Me? I don’t fly much. I’ve got travel issues. I’m not afraid to fly, mind you -- though I’ve never bought the notion that airline travel is much safer than traveling by car. While statistically true, it’s not the whole story. If you’re a skilled driver, don’t tailgate, pay attention to road conditions, don’t use your cell phone or send text messages, and are not drunk or half-asleep, you DO have some control over getting to your destination safely.
Not so, the passengers on the flight to Detroit carrying the Nigerian underpants bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Well, actually, the passengers DID have some control over the situation and were able to subdue the would-be attacker. But that’s only because Abdulmutallab’s attempt to detonate his underpants went awry. Had his briefs exploded, there may well have been no survivors.
No, when it comes to air travel, I have two monumental fears: 1) Being stuck in the terminal the whole day, or overnight, whether its due to a blizzard or some guy casually walking past an unmanned security checkpoint; 2) being stuck in the plane on the tarmac for hours on end. I have some experience with the former, and the latter gives me nightmares.
...Sometimes I think the airlines are less concerned about a terrorist carrying a box-cutter aboard the plane, than a law-abiding passenger going postal when the plane sits on the tarmac for six hours. The likelihood of the former is still quite remote, while the latter becomes more likely as airline “service” continues to deteriorate.
Now, with the implementation of new guidelines by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and CIA and FBI agents under order to “connect the dots” as intently as they solve their sudoku puzzles, perhaps we can all fly with a little less fear of exploding undergarments or footwear? But what’s certain is that negotiating airport concourses and boarding your flight will be more arduous than ever.
As for privacy concerns raised by libertarians regarding full-body scans at airports, I say, get over it! In fact, the TSA should hire perverts to operate the scanning machines. However ghastly the thought, these degenerates would never be late for work, never get bored, and NOT miss a thing! Mentally balanced TSA employees, on the other hand, would quickly find the task of examining scan after scan intolerably dull. Dangerously dull.
Trust me on this. Having taken life drawing classes during college, I can tell you, the thrill of sketching naked ladies (or guys, depending on the audience) quickly wanes. It was a three-hour class, and our instructor would bang on a big trash barrel with a cane, periodically, to keep students from nodding off and dropping their charcoal sticks on the floor. When that didn’t work, he would have us break for five minutes of calisthenics.
Only the criminally depraved can could stare at body scans all day, five days a week, remain alert and keep our country safe! Keep them chained to their posts for public safety, if necessary, but they’d probably stay put of their own accord.
Better yet, we could do what an editor friend of mine suggested: have everyone show up at airports for a pat-down, wearing only trench coats and sneakers. Or maybe we could all just fly in the buff -- passengers, flight attendants and pilots alike? Who knows -- mass displays of public nudity might eliminate the threat from Muslim extremists altogether!
Fly naked? I’ll do it if you will.
Well, thanks for stopping by. If you’d like to see additional samples of my work, please click here.