We’re packing to leave Medford in a few hours and this morning brought a revelation of how inept Homeland Security is.
If you haven’t flown recently within the continental US, consider yourself lucky. They’ve stepped up the security measures before boarding but they haven’t stepped up the training of airport security employees so what you have is one uniform(ed) chaos from beginning to end. This includes a lot of ridiculous events and much impatience and irritability on the part of passengers who understand things are inefficient but may not be able to isolate why.
Right after September 11, the immediate security measure was to ban all forms of blades, scissors, knives etc. from the cabin but to allow them in checked luggage. This marked the end of my Leatherman companion knife which was confiscated from me and thrown in a garbage can.
A few years ago, the incident with Richard Reid, the shoe bomber added the lovely boarding component of removing your shoes before you go through the X-Ray machine.
Earlier this year, the London incidents (foiling a plan to blow up planes using liquids in toothpastes and liquids) made the process even more circus-like in randomness by requiring all liquids to be either chucked in large grey trash cans or checked in luggage (for toothpaste and shampoo bottles).
So now…let’s pass in review everything we have to shed or take into account when boarding: check or chuck all knives and bottles of liquids, take off your shoes, belts, wallets, coats, keys everything and place them in individual grey bins. Walk through the X-ray machines arms splayed waving your boarding pass. Get dressed once you’ve been “inspected”.
So this time around, boarding in LAX, same circus.
Some poor guy forgot to take his wallet out of his back pocket. He was practically strip searched for about fifteen minutes by a very serious agent who had announced to everyone there “He set off the alarm!!!!!!”
We managed to pass through with no problem.
This morning, packing his computer away, my brother opens one of the pockets of the carrier case, and finds… a BOX CUTTER.
The very instruments that set off the Homeland Security crazy measures by enabling the terrorists to take over the planes.
The actual exact instrument. And it was in his case the entire time, flew with it in the plane etc.
I’ve flown in and out of Israel countless times in the last few years and had to brave extreme security measures there, but the thing is, they were so well trained and flawless that I didn’t mind. They were just perfectly rigorous. In the States, any security measures annoy me to no end because the employees have no idea what they’re looking for. I think they just don’t have any concept of real threat and can’t see the forest for the trees. They’re so strict on the bottles and the shoes and the alarm ringing for a little wallet that they let a box cutter in.
Here’s a photo I shot right before leaving Oregon…(with Nic’s camera): (as he commented on his Flickr: high terrorist alert in Medford, puh-leeeeze!)