Thursday, May 26, 2016

At Least No One Has Been Offended

When I think of how much the US has spent on "security" since the 9/11 attacks it depresses me.  Entire new bureaucracies were created to deal with the "threat" of multiple hijackings or a dirty bomb or a mass shooting at a public event.  Millions of man-hours are dedicated to screening procedures, billions were spent on new equipment and infrastructure, and everyone is inconvenienced by reduced personal liberties and invasions of our privacy.

You would think that after 15-years, we would have this "additional layers of security" thing down pat.  But instead, waits at airports are longer, the shortage of security personnel is greater and the failure rates of those on the line is growing worse.  It all leads you to wonder: Is the time and expense really worth it?

The single factor driving up the cost of security, slowing down the processes and increasing the need for staffing at all facilities is that we continue to treat every single person in this country as a potential terrorist threat.  As a TSA Pre-Check enrollee, I'm considered slightly less of a threat.  I don't have to take off my shoes or go through the full body scanner when I fly.  And why does the TSA grant me this slight restoration of my rights?  Because I paid them $85. 

But it's about time we ask why I'm even considered a "security threat" in the first place.  The same should be asked about the four kids with the Mickey Mouse ears on at the Orlando Airport, the elderly couple flying to Boca Raton and even the celebrity jetting back to LA from yet another awards show.  How do we justify the time, effort and expense put into making sure that we don't have more than five-ounces of fluids in our carry-ons?

What if the security systems we employ were downsized to handle random checks of flyers instead of each and every one of us having to go through the process.  Or better yet, what if we were honest about who poses the greatest terrorist threat: Saudi, Somali, Pakistani, Afghan and Yemeni nationals.  You know, the men that have actually been involved in terrorist attacks not only here but around the world.

The long lines, the billions of dollars in equipment and personnel and the erosion of our rights have had little to do with making us "more safe".  They have just been an unnecessary expense in a "dog and pony show" that goes out of its way not to "offend" certain groups of people.

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