December 29, 2009

They Win Again



I usually steer clear of political "hot potatoes" in this blog... but the latest decision by the TSA to change the airplane safety rules as a knee-jerk reaction to one terrorist incident would be comical if it wasn't so serious of an ill-conceived preventive plan.

Let's see. Terrorist tries to blow up plane with "shoe bomb" and the response is to make all passengers take off their shoes for the screening process. Better to simply come up with a more accurate way to detect explosives, but at least in the grand scheme of things, it makes some sense to take this angle until better methods to accomplish that goal are achieved.

Next, terrorist attempts to blow up plane using explosives sewn into his pants. The response? Obviously, make all passengers take off their pants for the screening process, right? No? Oh, I see... make it so nobody can stand up, listen to music, or have plane-issued pillows in their laps for the final hour of the flight?

That makes sense how exactly?

Let's look at this the simplest way. If someone is depraved enough to be a terrorist and somehow manages to get their explosives past security and on to the plane... is a directive saying to "please keep your hands in your laps" going to stop them? Or are they still just as likely to ignore the flight staff saying, "Sir, please sit back down and place that lit stick of dynamite in the overhead storage compartment."

Restriction upon restriction is simply not the answer. The only surefire way to prevent a terrorist from blowing up a plane in flight is to reason that since a plane has to be in the air to be blown up in flight, we'll simply forbid planes from taking off.

Where does that get us?

Even if the TSA decided that in order to prevent any smuggling of explosives on board, all passengers will henceforth fly without any carry-on baggage - and in the nude... motivated terrorists will still try to find some way to carry out their nefarious deeds - and in the process, the airline industry would likely lose nearly all of its business.

Life has risks, especially in the era of terrorism. But just as not allowing trench coats and heavy metal CDs in schools post-Columbine was not the answer to eliminating violence in that venue, neither is punishing 99.9 percent of airline passengers for the actions of one crazy individual. A) It doesn't accomplish the goal of preventing/eliminating terrorism and B) it restricts our individual freedoms even further, which at the end of day is the ultimate goal of the terrorists, isn't it?

Getting off the soap box now. Please return your tray tables and seats to their upright position since that will clearly prevent any planes from ever crashing.

Sigh.

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