By indulging in petty little empire-building absolutist cruelty, the TSA is removing what respect anyone had for their mission. In the linked story (chapeau tip: Jason Lefkowitz), a woman is ordered by the TSA to flush her pet fish because she attempted to bring it through security. She very rightly evades them, at risk to the fish. One Polish woman I talked to last year said she’d had her grandmother’s gold-plated toenail clippers confiscated by the London equivalent–she didn’t even have the option to give it to anyone else, or rent a locker, or anything.
That means that when we spot someone doing something they shouldn’t–we probably won’t alert authorities because we’ll logically assume they’re getting around some stupid rigid asshole with a gun. Yes kids, they have guns and they can shoot you–you’re willingly walking into a firing range with people who in most cases can’t be prosecuted for murder if they kill you, every time you fly.
I can see the scenario now: “Sorry, Laguardia Control, we’re going to let her fly the plane into the Empire State Building because if she’d got the right angle, she could give me a nasty half inch cut in loose tissue with those toenail clippers.”
Tom Ridge–I am not going to allow anybody on a flight I’m on to fly my plane into anything. And if they attempt a normal hijacking I’m goiing to assume they mean to fly the plane into something and act accordingly. Even, as is likely, if they get past your pathetic keystone kops with real guns or knives. By removing what respect we had for airport screeners, you’re making it easier for such people to stage just such a diversion and get people through security.
Remember, they hated us for our freedoms. I strongly suspect they hate us quite a bit less now.