As a disclaimer, I promise this is my last post on the TSA.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, a champion of the freedom of expression, has joined the ranks of bureaucratic geniuses who believe the TSA is the bee’s knees.* TSA chief John Pistole received assurance from the great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller at the Senate hearing last week. The chairman of the committee overseeing air travel, Rockefeller assured Mr. Pistole that he was doing a “great job” – nay, “a terrific job.”
Other fans of the TSA include Senators Amy Klobuchar and Claire McCaskill, who assured Mr. Pistole that, if Americans only learned more about the TSA’s procedures, they would settle down and accept the measures taken for our “safety.” If the measures taken by the TSA are supposed to be in the interest of our safety, they might be missing the mark.
A study by three professors at Cornell University showed that, when the TSA started to require extra checked baggage screening in 2002, passenger traffic dropped by six percent. As Nate Silver of the NYT pointed out, in the wake of security measures people were even allegedly in favor of, the Cornell study shows that “there was a material reduction in air travel: inconvenience outweighed security for quite a few passengers when push came to shove.” Even more startling is the danger people subject themselves towards as a result of the alternative to air travel: driving. Cars are much more dangerous than air travel. According to the same Cornell study “roughly 130 inconvenienced travelers died every three months as a result of additional traffic fatalities brought on by substituting ground transit for air transit. That’s the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year.”
For those of you who have a penchant for privacy, I recommend tungsten underwear. For those of you who would like to pay $11,000, I recommend refusing to be searched. For those of you who will be on the ground indefinitely, and just want to make a statement, I recommend this t-shirt. All of these options are permissible, and even encouraged, as long as you remember that the government always makes sage choices that benefit your own good (whether you realize it or not).
* – I know about the ‘Stupid Grandson Theory,‘ but is there a precedent on a Stupid Great-Grandson Theory?