The Impossible Dream of Merging Homeland Security with Reality

 

I’ve never understood the airport security thing since 9-11.  They are looking for weapons, when I think they should be looking for people.  People, for example, like the Texas synagogue terrorist, who had a history of criminal behavior, mental illness, and anti-Semitism.  But Muslim terrorists killed thousands of people with box-cutters, so now I have to take my shoes off to get on an airplane?  I’m a 53-year-old Lutheran from Ohio, not a 23-year-old Muslim from Pakistan.  What do my shoes have to do with national security?  An article in The New York Post touched on this yesterday:

American travelers put up with a vast amount of security theater: millions of man-hours lost each year to unpredictably long TSA lines; intrusive pat-downs; the whole take-off-your-shoes-and-belt rigamarole. Yet the vast security apparatus can’t screen out a mentally ill Muslim extremist?

Americans need to demand that our Homeland Security apparatus be completely redesigned.  They should be looking for people, not weapons.  Which will be difficult politically, because a lot of those people (although not all) will be Muslims.  But saving lives can be difficult.  Regardless, the first thing we need to do is recognize the existence of reality.  We need to agree that what we’re doing right now makes no sense whatsoever.  Let’s start there.  Perhaps this latest synagogue attack will start the discussion.

And perhaps Joe Biden will recognize the destructive impact of his policies, and sign an order reverting everything back to Trump’s policies, while riding a unicorn through a sea of cotton candy.

The simple act of recognizing reality has become an absurd fantasy.

It’s amazing how complex and difficult and dangerous reality can become when we attempt to ignore it.  It really is much simpler to acknowledge the existence of reality, even if we don’t care for it at times.

But we’re Americans.  We don’t have to do that.  We have a Constitutional right to whatever version of reality we prefer.  That’s a pretty good summary of the Democrat Party platform, come to think of it.

Even if it doesn’t make any sense.  Criminally insane Muslim extremists are not a threat to us.  My shoes are.  That seems nice.  And really, you’ve got to admit, that would be nice.  It’s much easier to deal with my shoes than a criminally insane Muslim extremist.

But ignoring reality does not make it go away.  It just makes it more complex, more difficult, and more dangerous.  Which we see over and over again.  But we never learn.

But difficult decisions can be difficult.  Conflict can be unpleasant.  Maybe this time, just this once, we can just look the other way.  Can’t we all just get along?

That’d be nice.  It really would.

I wonder how that will work out?  You never know, I suppose…

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  1. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    The TSA is another thing we can thank George W. Bush for, along with the failed Afghanistan War,  John Roberts, mass illegal immigration, and dishwashers that don’t get the job done.  

    • #1
  2. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Actually, after listening to FJB, Willie Brown’s side chick, the DOJ and FBI,  53 year old Republican Lutherans from Ohio ARE the among the gravest threats to America since the Civil War.   Go figure.

    • #2
  3. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Actually, after listening to FJB, Willie Brown’s side chick, the DOJ and FBI, 53 year old Republican Lutherans from Ohio ARE the among the gravest threats to America since the Civil War. Go figure.

    This is turning out to be like Al Gore’s Karma. Every time he was going to lecture us about global warming, there would be a blizzard. No lessons are ever learned, though.

    • #3
  4. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Actually, after listening to FJB, Willie Brown’s side chick, the DOJ and FBI, 53 year old Republican Lutherans from Ohio ARE the among the gravest threats to America since the Civil War. Go figure.

    Especially dangerous are 53 yr old Republican Lutherans from Ohio who are also parents.

    ¡Qué horror!

    • #4
  5. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Part of the discussion will have to be about how to deal with “civil liberties advocates” who object to profiling Muslims.  Quite a bit of policy is dictated by catering to these individuals.

    • #5
  6. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    The Fed has been putting off reality since 1996, at least. It’s going to quit “working” in the next couple of years.

    • #6
  7. DonG (CAGW is a hoax) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a hoax)
    @DonG

    I have heard that Israel is very good at screening people, so it can be done.  We just choose not to be good at security.  Also, our FBI is so bad, it has to be intentional.

    • #7
  8. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    When the Bernie Madoff scandal came to light in 2007 to 2009, the number one question on the minds of the financial industry experts was, How did Bernie Madoff elude the SEC regulators for so many years? Financial advisors are subjected to government scrutiny that is truly wild to behold.

