Since this is the only thing in the news I can’t avoid putting my 2 cents in…and of course I mean the discussion about those over intrusive perverts at the TSA.
1. I would like to begin with asking everyone to pray that this story disappears after Thanksgiving.
2. What law should Congress pass about this little array of insanity? Hmmm. Let’s see. We are currently in a system where any idiot with a GED gets to either look at what are essentially naked pictures of us or fondle us. And this include nuns, 90 year old grandmas, toddlers, frequent business filers, and just about anyone else no security person would even consider a threat…and I bet you we will still have people get through. With their current beliefs of looking for what people are carrying, the sadly logical conclusion to the TSA is that by next year we’ll all be undergoing full body cavity searches. You know how pedophiles used to gravitate to the clergy because it offered them cover…I wonder what’s going to happen among the ranks of the TSA.
Let’s be honest here all a terrorist would have to do is… [I got about five sentences into that thought before I decided it was best not to give them ideas…that seems to be Tom Clancy’s job]…suffice to say that we should be very grateful that the kind of person who volunteers for a suicide job is probably also not also enrolled in MENSA–but then again neither is anyone employed by the TSA. In the end we are relying more on luck than a system that works.
What does work? Well, that’s easy to answer, look at El Al. They go through everybody’s luggage; they interview everyone with more than basic banal list of questions you get at the check in counter. Good stringent methods. But beyond that what makes El Al efficient? They’re privatized. That’s right, while the federal government should be setting standards, they should also get rid of the TSA and let private companies bid for this right. It would cost less and be more efficient.
But more than that, what should they change in the standards? First I would suggest dogs. Apparently a good bomb sniffing dog is far more efficient than any x-ray and they can smell through most kinds of wrapping or subterfuge. But training that many dogs will take time, so in the mean time I suggest profiling.
Yes I said profiling.
I recently said that we should use profiling around a coworker and by her reaction you would have assumed I said we should douse babies in gasoline and light them. Then she said something about “so you want to pull out anyone who looks Middle Eastern.” I choose not to insult her complete lack of knowledge of modern terrorism but, we can look at how stupid this statement is. Modern terrorism is a battle with radical Islam (which is actually almost indistinguishable from mainstream Islam in most of the world). Muslims come in all shades and ethnic backgrounds, white, black, yellow, brown and all shades in between–so looking at skin color would be highly ineffective profiling. So what do I mean by profiling. Are you a male 16-45? Then you’re in the profile. (You know if you have all the other red flags despite age and gender maybe we should look at you, but otherwise I don’t think you’re going to be a major threat). Buy a one way ticket? Buy your ticket with cash? Don’t have life insurance? Make frequent trips to Islamic nations. Have unusual banks transfers? Do the FBI, CIA or other intelligence agency have active files on you? Receiving phone calls from known terrorist associates? Has the state department been warned about you? (This one could have saved us last Christmas from problems). Did you check any luggage? (Although I’ll admit with the cheap airlines charging you for this one it may be less and less of a reliable indicator). Are you in the country on an expired VISA? (This one could have saved us 9/11). You know a real profile, based on real variables. Not a stupid “uh, he looks Muslim” kind of profile. Although I’ll be honest, I’m with Juan William, if you come onto a plane with traditional Muslim garb in this climate, then really you’re trying to piss people off, and at least running you through the full body scan is more than called for.