January 04, 2010

Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?

Just look at the picture to the left. That is the scene this evening as a security breach caused a lockdown at Newark International Airport leaving all passengers in terminal C to be evacuated. The images captures an ocean of passengers waiting to be re-screened before being allowed back into the "sterile" environment of the terminal.

Anybody remember when flying was fun? Drinks were cheap, service was good and none of this feel good with no results inconvenient security time banditry? There was a time before xray machines and full body scanners. Of course, this was all before we allowed the left to roll out the red carpet for the third world and before we invited Islam into our lives. But aint diversity grand?

It is safe to say the system as it stands is not working. Even without explosions many will no longer fly. After the Christmas day, successful terror attack, and it was a success up until the point of detonation, no one without a gambling spirit is going to get on an airplane unless absolutely necessary. It is a game of Russian Roulette up there. The new slogan of the airlines should be, "Fly the not so friendly skies...Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?"

Incidentally, I flew yesterday. Two flights. Phoenix to Chicago and Chicago to Stockholm. I performed my own profiling as I always do. The flight to Chicago had quite a few military guys on it and no suspicious characters. Chicago to Stockholm was pretty homogenous. I think my rather swarthy looking husband was the most ominous looking bloke on the plane so I figured unless they had a few Bosnian types recruited it was going to be OK. This is what passes for my airline security. I know I am on my own up there. I also know who is going to bring down the next plane. So do you. So does any thinking person. The facts remain:

1. Muslims are getting onto planes with bombs. That is just a fact.

2. This administration shows zero concern over Americans getting killed. This was on demonstration for all to see in Hawaii last week.

Needless to say, I am not going to be flying much in the coming months and years. Which is unfortunate. I like to travel and go places. I also like to live. Yeah, statistically I am more likely to drown in my bathtub or fall off a ladder; I realize this. However, it is the anxiety, the inconvenience and the idea of taking my children on unnecessary trips that will keep me off planes for the foreseeable future. I just don't need the stress of sitting next to a Koran carrier with his napsack, waiting for a sign to see to it that he is jumped on and face pounded so that my family isn’t killed.

My real query is what is the solution? I believe there will be a solution in the coming months and years. It is the American way or, at least, it used to be. We don't idly sit by and wait for the government to come up with a solution as we can see with our own eyes that the situation is actually deteriorating and that the government is actually making it worse. Someone, somewhere will finally make the first steps toward transforming air travel.

Privatization will be the answer. As it always is.

Those someones, and I bet there are a few of them, at this very moment have the blueprint in their minds. He (or she) will side step the inept government. He will create what the government can not - a common sense approach to secure flying. Shift the costs to the consumer. Prove you are a safe ticket and you can fly our airline. You either demonstrate affirmatively that you are a safe bet or you do not become a member of the airline. Profiling. Background checking. Double checking and triple checking. Screening before entering the plane and a dose of good old unPC common sense.

It will not be cheap. It will probably start for the corporate travelers. But it will be wildly successful. Who wouldn't fly that airline? I know I will.
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