We were returning to California from Switzerland. Our layover was at JFK in New York City, a hub we’ve passed through at least 100 times. We had to exit the international terminal and be processed by domestic TSA screening to grab the next flight. The scene at the checkpoint was one I’ll never forget, as it was a moment when the decline of the United States clicked even clearer into focus.
Having just come from the immaculate, gorgeous airport in Zurich, which is run by serious professionals who do their jobs with pride, the stark contrast with the filth and chaos of JFK was all the more depressing.
The lines of passenger cattle slogging through the inspection lanes were intensely long. The piles of trash around the garbage cans looked like they hadn’t been mitigated in days – I felt like I was at Woodstock ‘94 or in a third world country.
As is the case in most major airports, the TSA staff was a shining monument to anti-caucasian ‘diversity.’ They exhibited the communicatory and organizational skills of toddlers. They were completely overwhelmed, and oozed of hostility. They shouted and scowled at us – we the people who pay their salaries, the customers.
When a supervisor instructed a female staffer to rearrange the barricade lines to create a more efficient flow of traffic, she managed a bizarre trapezoidal formation before becoming entangled in the straps and giving up. It was at this point that the ‘authorities’ fully succumbed to anarchy and threw all rules out of the window.
Agents began yelling at us, “We ain’t takin’ out laptops no mo!” “Keep y’all shoes on!” “Just go! Just go!” And go we did, with entire groups and families barreling through the metal detectors all together, alarms blaring. This of course made me wonder: if the screening protocols are this unimportant – why are they in place at all? Answer: because they are dispensable, just like the TSA.
We finally made it to our gate area, which looked more like a refugee camp or illegal alien detainment center. Bodies sprawled all over the floors and benches. Women in hijab and burkas. Hispanics yelling at volumes more suited for haggling at a flea market in Guadalajara. Again, there was garbage everywhere – on the floor and around the cans, which were overflowing because the same folks who are responsible for cleaning up the detritus are now also manning the body scanners and rifling through our backpacks. Supplies for the convenience kiosks were strewn about, half-unloaded. The smells were ungodly. Let’s not even discuss the bathrooms – I needed to wash my hands after I washed my hands. Was I in the United States, or Venezuela? I texted a friend: “JFK looks like a war zone.”
I was flying regularly for 18 years before 9/11, and far more since. I cannot recall a single negative experience pre-TSA, but the list since is extensive, and a short list includes –
– Missing flights due to excessive (over an hour) wait times in the security line
– Being groped by agents and brought into private screening rooms for more invasive body searches with no clear explanation as to why
– Being subjected to invasive full-body pat downs with supervisors watching and trainees having to repeat the process
– Watching TSA agents viciously ridicule a deaf elderly man because he could not hear their instructions
– Having my bag permanently destroyed by an agent shoving a broom handle into an x-ray machine to unjam it
– Losing my laptop in a sea of Saudi Arabians in burqas and baby strollers swarming the TSA bag pick-up
– Reporting long-unattended luggage in a security line to TSA agents and being told it was, “No big deal.”
– Being threatened with excessive action by agents for non-violating objects in my bags
– Having hundreds of dollars of gifts confiscated
Every element and nuance of air transportation depends heavily on organization, procedure, safety, and timing – so why are these operations being handled by largely unqualified oafs who would be better suited to bagging groceries or threateningly occupying some college dean’s office? We have 500,000 unemployed veterans in this country – why aren’t we putting their invaluable training and dedication to national security to good use?
I firmly believe that TSA is essentially a glorified welfare program – a redistribution of wealth scheme designed to suck from the wallets of the middle class, while degrading our enjoyment of travel and enabling the sullen have-nots to lord over us in their little fiefdoms. TSA is the hellacious intersection where unbridled affirmative action meets inverted reality meets the rabid Police State. Is it any coincidence that these same incompetents run the DMVs, social security offices, public health clinics, VA hospitals, toll booths, etc.? Our governments have a fetish for stocking their agencies with the bitterest, least qualified underachievers they can find.
Annual surveys of federal government employees find that the TSA and the broader Homeland Security Department have some of the poorest morale in the federal government. The TSA has a high turnover rate for their screeners, which is not good for morale and is not good for security. – Chris Edwards, CATO Institute
Now, the TSA is imploding. Check-in wait times are eclipsing three and four hours at some major airports, where the chaos and mind-bending lines are a front-and-center issue on the Drudge Report almost daily. Circus clowns and pettable animals are being trotted into terminals in preposterous attempts to mollify the victims of an Orwellian debasement of the flying experience.
Like the mafiosos they truly are, DHS officials are blaming understaffing, ‘unprepared’ passengers, and a ‘busy travel season’ for their own failures, while holding taxpayers hostage until their multi-million dollar ransom demands are met. Some speculate that this is an intentional stratagem to coerce more Americans to surrender sensitive personal information, fingerprints, and the $85 fee to enroll in the TSA Pre-Check. Eventually, the nominal benefits of the program would evaporate, and participants would find themselves cramming into a no-longer-exclusive toll lane, while the State continues to line its pockets and tighten the fist of authority around our necks even tighter. Socialism sucks.
TSA is a complete and utter catastrophe. Despite an almost $8 billion annual budget, and nearly 60,000 employees, they have yet to ‘catch’ a single terrorist. Their rate of failure for detecting dangerous weapons and explosives is a stunning 95% when tested. Their ranks are permeated with sexual predators who have systems for selecting choice targets for molestation, and jihadists with known ties to terrorist groups. They advertise job openings on pizza boxes, and hire drug dealers, murderers, and rapists. They steal from our luggage. They grope our spouses, grandparents, and children. And they do it all on our dime.
“Privatizing it would hold the people that are selected to be the screeners more accountable. It would cost the federal government infinitely less, and it would make the process a lot more streamlined and seamless.” – Former FBI agent and security expert, Manny Gomez
It’s time to return to using highly-accountable private security firms in our airports. There should also be a Congressional probe into this extortionate organization (and the Department of Homeland Insecurity), their embezzlement and misappropriation of our tax money, and a rigorous investigation of all the criminals, perverts, and Islamists who are working for them. It’s time to end the TSA for good.