I think it might be Seth Godin who came up with the term "Security Theatre", but it is so apropos. A few weeks ago we were at the airport in Toronto on our way to Boston. Security stopped me to tell me that the little gadget in my pocket – a Swiss Army card with a knife all of 1" long and a tiny flat screwdriver – would need to be confiscated for security reasons.
Now let me put this into perspective. This knife might give someone the equivalent of a nasty paper cut. Painful yes, but a weapon no. Yet confiscate it they did, in a pointless show. Certainly nobody else would take it seriously.
I’m always entertained when I’m told that I can’t bring my bottle of water through security, so it is tossed into a trash barrel three feet away. If they seriously suspected that the bottle contained explosives they wouldn’t be todding it three feet away. I’d even be happy to drink from the bottle to demonstrate how safe it is.
Don’t even get me started on the whole three ounce tube and sealed plastic bag rules. Or the fact that the rules are completely inconsistent from one airport to another.
I’d like to know if all of this purported security has foiled even one nefarious caper.
And we treat everyone the same way. As my friend Al used to say, you don’t see a lot of incidents involving children or 85-year-old grandmothers.
Perhaps we could do away with the theatre and do something that would actually make flying safer. It seems that Australia gets this:
Australia’s aviation authority has announced a return to sanity, allowing nail files, umbrellas and metal cutlery on its planes, saying that it will focus instead on "real risks."
Now if only everyone else would get it.
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