Friday, December 17, 2010

The Boy Who Fell From the Sky - A True Story of the TSA

Last month a 17 year old boy fell from the sky in Boston. This was a very unusual incident, as young men do not ordinarily fall from the skies. But fall he did, onto a street in a suburb of Boston, Mass., where people became rightfully indignent about where the boy had come from. After all, in this day of plunging real estate values, one must be sure to protect the neighborhood from incidents such as these, which only serve to further depress home values in the area. And so, an investigation was launched.

The boy in question was from Charlotte, North Carolina. Apparently he had stowed away in the wheel well of a jet, which would be going to Boston. His body was found along the flight path leading to the airport, lending credence to the theory of his having stowed away. He had been attending high school here in Charlotte, where the school system is under funded and teachers are being laid off, even while new schools are being built. So nobody told this young man that it’s minus 20 degrees at 30,000 feet. But this is not the point of the story.

While this young man was busy climbing a fence, dodging the perimeter patrols which surround the airport, and then stowing away in the wheel well of a jet, thousands of people inside the terminal at Charlotte Douglas International Airport were busy disrobing and emptying their pockets for our collective "safety." Am I the only one upset by this?

The illusion of security will not stop a single determined suicide bomber or terrorist. Terrorists are not stupid, just misguided in their beliefs. So, if a 17 year old high school student can figure out how to elude the external security of the airport, reaching all the way to the airplane itself, how hard will it be for a trained and determined terrorist?

I called the Airport a few weeks back to ask how this happened. TSA said the external security is not part of their mission. The Airport is responsible for that. The Airport Security Office would not comment, beyond stating that it was the responsibility of the local Police. The local Police deny this. They state, rightfully so, that the security of the airport is the responsibility of the airport.

It’s sad that this young man had to fall to his death for some unknown reason. But his fall should serve as a notice to all that you are not one iota safer today than you were before 9/11.

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