    Government regulatory actions always make expensive work and inconvenience for the good guys. They are merely a fun mental exercise, like a crossword puzzle, to the bad guys.

    • #8
  9. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Dr. Bastiat: And perhaps Joe Biden will recognize the destructive impact of his policies, and sign an order reverting everything back to Trump’s policies, while riding a unicorn through a sea of cotton candy.

    Is the unicorn Scottish, Middle Eastern or Chinese? Middle Eastern Unicorns would have difficulty riding on a sea of cotton candy. 

    • #9
  10. Bunsen Coolidge
    Bunsen
    @Bunsen

    Nohaaj (View Comment):

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Actually, after listening to FJB, Willie Brown’s side chick, the DOJ and FBI, 53 year old Republican Lutherans from Ohio ARE the among the gravest threats to America since the Civil War. Go figure.

    Especially dangerous are 53 yr old Republican Lutherans from Ohio who are also parents.

    ¡Qué horror!

    What do we 53 yr old Republican Presbyterians have to do to overtake the Lutherans?

    Seriously, I am pulled aside for additional screening due to the Total Recall machine.  Last 5 times through the airport, I have been patted down “down there” (sorry, trying to be polite).  If I am viewed as a threat should I take it as a compliment?  “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

    • #10
  11. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen
    @BrianClendinen

    The idea you can reform a large massive organization with thousands to tens of thousands of written procedures and processes is laughable. You just get rid of TSA and nearly require Airports to be bonded. So if they fail in security their is a massive payout by the bonding orgs. If you remove sovereign immunity since most airport are controlled by local politics local politicians could be held criminally liable for gross neglect. However, we will never be able to make anything better in this nations governmental institutions as long as Sovernng immunity is the common law of the land.

    • #11
  12. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    Would someone please remind me: Just how many terrorists have the TSA organization intercepted during the airport screenings since 9/11?

    • #12
  13. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Would someone please remind me: Just how many terrorists have the TSA organization intercepted during the airport screenings since 9/11?

    That would be zero.

    • #13
  14. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Dr. Bastiat:

     

    <img loading=”lazy” class=”alignleft size-medium wp-image-1082890″ src=”https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv-204×300.jpg” alt=”” width=”204″ height=”300″ srcset=”https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv-204×300.jpg 204w, https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv-408×600.jpg 408w, https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv-102×150.jpg 102w, https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv-768×1129.jpg 768w, https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv-1044×1536.jpg 1044w, https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv-1393×2048.jpg 1393w, https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv-624×918.jpg 624w, https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv-750×1103.jpg 750w, https://cdn.ricochet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/xhmnxcv.jpg 2040w” sizes=”(max-width: 204px) 100vw, 204px” />

    The simple act of recognizing reality has become an absurd fantasy.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    When stating that a man dressing up as a woman (and even having cosmetic surgery) is still a man because every cell in his body says he’s a man is cause for punishing the speaker, we are a long way from aligning the more complex aspects of reality with bureaucracies like Homeland Security. 

    • #14
  15. Mad Gerald Lincoln
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    “They are looking for weapons, when I think they should be looking for people.”

    In 2003 I boarded a cargo plane with about 100 other GIs, enroute to the middle east.  I was on my way to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom.  The aircraft was a C-17, the newer USAF cargo plane.  It was filled with pallets of warfighting equipment in the center of the fuselage, with a row of seating on each side for passengers.

    Shortly after take off one of the air crew (undoubtedly the most junior ranking) walked along each row of passengers, with a cardboard box in hand.  He somewhat abashedly asked each of us to put any knives or bladed tools into the box, as federal law now forbade air passengers to possess them.  He provided the rationale over and over, and his box was full of Multi-tools, mostly Leathermans, and knives. I dutifully contributed my Gerber multi-tool.  GIs love multi-tools.

    As he moved down the line, I noted that the gun case containing my M-16 was strapped onto a pallet only a few feet away.

    An hour or so later the same air crew member came by again, and distributed all the tools and knives back to their owners.  He explained that we had left US airspace, and the law no longer applied.

    • #15
  16. Mad Gerald Lincoln
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Multiple times while traveling on orders, I was singled out for special security screening, along with fellow GIs.  It was somehow directly related to the fact that my ticket was purchased by the DoD, and the “system” generated some alert that we needed special scrutiny.

