Terror, The TSA, Rules, Fear, Bureaucrats, Security Theater AND Parenting (No Mean Feat!)

Readers — In response to my mini ytkddnatfe
yesterday about coach passengers not being allowed to use the lavatories closer to the front of the plane due to “heightened security” concerns, one commenter sent along this item from techdirt: A leaked (ha ha! Bathrooms? Leak?) TSA document stating:

“As of mid-2011, terrorist threat groups present in the Homeland are not known to be actively plotting against civil aviation targets or airports; instead, their focus is on fundraising, recruiting, and propagandizing.

In other words, the TSA knows darn well that it is engaging in security theater, and yet it persists, for reasons we can’t know, but which possibly include anything from public reassurance to job security.

The thing about public reassurance, however, is that in order to put us at “ease” with its rules and searches, it has to first make us believe there is a threat. In that, it reminds me of all the baby safety products out there, that first must convince us that our children could get HURT by, say, crawling,before we’d ever buy baby knee pads to protect them.

Similarly, rules and laws protecting kids from nearly non-existent dangers (e.g., laws against children waiting in cars for a short time, or rules requiring background checks for parents on field trips) make it seem like our kids are under constant threat. But they aren’t.

We live in safe times, and yet are forced to submit to safeguards that aren’t guarding us from anything — unless you think nail files, 4-oz containers of shampoo, postage stamps featuring kids doing helmet-less headstands, and children left briefly unsupervised are all truly, terrifyingly dangerous. – L

Kindly remove your shoes...and skeptical expression.

Kindly remove your shoes…and skeptical expression.


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15 Responses to Terror, The TSA, Rules, Fear, Bureaucrats, Security Theater AND Parenting (No Mean Feat!)

  1. Silver Fang October 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    The system protects us from ourselves. We can’t be trusted to make good choices on our own.

  2. Stacey October 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

    -Ayn Rand

  3. Christine W. October 23, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Any chance they just want to keep the other bathrooms for the higher-paying customers? Could be it’s that simple.

  4. Warren October 23, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Let’s see…..

    9/11 happens.

    America screams for more security.

    Over a decade later….

    America screams for less security.

    Not going to happen because 9/11

    Maybe just maybe if the US foreign policies changed, and the gov’t stops pissing off so many, you wouldn’t need to worry about another 9/11.

    Just a thought.

  5. mmmwright October 23, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    The last time I flew the crew didn’t pretend it was for security purposes when they told coach passengers to stay out of the business class lavs – they TOLD us those were for use for that class of traveler. I’d rather the truth be told, in any event.

  6. Rick October 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    If people stopped fearing dying the government would be powerless. A good NDE story would do the trick.

  7. Mark October 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    Last time I flew, I was permitted to take four deadly weapons through security. My first-aid kit, on the other hand, had to go in my checked baggage (Tweasers! Bandage scissors! Liquids!)

  8. IKnowEverything October 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    @ Warren I wasn’t screaming for more security due to 9/11. I was screaming at the lack of it from the CIA and FBI . . . they must not have been doing a very good job AT security for 9/11 to actually happen.

    How much money had already been spent on terrorist surveillance? We either had CRAPPY terrorist surveillance techniques or we wanted it to go down. Mossad knew, the CIA knew, the FBI knew . . . even the kid with the cereal box decoder ring knew.

  9. BPFH October 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    I seem to recall that George Carlin once said that airport security exists for one reason only: “to make white people feel safe.” Thing of it is, he was wrong. It exists to make *scared* people feel safe. It doesn’t help them actually *be* any safer… it just makes them *feel* safer.

  10. everydayrose October 24, 2013 at 12:02 am #

    My kids fly every summer to go visit their dad and this past year I noticed that they were sending all the people with kids through just the metal detectors which was fine with me. But when I went to pick them up alone I ended up getting the dreaded patdown. I was furious. I wasn’t even getting on a plane and they forced me through that nonsense.

    I decided that next time I’m not doing it. They can send the kids to meet me or bring them to me if it’s so important, but I refuse to be treated like that just to walk over to the gate. My kids are 12 and 9 and have been flying their whole lives. I’m confident that I could drop them off at the airport and they’d find their way just fine. But that’s not “allowed” of course.

  11. Stacy October 24, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    When we flew home from a Central American country a couple years ago, we went through metal detectors but were able to carry all the liquids we wanted into the boarding area. Therefore, before we could get on our plane to the land of the free, we all had to be patted down and our bags searched to make sure we were not carrying any liquids over 4 ounces. Every time I’ve flown in recent years, I’ve had to fight not to point out that this is all “security theater,” because I’m pretty sure free speech rights also don’t exist in an airport. We drive when physically possible. We’d take Amtrak, but the routes aren’t convenient and most required a four-hour bus ride from our hometown.

  12. Anne October 24, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    “terrorist threat groups present in the Homeland are not known to be actively plotting against civil aviation targets or airports; instead, their focus is on fundraising, recruiting, and propagandizing.”

    I get the impression that the terrorist group mentioned is the TSA, and this “security theater” is all part of their propaganda.

  13. Papilio October 24, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Funny commercial all this fuss reminds me off.


    Verboden = forbidden, prohibited

  14. Beth October 28, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

    I know it’s not the point, but the way so many people routinely refer to the United States as “the Homeland” – with a capital H! like that – is just sick. How do people not see how much that smacks of fascist propaganda.