Staying close to home

As with everyone, I woke up yesterday to the shocking news of the airline terrorist plot out of the UK. Throughout the day we then began to hear from all the experts and the true depth of the plot. The scope of this plan is frightening and makes me think twice about taking a plane anytime soon, but not because I’m afraid – I accept the fact that there is some inherent danger, but because it was already inconvenient enough.

An article on CNN has comments from experts as to what needs to be done in the U.S.

Bomb experts and troubleshooters for airline security interviewed by The Associated Press said mobile phones, computers, wrist watches or anything else with a battery should be prohibited from flights.

Nothing with a battery? OK – I don’t have a watch that doesn’t use a battery. Would I leave my cell phone at home? Imagine the flight to Hawaii without your iPod. What do I do with my car keys? They use a battery. Finally is anyone going to check their laptop instead of carrying it on? I understand that safety is paramount, but at what point does it stop? What happens when someone finds a way to use fabric to build a bomb? Will we all have to wear government issued orange jumpsuits? I understand that we need to tighten things up, but at what point does it become untenable? I’ve already decided that I won’t fly unless I absolutely have to. I don’t want to wait 4 hours at the airport. I don’t want to fly 5 hours without my iPod. I’m not willing to inconvenience myself to fly. I’m guessing that a lot of people are thinking the same thing.

I’m not saying more security shouldn’t be put in place – I’m just saying not for me.

There was a time when you would fly short distances or fly for pleasure without thinking about it. Fly from Philly to Pittsburgh because it was cheap and short. Now you drive or take the train because any flight under 2 hours might mean 6 hours total once you take into account security and picking up checked bags. The airlines must shudder at this line of thinking.

Another thing – are we really any safer than we were 5 years ago? I know that the government has put tons of policies in place in order to keep us safe – and to a certain extent I believe they have, but have these very same policies also created new terrorists? What we did in Afghanistan. The chase for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Our support for the Israeli war? As Kristen said to me today “we’ve created a nation of haters.” It seems to me that the one thing we have definitely been successful at is making more people mad at us. Where does this stop? Can we change minds? I don’t think so – I think these people will always hate us.

Aren’t you glad you’re not in charge?

Update: The following article on Salon about airport security procedures is worthwile reading.   It argues that upgraded security measures don’t make us any safer.

  • http://merujo.blogspot.com Merujo

    If these draconian measures stay in place – or snowball into the “no battery” future, I will fly only when absolutely necessary. The thing that irks me most about this is that in caves in Pakistan and gathered around TVs in Afghanistan and Syria and Iran and Iraq, those associated with Al Qaeda are high-fiving each other. Without anything actually happening, another level of our freedom has been stripped away.

    No more duty free. A line of angry people who need to pee before the plane even takes off, since they had to slam their post-security coffee/bottle of water while still in the terminal. Airlines charging $2.50 for a can of Coke or $5 for a bottle of water, since it will all be coveted on board now…

    I wish Amtrak was cheaper and more efficient…

    Grrr.

    Good post, Spencer.

  • http://pabaseball.blogspot.com Drama Queen

    Spencer- saw you linked our blog, so I thought I’d do the same for you. Thanks!

  • sean

    I’ve been taking trains for years now…even
    before 9/11 I preferred going by train…I
    love taking the scenic route.

    And yes, I know you can’t take a train to
    Europe from the U.S…but these days, I doubt
    I will be going to Europe except for only
    the most special of occasions.

    Fortunately, I was able to travel extensively
    throughout Europe back in the 80′s, before
    McDonald’s and Muslims ruined everything.

  • Spencer

    Very broad statement to say “…Muslims ruined everything.” I’m sure some people would say Europe was well on it’s way to being ruined before the 80′s.