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Fly the Friendly Skies?

Several things have been happening in aviation news 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 last week 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. We can't even get more than 3 ounces of our favorite shampoo or soda past the security check-point 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 last Thursday that they were hoping to inflict & ldquo;heavy casualties & rdquo; and kill & ldquo;an unwitting civilian population & rdquo; in the name of Islam. Lovely.

United Airlines cancelled 41 flights after disclosing to the Federal Aviation Administration that it did not comply with certain inspection regulations. I also learned that the airline I flew on & faces an FAA fine of up to $10.2 million for knowingly operating aircraft that were not in compliance with safety regulations. & Yikes.

Flyers have spent the last week facing cancelations as American Airlines now joins the nation's carriers which have been warned about safety violations. American Airlines canceled more than 900 flights Thursday to fix faulty wiring in hundreds of jets, marking the third straight day of mass groundings. Would you rather take your chances on a questionable airplane or prefer your flight be canceled?

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 & ldquo;expert & rdquo;, & ldquo;casual & rdquo; or & ldquo;special needs & rdquo; in an effort to streamline the process. & 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 and share his anger about Bush's power grab. While we leisurely are enjoying our in-flight movies, this administration has been signing away our liberties. Double yikes.

- Citizen Voices blogger Trina Boice is an author and mother of four who lives in Carlsbad. &

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