Rising Up Against The Joke of Airport Security

Dec 29, 2007  |  Michael Wurzer

Following my post the other day on gross glasses at hotels, this is the second in probably a two-part series on travel challenges. This time the target is airport security, or the lack thereof, and the outrage we should be expressing about having to endure the hassle of inane security procedures that do nothing to protect us. I’m spurred into writing this post from a call to action in The Airport Security Follies on the Jet Lagged blog at the New York Times. After covering in detail the “irrational, wasteful and pointless” security policies for passenger screening, the article turns to the travelers:

In the end, I’m not sure which is more troubling, the inanity of the existing regulations, or the average American’s acceptance of them and willingness to be humiliated. These wasteful and tedious protocols have solidified into what appears to be indefinite policy, with little or no opposition. There ought to be a tide of protest rising up against this mania. Where is it? At its loudest, the voice of the traveling public is one of grumbled resignation. The op-ed pages are silent, the pundits have nothing meaningful to say.

* * *

How we got to this point is an interesting study in reactionary politics, fear-mongering and a disconcerting willingness of the American public to accept almost anything in the name of “security.” Conned and frightened, our nation demands not actual security, but security spectacle. And although a reasonable percentage of passengers, along with most security experts, would concur such theater serves no useful purpose, there has been surprisingly little outrage. In that regard, maybe we’ve gotten exactly the system we deserve.

This is a call to action. We should not accept the idiotic policies being foisted upon us for no good reason. I’m sending a link to this post to my North Dakota Senators, and encourage you to do the same for your local representatives. I’m skeptical that anyone will listen, but it’s better than being silent. If you have other ideas as to how we can better express outrage and opposition to these policies, let me know.

P.S. Here’e the text of the e-mails I sent to Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad, the North Dakota Senators:

Dear Senator Dorgan:

My name is Michael Wurzer and I am a North Dakota resident tired of being subjected to ridiculous policies at airports and am asking you to try to change the policies. The New York Times has a great opinion piece that summarizes the insanity we’re enduring and I recently posted about it on my blog as well, asking for others to participate in this call to action. Please let me know what you can do, and I’ll do what I can to promote your efforts.


Michael Wurzer
President and CEO
FBS Data Systems — An Employee Owned Company
800.437.4232 x140 (office)
701.306.9341 (mobile)

5 Responses to “Rising Up Against The Joke of Airport Security”

  1. Jim Duncan says:

    Michael –

    Great post. Our complacency is frustrating and frightening. You might find this article interesting as well –

    Note the defense by the TSA:

    “Even without clear evidence of the accuracy of testing, the Transportation Security Administration defended its measures by reporting that more than 13 million prohibited items were intercepted in one year,” the researchers added. “Most of these illegal items were lighters.”

  2. Dan Woolley says:

    My biggest complaint is the stupid process of taking off shoes – what a waste! Imagine the aggregate time taken up by this process – taking off and putting back on – and for what?

    I wonder what the response would be if one of the presidential candidates said they will return the security line back to ‘reasonable procedures’?

  3. Jay Thompson says:

    You should try having a name that is on the “watch list”. It’s gotten to the point now where I don’t even try the e-ticket kiosk’s — they will never work for me. I have to go stand in the line and wait for a human — who then slinks off into the back room and comes back with a “supervisor” who then spends 5 minutes examining my ID, another 10 minutes on the phone with God only knows who, only to say, “OK, go ahead”.

  4. Carl Johnson says:

    Air travel in general has deteriorated over the last 6 years to the point of being an irritating necessity with no joy. There is no customer service, there is no reliability, there is little responsibility. The cost cutting measures have just gone too far. The flights are cheap and over crowded. The security procedures just make matters worse for the traveler, adding even more time to an already long and frustrating process.

    I used to travel extensively for a living, mostly international. On one of my last trips, a group of us were to travel from New Hampshire to Virginia. After thinking about what I would have to go through to get there and calculating how long it would take, I decided to drive- a colleague joined me. Not only did we have a much more enjoyable trip but we beat the flyers to Virginia and on the trip back. Delays in the flights were the culprit.

    It has become a horrid experience

  5. Troy Feeken says:

    I’m an Account Representative for FBS and travel quite frequently throughout the year. The most agonizing part of airport security is no two are alike in their methods or screening ability. Many times my forgetfulness lands a liquid container either not in a plastic baggy or above the maximum 3 oz size somewhere in my bag. One airport will easily catch the slip up and either require it to be thrown away into their highly secured and monitored disposal device while another airport may let it slide altogether, even noting the items illegal status.

    Being I travel to prospective customers along with current customers, I often carry a small projector in either my carry on or laptop bag. Roughly 6 months ago some TSA agents would request for me to pull it out of my bag after it was scanned and others would let it pass without batting an eye. On one of my most recent trips, an agent became so alarmed at the projector in my bag I was required to be searched and then informed that it was a new policy for an item such as a projector to always be removed for screening.


    Here’s another lovely restriction starting in 2008!