What is Terrorism? The use of violence or fear to elicit a desired response.
I well remember the morning of September 11th, 2001. I was on my way to Kenner’s Kolache Shop in Arlington, TX to get some kolaches for breakfast. I remember getting angry as I was driving there because there was no music playing on the radio. When I got there, everyone was just standing staring at the TV. I asked what was happening, looked up at the TV and saw a plane hit the towers, and that was that. Our nation has never been the same.
8 years later, we are, as a nation, still feeling the effects of that terrorist attack. We are still living in fear. Our Government is still trying to present us with the illusion that we are safe.
Well, we aren’t safe. Obviously.
Yesterday the news was filled with reports about a bombing attempt gone wrong on Northwest Flight 253, as it was landing in Detroit. It was reportedly carried out by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man claiming ties to al Qaeda. He somehow managed to get his explosive components onto his flight, despite the TSA and supposedly tighter than ever airline security.
I remember clearly the changes made to airport security starting right after 9/11, and each escalation of the security measures that has occurred since. And I’ve been saying the whole time…what a joke! TSA causes headaches and delays, but they are hardly preventing anything.
The terrorists responsible for 9/11 carried out their attacks with box cutters! Not bombs, not guns…cutting instruments.
So much of what the TSA does is simply to provide the illusion of security. Sure, their equipment is sophisticated, and prevents most explosives and firearms from making it onto airplanes…but what about cutting or stabbing instruments?
Sure, they have metal detectors, but that is the biggest joke of all! What about a pen? A pencil? A ceramic blade? Hell, anyone could take a sheet of acrylic plastic, cut out a blade, and sharpen it to a razor edge. Abracadabra, a machete that will walk through a metal detector.
Oh, but what about the Sky Marshals? They’ll get em!
Alas, there are too many flights and too few Sky Marshals. Sure, a terrorist would be taking a chance, but even then, spotting a vigilant law enforcement official isn’t hard for someone with training. Simply by trying to do their jobs the Sky Marshals give themselves away. The terrorist has the advantage of time, patience, and numbers.
The TSA is staffed with overworked and underpaid employees, who receive a modicum of training. They are hardly an effective deterrent to a committed terrorist. Clearly evidenced by what we saw yesterday with Flight 253. My dad worked in law enforcement for almost the whole of his life, and even he laughs at the TSA.
Now, the technology exists to make the TSA much more effective, but privacy advocates are fighting tooth and nail to prevent them from making use of the very technology that could take airport security from a global joke to a lean mean terrorist fighting machine.
No offense, but to hell with privacy advocates. I have nothing to hide, and I’d rather have less privacy and more real security than more privacy and some crappy illusion of security. So bring on the full body scanners and the databases of facial vein patterns. Hire experts to work airport security instead of former fast-food employees on power trips. Bring back the list of pre-screened individuals and biometric security scanners.
Until we are willing to make some real sacrifices for security, the TSA and airport security will continue to be a joke, and our nation and our people will continue to be the victims of terrorism, at the mercy of people like Bin Laden and Umar Farouk.