Five Proposals For Reforming The TSA

 

Your tax dollars at work.Fourteen years is more than enough time for the so-called services of any government agency to go from “controversial inception” to an “untouchable entitlement.” No agency exemplifies this quite like the the Department of Homeland Security and its enforcement minions at the TSA.

Why is this so? Much of it is due to the managed expectations of Americans themselves. Far from being resentful, many Americans seem grateful at the FAA’s overturning of its long-overdue ban on such brazenly unpatriotic behavior as reading a Kindle after the plane has left its gate.

No longer is the government the last one in the room to get the joke – that attribute belongs to government’s primary constituency: progressives.

Like most Americans old enough to remember what flying was like before the 9/11 attacks, I’m also too old to remember exactly what it was like. I do recall, however, that men wore more ties and fewer tank tops — and definitely less lingerie. But since Washington D.C. has become less a geographic location than a state of mind, everyday experiences — and the bald-faced lies of government officials like James Clapper — have become a clarion call to all air travelers weary of being deemed guilty until proven innocent.

Risk-aversion seems to be a defining feature of the federal government and not just when it comes to public safety. Americans have habituated themselves to risible, not to mention intellectually vacuous, apologies from formerly respected entities such as the U.S. Army, which recently donned a hair shirt for using the unpardonable phrase chink in the armor.

Because concepts like “liberty” are considered more suspect than “peer-reviewed” by the Bush wing of the Republican Party, below are five proposals for reforming the TSA while keeping it it alive for liberals’ and government’s sake.

1: Screen passengers for weapons.

No weapon, no boarding the plane. The TSA may still satisfy its primal urge to ban guns but it will require all passengers above the age of 18 to carry brass knuckles, small knives, or other pocket-size weaponry (oversize weapons must be checked-in at the gate).

In addition to thwarting terrorists, this would have the added benefit of increasing in-flight civility.

2: Complimentary shoehorns for all passengers.

Until the our federal government acquires the unfathomable technology that allows travelers in Europe to board planes without removing their shoes, TSA agents shall provide all passengers with a complimentary shoehorn.

3: No more “back-of-the-hand pat-downs”.

All passengers previously subjected to a “back-of-the-hand” pat-down on “sensitive” parts of their body shall now be entitled to a proper, palm-down pat-down. Hapless cries of “Female assist!” shall be banned in deference to, among other government-approved groups, gay males who, upon request, shall be entitled to a female pat-down (lest they find a male pat-down “too arousing“).

4: No more security scanners.

About the best thing you can say for them is that they lend the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative a patina of truth.

5: Airline peanuts shall no longer require a warning.

Yes, I, too, am aghast that the peanuts served on many airlines are processed in a facility that produces… nuts. While understanding that this is less an issue for the TSA or Homeland security than the gluten-phobes at the National Institutes of Health, it nonetheless nicely dovetails with the anti-American, risk-free approach to life and liberty of our federal government.

Do you have ideas for making your flying experience more safe and less onerous? Leave them in the comment section below.

There are 25 comments.

  1. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Love it! Especially the weapons idea.

    • #1
    • March 26, 2015, at 3:56 AM PDT
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  2. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble Post author

    Thanks, iWc. See you in the lavatory vaping…

    • #2
    • March 26, 2015, at 4:01 AM PDT
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  3. Son of Spengler Contributor

    David, characteristically brilliant. So much to love here.

    • #3
    • March 26, 2015, at 5:37 AM PDT
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  4. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble Post author

    Son of Spengler – You’re giving me a big head! Which is great, because I’m only 5’6″.

    • #4
    • March 26, 2015, at 5:39 AM PDT
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  5. Songwriter Member

    Much like you previous post, I agree wholeheartedly.

    Unless the Homeland Security folks are following this, in which case I disagree completely. (I don’t wanna risk my TSA Preferred status!)

    • #5
    • March 26, 2015, at 7:19 AM PDT
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  6. Probable Cause Inactive

    But seriously folks… it’s easy to know how airport security ought to be done. Do as the Israelis do.

