In the news today is a story about a TSA alert brought on by block cheese and wires (CNN.com). After seeing the story it seemed an interesting coincidence that the alert comes just a week after The Secretary of Homeland Security has a â€œgut feelingâ€ that an attack is eminent (APNews) and Senator Rick Santorum suggesting that terrorist attacks in the next year will change Americaâ€™s perception of the war (Santorum Suggest New Terror Attacks). Could it be possible that an alert meant for law enforcement found its way to the media for political reasons? Is it possible that the alert was meant to remind Americans that they need to be afraid? Very afraid. So afraid that they either donâ€™t notice or donâ€™t care as President Bush signs an executive order that looks very much like he is trying to stifle decent about the Iraq war.
I read the whole story about the cheese and the wires. I think there might be something to be a little concerned about. These incidents might be the dry runs, or they might be nothing. There are on going investigations and that is where the concern lies. But it is concern, not fear.
You would think that intelligent people would be willing to look at these events and at least question the timing of this latest TSA alert. My experience, sadly, is that the people I thought were intelligent would much rather just be afraid.
Let me tell you about my concerns. I really hate going through airport security. I do not feel safer. In fact, I feel less safe. The airport security line is where people now undress: shoes, belts, empty the pockets, remove everything down to the last layer next to the skin. And everyone does it. We take our laptops out of our bags. We walk through metal detectors and machines that puff air (to sniff us for explosives maybe). And we subject ourselves to very public and fairly personal searches. I have very long hair. When I travel I put it up so it is easier to manage. I have yet to go through security with out my hair being the focus of security. I have to take it down, the TSA agent has to feel it to make sure it is really all hair, I have to answer questions about it like is it really my hair. I realize that TSA is making an effort to not profile, but I am a petite middle aged blonde and I am most frequently traveling with my children. Is spending time focused on my hair really making us all safer to fly? I donâ€™t think so.
So, we are back to the latest alert. I wonder how long it will be before we have yet another list of new items you cannot take on a plane. I wonder if cheese will be on the list? Well, at least nursing mothers are now clear to take breast milk (in their breasts) on planes again.
Oh! The Cheese! Be very, very afraid.