What Next for Flyers, Underwear Checks?

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The latest
terrorist assault on air travel again shows the futility and incompetence
of most government security measures to protect the flying public. 
The TSA initial reaction has been to ban going to the WC for
the last hour of flying time because this is when the alleged terrorist
went to the bathroom and prepared his low-tech firecracker bomb. 
So, what does this really mean as a deterrent?  What a joke,
the terrorist simply goes to the WC 1:15 minutes earlier to do the
dirty deed.

Once again,
as with the shoe bomber, airline passengers in reality are the best
defense against terror attacks, not overpaid airport and homeland
security personnel going through the motions and watching the clock
until their shift is over. I fear most airline security is simply
a government make-work project designed to reduce public fears
of flying rather than safeguard the passengers. This became very
clear to me in a recent trip to Vancouver, BC.

First, I always
fly with a carry-on because I dress casual when flying and have
temporarily lost too many bags when I needed to be dressed for an
event or business meeting. Second, once home from a trip I never
think about my bag until the hour before I leave when I always find
myself in a mad scramble to get packed as my wife looks on and says,
“I told you to do this ahead of time."

Anyway to set
the stage, I had flown numerous times nationally and internationally
in the 5 months since my daughter had been to summer camp when she
had used my bag. Going through airport screening and x-ray maybe
5 trips later coming back through Seattle, the security woman pulled
me aside and said quite politely, “sir, I need to go through your
bag."  I have learned to relax and maintain a Zen-like “visit
to the post office mentality” in airports because being in a hurry
or protests are useless at best and can be counter-productive in
post 9/11 America.


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So I stood
there, as she diligently searched my bag, not finding anything,
running it back through the x-ray several times turning up nothing
as I stood their stoically smirking at the waste of time. I answered,
“of course not” when she asked about electronics, knives in my bag,
after all, I thought, I’m not stupid enough to take a knife on a
plane today.

At times like
this, I always wish I had the guts pre-9/11 when one could get away
with saying what you really thought in Customs, like Doug Casey
and ask the bag searcher, “so when did you decide to spend your
life going through other peoples dirty underwear?” But as usual,
common sense and my wife prevailed and I was polite and quite amazed
at her unusual work ethic for a government employee.

Finally, after
a few minutes that seemed like forever in the line, she pulled a
Swiss army knife out of my bag. Sir, this is the problem, why is
a knife in your bag? Heck, I didn’t know but Tami said, “Our daughter
took it to summer camp back in June.” Great I was off hook and not
a terror suspect.  Sir, would you like to go back through the
line and check it or should I dispose of it? I apologized and told
her to enjoy the knife and rushed to catch my flight.

It wasn’t until
later on the flight as I was thinking back on the incident, thankful
I had been polite to the TSA person that I realized two things.
First, through all my flying, I had finally discovered a pleasant,
competent Transportation Security Administration agent and second,
how many incompetent scanners and security checkpoints I had been
through and no one had caught the rather large Swiss army knife
apparently lodged in the corner of a difficult to see in screening
bag pocket. It made me wonder if they missed this on numerous occasions,
what else do they miss with the millions of airline travelers each

So will underwear
checks and anal scans be next for air travelers as the cozy, incestuous
private security industry and government relationship grows ever
more powerful and profitable for those involved? I hope not because
their failures just seem to mean more business for both the government
and security industries all at the expense of our freedoms, civil
liberties and real airline safety.

If we want to
end the terror risk, most of which is targeted at Americans, maybe
it is time to look at the failed American Middle East policy which
is the fertilizer that fuels the growth of Islamic radicalization
and terror movements around the world. This would safeguard our
few remaining liberties at home and make the world a safer place
for all concerned.

This is Ron
Holland as disgusted and uncomfortable at our identical two-party
foreign policy and political elites as the threat of future evasive
underwear checks and anal scans. In both cases we are getting raped
by a government in the name of security. It is time for peaceful
nullification, secession and political change now because delay
could be fatal to our liberties.

28, 2009

Holland [send him
] works
in Zurich and is a co-editor of the Swiss
Mountain Vision Newsletter

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