Frisk Granny While Ignoring the Big Stuff

August 11, 2005 at 2:30pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

CNN’s recent story on cargo security at U.S. airports highlights the ridiculousness of harassing the crap out of passengers—the most common offense of whom is carrying a pocket knife or nail file—while ignoring the larger danger of unscreened cargo. Why do we so assault grandma’s dignity in search of razor blades when the real danger lies elsewhere? Two reasons. First, the TSA’s actions within airport terminals are visible. Thus, they can claim “See, we’re doing something about the terrorist threat!” Even though in reality the TSA’s largest success is as a massive jobs program. Second, there are no good or cheap ways to screen all the cargo that makes its way onto America’s airliners. Any attempted solutions using today’s infrastructure would hardly make a difference.

The United States loves to overreact to yesterday’s terrorist tactics. That’s why today you can’t take a pocket knife onto a flight or carry an unsearched bag onto a subway car. Personally, I would rather defend against today’s or tomorrow’s terrorist tactics. We can’t say we don’t know what those tactics will be. Stumped? Ask Hollywood. Or ask anybody. Terrorists aren’t likely to use any tactics that haven’t already been thought of—and warned about—by dozens of people.

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