A Policy we can’t leave Up in the Air

June 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

No one enjoys the post-9/11 airport hassles- lines, luggage screening, having to take off shoes, right size of fluids packed? etc. The reality of the situation though is that we Americans were fortunate to have endured as long as we did without a significant act of terrorism.

The 1960s and 70s ushered in an era which combined the lowest airfares yet available to the public along with a turbulent political scene. This increased air traffic and popularity included groups and individuals who hijacked the planes making demands and threats. While the U.S. was spared the most infamous of these incidents, the Federal Aviation Admin. began screening of passengers and their luggage as far back as 1973 in response to terrorism and hijackings. The first air marshals were assigned during this period as well. Still, security at most airports was weak with local police or security guards usually getting involved only when notified.

9/11 obviously marked the end of innocence for airport security domestically. It is hard to foresee a future scenario in which we’d revert to the less stringent screening apparatus in the pre-Transporatation Security Administration era.

We do know that the government has foiled some high profile post-9/11 further attempts by terrorists. The Department of Homeland Security will need to continue gathering and analyzing intellingence to outwit extremists in this high stakes cat-and-mouse game.

Well-intentioned individuals and groups have called attention to some DHS initiatives which may run counter to travelers’ privacy. Citizens can and should have a robust debate about what limits security and airports should be. In this writer’s opinion though, the funds and steps travelers must go through are worthy and necessary to prevent harm to the traveling public and maintain national security.

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