So, yesterday was another one of those days when I had to make Al turn off the news.
We were on a ten-hour drive, the satellite radio was broken, and he brilliantly thought to get streaming MPR on his phone. The boy misses his MPR, so I was cool with that, right up until I realized we’d been listening for aaaages, and it was pretty much nothing but recapping the foiled terrorist plot and interviewing people at airports–the expected “If they catch one bad guy, I don’t mind if they make me fly naked!” soundbites–over and over and over. I know Al doesn’t like it when I yell, so finally, I said, “Okay, can we give it five more minutes, and if it’s still exactly the same shit, we turn it off?” He looked at my face and turned it off immediately.
I’ve made promises of varying strength to visit New York in October, Vegas sometime soonish, and Atlanta next spring, but as things are right now, I am just not fucking flying. And it’s not because I’m afraid–it’s because I’m not, and am therefore appalled beyond words by the latest security regulations. When the government takes away my right to fucking hydrate myself, I’m done. I’m just done. If I can’t get there by land or sea, I’m not going. And since that means I can’t get to another continent without having to leave the dogs for a really long time, it pretty much means I’m going to be sticking around here, basking in my god-given right as an American to remain wholly ignorant of other cultures, save the occasional margarita or bowl of poutine. Yay!
Other people with actual readerships have made all the following points and more, but I’m going to list them here anyway, because it will make me feel better. Or not.
1. See below.
2. If a deadly weapon can be contained in a tube of lip gloss, then we are not actually “secure” unless everyone gets a body cavity search.
3. Already, there are umpteen reports of people getting on planes with their water, moisturizer, shampoo, what-the-fuck-ever, because security missed it. Shocker. I’ve gotten onto planes with lighters half a dozen times in the last couple of years, not because I was trying to buck the system, but because I just forgot there was an extra one somewhere in my purse, and nobody noticed (usually including me, until about two days after the flight, after I’d already bought a new lighter). This shit is simply unenforcable. All it does is separate travelers into four categories:
A) Innocent people who voluntarily go through the inconvenience of purging their baggage of any questionable items
B) Innocent people who don’t get the memo but will voluntarily surrender questionable items as necessary, gumming up the security lines
C) Basically innocent people who pride themselves on sneaking contraband through security (there’s always someone to bum a light from when you get off a plane, and what I’ve heard is that lighters routinely go unnoticed when ensconced in shaving kits or bags full of cosmetics–although I guess those will have to be checked now, too)
D) Actual terrorists, who have undoubtedly figured out all the same tricks as the people in category C.
So basically, we all have to be treated like criminals and inconvenienced out the wazoo, and yet, it would appear that a person who wants to bring any banned item short of a handgun onto a plane can probably still do it. And that guy is probably getting through while, for instance, security is busy feeling me up, because my forgotten metal hair clip set off the big detector, and then my underwire set off the wand. (Jacksonville Airport, October, 2005. That guard still owes me dinner.)
4. Or, best case scenario, Terrorist #11 gets through while Terrorists #1-10 are being searched. If they can find enough people willing to die in an explosion for the cause, they can probably find enough people willing to be patient until they’re murdered in jail, in service of the greater good.
5. Once a plan has been revealed, it’s worthless. So while we’re all giving up our Evian and shampoo, actual terrorists are working on a new strategy anyway.
6. There will always be a new strategy.
7. All we’ll have to do in the future to avoid the inconvenience is voluntarily give up even more personal information! Who could have seen that coming?
8. What’s this I hear about mid… term… el… ections? The what now?
I can’t even think about it anymore. Until next time. Gaaaah.