Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More on Archie Bunker, Prophet

Digital Hairshirt reports on airline "security" measures ranging from the nonsensical to the downright insane in the wake of the Crotch Bomber incident over Detroit on Christmas Day.  While passengers on some flights are not noticing any changes, on other flights, passengers are being subjected to the following indignities:

-- The removal of blankets

-- Being ordered to keep their hands visible at all times

-- Being locked out of lavatories

-- Being deprived of food and drink

-- Being prohibited from using any electronic devices whatsoever

-- Being deprived of access to their belongings throughout the flight

-- Being prevented from keeping things on their laps 

-- Redundant searches of their belongings

-- Not being allowed to read

-- Frisking at the gates, even of babies 

The inconsistency of application of these over-the-top procedures is being labeled a "tactic."  "'It keeps them [potential terrorists] guessing,' transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman said."  More likely, however -- if a non-expert like me can venture an opinion -- the stupidity of these rules both in their content and their application is predictable as coming from an entity that cannot even reliably secure our borders or deliver our mail, and whose incompetence is surpassed only by its arrogance.

Why do we put up with this crap? After 9/11, the airlines ought to be kissing our asses, not searching them or harassing them.  I mean, the airlines ought to be glad that we still condescend to put up with all the unnecessary discomfort and stupidity in order to do business with them.

But even more than that, there is this: wasn't it passengers who thwarted the terrorists on United Airlines Flight 93 from destroying their objective on 9/11?  Wasn't it passengers who  thwarted the Shoe Bomber on December 22, 2001?  Wasn't it passengers who apprehended the Crotch Bomber over Detroit just a few days ago?  Have not passengers played a key role in quashing terrorist attacks on airliners since 9/11?  When are the airlines going to start rolling out the red carpet for passengers and stop treating them as liabilities?

Let passengers eat, drink, get into the bathroom, and use blankets.  Let them have access to their purses.  Let them read -- maybe that issue of Soldier of Fortune will come in handy.  Let them use electronic devices to their hearts' content, to the extent they don't interfere with the crew's radio communications.  (Wasn't it cell phones in the hands of passengers of Flight 93 that made them realize they weren't just going to land in Cuba, and that they needed to retake the plane?)   Let the blue-haired little old ladies take as many knitting needles and crochet hooks on board as they want -- what chance would a guy who wants to explode his crotch have against a knitting-needle-wielding Italian grandmother?    

Finally, I'll say it again: Archie Bunker had it right. Instead of  subjecting airline passengers and their infants to indignities that not even common criminals have to face, arm them. Pass out the pistols at the beginning of the trip; and then pick 'em up again at the end.  Case closed.

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