Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Few Quick Airline Security Questions

I'm sure we've all heard about the new strict 'security' measures that popped up in airports over the last half a year or so. In most cases, to get on a plane now, you must first go through a new type of X-ray machine, using 'backscatter radiation'. Of course we've been assured it's perfectly safe, although since they've already been caught lying about the amount of radiation absorbed, a fair amount of skepticism is not unreasonable. You're given the chance to 'opt out' of this radiation detection, but to do so, you may be required to submit to a sexual assault by a government agent.

Of course, this is absolutely necessary for national security, and if even one passenger gets through without a full-body X-ray or a molestation, it will be awful beyond imagination. Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling. Forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from the grave, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. Total protonic reversal. Yeah, it's that bad.

Except, not.

See, there are a few things that undermine this little story, including a few anecdotes from our recent vacation. First, not all airports are equipped with the full-body X-rays. Second, before the flight out, we axed the agent whether the radiation was safe for my pregnant wife. He just had us go through the normal metal detector, no X-rays or sexual assault required. Third, on the way back, the security line was insanely long, causing flight delays as passengers couldn't get to their flights. So they shut down the backscatter radiation machines, suspended the molestations, and just rushed a bunch of us through the normal security.


If the new, tight security measures are actually necessary, why would they ever, even for one passenger, suspend the measures? Why, if they are necessary, are there entire airports where they are not in place at all, ever? Why, if they are necessary, would the measures be suspended for an entire terminal at LaGuardia, just to get the line down to a more manageable level? Or if they're necessary, why would they be suspended around Thanksgiving in order to short-circuit any possible protests?

Maybe it's just me, but maybe these types of things might, just a little, possibly, show that the official line about them being absolutely necessary is a total lie.

See, here's the thing. There are certain things that are actually necessary - and you never go without them. In air travel, for example, it is necessary to have enough fuel to make it to your destination. You wouldn't dream of taking off with only half the fuel you need, just because passengers might be complaining about the delays. It is necessary that the wings be properly attached. Sure, it may be inconvenient to switch planes just because one little wing might fall off, but, well, you know, you probably shouldn't risk it, just in case.

To sum: if it's actually necessary, you don't do without it. If you ever do without it, it's not necessary. And this 'enhanced security' garbage is most definitely not necessary.

1 comment:

Phil said...

congrats on baby 2