Friday, March 03, 2006

"The ritual abuse of passengers"

Work on the Jaywalkers has commenced. The toe has been turned and I've done two pattern rows as of last night. The toe-up pattern I found through Grumperina's website has heel flap instructions; I don't like heel flaps but much prefer a short row heel. I'll forge ahead with a short row heel when the time comes and make any necessary adjustments on the fly.

Now on to some non-knit topics. Specifically, airport security. You may have noticed the Benjamin Franklin quote in the sidebar to the right. I discovered that quote shortly after 9/11 and with each passing day my passionate belief in that statement grows.

This morning I read an editorial written by Peggy Noonan for the Wall Street Journal on her recent experiences with airport security. It reminded me of the changes in my traveling since the so-called increased security measures have been instituted. Does any of it make me feel safer? No way. It all smacks of window dressing to me.

I remember returning home from a European vacation in October 2004 when it became obvious to me that I was being specifically targeted for extra searches again and again. My carry-on baggage received extremely thorough searches by the screening staff at Marco Polo airport in Venice. I was selected for a "random" jetway search during the boarding process. Again at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris I was selected for a jetway search. I was quite consternated at all this attention as my previous post-9/11 trips hadn't generated any additional searches. If memory serves, there was a snippet on the news a few days later about a threat involving Chechen women. It wouldn't surprise me if the two events were related.

Just a couple of months ago my husband and I were traveling the week between Christmas and New Year's. We were flying out of Green Bay through O'Hare on our way back to the east coast. It just happened that, due to the high winds and poor visibility in Chicago, our departing flight from Green Bay wouldn't land in O'Hare before our connecting flight left. We had the option of staying overnight in Green Bay and catching an early flight in the morning or fly that evening to O'Hare and stay overnight in Chicago. Given a choice, I'd rather negotiate the hotels around Green Bay than around O'Hare.

The next morning we got to the airport dark and early. We checked in and everything was going along smoothly until we were escorted to a special holding pen at the security zone. (Note: after receiving your boarding passes, check them for the "SSSS" that might be printed on them. If you see the quad S's beware: you've been selected for the TSA anal intruder.) I quizzed the security staff about why we'd been selected for special treatment and came away with the idea that we'd been flagged because of the flight switch.



Didn't TSA think to tell the computer programmers that people forced to make flight changes due to bad weather aren't a risk group? Oops! I forgot about that diabolical weather creating machine created by Dr. Evil! Silly me.

One of these times they are going to catch me in just the right mood. As I stand in the line for the x-ray machine and metal detector and remove my shoes, jewelry, watch, belt, coat, scarf, etc etc, I am going to do a Flashdance and pull my bra off through the sleeve of my shirt. Just in case the underwire sets off the metal dectector, you know.


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