This I Believe

Michele - Tampa, Florida
Entered on November 22, 2006

I believe that public safety doesn’t mean I cannot take a full size bottle of hair gel on an airplane. Nor am I comforted when the man next to me – and everyone else – puts his shoes through an x-ray machine. My security isn’t enhanced when an elderly looking woman is randomly selected for a full body search. This I believe: That the Transportation Safety Board and its evolving airline security regulations are an insult to America’s intelligence.

If Richard Reed had been a woman who hid matches in her bra, would bras now be prohibited on every airline?

Does the supposed randomness of one’s selection for an extensive search, have anything at all to do with a reasonable assessment of one’s potential for mayhem?

Are we really better protected when I must exchange my pint size clear baggie (which holds my chap stick, sample size hand sanitizer, and eye drops) for a quart size baggie, “because that’s the rule?”

The TSA insists that its rules – and frequent rule changes – are needed to ensure the security of airline passengers. We all are afraid to say what we’re thinking as we stand in those lines – some of us wishing that we’d remembered to wear socks – awaiting our turn through the security checkpoint. At the risk of getting my name of the list of people who will be strip searched forever more, I’ll say it: What bullshit!

I have several theories about why we have developed a ridiculous airport security system that wastes both time and money. Here’s one: The TSA could be in cahoots with the people who produce those overpriced “travel size” sundries we now must buy, if we want to limit ourselves to a carry-on bag. Or maybe they worked out a deal with the people who produce socks. Lots of people weren’t wearing socks when they traveled, but I am thinking that sock sales must be skyrocketing.

As for their suggestion that frequent fliers whose names match suspected troublemakers, should simply enroll in the TSA’s traveler identity verification plan, gee whiz. Are you telling me the students who secretly trained as terrorists, wouldn’t have qualified for verified student IDs?

I recently heard on the radio that Israel’s national airline is one of the safest to fly. It doesn’t mess around with measuring the volume of shampoo bottles. They have a more effective system for ferreting out potential terrorists. A system that focuses on real factors that impact air safety, instead of being “fair” by searching grandmothers. A system that doesn’t require every traveler to remove his or her belt and shoes. So this I also believe: The TSA should talk to the person in charge of Israeli airport security. If they don’t, some day, don’t be surprised if the America flying public rises up as one and refuses, en mass, to remove the change from our pockets, surrender our shoes, and give up that latte we bought in the terminal.