    • #16
  17. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Dr. Bastiat: I’m a 53-year-old Lutheran from Ohio,

    But 500 years ago some of those followers of that Luther guy sure gave the Roman church some grief. :) Today they might seduce everyone into going along with them by passing a yummy casserole or a pie around the plane. 

    • #17
  18. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    “They are looking for weapons, when I think they should be looking for people.”

    In 2003 I boarded a cargo plane with about 100 other GIs, enroute to the middle east. I was on my way to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The aircraft was a C-17, the newer USAF cargo plane. It was filled with pallets of warfighting equipment in the center of the fuselage, with a row of seating on each side for passengers.

    Shortly after take off one of the air crew (undoubtedly the most junior ranking) walked along each row of passengers, with a cardboard box in hand. He somewhat abashedly asked each of us to put any knives or bladed tools into the box, as federal law now forbade air passengers to possess them. He provided the rationale over and over, and his box was full many Multi-tools, mostly Leathermans, and knives. I dutifully contributed my Gerber multitool. GIs love multitools.

    As he moved down the line, I noted that the gun case containing my M-16 was strapped onto a pallet only a few feet away.

    An hour or so later the same air crew member came by again, and distributed all the tools and knives back to their owners. He explained that we had left US airspace, and the law no longer applied.

     

    I’m sure among us Ricochetti there are a bunch of such stories of the illogic of some of the theatrics.

    Early in the airport security efforts (maybe early 2002), before TSA, when armed National Guard troops were providing security I watched a guard shift change in which the new National Guard soldier had to walk through the metal detector, but handed his M-16 rifle around the metal detector to another National Guard soldier so he would have it at his duty post on the airplane side of the security gate. 

    On a (commercial) flight a few years later I sat across from a police officer transporting a prisoner. At that time for that purpose he was permitted to wear his pistol, but security had confiscated the razor blades for his razor. 

    For the years in which I did most of my air travel I kept thinking spending resources on searching me made no sense. Besides my being a middle aged Presbyterian (on the church’s board of elders no less), United Airlines knew my flying patterns: I made 5 – 6 trips a year from Rochester, NY to Portland, OR, and sometimes to San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA, all paid for out of a corporate travel account at a Fortune 200 company that had facilities in all those places. All things that should have told the authorities that I was not a security risk. So why waste my time and theirs searching me every time I got on an airplane?

    • #18
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    “They are looking for weapons, when I think they should be looking for people.”

    In 2003 I boarded a cargo plane with about 100 other GIs, enroute to the middle east. I was on my way to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The aircraft was a C-17, the newer USAF cargo plane. It was filled with pallets of warfighting equipment in the center of the fuselage, with a row of seating on each side for passengers.

    Shortly after take off one of the air crew (undoubtedly the most junior ranking) walked along each row of passengers, with a cardboard box in hand. He somewhat abashedly asked each of us to put any knives or bladed tools into the box, as federal law now forbade air passengers to possess them. He provided the rationale over and over, and his box was full of Multi-tools, mostly Leathermans, and knives. I dutifully contributed my Gerber multi-tool. GIs love multi-tools.

    As he moved down the line, I noted that the gun case containing my M-16 was strapped onto a pallet only a few feet away.

    An hour or so later the same air crew member came by again, and distributed all the tools and knives back to their owners. He explained that we had left US airspace, and the law no longer applied.

    My aunt and uncle used to regularly attend the free outdoor concerts that West Point held. After 9/11, they confiscated some stuff from my aunt – from her knitting bag.

    They were afraid that a little old lady was going to hijack a military academy with a pair of folding scissors.

    • #19
  20. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Why did airport security confiscate the old lady’s knitting needles?

    They were afraid she’d make an Afghan.

    Ha!

    • #20
  21. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Would someone please remind me: Just how many terrorists have the TSA organization intercepted during the airport screenings since 9/11?

    The villain in this piece is the FBI, which is responsible for maintaining the primary watchlist which dictates the screening of other agencies.  Whether necessary or not,  TSA’s main job is to prevent weapons, and, to a lesser extent unticketed passengers, from getting on planes.

