Airport Security vs. Being Admitted into Prison: A Comparison


Passing through airport security seems more and more like being admitted into prison. First they confiscate two things: anything remotely sharp and… your belt. Then you’re standing in line with a bunch of barefoot people holding up their pants up with one hand and their sole possessions in the other. The travelers who passed through security hours earlier are looking on and chanting “Fresh fish! Fresh fish!”

Upon reflection, that last part doesn’t sound plausible enough to deem reliable memory. But you get the idea.

Air travel stopped being something to dress up for more than a generation ago. Tank tops, shorts, fish with slacks are now commonplace, even in first class.

But just because the culture made air travel more difficult to enjoy doesn’t mean the government had to ensure it could never be so.

An example. Last week while flying out of LAX they tried to confiscate my hair gel because I had six ounces of it in my carry-on bag. (I didn’t let them take it — I just put it in my hair where, apparently, it’s legal).

Contrast this with the much more sensible protocols in Europe (where I lived and flew around for five years) where “Guilty until proven innocent” is not policy. And yet they get the job done better than our vaunted TSA.

This new reflexive risk-aversion is evident everywhere, from the flimsy plastic forks which are no match for the the lasagna to peanut bags which warn us that “These peanuts were processed in a facility that produces nuts.”

The overall effect on passengers is a chilling one. Contrast how exciting it once was to board a plane  to how humorless we are now. Recently I was boarding a plane in Burbank and I politely asked the gentlemen in the seat behind me if he would mind swapping seats with me so that his wife and I could sit together.

Like I said, no sense of humor.

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  1. user_541971 Member


    Be Happy:TSA – To Stupid (for) Arbys

    I disagree with this. Those people have an impossible job and it’s about to get a lot more challenging.

    EThompson – We don’t disagree as much as you might suspect. To the extent that they do have an impossible job, though, is just another example of government hubris and waste.

    • #31
  2. user_541971 Member

    Nanda Panjandrum:

    Hartmann von Aue: die Deeblings.

    HvA: Wie sagen Sie “the *darling* Deeblings” auf Deutsch, bitte sehr?

    I’m guessing “Süße”?

    • #32
  3. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue

    David Deeble:

    Hartmann von Aue:Hi Dave! Es freut mich sehr, Dich endlich hier zu sehen. LG an Sabine und die Deeblings.

    Hartmann von Aue: Wer bist du?

    John Martin bin ich.

    • #33
  4. EThompson Inactive

    @David: Out of curiosity, are you a stand-up or writer? The way things are progressing in the world as of late, we surely could use a good humorist around here! (Besides Rob, of course.)

    • #34
  5. user_44643 Inactive

    If America really was a free country, the TSA and IRS would not exist.

    • #35
  6. user_44643 Inactive


    I would have taken it a step further and cut off all Western and Central African passports arriving from any international airport.


    • #36
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