Monday, January 4, 2010

No One Wants To See That


As I'm sure you've probably heard, some jackass following in the footsteps (as the Weird Beard followers do) of other al Qaida losers thought he was trying to blow up a plane on Christmas Day as it flew in for landing in Detroit. Now, I've been to Detroit, so I can understand the feeling of wanting to off yourself upon approach, but bringing a plane load of people along with you is really unnecessary. I mean, they might not be thrilled about the idea either, but it's their choice. It's really not up to an inept terrorist to make that decision.

Here's the thing. Despite this guy's complete moronic-ness (made that up), it could have been a total disaster. Planes blowing up are usually nothing short of total disaster. And it's really not clear to me why it didn't work. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that he had the bomb woven or strapped or sewn or something into his underwear. Behold!

Wow. I'm a little surprised that he chose the groinal region to conceal an explosive device. After all, men are so touchy/feely about their grundles (there's probably a pun in there somewhere), the thought of any harm coming to it usually causes them to recoil immediately and gasp in horror. But I'm guessing that he chose that region because it would likely go undetected with any sort of normal, non-invasive pat-down that is sometimes administered as an attempt to feign some sort of safety measure for those who are flying. That's probably a given. What isn't really so much a given is whether or not these inadequate measures provide enough security to folks that are traveling by way of the airs that they really feel secure, or if it's the way that I suspect and that it doesn't do much of anything, but when you're the one flying and barely being patted down, you prefer not to think about the fact that it's useless and you could be seated next to a maniac with a bomb strapped to his grundle.


Anyway, the point of this is that even though this guy got on the plane in a different country (Amsterdam, I believe) that is reason for the US to heighten their security measures at airports. Now, I don't have a problem with that. Anything that we can do to help planes and the people on them become less 'splode-y, I'm all for it. And what's not to be for? Flying? Good. Flying safely? Good. Flying without getting blown to smithereens at 20,000 feet? Gooooood!! But have you heard what they're doing?

According to the folks over there at MSNBC.com "All travelers flying into the U.S. from 14 nations considered high risk will be patted down and have carry-on luggage searched under new security procedures starting Monday."

::: blink ::: ::: blink :::

I'm sorry...starting when? Monday? Monday. This Monday? Tomorrow, Monday? THAT Monday? Monday? Perhaps the TSA was not aware that this guy tried to blow up this plane on Christmas Day. Um, that was nine days ago. NINE days. And NOW, NINE days later, NOW they've decided that folks from the sand lands (Oh, come on! You know that's what they mean! They're not doing this with the French!) will be searched?! It took them nine days to come to that conclusion?! What's wrong with nine hours? Why did it take so long? Actually, why in the world weren't we already doing this? In case no one has noticed, we're kind of in the middle of a couple of wars with those sorts of countries. The Iraq. The Afghanistan. Both high risk. Both war zones. It would not seem unusual to have had these policies instituted...oh, say...right around...September 12, 2001? What is going on over there at the TSA? Nine days? Seriously?

In case you're wondering (or preparing for a stint on Jeopardy!) the 14 nations are referred to as being "Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Yemen." The article at MSNBC says that those countries "...are on the list as countries of interest." Countries of interest? What the heck is a country of interest? Is that like how when some guy's wife disappears and it's totally obvious that he did it (a la Scott Peterson) but they just don't have enough to pin it on them just yet so they call them a "person of interest"? Is that what's going on here? Are we so soft that we have to call these God forsaken lands "countries of interest"? Huh. I can't imagine why we're not winning this thing sooner. Way to make the whole country sound like a pussy there, TSA. And if you were still able to count after reading that and realizing that there were only 10, the other four are "Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria" because "...they have long been identified as "state sponsors of terrorism" by the United States.

CUBA?! Cuba. We're calling Cuba a "state sponsor of terrorism" but we're calling freaking Pakistan a "country of interest"? Oh, we are so doomed. (I need more alligators for my moat.) Are they kidding? Well, hopefully they're coming up with something other than just catchy titles for places to keep us safe. Hopefully they've got a little bit more than that. What about screening procedures? Anything new there?

Glad you asked. According to The Washington Post the number of full body imaging machines (think really big X-ray) at airports is increasing. The machines "...scan passengers' bodies and produce X-ray-like images that can reveal objects concealed beneath clothes." It's been that if the Undiebomber had gone through one that it would have most likely revealed his extra package he had concealed in his package area. And even though it's an X-ray, I don't think that there's a whole lot to worry about as far as feeling like you're going through some sort of virtual strip search. Do you feel violated when you have a regular X-ray or MRI? It's the same thing. And it would make stuff a whole lot safer and easier. Whew! I'm glad that's in the works. What now? People have a problem with this? Oh, good Lord, what's wrong now?

Well, if you're asking a one Kate Hanni, the founder of FlyersRights.org, she'll tell you that "The price of liberty is too high" and that "...the full-body scanners may not catch the criminals and will subject the rest of us to intrusive and virtual strip searches." Oh, for cryin' out loud, what is wrong with you, woman? Does this look too intrusive?! Does it?! Behold!


Of course it doesn't! What about this? Behold!


Oh, look! A gun! And you're telling me that the price of liberty is too high? I'm looking at my chart here (and that gun) and the price of liberty does not seem to be quite as high as the price of life. Life? Extremely valuable on my chart. Liberty? Definitely a close second. The founding fathers even had it in that order. Life, liberty, justice for all. Maybe you've heard of it. Anyway, I have no idea what she's talking about. Do you really care if someone sees an X-ray version of yourself? I can't imagine that you do, but if you do, please tell me why because I don't get it. It's not like you're getting Playboy centerfold images here. Please. And an invasion of privacy? Spare me. Have you flown lately? It's like a leper colony on most planes. Do you think that anyone really wants to invade any of those folks privacy to the point of having to see them sans clothing? I don't think that we do!

Really, I think that the only issue with the full body screening system is what we're going to pay the screeners. Because let's face it, they're going to be looking at some pretty gnarly folks going through those things. They're going to need a higher than average salary and an extra week of vacation time. Their insurance plan is going to have to include excellent vision coverage. (I worry that some might close their eyes so tightly after a few years of having to look at so many people that you really don't want to look at with clothes on, let alone scanned, that they could cause permanent damage to their ocular facilities. They're going to need Botox also. All of that eye closing could really induce facial wrinkles at a much faster than normal rate. Ooh! Hair plugs, too!)

And in the end, what are we really talking about here? Not getting blown up, that is correct. You want me to strip naked and do a cartwheel through that little metal detector gate thing? If that's going to assure me that I'm going to land at my destination in one piece and not being scattered across a tri-state area in bite sized bits, I'm all for it. Hold my shoes and stand back. I never was very good at cartwheels. (Helmets! Those screeners are going to need some helmets as well!)

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