Posted by: spacewritinguy | November 20, 2007

“You Must Federalize”

No, I am not stupid enough to buy these luggage tags, but lawdy, I’m tempted. I get a lot of fuel for my fire from Mike Boyd’s Aviation Now blog, but I have my own personal reflections on and experiences with the 60,000-strong batch of federal employees called the Transportation Security Agency.

Do I believe that terrorists dwell and lurk among us? Certainly. Do I think that treating every American citizen as a criminal, subject to pat-downs and searches of personal property? No. We could “profile” Middle Eastern males between the ages of 25 and 44 but that’d be mean. Fine. Let’s take race out of it. We could profile based on behavior. There are some technologies out there that can detect an individual’s intent to harm. All that’s required is a skilled and well trained investigator.

There are things that can and should be done, like doing background checks on airport personnel and beefing up security on sensitive areas, like fuel farms and theoretically secure parts of airports. But no, it’s much more important to pat down the little ol’ white lady from Ohio to show that we’re being fair to everybody. Meanwhile, odds are good that federal employees will go out of their way to make sure that their “random” checks avoid the target profiles (or suspiciously behaving individuals) to avoid a federal discrimination lawsuit. But I feel safer. Oh yeah, sure, you betcha.

Do you suppose terrorists would think twice about seizing an aircraft if anyone, not just the federal marshalls, might be armed?

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