Security or Silliness

Screenwriter (and recovering attorney) David H. Steinberg writes about his recent TSA experience flying home to the U.S. from Aruba.  Among other things, his family was frisked by a baggage handler and a flight attendant snatched the pillow from under his 2-year-old daughter one hour before descent.

A lunatic tries to blow up an airplane, so now my 2-year-old daughter can’t sleep on her pillow. If this is how we respond as a nation to terror threats, then maybe the terrorists really are winning. . . .

I get that the threat of terrorism is real. But if these hastily thrown-together rules are how we respond to new threats, then something is seriously wrong with us (or at least the TSA). If two X-rays, a bomb-sniffing dog, a frisk and a bag search can’t detect the next terror attack, then how is turning off the DVD player an hour early and grabbing pillows from sleeping children going to help? Keep in mind that the new rules only apply to the last hour of the flight (presumably because Friday’s particular lunatic decided to set off his bomb only on descent). Won’t the no-pillow policy just cause Al Qaeda to issue orders to detonate at T minus 1:01?

I flew domestically with my 2-year-old on December 30, and did not have a confidence-inducing security experience either.  We alerted the TSA screeners that we had juice bottles in the diaper bag, and removed them for separate screening (as we’ve been instructed to do on all of our trips with her in the last several months).  Yet after the bottles were x-rayed, noone came to test the liquid (as is usually done these days).  Is this part of the new TSA randomness that is supposed to keep would-be terrorists off guard?  Nor, for that matter, did anyone catch the small containers of hand sanitizer we had forgotten to remove from two of our bags.  But, rest assured, Madeline Joyce was not permitted to wear her tiny booties through the metal detector. At least she didn’t need a pillow.