We give up our traveling freedoms in the name of security, even skeptics say ‘well of course we want 100% safety’ but occasionally criticize certain measures that do literally nothing to improve security or are actually counterproductive.
When in fact we don’t want 100% security. We assume risk every time we get in a car. Cars could be 100% safe but they’d be many times more expensive, far slower, and with plenty more hurdles to go through before being allowed to acquire one. We don’t accept those tradeoffs.
Commercial air travel could refuse to transport checked bags, period (ship your stuff separately). All passengers could be required to travel naked, nowhere to hide anything. Handcuffed. Even that wouldn’t be perfect security, but it would minimize the ability of bad actors to pull of a wide variety of threats. We don’t accept that.
There are some moves that are largely ‘worth it’ like reinforced cockpit doors — though even this trades off with the risk of a rogue pilot — and a general shift away from accepting a hijacking assuming that negotiations can get passengers off safe to one where any attempt to take over a plane is met with stiff passenger resistance. That makes it harder to take over an aircraft, even if it makes the onboard situation less stable if someone does successfully take the plane.
The TSA has been a national joke for years, and if we hope to fix it we need to separate out the screening function from the regulatory function. The FAA oversees safety but doesn’t actually fly the planes.
The air marshal program is hopeless, a run amok culture that brings more dangerous weapons inside the airport. More air marshals are arrested than terrorists.
Because the TSA and air marshal programs are so bad, we rarely focus on problems with Customs and Border Protection. But is anyone really surprised that CBP at Newark hazes new employees with a ‘rape table’ instead of remaining focused seriously on their jobs?
Officers with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency at Newark Airport are alleging veteran officers have subjected them to brutal hazing rituals, which include duct-taping newcomers to a “rape table” and grinding their genitals on them.
…”Once the lights go out, they grab you up like a gang, and they forcibly throw you on the table and one officer ended up mounting me and pretty much riding me like a horse,” CBP officer Vito Degironimo told the outlet.
…Though Cifuentes says she was not subjected to the “rape table,” she was assaulted in other ways. “There was a back and forth between another officer and myself,” she said. “He said, ‘You deserve to be put on the rape table.’ And that’s when he started chasing me. … [Eventually] I was held down by another officer and one additional officer taped me with green customs tape to the chair.”
Cifuentes alleges that an officer pulled his gun on her. “I was very afraid for my life,” she said. “I took a deep breath and kept on typing like nothing was happening. I know that if I reacted either he was going to pull the trigger or I was going to draw the weapon myself and shoot him.”
Hazing takes place to the theme of Jackass playing in the background.
We’re about to give CBP control not just of people entering the US but also exiting, allowing them to collect and manage facial recognition and share that data with airlines (for lounge access potentially, even!).
With that power, the ‘few bad apples’ excuse really won’t cut it.