Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport planned to give 11 boxes of surrendered items to the city’s human services department, which will give the unopened bottles of shampoo, toothpaste and other items to homeless shelters, airport spokeswoman Lexie Van Haren said.
I can understand that TSA security screeners are just doing their job, which apparently involves helping Republicans ratchet up the fear of random, widespread terrorist attacks. Even so, this latest round of silliness is almost beyond comprehension. Where is the sense in preventing little old ladies from taking a bottle of hand lotion onto a plane? Or in preventing a businessman from carrying on a cup of coffee? Why are the efforts to increase security focused more on suspicious substances than suspicious people? Is hair gel or a cappucino REALLY the threat here? Or is there something else going on? And why are increased security measures almost invariably reactive?
At this point, I suppose we should all be grateful that shoe bomber Richard Reid didn’t smuggle his explosives on the plane in his jockstrap. Lord only knows what security would be like now if that had been the case. All lame attempts at humor aside, though, this really is not a laughing matter. The more intrusive and invasive security becomes, the more it seems that too much attention is focused on the gun and too little on the finger hovering over the trigger. The problem is not shaving cream, hair gel, hand lotion, or a double cappucino. The problem is the people who would use these items for nefarious purposes.
If the problem was in the potential use of liquids to assist in creating a bomb, and if these items are seen as such threats, then why is Sky Harbor looking to give these items to the homeless? Is security really increased by confiscating liquids and gels at security checkpoints, or is this really just a nefarious Socialist plot to redistribute wealth…or at least hair gel? We don’t want to see the flying public blown up…but it’s OK to blow up the homeless? Somewhere, Robert Novak is smiling….
Clearly, we’ve almost reached the point of maximum absurdity. How much longer before we’re all marching through security checkpoints buck naked? That may sound silly, but I’m dead serious. How long before the intrusiveness and invasion of privacy is complete and our loss of dignity is total? And do you know what the saddest thing about that is? It will do NOTHING to make us safer from the threat of terrorism…though it may provide some titillation for TSA screeners.
Until and unless TSA and Homeland Security devise methods for protecting the flying public from terrorists instead of Mocha Frappucinos, all of this intrusiveness is merely so much smoke and mirrors- window dressing to make us FEEL safe while doing NOTHING to actually increase security. Don’t get me wrong; I want to be able to fly as safely as the next person. The problem with the current system is that it’s designed to deal with threats AFTER they’re identified. It’s designed to primarily make the flying public FEEL safe, as if invading our privacy and insulting our dignity will make a terrorist attack less likely. What we have now is a joke, a system designed to induce the feeling of security by creating maximum inconvenience and discomfort.
WE DESERVE BETTER.