    • #6
    • March 26, 2015, at 8:15 AM PDT
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  7. Marley's Ghost Member

    I completely echo Probable Cause here. There is someone who has been doing this and doing so effectively for years. Why are we looking at a car with wheels and thinking that it will work better with rectangles? This is what happens when those who have the least qualifications and experience for leadership are allowed to make rules. They fail miserably and then their fellow bureaucrats desperately attempt to maintain the failure in order to justify the existence of any of them.

    • #7
    • March 26, 2015, at 9:16 AM PDT
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  8. Profile Photo Member

    Probable Cause:But seriously folks… it’s easy to know how airport security ought to be done. Do as the Israelis do.

    It is a nice fantasy to say – “lets just do as the Israelis do” – until you think about the massive effort required to do the same here. First of all, per wikipedia, El Al has a fleet of 40 passenger aircraft capable of carrying a maximum of 8,849 passengers if all were operating simultaneously. So the absolute maximum number of El Al passengers that need to be screened daily at an airport somewhere is well less than 50,000.

    Per the FAA’s latest rankings of passenger enplanements per airport, a 50,000/day rate is about the passenger same volume as a Newark or IAH. Granted, using this figure as a proxy for the number of security screenings probably overstates the number by a factor of 2 due to connections, but we’re in the right order of magnitude nonetheless. Combined, US airports enplaned an average of a little over 2 MILLION passengers daily, or 40 times the number of passengers El Al is even remotely capable of transporting/screening daily.

    Also, bear in mind that the standing instruction on traveling with El Al is to arrive at the airport 3 hours prior to flight time (economy class – 2 hours for First/Business). So it’s safe to say that we’re not talking about a 5-15 minute breeze-thru screening process. Point being, not only is the passenger volume you need to handle enormously larger, but so is the screening effort required per passenger. If the TSA does such a bang-up job now, how do we possibly find the people to do it the “right” Israeli way?

    Lastly, you have to ask the question as to what all this extra security would get us? Since 9/11 the number of passengers killed on US-flagged airlines due to hostile passenger actions is a number approximating zero. This is due to a number of factors, but it’s hard to make the case that increasing security to Israeli levels would actually accomplish any tangible good.

    • #8
    • March 26, 2015, at 11:48 AM PDT
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  9. Robert E. Lee Member

    Why not move TSA to our southern border and let them harass illegals instead of citizens? They still won’t stop any terrorists but they can at least annoy someone else.

    • #9
    • March 26, 2015, at 11:56 AM PDT
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  10. iWe Reagan
    iWe

    Baggage needs to be screened for explosives. On board, though, you just need to arm a number of trusted travelers. No TSA or metal detection required.

    The time savings from eliminating those queues would be a godsend!

    • #10
    • March 26, 2015, at 12:00 PM PDT
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  11. Probable Cause Inactive

    A42NT1:Combined, US airports enplaned an average of a little over 2 MILLION passengers daily, or 40 times the number of passengers El Al is even remotely capable of transporting/screening daily.

    This part of your argument is just plain silly. It amounts to, “the United States is 40 times the size of Israel.”

    So?

    • #11
    • March 26, 2015, at 12:34 PM PDT
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  12. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble Post author

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, everybody. Sometime I’ll tell you about the champagne popper I inadvertently left in my pants while passing through security and how the Department of Homeland Security generously waived the fine as it was my first offense. True story!

    • #12
    • March 26, 2015, at 12:37 PM PDT
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  13. Profile Photo Member

    Probable Cause:

    A42NT1:Combined, US airports enplaned an average of a little over 2 MILLION passengers daily, or 40 times the number of passengers El Al is even remotely capable of transporting/screening daily.

    This part of your argument is just plain silly. It amounts to, “the United States is 40 times the size of Israel.”

    So?

