I rarely fly these days, but will be buzzing off to New Mexico in a few days for our annual fishing expedition to Vermejo Park Ranch. (Note: Ted Turner may be a loony tranzi goofball, but he runs a fine ranch, and for that alone gets an indulgence in my book.)
Last time I flew, I had a perfectly good and utterly useless-for-highjacking cigar lighter confiscated, which still rankles. Given my impending trip, Christopher Hitchens’ rant about the idiocy of our airport security was both timely, and dead on target.
We learn that there is no real capacity to detect explosives, for example. And we learn that, “If, say, a handgun were discovered, the terrorist would have ample ability to retain control of it. TSA screeners are neither expecting to encounter a real weapon nor are they trained to gain control of it.” Who hasn’t worked that out?
What we are looking at, then, is a hugely costly and oppressive system that is designed to maintain the illusion of safety and the delusion that the state is protecting its citizens. The main beneficiaries seem to be the pilferers employed by this vast bureaucracy—we have had several recent reports about the steep increase in items stolen from luggage. And that is petty theft that takes place off-stage. What amazes me is the willingness of Americans to submit to confiscation at the point of search.
Hence, my “disappeared” lighter. Imagine my irritation at learning that said lighter was only added to the confiscation list last month, so that when it was lifted over a year ago, there was no basis for confiscation at all.
A prediction: when we get hit again, and we will, there will be one almighty and well-deserved backlash against the Republicans who were in charge of this farce, and wasted everyone’s time on the irritations and idiocies of “homeland security” rather than doing something real to meet the most basic obligation of the nation-state – the safety and security of its citizens.