Another Shoe Drops on the Subject of Airport Security
Joe Sharkey relates some complaints of passengers annoyed by officious airport security guards in his NYT essay, “ On the Road: Another Shoe Drops on the Subject of Airport Security.” [RSS]
While, like Sharkey, I tend to remove my jacket, belt, watch, wallet, shoes, and so forth ahead of time to speed up the process, I empathize with the complainers. The rules for security screening are arbitrary, intrusive, and have precious little to do with identifying actual terrorists.
Jeff Jarvis and Ann Althouse disagree, saying “What’s the big” and “Just deal with it,” respectively. While that’s good practical advice, it’s not a mindset I like to see in Americans. A bit of outrage over government invading our privacy and hassling people with no cause is a good thing, in my view.
Random searches of young black males walking down the street in gang colors after dark would yield a far, far higher proportion of safety over inconvenience than our current airport screening system. We don’t allow police to do this, however, because Americans have certain fundamental rights that we’ve deemed, since literally our founding as a country, to be inalienable. Yet we’ve sacrificed an ever-growing portion of those rights for damned little gain in security.
We’d do much better focusing our efforts on trying to prevent terrorists from getting on airplanes than trying to screen for anything that could conceivably be used as a weapon.