Thursday, April 10, 2008
I just flew in from out of town, and boy, are my arms tired.
I’m exhausted, but finally home today, after spending hours in airports and traveling in what used to be the friendly skies.
After 9/11 we felt violated and shocked when we had to take our shoes off as part of the routine security check in airports. After a few years of that, we’ve grown accustomed to being considered terrorists by our own Transportation Security Administration as we strip belts and necklaces off our bodies and pull loose change from our pockets to pass through the gate. A small price to pay for security?
Several things happened in aviation news today while I was busy paying for overpriced airport food and putting my seat and tray back in their upright positions. The TSA actually arrested some ding dong at a Florida airport who was trying to check luggage containing pipe bomb-making materials onto a flight. He said he wanted to show his friends at home how to make a pipe bomb. Behavior detection officers noticed his suspicious actions and pulled his luggage aside for inspection. http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/florida/news-article.aspx?storyid=106142
We can’t even get more than 3 ounces of our favorite shampoo or soda past the security checkpoint and this guy thought he could slip a little nitromethane into two vodka bottles in his bag without anyone noticing? Nice try. Despite how much we complain about our government and discuss its many flaws, let’s give a round of applause for a security system that has averted more disasters than we even know.
Remember the eight men who were plotting to blow up some airplanes flying from England to the United States during the summer of 2006? They admitted in court today that they were hoping to inflict “heavy casualties” and kill “an unwitting civilian population” in the name of Islam. Lovely. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/apr/03/plane.plot?gusrc=rss&feed=worldnews
United Airlines cancelled 38 flights today after disclosing to the Federal Aviation Administration that it did not comply with certain inspection regulations. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/02/BU56VUPJP.DTL I also learned that the airline I flew on today faces an FAA fine of up to $10.2 million for knowingly operating aircraft that were not in compliance. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/DN-southwest_07bus.ART.State.Edition2.1d31ae1.html Yikes.
Passengers traveling through parts of Raleigh-Durham International Airport will now be divided into a series of lanes as they go through airport security, designating themselves as “expert”, “casual” or “special needs” in an effort to streamline the process. http://www.wbt.com/news/details-print.cfm;jsessionid=2a30c66541dcc73d0052551a69a724569315?article_id=36380 While in Denver two weeks ago I noticed that for a price I could be pre-screened and move quickly through a special lane of travelers. Interesting.
We live in a different world today. We walk a fine line between giving up our precious freedoms knowingly for the sake of security and handing over our rights on a silver platter to a government who is more than happy to control more and more of our lives. I agree with Chris’ latest blog http://www.kpbs.org/blogs2/index.php/citizenvoices/comments/time_for_war_on_the_war_on_terror/
and share his anger about Bush’s power grab. While we leisurely are enjoying our inflight movies, this administration has been signing away our liberties. Double yikes.