Today, while passing through the security checkpoint at Portland International (PDX) I witnessed the TSA personnel sending people to the back of the line for not taking off their flip-flops. They shouted endlessly about removing liquids, regardless of size. And they generally treat every one of us like we were infants incapable of understanding simple instructions.
But perhaps they might be on to something.
You see, we suffer through these hurdles each and every time we fly. Ridiculous attempts to make the general populace feel safer. However, reality speaks in a different voice.
While the TSA is rapaciously taking liquids out of our luggage - they are missing real weapons, like 4 inch locking blade knives. But hey, you might say - it was a one time occurrence... Or you might think that silly fellow was making it all up. Well then how would you explain other news reports? When security testers are able to sneak BOMBS through the TSA checkpoints, how then are we any safer without breast-milk or perfume? Perhaps every American should watch this documentary on TSA training. It is a real eye opener.
So why are we sheeple allowing this to happen? Why - to save us from the big bad boogeyman, err - I mean terrorist.
But really, what is the risk? More people die each day from medical mal-practice than die in terrorism attacks in the entire year. Heck, more people die from falling down stairs than do in terrorist attacks. OK, so lets just look at one BIG terrorist attack.
September 11, 2001. The attacks on the United States in New York and Washington D.C. I am sure you have heard of them. On that terrible day there were 2999 people were killed or have gone missing as a direct result of those attacks. Terrible, without doubt. And on that day airport security changed forever.
In fact, sitting here in August 2007 there is still a message played repeatedly over the PA system at PDX: "Due to increased security measures, only passengers with tickets or boarding passes will be allowed beyond security checkpoints". Hmm, I am wondering - how long are those "increased" security measures. I would think that after more than 5 years of the "increased" security measures that they would become "standard" security measures. But what has the "increase" in security measures and subsequent "increase" in traveling difficulty and hassle bought us?
Every year in the United States nearly 40,000 people are killed by cars. That is FORTY THOUSAND people in auto related fatalities EACH YEAR. Or, in other terms, more than 10 times as many people than were killed on September 11, 2001 due to terrorist activities. And each year, about 6000 of those were NON-MOTORIST, meaning pedestrians and cyclists and the like. So every year cars and their drivers kill twice as many innocent people as the terrorists on September 11.
Each and every year.
Yet where are our increased security measures for drivers? Why don't we do frequent testing of drivers? Why is driving still considered a "right" and not a "privilege"? Why do we have to turn over our water bottles at Airport Security yet drivers with suspended licenses keep on driving and killing people?
So perhaps people in America are infants who are incapable of following instructions, because the evidence clearly shows that Americans are incapable of grasping the facts about where the REAL risks in their lives are coming from. But it is much more convenient to sit at home watching the idiot box and the media talking about big bad evil terrorists - than it is to rearrange and re-plan our lifestyles to make us less dependent on cars, or to make car ownership and driving a difficult privilege to get and keep.
Some day America will have to wake up and see that cars can and do kill.