(Fred Weinberg) – If you follow the news (and since you’re reading this I’m guessing you do) you probably saw a piece of video from Chicago’s Midway Airport with a two-hour long line just to get to the TSA guy who is checking IDs.
It happens our company has in its portfolio WCGO (1590 on your radio dial) in Chicago and I make at least two trips a month through Midway and back.
Last week, after the big video day, I had to fly out of Midway on a Friday night.
What I saw was interesting.
It appears they got the times back down to tolerable levels but I also noticed that the blue shirts were palpably nasty to the travelers. The young lady by the metal detector in the pre-check lane was barking and snapping like an ill-trained pit bull. (It happens we own two very well-trained pit bulls, so I know the difference.)
That sort of behavior doesn’t make anybody more secure but it does serve to piss off the taxpayers who fund this sort of crap.
The truth is that the TSA isn’t there to stop terrorism (except, maybe by accident). It’s there to make the taxpayers THINK that they are safe. In short, the TSA is eye candy for the traveling public and a government employment program on our nickel.
I’m sure the average TSA employee actually thinks they are doing the Lord’s work, but anybody who understands security knows that by teaching the average passenger the concept of situational awareness you could do much more to secure the cabins of our commercial aircraft.
The problem is that the bureaucrats who have been tasked with our safety, have no regard for the native intelligence of the flight crews and the passengers on the planes.
Their attitude is that we’re all sheep, useless in a crisis, and need to be herded.
Which is why their little unionized organization is such a failure.
The TSA suffers from the same disease that afflicts the politicians and the media. They actually think they are smarter than the rest of us — the great unwashed masses.
My experience is that these are the same people who want to keep us safe by shaking down grandmothers in wheelchairs but not profiling middle eastern males because that would be profiling and thus insensitive. (As a favorite comedian, Ron White, says, “If you want to travel in a turban, make it a John Deere turban… we’re a little on edge.”)
There is a serious question of whether or not the TSA as constituted today would have stopped the 19 hijackers on 9-11-2001.
What allowed the hijackers to be successful back then in the first three planes was that in 2001, hijacking rarely ever caused any injury to the passengers of the planes which were hijacked. They went to Cuba or wherever landed, the hijacker sought asylum, and the passengers flew back home.
Suicide hijackers were an unknown phenomena.
It took the passengers on the fourth plane to hear about what had happened to the first three planes to get the new threat and react.
That happened then because of cellular and airphone connections available back in the days of analog cell phones and the nearly prehistoric GTE airphone which cost $1.99 a minute. (Today, many planes have wifi and the ability to send and receive text messages to or from any iPhone.)
Once passengers on flight 93 came to the conclusion that there wasn’t likely to be a happy ending, they took things into their own hands. True, they didn’t survive, but the plane flew into the ground, not whatever destination the radical Islamic hijackers had in mind.
If you fly as much as I do, you’ll find that the bulk of the passengers on the plane with you are people you would be proud to call your fellow citizens and most would do whatever they are called to do in an emergency to keep us safe. America is a nation of heroes just waiting to be called upon.
These aren’t people to be pushed around. They are people to be cultivated.
When the bureaucracy figures out that the people it is barking at like poorly trained pit bulls are actually its biggest assets in keeping us safe, we probably won’t need about two-thirds of them.
That’s why it won’t happen — at least before a new President is in place.
Mr. Weinberg is publisher of the Penny Press. Get to know more about him by visiting www.PennyPressNV.com.