On a recent trip to the Mexican coastal town Zihautanejo, getting through security at Dallas Ft. Worth was reasonable. Coming back was another story. At the airport, before we were allowed to check in at the reservations desk, all bags and passengers were searched carefully one by one. Then, I was required to check one bag of luggage. In a second search, my purse, backpack, and body were checked again as I entered the boarding area. Finally, before being allowed to board the plane, in a third check, my body was carefully patted down-and all items I owned carefully searched. I wasn’t singled out. It was the same for everyone. When it was the turn for a young American woman in the crowd to be searched and patted down, her otherwise well-behaved toddler child started screaming and crying in terror. I thought to myself, “You and me both, Kid.” I felt the same way.
Arriving at Houston’s Intercontinental was an insane exercise in – exercise. I’m in pretty good shape but after walking at least three quarters of a mile lugging all my luggage and then standing in
lines – for literally no visible reason, two hours later, absolutely wiped out and exhausted, I headed for my connecting fight. What was that all about?
What I don’t understand is how no one in Congress, no one in the airline industry, and no one in the DHS is willing to stand up for a system that works-without also wreaking havoc on travelers. The experience ruined a perfectly good trip. I strained my right psoas muscle and two weeks later am still waking up at night in pain.
I’ve heard rumors that American Airlines is plans to make travel even more difficult.
The Wall St. Journal featured three letters to the editor today that summed up some of what I, too, have thought. One writer commented on the futility of body scanners (which don’t see hidden packages in body parts) since he also noted how the core of solving crimes is to study the criminal rather than the tools. Another writer urged caution of the “anti-terrorism” industrial complex. A third wrote about our aversion to profiling.
“Current security checks at airports across the world are aimed at finding explosives or weapons, but not at identifying the terrorists,” said Shlomo Harnoy, the head of Sdema Group, an Israeli security consultancy. “Al-Qaeda is always one step ahead of technology.”
Let us keep in mind that it was not any equipment that prevented the December terrorist. Another passenger prevented that misguided soul from doing irreparable harm. A person.
It isn’t necessary to be an expert in airport security to come to the conclusion that an all too common lack of common sense has hijacked our country. It seems we are focused on the external factors rather than what really can cause harm. We are looking at the surface rather than at substance. What I notice is a nonsensical approach to a serious issue.