as I head back home.

  33. Good post!!! I know I won't be flying this holiday season!

    God Bless!!!

  34. ARLEE BOID ~
    Well, I think my next one's going to be "Revisiting The Hegelian Dialectic", but thanks a lot, Brother, glad to know you liked the comment so!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  35. Steve mc.
    If you tell someone over and over and over and over.................................Thats what you get, knight blindness.
    From the outside I get the impression that America is the most fearfull nation in the world. SELL YOUR TELEVISION AND FIND PEACE. Of course this is only my personal oppinion and millions of other non Americans too I would imagine, (It's kinda obvious.) Please don't misunderstand me, absolutely no disrespect intended, your's is a great nation, just a tad over controlled.
    God bless you my friend and get rid of that stupid mind control machine.

  36. GEOFF ~
    "Kill Your Television!" is an old phrase here that I like. (I myself watch very little TV. I'm a NONFICTION book person.)

    -->...absolutely no disrespect intended, your's is a great nation, just a tad over controlled.

    There's where we disagree a little bit. The USA most definitely is NOT a great nation! It's an imperialist nation of sheep and bureaucrats. It's a police state. It's a virus in the world. But that's OK, because "it is written" that God will step in and straighten us out in no uncertain terms.

    There's a rude awakening coming for the people of this country, and I think it's coming sooner than later.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  37. D-FensDogg -- I'm thinking more and more that you are right, but I do think as far as nations go I'd rather live in the U.S. than anywhere else. What's better?

  38. R-LEE BOID ~
    I don't know what's better as I have never lived in any other country. But I abandoned my knee-jerk jingoism some years ago. Whereas I once bought into the idea that "U.S.A." means "B.E.S.T.", and thought it almost my patriotic duty to praise the flag and the republic for which it stands, I now take the more reasonable position that I can't "really" know that we are superior to all other countries until I have actually lived in other countries.

    Certainly I would prefer to live here than in many other countries, but the USA has fallen far and fast. We're not the worst (I have never said we are) but I doubt we're still the best. And in some categories (e.g., the production and distribution of pornography) we are indeed the worst. Things have not gone well since this nation gave God the boot!

    I intend to delve deeply into all this in the final major blog bit I write for '...Fascist Friends' before I go 'bye-'bye.

    The governmental system that our Founders devised for us unquestionably gives us the potential to be the envy of the world. And at one time we were. But we turned our backs on our Founders' vision long ago and are now reaping the results.

    And if we're still the greatest nation on the planet, why isn't Geoff attempting to get here? He seems pretty content where he is, and doesn't have particularly complimentary things to say about America from his view over there.

    I believe the citizens of many other countries now view America as a "Big Bully", and I have to agree with them. I won't try to disseminate pseudo-patriotic rhetoric. I believe that if the body is sick, we must treat it, not merely shout louder and more often that "The body is well!" or that "The body is sick but it's still the best body!" If the body has cancer, praising the body is not going to eradicate the cancer that is going to kill it.

    Below is something my friend Br'er Marc related to me over a year ago:

    I was talking to a fellow nurse who lived through Bosnia's crisis with the Serb's and the radical Muslims. She said our economy and government is acting and looking like what happened over there right before guerilla war took place, just shortly after their dollar collapsed. I gave her a lesson on central banks, and she liked getting the knowledge. Unfortunately, we spent most of our time at lunch discussing how STUPID Americans are. She said it best, "I've been around the world. They hate America. No one is going to help us when we go down."

    R-LEE-B, my friend, I'm afraid we have a global public relations problem, and it's not without cause. And I'm not buying the ol' "they hate us for our freedom" bit because, honestly, we just ain't all that free anymore (as even Geoff pointed out in an earlier comment here).

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'


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