Since the first idiot took out a gun and said, “Take me to Cuba,” the aggravations of air travel have steadily accumulated.
With passengers forced to stand in long lines cradling their shoes and little baggies of government-permitted fluids, there’s an increasing recognition that current security procedures are bumping up against the point of diminishing returns.
Each new restriction seems to contribute more in frustration than it adds in security, while putting a damper on airline revenue. When you see Internet photos of the TSA patting down nuns, you know any sense of proportion has been lost.
Now coming to an airport near you: body scanners capable of technologically stripping away your clothes. Opt out and you’re in for an intrusive pat-down, which led to this week’s deathless phrase: “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.”
The serious issue involves the inevitable tradeoff between security and the simple freedom to come and go without being accosted by uniformed gropers.
The best defense against terrorism is to know who gets on a plane. But the government has been obsessed with what gets on a plane.
This is not an argument for ditching all the screening and security, the point of which is to increase a would-be terrorist’s risk of discovery. Nor is it support for engaging in blanket profiling by race or religion.
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