Wednesday, May 14, 2008

This is a disgrace

I was checking out a video on YouTube that someone sent me when I found this one.

It's a video of an Army National Guardsman being beaten severely by members of the Las Vegas PD at McCarran Airport.

I've written about this before, so I will try to not go on at length. The rank-and-file TSA staff have a thankless job. They are made to enforce policies that have little rational basis. These policies are the legacy of the former Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta. The airline industry had the bad luck to have Mineta as the Secretary charged with regulating their industry at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

In my opinion, the formative experience of Mineta's life appears to have been being interned during WWII. Although Wikipedia gives no dates, Mineta would have been around 10 at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. Assuming he spent the remainder of the war in internment, he would have been about 15 at the time he was released.

This was highly unfortunate for the airlines and their customers as Mineta insisted on policies that treated everyone as a potential terrorist, rather than use profiling to identify those likely commit terrorism.

Watching the news report of the incident, it appears that the Guardsman contributed to this situation. He does seem to have lost his temper. However, I can totally sympathize with him. I spent the last six years being regularly subjected to this treatment by the TSA - and I was working on a contract DIRECTLY RELATED TO BORDER SECURITY!

On the whole I think the flying public has been remarkably patient with the Mineta regime. What's surprising is that there haven't been more such incidents and that TSA personnel haven't been the subject of the occasional beating themselves.

What's really ludicrous is that the TSA is so slow to revise these idiotic policies that really don't do that much to make us safer. After all the terrorists have already used planes as weapons and are unlikely to do so again. Should they try another 9/11-style attack, they could just as easily use other permitted items to kill cabin crew. And with the flying public alert to the threat and the example of the passengers of United 93, putative terrorists would have to have a heck of a plan to get away with it again.

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