One of the more amazing sights in these modern times can be witnessed by taking a walk through any of America’s reasonably sized airports.
Long lines of people removing belts, shoes and other articles of clothing and jewelry, preparing to be scanned by a large radiation emitting machine before they board a deregulated aircraft with a questionable maintenance schedule, flown by a possibly inebriated or at least hung over pilot, to attend a gathering of their dysfunctional family for the holidays.
This is a vision that Norman Rockwell missed and I wish that he were still alive to paint it for Hallmark. It would be my first choice as a Christmas or holiday card. I haven’t sent cards for the holidays for thirty years or so but if I could get hold of a pile of Norman Rockwell Holiday Airport Screening cards, I’d change my ways and get in the spirit of the season, such as it is.
I’m vastly amused by the fact that most of this nonsense is unnecessary, ineffective, and protects no one from the terror monsters. It achieves nothing but to further line the pockets of people who don’t have to stand naked in these lines and have their genitalia massaged by rent a cops because they fly in private jets and live in yachts in the country.
I’ve read up on the issues involved, from health concerns about the radiation emitted by the equipment to the conflicts of interest and outright corruption involved in awarding the contracts to purchase these devices. At $183 mil for the thousand ordered using federal stimulus dollars, I would say that the purpose of the program is the sale of the equipment. Period.
Like cruise missiles, drones, private security forces for diplomats and executives this is just another manifestation of the ever widening security culture we are developing. It’s as if we were building a prison in a bottle for ourselves, constructing it from the inside and being taxed to pay for the privilege of remaining safe within.
Of course we have a choice to fly or not fly and if we choose to board the winged Greyhound we have a choice between melanoma, birth defects or special welcoming attention to our collective crotches. Ah, the free market at work.
Recent polls say that 81% of our citizens welcome these programs if they “keep us safe” as if they have been fenced in the yard by doting parents.
I’m a member, of the 18% who believe that we are being taken for a ride by the airlines, the security companies, the TSA and the national security apparatchiks, literally and figuratively.
The odds against dying in an act of airborne terrorism are far greater than those against dying from a lightning strike. Amazing isn’t it that a small number of people in this world have created such turmoil and fear and incredible financial costs.
I doubt that they could have accomplished this without the valuable assistance of the lovely corporations and institutions that work so tirelessly to keep us safe.