“On the eve of a major national holiday and less than one year after al Qaida’s failed attack last Christmas Day,” writes Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole (in response to “Protests Mount Over Safety And Privacy Of Airport Scanners,” National Public Radio, Nov. 12), “it is irresponsible for a group to suggest travelers opt out of the very screening that could prevent an attack using non-metallic explosives.”
The group in question is actually two groups (the U.S. Airline Pilots Association and the Allied Pilots Association) … and then some. In addition to pilots, regular airline passengers are promoting their own boycott through WeWontFly.Com and other grassroots efforts.
Pistole’s response to the scanner boycott rings unsatisfactory from any number of perspectives. For example, he neglects to mention that “the Christmas bomber” was foiled without the use of the scanners he’s advocating for, or that those scanners wouldn’t have detected the explosives the would-be bomber used. But my eyes keep drifting back to that one word … “irresponsible.”
Irresponsibility is the key element, the indispensable condition, to Pistole’s position as head of TSA. Without it, he’d be just one more faceless datum in America’s growing jobless statistics.
Even as America celebrated the heroism of United Flight 93’s passengers (probably mythologizing it to some degree, of course) in wresting control of a hijacked airplane from the terrorists who intended to crash it into something in Washington, the mushroom many now accurately refer to as the National Security State sprouted from, and grew like Topsy on, a steaming pile of irresponsibility:
“Let us take care of it for you — all you have to do is queue up, take your shoes off and let some loser who couldn’t get a real job stocking shelves at Wally World or mopping the floors at the stockyard grope you, twist your nipples, squeeze your gonads … or, better yet, just look at you naked on an expensive machine we bought with a whole lot of your money.”
Never mind that the 9/11 attacks could never been carried out as they were, and likely would never have been planned along the lines they took, if the US government hadn’t already established a long tradition of disarming airline passengers, forcing them to walk through metal detectors, and scanning their carry-ons for explosive residue before allowing them to board. 19 terrorists with boxcutters wouldn’t have even tried to take over airplanes full of armed passengers, and they wouldn’t have lasted two minutes had they tried.
The US government turned airline passengers into mobs of disarmed, toothless sheep, watched them as they went to slaughter, and in response proposed to up the ante on that failed experiment instead of ending it.
The last thing John Pistole or any other “national security” bureaucrat wants to see, the thing they all fear most, is you taking “responsibility” for your own safety. They want you to leave it to them, they’d rather watch you die than take “no” for an answer, and every time they fail they’ll use their failure as an excuse to double down on their pleas for more authority over you.
The long-overdue pilot and passenger boycott of “Burlesque on Concourse C” is a repudiation of, not an exercise in, irresponsibility.
[hat tip — Mike Gogulski and George Donnelly]