Yes, that’s right. It’s not theatre any more but a full blown La Scalla production with fat ladies singing.
This is seriously beyond a joke. The TSA – from my experience – the worst type of petty tin-pot Blakey from “On the Buses” examples of how a small-mind given absolute power in a very limited field can be corrupted absolutely. They were unbelievably rude to me when I last experienced their tender mercies. Try taking a laptop to the USA on a trip that involves connecting flights. Try having it examined by a complete moron whilst you have to stand behind a yellow line. Then when it’s cleared OK you’ve got to retrieve it without stepping over the line or you get shouted at and possibly tasered. Try all that when you haven’t had time to put your belt back on and are worried your trousers might fall down. Try it as well when all of this is delaying you and you then have to run to the gate still with the possibility of a “wardrobe malfunction”.
That was then. This – apparently since the Detroit pants bomber set his tackle on fire on a plane – is now getting even worse. I find that difficult to believe but the stories in that Telegraph story would appear to make it sound worse. And the TSA are not just misanthropes who probably list hobbies on their CVs such as “Ant magnifying glassing” but also have the organisational flair of the Key Stone Cops running Fred Carno’s circus. I really hate them. I despise them. Apart from the laptop incident which came after being herded down a recently sub-divided corridor at Philidelphia Airport in a scene reminiscent of the shower scene in Schindler’s List (an American guy clocking I was a Brit and wasn’t used to this apologised profusely on behalf of his entire country) there were two others that are still with me.
The first of those scenes was surreal. At the checkpoint where one must surrender all liquids there was a bloke with a can of Guinness. This was confiscated and drunk by the TSA woman in full-view of everyone. All I can guess is that she thought this is such gross misconduct that nobody will believe they actually saw it. That’s being charitable. It’s also possible she thought right here, right now she was God.
The second was very sad. In the X-ray queue in front of me a father removed with great care the little high-top trainers of his son. And the kid’s baseball jacket to be X-rayed. That kid, I reflected will grow-up to believe this is all normal. And it will be. This ain’t going away. If Osama bin Laden himself and all his followers tomorrow announced they were going to convert to Buddhism and devote their lives to quiet contemplation and growing organic vegetables it would not go away. It won’t because this is only marginally connected to terrorism. It is about control freaks controlling things with mindless zeal because they are control freaks and it was what they do. You know who really hates this – pilots. Pilots are not paid handsomely for turning on the GPS autopilot and eating a Danish pastry. They are paid well because if something goes Pete Tong they might just be able to yank the irons out of the fire and bring the ‘plane down safely. It is deeply offensive to their professionalism and… surely (don’t call me Shirley!) are they not exactly people who ought to be listened to on such matters? That they aren’t shows the absurdity of the situation. I mean their entire fucking job is to get aircraft, passengers and crew down to terra firma in one piece. That is why they are well paid. Because looking after several hundred people in a duralumin tube eight miles up travelling at 500 knots can pretty much be seen as the definition of a “responsible job”. They are literally at the sharp-end of aviation safety. Oh and does a trained pilot need a bomb to wreck havoc? He or she has the ultimate guided missile anyway. I think we saw that on September 11, 2001.
It also occurs to me that security opera is bad for safety. Let’s assume that these vicious measures prevent bombs on planes (which they won’t). They will only do so by making areas around departure gates epically crowded and utterly chaotic. You say “Allahu Akbar!” and set-off your rucksack nail bomb at the checkpoint you will kill plenty. If that explosion reaches the tanks of a fully fueled Airbus A330 parked at the nearby jetway outside then the jobs a good ‘un. That’s 139,090 litres of kerosene going-up for an A330-200. We are not talking light the blue-touch paper and retire ten metres territory here. That’s a hecatomb. If that manages to BLEVE as something like an FAE that’s a baby nuke level of destruction. That could take out an entire major airport terminal.
The recent exploding inkjets plot was thwarted because of intelligence and not strip-searching elderly nuns. What sort of depraved twat gets a kick out of that anyway? Does this mean a shift to tackling terrorism by means of intel? Apparently no. And that more than anything shows the mentality of the TSA.
Almost finally. I said that kid I saw at Ft Lauderdale Airport will grow-up with this being normal. Oddly enough it reminds me of an early memory of my first flight (it was on a 737). Well my dad speaks to a flight attendant and I get to go into the cockpit and talk with the pilots. Precocious Bill Gunston reading kid I was I asked why there wasn’t a flight engineer. the captain explained the mass of stuff behind the first officer that took that role. I was interested and I could tell the flight crew knew I knew a bit about ‘planes. That kid will never have that pleasure. That is tragic. Should I tell you something here. The Wright Brothers (you might have heard of them) operated on a shoe string (from first ideas to Flyer One launching from Kill Devil Hills cost them about $1000 (the rail they launched from cost a princely $4 of lumber from a local yard). For the first flight they roped-in by-passers and the beach life guards. One was a “curious teenager” who was just ambling by. Well forget that! These evil fuckers at the TSA are taking the skies away from us far better than any Jihadi. Indeed they are doing the Jihadi’s work for them for they are curtailing freedom much more effectively.
Finally. This. If I did that I’d be a paedophile. If I did it as an employee of the Federal Government of the USA I’d be a heroic “saver of lives”. You wanna feel-up three year old girls entirely legally? Join the TSA. Hell, even Muhammed waited till Aisha was nine to have his wicked way.
I am beyond incensed. This is legalised sexual assault on a three year old child in the name of a myth of security which is anything but freedom.
And we all know there is no security without freedom. Or at least no security worth having.