Most of the time I understand that my views are far outside of the mainstream. For FSM’s sake, I’m a wookie-suited libertarian atheist who revels in the geek/nerd culture. Still, there are sometimes when that fact I’m outside the mainstream gets slapped across my face. Hard.
From Reason.com comes this article: “Gallup: Majority of Americans Think TSA is Effective.”
For all the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) horror stories that pop up in local papers, then Drudge, then (often) Reason, turns out according to Gallup, that group of much-maligned gropers are doing okay. Or rather, 54 percent of poll respondees say that the TSA is doing a “good or excellent” job. However, a paltry 13 percent (barely more than the 12 percent who said “poor”) actually think the TSA is “excellent.”
WTF? Only 13% of respondents said the TSA was doing a poor job? After all the horror stories (some with video) that have been blasted across the blogs and news sites? Exactly how do these poll respondents think that TSA is effective? It’s probably like this:
The government promised that with the TSA in place, the planes wouldn’t be taken over by terrorists and crashed into buildings anymore. No planes have been taken over by terrorists and crashed into buildings. Except for lone wackos who crash their own planes into buildings. Or the terrorists that are stopped by the passengers themselves.
Since September 11, Americans have an instinctual understanding that they can no longer be passive observers during a terrorist attack on a plane. If that rare occurrence happens, then they are dead unless they fight. Unfortunately that knowledge hasn’t seemed to seep into their thinking minds. They are fully content with the theater security that is the TSA. There might be some grumbling from the conservatives on how the Israelis do it better (which is a bullshit argument when you compare Israeli and American flight volumes). There might be grumbling from liberals on lost liberties (which needs to be more than grumbling). Yet all of them are just fine with the government “securing” the airplanes.
So, if I hate the TSA, what would I do to make the airplanes safer? First, privatize airport security and make the airports and airlines directly responsible for them, as in civil liability. Private security would be forced to find that crossroad between cost, effectiveness, and intrusiveness. It would also make it easier for airports and airlines to switch companies if the current provider is not doing a good job. (Yay free markets.) Second, allow us to start carrying our weapons back onto the planes. I mean everyone. Pilots, stewardesses, passengers. Let us have our guns, knives, stun guns, batons. I don’t care if you ask that only CCW holders carry onto the planes. Just enforce the same laws that govern us on the ground. Those laws seem to work pretty well on the ground, they should work just fine in an aluminum tube flying at 30,000 feet.