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November 17, 2010 / Melissa Leeanne

The Most Effective Terrorists

Beep beep beep goes the metal detector.

I didn’t fly much before 2001, being rather young then, but I have watched (and felt) as the procedures for boarding become exceedingly ridiculous.  A friend of mine works in my Senator’s office and has been receiving excessive phone calls regarding TSA procedures and I have to admit that I have some complaints as well.  My complaints didn’t start when I was submitted to a pat down because of bobby pins in my hair, though.  I’ve had my complaints for a long time.

I just returned from a brief vacation and traveling between Juneau, Alaska and anywhere is stressful and inconvenient.  It always involves at least one layover unless your end destination is Anchorage or Seattle, it frequently involves being on a milk run with stops in up to three smaller communities, and sometimes your only nourishment along the way will be a small plastic cup of orange juice with a foil top.  To add to the regular annoyances of traveling, I had pinned my hair back in a hurry and upon heading through security, I set off the metal detector.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

A large man in TSA uniform asked me if I had “lots of bobby pins” in my hair.  I responded in the affirmative.  There were at least five or six.  He then asked if I wanted to take them out.  Flustered and annoyed I chose the wrong answer: “I’d really rather not.”  I was then ushered into a clear fiberglass closet in the middle of the security checkpoint to wait for a female TSA agent to perform a pat down.  Also, while being ushered into the closet I saw them take all of my bags to another location to be searched through because of a “mass of metal” which, to most women who style their hair, would be called a curling iron.  I was then submitted to the most invasive frisking I had ever experienced which involved questioning buttons on my sleeves (lucky that it wasn’t cold in there?), feeling most every inch of my body and poking at my hair.  It was beyond what I was expecting, inconvenient and, quite simply, an enormous waste of resources.

I have read plenty of articles about terrorism, enough to know that terrorism is about weakening a state through creating fear – crippling fear.  I also have the mental capacity to realize that the most effective terrorists are not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, they are not bombers or plane hijackers.  The most effective terrorists, in my opinion, are domestic and part of our own government.  I am not a conspiracy theorist, nor am I some sort of anti-government extremist.  I am educated and I am frustrated that the most effective terrorist organization seems to be Homeland Security.

An organization that can perceive me as a threat, an organization that has a threat level system that has never shown us to not be at risk, an organization that has itself created the fear that it pretends to alleviate.  Limiting the liquids we can take on a plane, excessive pat downs, wiping down hands for chemicals, full body scans – for what?  Homeland Security manufactures fear and sells us overpriced tickets to a circus masquerading as a solution.  A curling iron is not a bomb, my shampoo and conditioner are not going to be combined to form an explosive to take down a plane, nobody will again hijack a plane like on September 11th, 2001. People are afraid of impossible threats imagined in Hollywood and adopted by the Homeland Security and are falsely comforted and greatly inconvenienced by absurd half baked solutions to absurd and impossible scenarios.

It is embarrassing to me that in “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” we are limiting our freedom unnecessarily and fabricating fear. Is it so the masses believe that our government is doing something? Is it so we have some excuse for unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? How many people are actually delusional enough to not realize that our taxes are paying for large scale domestic terrorism?

Sure, this post is a little inflammatory, but it is absolutely outrageous to me that we are wasting resources on band-aid fixes for our government’s own flimsy lies. I told my friend in the office about my complaints with the policies, let’s hope that those of us smart enough to be outraged are also pro-active enough to say something.



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