Last week I flew back and forth between 2 of the biggest airports in the continental United States. In neither situation was I subjected to an unnecessary search, nor was I made to walk through a naked scanner. But something did happen that struck me as odd. And stupid. And potentially horrible.
I flew back from Washington DC on Sunday night. The Sunday night of the busiest travel weekend of the year. It was crowded in the airport as expected. The security line was rather long. But shockingly, as the line got overly long, TSA did in fact open 6 more security stations to handle the overflow and it was relatively quick to get through. During the course of my 20 minutes waiting though, two things happened that I need to talk about.
The first was simple, but disconcerting. There was a huge line (this was before they opened the extra stations). From somewhere in the snaking line there was a scream. It wasn’t a scream of shock or of being attacked. It was the sort of sound of someone in an intense amount of pain. It sounded to me like a woman was giving birth. It was that kind of screaming. And it was coming from somewhere in the line but no one could quite find out where. But it was clearly disturbing everyone in the line, myself included. No one knew what was causing it, who it was or where it was coming from and in these days of crazy heightened security and risk the thoughts going through my head were random and varied. I can only imagine what others in the line were thinking. (My twisted head was thinking that maybe this was the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse, but that’s just me.) The screams and moans were ongoing. For at least 10 minutes, if not longer.
No one seemed to be doing anything. TSA, the security and airport workers did NOTHING. No one walked through the line, no one made an announcement, and not one of the TSA agents on duty seemed to even care the slightest bit. Finally, after several passengers complained and asked what the hell was going on, did one TSA agent go through the line and pull out the person making the noises. It turned out innocent enough. The person making the noise was a mentally disabled young man who was accompanied by his mother. They were finally pulled out of the line and escorted through security. But why was it that none of the TSA agents thought to make sure that everyone was okay? Why did no one react? Isn’t that what they’re there for?
The second occurence was more disturbing to me. As I was collecting my things on the other side of the security line, you know, putting my shoes back on, putting my belongings back into my bag, etc… one of the TSA agents noticed something strange. Someone had left a laptop in a tray that had gotten put back into the stack of trays waiting for passengers to use. So there is an unattended piece of electronics left in the very crowded security area of an airport on a holiday weekend and what did the TSA agent do?
“DID ANYONE LEAVE A LAPTOP??? SOMEONE HAS LEFT A LAPTOP IN THE SECURITY AREA AT NUMBER 6.”
REALLY??? How stupid are you people? What the hell do we pay you for? We are all told to be vigilant and to keep an eye out and report suspicious or unattended packages. And here is exactly that – an unattended potentially suspicious item left in security and what does TSA do? They scream and ask who left it behind? REALLY???? They’re too busy grabbing our junk to notice that someone may have left something very dangerous.
I have mentioned that I have been to Israel. I have seen the Israeli security work. This is what is fundamentally wrong with our security system. TSA are morons. No one thought that this might be a threat. But if this had happened in Israel – this would have automatically been thought that it MAY be a threat. The Israeli security would have isolated and confiscated the item before any of the passengers could even notice. They would have tested it and made sure that it was NOT a threat before they made any announcements to the general public for someone to come back to claim it.
I didn’t stick around to find out what happened, but I have to say yet again, that I have NO FAITH AT ALL in our TSA agents. Significantly more training and basic common sense would have to be taught for these idiots in the ugly blue shirts to be at all effective. I will still fly. I have to. I feel no more safe now than I did prior to 9-11. This system we have in place simply DOES NOT WORK. Spread the word. Something has to be done to fix it.