I was on a short domestic trip last week and sure enough, at the security line just ahead of me, somebody started freaking out at a pat down and doing the “don’t invade my privacy” routine and my only thought was, “couldn’t you have anticipated this before you got in line and stayed home, because the rest of us have places to go and friggin’ things to do!”
Don’t get me wrong, what happened to my fellow Pixiq contributor George Lepp and his wife at a recent checkpoint is not right and in an ideal world, it wouldn’t happen. But it seems to me that when people are willing to stuff explosives in their skivvies and blow themselves up in an airplane full of people just to make their point, then we’re not in an ideal world…or even Kansas,Toto. We’re through the looking glass.
And yes, airport security is flawed, violates our rights, is basically political theater, and should be improved. And don’t even get me started on air cargo security.
But as any security expert will tell you, really improving security would mean profiling passengers (like El Al does) and, well, you know, that’s going to cause tons more outrage than botched body scans and people poking your privates.
So, we’re left with a flawed and imperfect system. But there are a few alternatives. Ones that I wish folks would consider before they get in the security line ahead of me.
1. Drive. These days, if a gig is 500 miles or closer, I drive. I can take more equipment, I can listen to a nice book on tape, and nobody fondles me (against my will, anyway!). I don’t like getting my body scanned any more than the next guy (although it’s not the thought of my naked X-ray being leaked that scares me, it’s what those X-rays are doing to my naked body!).
2. Charter your own jet, boat, or tourbus. If the situation at the airports is really that odious, put your travel dollars where your outrage is and go private….works for the super rich, why not us?
3. Stay home. Throughout the ages, travel has been fraught with danger and inconvenience. Highwaymen, bandits, grifters, pickpockets, and ne’er do wells have always been dedicated to fleecing the traveler….today’s scoundrels have raised the stakes because they literally want your hide.
But we’re a society that is used to getting our cake and eating it too. We want our privacy but we want our security too, we want more and better infrastructure but we don’t want it to raise our taxes, and we want to fly all over the place but we’re not happy with the process that may, just may find the lunatic with the C-4 in his boxer shorts who wants to bring our plane down way ahead of schedule.
You just can’t have it all. You can join organizations like Flyers Rights to press for better security measures at airports, you can write to your congresspersons, you can picket outside the airport (I think).
But please, don’t wait until you’re the person ahead of me at the evil scanning machine to make your stand.
Just stay home.
I, for one, could really use the extra space in the overhead….and don’t worry, I’ll bring back plenty of pictures so you can see what you’ve missed!