    The point is – you’re asking the TSA to massively increase their level of effort from current levels to achieve what Israel is doing. US airlines recommend arriving at the airport 30-45 minutes in advance of the flight. El Al says 3 hours. So you can easily draw the conclusion that their per-passenger screening effort is 4-6x of that we deal with now. So we could go one of two ways – either make everyone suck up an additional 2 1/2 hours in the security line, or hire enough agents to keep the queue time down to current levels. In this case, if it presently takes ~47,000 TSA agents, who are clearly the best and brightest this fine nation has to offer, and you suddenly put into place a need for say 188,000 more agents, the obvious questions are:

    1. Where are you going to get those highly skilled agents (I’ll bet you a Ricochet mug that the average IQ of the Israeli TSA equivalent is 10 points higher than the US average TSA agent)?
    2. If you don’t hire the extra agents, where does that 2 1/2 hour line at the airport physically go?
    3. What is the economic impact of 10,000,000 passengers annually spending 2 1/2 more non productive hours in the airport security line?
    4. What do we actually get in terms of tangible enhanced security for all that effort?
    • #13
    • March 26, 2015, at 1:04 PM PDT
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  14. EThompson Inactive

    6. Weight restrictions. You top the scales at 400 lbs. you automatically have to pay for two seats so nobody has to sit next to you; then I won’t complain to flight attendants and distract them from their “safety” responsibilities.

    • #14
    • March 26, 2015, at 1:15 PM PDT
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  15. Son of Spengler Contributor

    A42NT1:US airlines recommend arriving at the airport 30-45 minutes in advance of the flight. El Al says 3 hours. So you can easily draw the conclusion that their per-passenger screening effort is 4-6x of that we deal with now.

    I’ve flown El Al internationally, and taken domestic Israeli flights too. This is not exactly right.

    El Al recommends 3 hours for an international flight — but that’s the same as most US airlines recommend for international flights. Domestically, 75 minutes is recommended both in Israel and in the US. Actually, I’ve seen up to 2 hours recommended for domestic US flights. Most of that time is buffer — security screening is quick in most cases. But — like the time I carried a musical instrument that belonged to someone else — extra screening is sometimes required. They don’t want the extra delay to cause anyone to miss his or her flight.

    In my experience with Israeli security, the active measures (questioning) takes longer, but the lines through the metal detectors are quicker. In the end, it’s a wash for the passenger.

    • #15
    • March 26, 2015, at 1:44 PM PDT
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  16. Son of Spengler Contributor

    A42NT1:

    1. Where are you going to get those highly skilled agents (I’ll bet you a Ricochet mug that the average IQ of the Israeli TSA equivalent is 10 points higher than the US average TSA agent)?

    I think this — not the overall numbers — is the critical obstacle. Those Israeli screeners are sharp. In addition, since Israel has a draft, nearly all Israeli security screeners have undergone military training as well.

    • #16
    • March 26, 2015, at 1:49 PM PDT
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  17. EThompson Inactive

    Robert E. Lee:Why not move TSA to our southern border and let them harass illegals instead of citizens? They still won’t stop any terrorists but they can at least annoy someone else.

    Robert, I must share my favorite TSA story of all times with you … live from Charles de Gaulle airport several years ago.

    One is frisked there yet a second time before boarding so naturally, as a blonde American female I was profiled and stopped as two young Arabic men broke into the line before me and boarded without a second glance.

    I complained; l’agente de securite openly gasped and detained me so her supervisor could lecture me about my aberrant behavior.

    • #17
    • March 26, 2015, at 1:57 PM PDT
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  18. EThompson Inactive

    Son of Spengler:

    A42NT1:US airlines recommend arriving at the airport 30-45 minutes in advance of the flight. El Al says 3 hours. So you can easily draw the conclusion that their per-passenger screening effort is 4-6x of that we deal with now.

    I’ve flown El Al internationally, and taken domestic Israeli flights too. This is not exactly right.

    El Al recommends 3 hours for an international flight — but that’s the same as most US airlines recommend for international flights. Domestically, 75 minutes is recommended both in Israel and in the US. Actually, I’ve seen up to 2 hours recommended for domestic US flights. Most of that time is buffer — security screening is quick in most cases. But — like the time I carried a musical instrument that belonged to someone else — extra screening is sometimes required. They don’t want the extra delay to cause anyone to miss his or her flight.

