What if an airline offered flights for which there would be no security checks? “Fly with us and take your chances.” Do you suppose many passengers would select them? I wondered about that recently when Sen. Rand Paul refused a TSA pat down at an airport.
He had already let the TSA guys X-ray his bod. It was their pat down he refused. You know he is not alone. Thousands feel humiliated by the grabs and gropes and strokes. Apart from a few perverts, most folks are never going to fall in love with crotch-checking and boob prodding.
The whole airline security thing presents us with a quandary. On one hand, government wants to protect travelers. Or wants to look like they protect them. On the other hand, what they do is often stupid. And would hardly protect people from a determined terrorist.
Here is an example of the stupidity. What weapons did the goons use to gain control of the planes they crashed into the Twin Trade Towers? Box cutters with razor blades.
Do you suppose you could carry the parts to a similar weapon on board today? Of course you can. Razor blades are not prohibited. There they are in an old fashioned Gillette in my toilet kit.
Up in first class your drinks come in glasses. Thick glasses. With a little training you could cut or break one into razor sharp pieces. With a small holder you could fashion a weapon more lethal than a box cutter.
You could do the same with lenses in your glasses. Lenses you sharpened and fit into frames that snap apart. Into weapons that expose the razor-edged lenses.
You don’t have to be too smart to dream up such simple ways to craft dozens of weapons. Ahhh, but these days the doors to the cockpit will keep out any terrorists. Do you believe that? Do you believe the TSA will detect a thin sheet of explosives that will blast open such doors? Tell me another.
There are many substances you can bring aboard in full view that you can mix to create an explosive. A team of terrorists could each bring the odd part of a bomb aboard. In the air they could assemble them. Voila, kaboom!
Government frets that terrorists could blow up 300 people in an airplane. Fair enough. Yet subway cars carry hundreds. You can roll your suitcase packed with nitro onto a subway tomorrow. Nobody will check you out.
You can do the same on an Amtrak train.
How about a ship? Last I knew, nobody was going through luggage you take on your Caribbean cruise. Lots of possibilities for bumping off thousands on a cruise ship. It would not take much thinking to sink the Staten Island Ferry.
What is my point? It is that Rand Paul has got a point. When he says that TSA pat downs are invasive and insulting. Especially to grannies in nappies and kiddies off to Disneyland. My point is that anyone who reckons the TSA activities probably make nobody safer is probably right. My point is that there are too many opportunities out there for terrorists to slaughter hundreds, if not thousands. If goons are determined to waste a bunch of us, they will succeed.
And my point is that government leaders look sensible when they concoct such activities as those of the TSA.
My point is that this quandary costs us hundreds of millions of bucks a year. And we have little to show for it. Except long lines, delays, inconvenience, embarrassment and humiliation.
My final point is that we are lucky so few fanatics try to bump off a bunch of us. A few, armed with modest intelligence, could do it.
From Tom ... as in Morgan.
For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows and new TV shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.