LZ Gripes about TSA

I really enjoyed LZ’s article on the often laughable TSA guidelines for airport security, titled “TSA on the lookout for big hair and snow globes”. However, this article slightly differs from his other strong arguments appearing in his column. Namely, this one is more of LZ griping about TSA, agreeing in large part with their security intentions… just not all their security effots.

The beginning of this article pokes fun at some of the “No Snow Globe” signs he witnessed at an airport, with the image of a snow globe, small Christmas tree in the center, and giant red circle with a line through it and all. “…how could someone look at a “No Snow Globe” sign and not laugh?”

However, throughout the article he does state that many of the (even laughable) security precautions are necessary, especially considering one man is on trial for trying to blow up a plan via explosives located in his underwear. LZ does not try to undermine the need for appropriate and serious security measures utilized by the TSA and airport security agents. Rather, he seeks to point out some inconsistencies in their methods, perhaps in an effort to shed light on the areas where airports are slacking and others where airports are in essence wasting their resources.

For example, it is stated that plastic silverware are provided for eating in airport restaurants, but metal knives and forks are given to people in first class. He states, “Are terrorists only flying coach?” Another inconsistency is that flight attendants and pilots are asked to walk through metal detectors, but without taking off their shoes and without being pat down or further inspected. What’s the point in the metal detector then, and why are they above further inspection?

Also, LZ makes a very simple point, but one I’ve actually never heard made before. The staff on the plane makes it very clear that all electronic devices because they might interfere with the plane’s navigations system.. does that mean that a terrorist might be able to cause chaos by texting during flight or typing on a laptop?

Alongside the inconsistencies and “smaller” areas of TSA oversight are larger problems dealing with airport security and safety measures. For example, LZ describes how often he’s been on a plane and felt quite uneasy about the physical health and abilities of the people selected to sit in the emergency exit row. The overly obese passenger, elderly, or small kid won’t be much help in an emergency situation when seated in those seats. Also, he states, “Did you know that one of the factors that led to more deaths on the morning of September 11 is that New York police and fire departments did not have a way to communicate with each other? Ten years later, there still isn’t a nationwide first responder network in place because of the bureaucracy in Washington.” This I found most interesting, and something that TSA and Americans should be concerned about… not focusing all their energy on allowable amounts of toothpaste or scanning for snow globes.

All in all, LZ and I agree that airport security and safety measures are most necessary given today’s current level of terrorism. And everyone likes to feel safe, so if banning snow globes and checking cosmetics provides some level of that… so be it. BUT, we all need to make sure our government and its agencies are doing all the things that can ensure our safety in air travel.

A flight without snow globes won’t rid America of air terrorism and it certainly won’t help protect Americans during an attack.

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