Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy (?) Thanksgiving!

If you are reading this Wednesday morning, my daughter is somewhere between New York’s LaGuardia airport and our south-suburban Madison home. That’s NOT her in the photo from CBS news, above. Odds are she’ll have gone through one of the new x-ray machines and will not have been subjected to the horrible indignity of an “enhanced pat-down.”

The way I interpret it, security experts world-wide agree with Bruce Schneier’s assessment that two things, and only two things, have boosted airline passenger security in the United States since the 9-11-01 attacks: securing the cockpit door, and convincing passengers they need to fight back.

The aggressive frisking of children at airports, forcing a breast cancer survivor to remove her prosthetic breasts, and the scores of other over-the-top mindless things being done at airports today by the TSA has divided us into two distinct camps: one, which would fit in nicely with a certain group of National Socialists in Europe in the ‘30’s and ‘40’s which feels “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”; and another which is growing increasingly disgusted with the rapidly escalating shredding of our rights as a free people in a Constitutionally-created Federal Republic.

There is absolutely nothing rational about forcing us to carry only tiny containers of mouthwash and shampoo, or taking our shoes off, or checking our underwear. None of that stuff reassures us that the government is “really trying” to keep the bad actors from blowing up our airplanes.

As Seth Godin says, flying to and from domestic locations is safe. Like driving, it’s not perfect, and if somebody is crazy enough to hurt or kill themself or spend the rest of their life in prison, we’re not going to stop them, and even if we did, they’d take to railroad stations, subways, sporting events, or concerts.

As a lot of folks have said, the terrorists have already won, turning us into a “security society” instead of a free people.

I hope your family members who’ve had to travel via commercial air to join your family’s Thanksgiving celebration got there in one piece…with some of their dignity intact…and with plenty of room for second helpings.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving!!

    My #3 kid was backscattered while departing Philly. He reports that there was no giggling audible.

  2. Dad29 -

    Just got back from lunch (in Madistan) with daughter Mallory, who reports NO issues at LaGuardia when she departed at 5:50 AM. NO backscattering, no groping...just asked her for ID twice - once in line at the ticket counter, once in line to board the plane.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!