During my 10.25 mile run yesterday morning, I witnessed numerous airplane approaches at the San Antonio Intergalactic airport. The strong, northerly wind forced airplanes to land from the south, taking them almost directly over one of my favorite running trails – Robert Tobin Park. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the TSA as I watched plane after plane bear down on the nearby airport. I thought of the billions of dollars the TSA consumes on a regular basis and the utter wastefulness of their efforts.
The TSA performs 100% screening of all passenger baggage, along with a full body scan or good ole groping, your choice. (I’m actually shocked we have a choice here) We’re told the TSA is committed to securing the friendly skies and the battalion of federal agents waiting to feel you up is for our safety and security. Lovely. However, it’s nothing more than the appearance of safety.
There are literally hundreds of opportunities for taking down an aircraft. Walking onto the plane with weapons or the intent to hi-jack is just one. The park where I run provides excellent cover for a would-be attacker. A terrorist equipped with a high-powered rifle could inflict untold damage before blowing his cover. Multiply this scenario times the number of airports around the country and you quickly see that safety is elusive. Think of all the ancillary services tending to the airplane while parked on the tarmac. I see fuel trucks, baggage carts, food and drink services, and many others, all potential ports of entry for an attacker. Lastly, what of the pilots. If the pilot wishes to drive the plane into the ground, how can we stop that?
Perhaps we should federalize the pilots as we did airport security. But why stop there – let’s federalize the whole operation, including the airlines themselves. That should make us all safer, right? Absolute safety doesn’t exist short of banning flying, and the TSA should stop pretending is does. Our government foolishly wastes billions while not increasing our safety in the least. There are better and cheaper ways to guard the skies, and we should all accept that with flying comes with a little risk.