The TSA’s Knee-Jerk Reactionary Approach To Security
Just as America has seen the federal government expand its reach beyond constitutional and even rational limits within the last two years, so now do they see the Transporation Security Administration (TSA) entering into the realm of violating personal freedoms. With the advent of several attempts within the past three years to detonate a device on board an airplane over U.S. soil, the TSA has reacted in a hyper knee-jerk fashion to maintain security in the air. The manner in which they have reacted, however, is what has now become a problem that some have equated to bordering on slavery.
In the recent past, we have seen true haters of America devise a variety of plans to smuggle the components necessary to create a detonation past airport security and onto an airplane. They rigged their shoes, stuffed things into their underwear, and re-engineered printer toner cartridges. These innovations prompted the TSA to implement a whole host of bans and procedures, most of them designed specifically around the creativity that potential murderers showed. For example, travelers can no longer carry any substantial amounts of liquids on board; they must remove their shoes and pass them through the x-ray machines; and recently, the TSA has spent 25 million dollars of stimulus money to implement machines that can “check out” passengers in the buff, just to make sure they aren’t wearing explosive diapers.
This last implementation has also become the last straw and the undeniable fact that the TSA is headed down the wrong path to accomplishing its mission. Following their historical approach to security revisions, the first time a terrorist attempts to carry on a Silly Putty bomb hidden inside their rectum the TSA will then implement mandatory cavity searches for most passengers. The very idea is absurd and obviously does not address the real issue, and even the recent implementation of body scanners is proof positive that Janet Napolitano and the TSA are not thinking clearly.
TSA’s Donut Hole
For fun, I spent a few minutes thinking of ways that I could, if I wished, smuggle the necessary components for an explosive device onto a plane. Within ten minutes I came up with three ideas that could easily be implemented and would easily pass all of the current screening techniques, including the body scan. I won’t share the details because I don’t want to give anybody ideas to try, but let it suffice to say that they included such items as keychains, ink pens, swiss cheese, PSPs, and Bubblicious. I could literally come up with creative ways to disguise these components all day long, as I am certain real terrorists can and do. What is the TSA going to do, continue adding items to their list of contraband until eventually we must all fly in the nude carrying nothing on board with us? There is a better, more effective answer: Implement profiling.
Profiling: What’s Right With It
Though profiling has the immediate connotation of using one’s race as the factor by which to judge them, race would actually be only one minor facet of a person that could help determine their proclivity toward terrorism. More vital would be travel history, background checks, profession, income, known associate networks, family history, and any content on the internet authored by that person. Terrorists do have common denominators, and most of those factors have nothing to do with ethnicity. Knowing who the potential terrorists on a passenger list are would not be so difficult to discern, as the personality and mindset of a person are revealed and visible by combining all of the demographic and sociographic data available for that individual. Marketing companies have been doing that very thing for decades, and with great success, yet one never hears protests over the assimilation of demographic data for the purpose of profiling with intent to sell products. Profiling with intent to save lives makes even more sense.
The Correct Approach: Privatization and Profiling
Like most endeavors taken on by the federal government, the TSA is a bloated, inefficient, illogical organization that is more of a hindrance to air security than a help. Taking the shotgun approach as TSA has done only serves to inflate the true cost of airport security and little by little encroach upon the individual freedoms all citizens are entitled to. The TSA’s role in air travel should be minimized down to one of oversight and assistance only, while the individual airlines should shoulder the responsibility for funding their own flight security. A common standard profiling protocol should be followed among all airlines, as well as the maintenance of a common live passenger activity database. Privatizing air security and advocating the use of profiling as a means of narrowing the search for potential insecurities would ensure that only the best security companies are in place and that our individual freedoms would be intact as well. In this author’s opinion, reducing the government’s role in the equation and using facts, algorithms, science, and human intellect to evaluate passenger profiles makes a lot more sense than the TSA’s current approach, and would prove to be a more highly effective and efficient means of securing air travel for all.