I must say that this whole TSA firestorm is interesting to me, I did not expect this at all and I find it refreshing to see Americans talking openly (and loudly) about the intrusiveness of government. Personally I fly a lot, and I find the TSA employees at times to be aggravating. To be fair, I think the attitude of your first-line TSA employee to be a direct reflection of their management. I have been in airports where they have been very respectful, professional and pleasant to deal with. At others (Las Vegas for example) the TSA employees were rude and and took obvious pleasure in exercising their petty power games on the passengers. But this is the nature of government employees, some will be good and some will be bad–and you, the average citizen, will just have to shut your cake-hole and deal with it. They are the government (just look at them, they have uniforms and everything!), they are in control, and you must bow your head, avert your eyes and comply. Because it is what’s best for you.
At one airport they had little posters with the pictures of their TSA “agents” on them with brief biographies showing just how professional they are. An extremely large number of them are former “security officers,” which is the industry code word for security guard or rent-a-cop. You know, those police wannabes that always wanted to be cops, but couldn’t quite cut the mustard. Yeah, those guys. Think I’m being rough on “security officers?” Trust me, I’m being generous. So now we’ve got armies of these people working at airports reveling in the power and inflicting petty torments on the average traveler.
There are renewed calls out there for dismantling the TSA. I would tend to agree with this position, but it is clear that the need for security will not go away and that the TSA mouthbreathers will only be replaced with private security companies… employing the same exact people. You’ll replace your government TSA “agents” with private “security officers.” We will still be stuck with armies of mall ninjas at the airports wearing their little uniforms sporting those sweet badges (just like real cops!), and frisking our senior citizens and tweeners. But not chicks wearing burkhas, because that would be racist profiling and insensitive to their religious beliefs. Or something.
So what’s a freedom-loving American to do? Drive everywhere? I say bust out the Gadsden Flags and exercise some liberty. This is America after all. We need to let people with legal concealed carry permits to fly with their guns. They let federal law enforcement officers do it (not just air marshals by the way), so why not let the citizenry do it? Armed passengers on flights will be a hell of a deterrent to terrorists.
Some would say that there is a danger of a negligent discharge punching a hole through the skin of an aircraft and it falling out of the sky due to the violent decompression. That however, is an urban legend and total crap. Airliners today are already leaky buggers and a hole in the skin will do little or nothing to the airplane’s ability to fly.
People carry concealed firearms in most states every day and it has had a proven deterrent effect on crime. It will have the same effect to would-be terrorists.
I still believe that we need to have security at airports. Concealed handguns won’t prevent bombs from getting smuggled on a plane so we still need a certain level of screening. But I think we can considerably scale down the system that is currently in place and put all these federal employees back into the private sector where they can actually produce something other than headaches for innocent air travelers.
Just a thought anyway.