Safety has always been an illusion, but current airport security isn’t fooling anyone. As the American public awakens from a long nap in the arms of false security, it is all too clear that the American dream has been the cause of other nations nightmares. In a single day a splinter group of a religion of a nation whom we, yes I admit guilt, have been stepping on for years fought back. Out of sheer desperation, a few radicals chose to sacrifice their lives for the greater cause of freedom. I’m not endorsing violence or trying to justify their terrible actions, but they were not unprovoked or surprising. Since a solution to the real issue at hand is far beyond the scope of this paper, I’ll focus instead on one small symptom and how poorly it’s being addressed. Our current airport security is ineffective, intrusive, and unconstitutional.
Obviously, something as potentially destructive as a jet must be carefully guarded and taken very seriously. Recent events have clearly shown just how devastating a plane can be in the hands of a person unafraid of death, but where do we draw the line between security and a police state? If absolute power corrupts absolutely, then we had better watch our military pretty closely. Since the recent great unpleasantness, we the people have happily allowed a degree of martial law to be enacted. You have probably not yet experienced the effect of heightened security. There are no storm troopers in your street’s yet. Just remember that truly monumental changes take time.
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Soldiers in our airport terminal will certainly prevent the sort of full frontal terrorist assault Hollywood loves to depict, and the paranoid public loves to see our strapping young men in uniform out defending the homeland. In reality there is no chance of terrorists rushing into an airport, guns blazing. They may be fanatical and violent, but they are far from stupid. In the unlikely event of a Hollywood style airport take-over, soldiers wearing their jungle fatigues and silly haircuts would present easy targets.
When four planes are hijacked and crashed in a single day, it is very clear that something must be done to improve security. One popular idea for improved airplane safety is to allow poorly trained pilots to carry guns on planes. I compare this idea to a sheep farmer with a wolf problem. He could simply shut the gate to the sheep pen, but instead he sets steel jaw traps inside the pen. It seems like we are applying one hundred pounds of cure, where an ounce of prevention is needed.
The airlines don’t really seem to have a grasp of what it takes to keep the bad guys off the planes. They seem to do nothing other than pacify the silly masses. Studies indicate that even with advanced scanners, the poor people that are employed to stare at the screens have a pretty poor chance of detecting a real bomb. Airlines seem to enjoy implementing restrictions for the sole purpose of making air travel difficult and annoying. A fine example of this is the fact that curbside check in has been eliminated. What security measure has this solved?
Hijacking airplanes is not a new concept; people have been doing it for over thirty years now. None of the pre-existing security measures prevented well-trained suicidal fanatics from getting on flights with legal knives and turning the planes into manned cruise missiles.
When lives are at stake, personal freedom has to take a back seat for a while, but common sense must still be exercised. Security personnel have been known to frisk children barely old enough to walk. When three year old children get searched in the name of security, you really should start to question the purpose. Dozens of women have complained of being groped or subjected to demeaning sexual remarks by male security screeners at airports around the world and country.
As Americans we take great pride in our constitutional rights. How strange then that we should allow our government to trample them. A terrorist attack is terrible, and generally brief unless a full scale war is declared. They strike and run. Government programs are forever. That’s terrifying. Apparently as soon as we board an airliner we surrender most of our constitutional rights and subject ourselves to severe punishment for committing such acts as using the restroom and staring.
There is no doubt in my mind that airport security needs vast reform an augmentation; however, I do not believe that this means longer waits or countless other unnecessary annoyances that have been foisted on us. Something I learned while I was still in kindergarten is that while it may be wonderful and macho to fight your enemies, it is usually easier not to anger them in the first place. The rulers of the world would do well to look back on what they learned in kindergarten and try to get along instead of always trying to get on top.
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