I had the “opportunity” to stand in line to go through yet another security check at the airport the other day. I can’t help it, but I seethe during the entire process – I’d rather have a boil lanced from a sensitive spot on my body. Is there a more absurd procedure in life than wasting what time you have left on Earth standing in line to be searched, fondled, and yelled at by people who really would prefer you were not bothering them?
As we approached the checkpoint, a 20-something young man looked up from his podium with an unpleasant look on his face shouting for the approaching people to stay to the left of the wall. There was no sense of civility to the request – just a bellow by a kid towards a group of adults who pay his salary. After his outburst, he ducked his head down without further comment, retreating back into whatever miasma he wallows in. He deserved a spanking.
At the checkpoint, I was made to remove everything from my pockets, then my shoes and belt, while a rather ample young man shouted orders similar to a drill sergeant in boot camp. To date, I have been courteous enough to the general public not to just remove my pants and throw them in the tub in an effort to save us all time. It does require me to hold up my britches while traversing the metal detector though. What’s next, cavity searches?
Later, I started looking into a few facts concerning our TSA. It didn’t help my anger issues.
Formed in November of 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the TSA employs 60,000 security officers to annoy us, and we them, at a cost of $5.3 billion of tax money. (The total expenditure for TSA is over $7.3 billion.) This amounts to $88,333 per security worker, yet the people annoying us are paid a salary between $25,000 - $38,000. How does that math work? Seems like a ton of money for us to all be irritated, particularly after the horse had already left the barn on 9/11.
President Obama, who hasn’t walked through security in ages, magnanimously proposed tripling your $2.50 tax on your plane ticket to be earmarked for the TSA, as they believe they are overworked and need more money. Morale is evidently low. My experience has been that for every officer actually working, there are three more standing around with their finger in their ear. And, in spite of all this money being spent, last year, Security Director, Kelly Hoggan, was paid $181,500 - $91,000 of which was for bonuses (in $10,000 increments!) – to oversee this madhouse. Somebody had the good sense to fire the man so that he is now free to pursue a career in Congress.
Further proving the world has been turned upside down, in this age of political correctness that demands we not profile people, your 80-year-old grandmother in a wheel-chair and your 5-year old daughter holding a Minnie Mouse doll can, and has been, searched by a security guard wearing a hijab. I’ll leave that comment right there and let you think about it.
By the way ladies, your “junk” does appear on those full body scanners. It can, and has been saved for some folks to ogle. If you should overhear the phrase, “hotel papa” they are probably collectively focusing on your person. Oddly, I’ve never heard it mentioned around me!
CNN reported between 2010 and 2014 there were 30,621 cases of missing valuables for passengers going through a TSA check. I searched the internet for a more updated report on theft and was unable to find any numbers past 2014. Somehow, I doubt the theft ended in 2014.
Keep in mind, this process only applies to us, the great unwashed. Those “above” us, such as our elected officials, pro sports players, or Hollywood elites, fly privately where there are no security lines. At least the Hollywood bunch pays for their own fare, rather than on our dime like our government.
And finally, get this - Homeland Security revealed in 2015 that undercover investigators were able to smuggle banned items through checkpoints 95% of the time. Even if that preposterous number is over-inflated by 50%, how safe does that make you feel? It surely begs the question – why do we need to pay for the TSA so we hassle each other? Perhaps it is time to consider doing away with the TSA and privatizing this quagmire.
After all, aren’t WE the customer.