More Outcry Against The TSA

A Forbes blogger is calling (again) for the abolishment of the Gestapo TSA, in response to last week’s harassment of a wheelchair-bound 95-year old leukemic woman. (They thought her catheter and her wet adult diaper were suspicious, so after patting her down they made her take it off and go commando through the airport.) Overall, the article argues that it’s time to put an end to the “security theater“, and makes three excellent points:

  • If that harassment is TSA procedure, then the procedure needs to be thrown out and re-written. At the point where that kind of treatment is standard, can we still claim that the terrorists haven’t won? At the very least, they’ve robbed every single air traveler of their dignity.
  • It’s a point that’s been made before: flying is far safer than driving, but the tremendous rise in airport inconvenience has driven a lot of people away to the road and as a result, more people are dying in car accidents thanks to the TSA than they ever have thanks to terrorists.
  • Since we started keeping track 40-some years ago, lightning has killed about the same number of Americans as terrorists. Also deer, via car accidents. This according to a paper (PDF) on the terrorism overreaction, by the Cato institute.

And as a reminder, a couple more examples of TSA vigilance from the past year:

  • Last November, they patted down a screaming 3-year old girl after she started crying because they took her teddy bear away to put through the X-ray machine
  • Around the same time, 100 images from the naked body scanners (which were never supposed to be saved) were leaked from where they were stored on government computers
  • A stun gun found in a seat pouch on a JetBlue plane in July
  • One of the guys from Mythbusters accidentally made it through security with two 12-inch long razor blades. But they won’t let you go on with nail clippers. Below is a funny video of him telling the story:

Updated July 12th, 2010 to add the stun gun incident to the list of TSA fails.

From Forbes, via Slashdot


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