TSA: Our Nation’s First Line of Defense

I was recently flying out of LAX and guess what got me ‘busted’ in the security line? Did I commit the horrible sin of forgetting to take my laptop out of the case? No rookie mistakes here. So what was it? I failed to remove my baby’s shoes. You read that right, my BABY’s shoes– in fact, I should put ‘shoes’ in quotes because they are not shoes as he is 6 months old and therefore not walking. I would define a ‘shoe’ as something that has a sole of some sort and is intended for walking. Babies don’t wear shoes, they wear booties and I didn’t see ‘baby booties’ on TSA’s list of forbidden items. I asked him why I had to take off the booties and he said ‘those are the rules.’

While I watched my items being searched I had plenty of time to ponder the TSA: “Have they ever really stopped a terrorist plot? Do I have faith in their abilities to stop terrorists? (and most frighteningly) Are they our actual ‘first line of defense’ against terrorists?” All of our current security measures are a result of an attempted (and hopefully failed) terrorist attack. Terrorists have attempted to blow up airplanes with their shoes and most recently with their underwear, but all of those people made it past the cracker-jack TSA. One may argue, that is why we need the ‘enhanced’ security measures, but I submit to you, that at the time of many of these attempted attacks these regulations were not in place and the plots still failed. Are we safer today because of our security procedures? Is removing one’s shoes and belt seriously stopping terrorists? In my mind, these regulations are similar to advocating for restricting the lawful use of firearms because of a crime committed using a weapon that was illegal in the first place.

Just a question here, wouldn’t the government’s time and money be better spent seeking out terrorists rather than confiscating my manicure scissors and strip-searching a 6 month old baby? Has our government, in an attempt to keep us safe, put our safety in the hands of robots incapable of an independent thought? Groping infants and senior citizens may just be TSA ‘following the rules’ but it is ridiculous and an affront to common sense. I would like the US to catch terrorists at home and abroad, but confiscating my lip gloss because I forgot to put it in a quart-sized ziploc bag is not helping anyone …

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