(Fred Weinberg) – A day before the eighth anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on New York and Washington, I wrote that the Travel Security Administration was “ineffective eye candy in the public relations war against terrorism.”
Now, they are not only that but sex offenders as well.
You read that right.
If I were to walk up to a woman or a man at McCarran Field and do what the TSA calls a “pat down” the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department could rightfully arrest me and charge me with sexual assault.
Make no mistake. This isn’t a political argument. This has nothing to do with Barack Obama or George W. Bush’s politics.
It’s about people masquerading as security professionals who have finally and completely stepped over a line drawn in the sand by the American people.
The facts are simple.
Most of our problems in the area of airline security come from outside the United States through airports where a guy whose father told the CIA he intended to commit a terrorist act can get on a plane with a bomb in his underwear after having paid for his ticket to Detroit in cash, change planes in Amsterdam and set himself on fire as his Northwest Airlines flight is landing.
Is there anything there which says we need to commit a sexual battery at Denver? Or Phoenix?
No, the lesson there is to control what comes into the United States or don’t allow any flights from those airports.
We’re worried about two inch Leatherman tools here and belts and water bottles. And shoes. And, for that matter, a law abiding citizen’s ability to defend himself against a hijacker/terrorist.
The fact is that the flying public will never allow another plane to be hijacked in America again. And we could do that more effectively if they would stop trying to completely disarm us before we get on a plane.
Our problem is the mentality of the TSA.
They actually think if we can just make sure that every person getting on a plane can’t cause any damage everything will be OK. The truth is they couldn’t find a bomb if it looked like one and was labeled “bomb” on the crate.
Here’s an idea.
Why not enlist the flying public in the effort to make traveling safe?
I’m on at least 120 flights a year and I know many regulars on those flights. Why not pre-clear us and get us to help as opposed to treating us as potential terrorists?
The reason, of course, is that there’s not enough brain power in the Homeland Security department—and I mean from the top down—to think that clearly.
Yet I can guarantee you that when it does hit the fan, it will come because of a glaring mistake made by one of Janet Napolitano’s troops and that if the incident is survivable it will be because of a bunch of passengers who say, in the spirit of the late Todd Beamer, “Let’s Roll.”
The thing that irritates me the most is the complete silence on the part of otherwise sane airline executives like Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest Airlines.
How in the world can you see your customers being sexually assaulted—that’s the best description I can think of—and keep quiet? Where are former Southwest CEO Herb Kelleher and former American CEO Bob Crandall, the elder statesmen of the industry?
All it would take to stop this nonsense is some targeted outrage from those guys.
Their customers would be grateful and their business would improve. One appearance by any of the aforementioned gentlemen on Bill O’Reilly’s show will force Congress to take immediate action.
They should all remember that he who is willing to trade liberty for security gets neither.
(Mr. Weinberg pubishes the Penny Press in Nevada)