By Wayne William Cipriano
Every now and then you run across a piece of information from a fairly credible source that so reinforces a feeling, predisposition, estimate or prejudice that you previously held without any supporting evidence that you just cannot help crowing loudly.
Such was the case the other morning when the crawl line news snippets that under-run the early morning news on all the major networks related that 95% of the fake weapons and explosive devices that “homeland Security Red Teams” tried to sneak past Transportation Security Administration (TSA) inspectors at various airports were not, repeat NOT detected.
A few years ago there was a rash of these “tests” conducted by just plain folks like you and me using such fake items. The people conducting those “tests” probably as disgusted as I am with the time-wasting, totally ineffective manner in which luggage and passengers were being screened, seemed to be asking why we are so hugely inconvenienced while being so poorly protected. These folks were often arrested, always seriously harassed, and probably well fined when they were caught.
It has been quite a while since I have heard of anyone doing that stuff. But, as I said, testers have tried to sneak fake weapons and explosives past airport security and been successful 95% of the time. We could ask 95% of how many attempts, how sophisticated were the screeners and machines that were fooled, what exactly qualified as a weapon or device, but I suspect the answers would bring us little comfort.
Did you know that the TSA, now blended into Homeland Security, which did not even exist 15 years ago, is now the third largest Federal entity behind only the Department of Defense (Army, Navy, Air Force, Unites States Marine Corps, etc.) and Department of Veteran Affairs? What is this costing us in time and money? Buying us…..what?
If Homeland Security Red Teams were able to fool TSA screeners 95% of the time and get faux weapons and explosives past them, doesn’t it stand to reason that TSA would miss 95% of real weapons and explosives that passed in front of them?
This suggests several other questions, does it not? Is anyone trying to sneak weapons and explosives onto aircraft? If we are in such danger from this mass of terrorists and TSA has been missing them for years, shouldn’t we have noticed something pretty drastic by now?
And what about other forms of mass transit, completely unprotected by TSA? As far as I have heard they have remained unmolested. Do terrorists not realize there exists such things as trains and busses carrying us to and fro?
If there are very few or none of these threats in reality, why are we supporting such a huge, expensive and almost criminally inept Federal administration, and why are we subjecting ourselves to these ridiculous, time consuming, intrusive, and evidently useless “security measures” which have about a five-percent chance of stopping any supposed malefactor?
Do we need to make TSA larger by spending even more money on it, growing its employee census even faster, encouraging even more intrusive and ineffective methods to plague us at airports or should we take a more realistic look at the number and magnitude of attacks we have not suffered bearing in mind only five-percent of the weapons and devices going into airports have been detected and no resources whatsoever have been expended on other mass transit? How many “sitting duck” trains and buses have been attacked?
Isn’t it time for us to understand that we are surrendering to terrorists by being terrified, their victory all the more efficient because they have done nothing to earn it besides holding up a mirror before our own fears?
TSA and all the other alphabet organizations that thrive on our trembling insecurity argue that if only one weapon or device in the hands of a bad actor is discovered, all these billions of dollars and billions and billions of wasted passenger hours would be worthwhile. That is their argument.
Others say liberty is worth the courage it takes to stand up and face our fears, sometimes even suffering because we choose freedom. Freedom is dangerous! Do you drive a car? Do you eat junk food? Do you smoke tobacco? Do you own firearms? Carry a pocketknife? Ride motorcycles? Climb mountains? Do you run with scissors? If you want to be free you must face the risks of freedom and overcome your fear. That is their argument.
What’s your argument?