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The New Pillow-Hating TSA Rules: A Response

December 28, 2009 at 4:29 PM | by | ()

After a few days of "because shut up, that's why" updates from TSA, they've finally released their new security directives. For us this is kind of a good news/bad news thing. The bad news is that the regulations treat normal passengers like criminals, do nothing to increase security, wring the last drop of bearability from air travel, and threaten to bankrupt the American airline industry by deterring tourists and grinding airports to a halt. But on the plus side we finally have a theory about what's wrong with TSA.

Our security officials seem unable to separate the essentials in a situation from the incidentals. They look at Flight 253 and they see a blur of unrelated but very shiny colors: "suspect attempted detonation during the last hour," "suspect wore a blanket on his lap," "suspect focused on the plane's location." So they ban passengers from moving around in the last hour, ban passengers from wearing blankets also during the last hour, and ban passengers from knowing where the plane is. They're defending us tomorrow from yesterday's attacks.

That last ban—the one that includes blacking out in-flight GPS maps and proibiting pilots from saying things like "if you look to your left, you'll see..."—is particularly silly. What's the theory? "If terrorists don't know where they are they won't be terrorists—they're notoriously fickle that way!" If that's true let's just ban anyone from having the shades up on the windows. For safety!

This is the same reasoning that got us shoe screenings and liquid bans, both of which turned out to be useless, obnoxious, and obnoxiously useless. You know what the terrorists did when TSA started checking shoes and limiting liquids? They used less liquids and hid them somewhere that's not their shoes. Doh! If only they weren't so devious.

But at least these new restrictions make a lot of sense. It's highly unlikely that future attackers would try a different kind of bomb at the end of a flight. Or even try the exact same bomb earlier in the flight. Right? And TSA has even promised to redouble enforcement of the 3-1-1 rule. Because as long as all future attacks are like the attack three attacks ago, this will maybe kind of slow them down.

There's a separate rant to be written about how TSA not only focuses on specifics, but on dumb specifics. So this guy's dad went to a US embassy and expressed the concern that his son might try to do something crazy like blow up an airliner. But instead of new rules taking away the visas of people whose dads think they might try to blow up airlines, we're restricting blankets. Feel safer yet?

[Photo: djbones / Flickr]

Related Stories:
· Northwest Flight 253 [Jaunted]
· Airport Security [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:


Since this nit-wit used his underwear to carry the explosives, banning underwear on flights may be next. They've won. This has never been about Islamic world domination or destroying western civilization. This is simply about controlling our ability to be the people we feel we should be. Limit our freedom to move about. Get us to spend money and blood on wars they know we cannot win. Get us to fight each other about how to fight them. They keep us dancing to their tune. All they have to do is convince some lonely, disaffected schnook to do something stupid. And he doesn't even have to succeed. But we all lose.