Monday, November 7, 2011

Letter to the editor criticizes media coverage of scanners

How refreshing. A Florida newspaper ran another glowing report (I'm sure a verbatim TSA press release with local commentary thrown in) about the local airport getting new scanners (with the cartoon software upgrade pre-installed - hence the propaganda). Not so fast, says a reader and frequent flier, what about the customer's point of view?
My wife and I had to use this machine when leaving Daytona Beach on Oct. 20. The machine found two problems; one on me and one on my wife.
...I just felt if The News-Journal was presenting all of the wonderful quotes by officials, it should also present the view of customers using the new TSA scanners.
Read the short letter to the editor for details on the "threats" these machines detected. Today, another reader followed up, pointing out that TSA rules are just plain dumb:
...The TSA's policy about carrying on a water bottle is another example of government policy gone overboard. I was going through security at Amsterdam's Schipol airport, and had forgotten about a water bottle in my carry-on. When the machine caught it, I was preparing to throw it in the trash can. The security officer motioned for me to take a drink from the bottle. I took a drink, swallowed the water and he then indicated it was OK to keep the water. If the security at Schipol can do this, why can't we?
The answer to his question is two-fold: All government-run programs, including airport "security," has a natural tendency to be idiotic, wasteful, and cruel because the incentives are for bureaucrats to protect their own butts (which is often at odds with protecting yours!). Second, the US is running an empire, so our bureaucracies are even dumber, more wasteful, and more cruel than your run-of-the-mill country's (like The Netherlands').