Our buddy at Taking Sense Away has a new post up, which he’s given us permission to cross-post here:
Almost any TSA screener will tell you (in hushed tones, at least) that one of the more frustrating aspects of the day-to-day rigmarole is having to field questions from smart passengers who demand to know what kind of sense this or that TSA policy makes.
Trying to explain to a little old man, for instance, why the tiny blade on his Leatherman multi-tool warrants the entire multi-tool being confiscated, while, right next to him, a 300-pound muscle-bound man fresh out of prison gets to keep his pair of scissors, a lighter, his toothbrush, along with all the other shank-making tools he’d just spent 10 years mastering in the penitentiary.
Then you have TSA headquarters, telling the public one minute that anyone could be a threat at the airport, regardless of age, size, shape, color, or creed— even kids, because “terrorists are not above using children” to carry out attacks (which was why kids had to get inside full body radiation scanners for the first year of the backscatter machines, we were told)— and the next minute saying that people who even appear to be sort of young will no longer be touched. (The next thing you know, the TSA will claim the existence of intelligence regarding a team of pygmy ninjas plotting to exploit the TSA’s 12-and-under policy in order to rain terror from the skies— kids will be asked to spend 5 minutes with a Child-Certified Behavior Detection Officer at the new TSA Checkpoint Playpen™.)
Then we went from all passengers having to receive equal screening—there was no telling what form a terrorist could take, after all—to an elite stratum of society being largely excused from security theater, providing they had given enough money to the airlines. Because hey, it’s not like there’s any possibility that a perfectly upstanding frequent-flying U.S. citizen with a clean skin could suddenly snap and decide that he wanted to, oh, say, fly a plane into a building, or anything.
Look. My heart goes out to all the good, hard-working TSA screeners out there on the floor, who have to explain these contradictory and absurd TSA policies to passengers, as I did for so many years. And I respect the TSA PR people, too: their jobs must get awfully boring, having to recycle the same vacuous jargon over and over again in their official statements to the media in order to explain the convoluted policies and wacky situations their bumbling organization is always getting itself into.
And so I am giving a gift to the TSA today, to serve as a peace offering. A little gadget I came up with to make the TSA’s job a little easier.
I took the liberty of designing my gift with an eye to adaptability; programmed it with possible future terrorist plots and the probable corresponding TSA policy responses; and extrapolated from the current TSA mission creep, in order to arrive at the likely TSA mission creep of tomorrow.
I built this thing with love, TSA, and then tweaked it, honed it, and rebuilt it, to make you better, stronger, faster.
This invention of mine will enrich the American public, as well. If TSA headquarters uses the gift I am giving today, at least a few high-paying positions in the TSA PR department can be eliminated, along with a few Policy Analysts. At this moment, American taxpayers are potentially witnessing at least a million dollars being trimmed from the TSA’s annual budget, in one fell blog post. With the Washington TSA policy makers’ and PR department’s six figure-salary jobs now being fully automated, the TSA can redirect more of its resources and brain power to the checkpoint floors, where it’s sorely needed.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you . . .