    • #21
  22. Jason Turner Member
    Jason Turner
    @JasonTurner

    Great post Dr. Bastiat. I always seem to be picked out for the random explosive tests whenever I go to an airport. I often wonder why they so desperately need to check overweight white Anglo Saxon males for explosives. I also was intrigued when I entered the airport one time only to see a group of individuals in burquas enter. I wonder if they had to undergo the same tests that I was subjected to. For some reason I think not.

    • #22
  23. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    TSA’s main job is to prevent weapons, and, to a lesser extent unticketed passengers, from getting on planes.

    If they find a middle aged Lutheran male without a weapon, they should issue him one.

    • #23
  24. Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler Member
    Muleskinner, Weasel Wrangler
    @Muleskinner

    Mad Gerald (View Comment):

    “They are looking for weapons, when I think they should be looking for people.”

    In 2003 I boarded a cargo plane with about 100 other GIs, enroute to the middle east. I was on my way to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The aircraft was a C-17, the newer USAF cargo plane. It was filled with pallets of warfighting equipment in the center of the fuselage, with a row of seating on each side for passengers.

    A few weeks after 9/11, the National Guard was still assisting the TSA screening passengers, I saw a guardsman coming on duty hand his M-16 to the screener while he emptied his pockets and ran a bag through the x-ray machine. The TSA guy confiscated a very small penknife attached to his keychain, and handed him back his rifle.

     

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    Would someone please remind me: Just how many terrorists have the TSA organization intercepted during the airport screenings since 9/11?

    That would be zero.

    Well, actually they caught George Papadopoulos.

    • #25
  26. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Brian Clendinen (View Comment):

    The idea you can reform a large massive organization with thousands to tens of thousands of written procedures and processes is laughable. You just get rid of TSA and nearly require Airports to be bonded. So if they fail in security their is a massive payout by the bonding orgs. If you remove sovereign immunity since most airport are controlled by local politics local politicians could be held criminally liable for gross neglect. However, we will never be able to make anything better in this nations governmental institutions as long as Sovernng immunity is the common law of the land.

    That is an interesting idea. How about if we add the provision that if they are unlucky enough to let a terrorist through, even if they followed all the right procedures and had the best intentions, they will be liable. 

    • #26
  27. navyjag Coolidge
    navyjag
    @navyjag

    This is the US government we are talking about Dr. B. And I have a vague recollection of an idiot Muslim “shoe bomber” who was tackled in flight after 9/11 and assume that’s what the shoe commotion is about. 

    • #27
  28. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Brian Clendinen (View Comment):

    The idea you can reform a large massive organization with thousands to tens of thousands of written procedures and processes is laughable. You just get rid of TSA and nearly require Airports to be bonded. So if they fail in security their is a massive payout by the bonding orgs. If you remove sovereign immunity since most airport are controlled by local politics local politicians could be held criminally liable for gross neglect. However, we will never be able to make anything better in this nations governmental institutions as long as Sovernng immunity is the common law of the land.

    But think of all the created jobs. 

    • #28
  29. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    I’m sure among us Ricochetti there are a bunch of such stories of the illogic of some of the theatrics.

    Early in the airport security efforts (maybe early 2002), before TSA, when armed National Guard troops were providing security I watched a guard shift change in which the new National Guard soldier had to walk through the metal detector, but handed his M-16 rifle around the metal detector to another National Guard soldier so he would have it at his duty post on the airplane side of the security gate.

    On a (commercial) flight a few years later I sat across from a police officer transporting a prisoner. At that time for that purpose he was permitted to wear his pistol, but security had confiscated the razor blades for his razor.

    For the years in which I did most of my air travel I kept thinking spending resources on searching me made no sense. Besides my being a middle aged Presbyterian (on the church’s board of elders no less), United Airlines knew my flying patterns: I made 5 – 6 trips a year from Rochester, NY to Portland, OR, and sometimes to San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA, all paid for out of a corporate travel account at a Fortune 200 company that had facilities in all those places. All things that should have told the authorities that I was not a security risk. So why waste my time and theirs searching me every time I got on an airplane?

    Because you didn’t pay for the pre-check shakedown. 

    • #29
  30. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    navyjag (View Comment):

    This is the US government we are talking about Dr. B. And I have a vague recollection of an idiot Muslim “shoe bomber” who was tackled in flight after 9/11 and assume that’s what the shoe commotion is about.

    Then why do they randomly assign people to Pre-check TSA or whatever it’s called, and they don’t have to take off their shoes?

    • #30
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