    In my experience with Israeli security, the active measures (questioning) takes longer, but the lines through the metal detectors are quicker. In the end, it’s a wash for the passenger.

    I’ve traveled to Israel three times and the security has always been so much easier for me than in other parts of the world. Security agents at El Al and at Ben Gurion know exactly what they should be looking for; it’s the safest flying ever.

    • #18
    • March 26, 2015, at 2:03 PM PDT
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  19. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble Post author

    My only gripe with Israel’s aviation policy is that in-flight peanuts are often processed in facilities that produce nuts – yet flyers are not warned of this.

    • #19
    • March 26, 2015, at 2:15 PM PDT
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  20. ChefSly - Super Kit Member

    5: Airline peanuts shall no longer require a warning.

    Yes, I, too, am aghast that the peanuts served on many airlines are processed in a facility that produces… nuts.While understanding that this is less an issue for the TSA or Homeland security than the gluten-phobes at the National Institutes of Health, it nonetheless nicely dovetails with the anti-American, risk-free approach to life and liberty of our federal government.

    Yes, I understand the poking-fun nature of the suggestion, so this is not a big deal, but;

    Peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes. It is possible to be allergic to nuts and not peanuts (and vise-versa, which the real issue.)

    • #20
    • March 26, 2015, at 4:13 PM PDT
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  21. Profile Photo Member

    Woo-Hoo, Dave! You are on a tsunami of a wave here – DUDE! (Californian for “Bravo!”, right?) I can’t applaud any more; my hands hurt…

    David Deeble:Thanks for taking the time to comment, everybody. Sometime I’ll tell you about the champagne popper I inadvertently left in my pants while passing through security and how the Department of Homeland Security generously waived the fine as it was my first offense. True story!

    Can’t *wait* to hear this one…

    • #21
    • March 26, 2015, at 4:17 PM PDT
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  22. Cow Girl Thatcher

    Mr. Cow Girl has to fly frequently for his work. His solution is to have everyone fly naked. There would be no concern over concealed weapons. Most people would avoid any interactions at all.

    • #22
    • March 26, 2015, at 6:39 PM PDT
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  23. Devereaux Inactive

    You guys have it all wrong.

    TSA has nothing to do with safety. You know that because there is a big sign outside of the ID checkpoint claiming “Your safety is our concern”. ?When was the last time you found a government agency speakng the truth.

    The whole purpose of the TSA is … JOBS! Look at the average TSA agent and you see someone who would most likely be challenged to flip burgers. Yet here he/she gets to wear a neat blue uniform, and to play important. ?Where else would you find it important to wipe your hands looking for explosive residue – a test that can come up POSITIVE if you use hand lotion (do NOT laugh! I spent an extra 30 minutes with these geniuses because my hands tested positive, then my shoes – which I had put on with my hands – came up positive. After a pat-down, sending my belt through the scanner, and going through my medication box, they then asked if I used lotion, since that would cause the machine to test positive! Seriously! No joke!)

    Once you have grasped the real purpose to all this shinanigans, all becomes perfectly clear. Of COURSE we should take off our shoes! Just be glad you aren’t asked who won the World Series last year, or to say “LILLIPUTIAN”.

    • #23
    • March 26, 2015, at 7:04 PM PDT
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  24. Umbra Fractus Inactive

    Cow Girl:Mr. Cow Girl has to fly frequently for his work. His solution is to have everyone fly naked. There would be no concern over concealed weapons. Most people would avoid any interactions at all.

    Keep in mind you’d still have to sit next to someone whether you consciously “interact” or not.

    I bet this would help EThompson’s 400 pound rule sail through though.

    • #24
    • March 26, 2015, at 7:23 PM PDT
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  25. David Deeble Member
    David Deeble Post author

    Umbra Fractus – I performed on a nude cruise one time and I’ll say this: it taught me to make eye contact.

    • #25
    • March 27, 2015, at 11:01 PM PDT
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