Thursday, November 30, 2006

Security, Schmecurity

Persons stand in the door of a British Airways Boeing 767 grounded at London's Heathrow Airport Thursday Nov. 30, 2006, as it sits in a maintenance area. British authorities are urgently checking four commercial jets and two dozen sites in and around London for radiation levels as part of the fast-expanding investigation into the death by poisoning of former Soviet spy Alexander Litvinenko. Home Secretary John Reid said traces of radioactivity have been discovered at a dozen sites and in all, experts are scrutinizing 24 sites. He did not say whether the radioactivity found at the sites was polonium-210, used to poison the former KGB agent, who died a week ago. Authorities will not will not say if the aircraft shown are under investigation. (AP Photo/ Max Nash)

For the last 5 years we, the nonthreatening flying public, have been subjected to more and more ridiculous security measures. I've waited in three hour security lines. I've been pulled out of line and wanded and frisked, forced to take off my sandals and walk on bare floor, had nail clippers confiscated, thrown away perfectly good coffee, water, juice, and once an apple, flown without a carryon, stuffed my purse into my carryon to make it seem I had only one bag, and on my most recent trip, had to place all small liquid or gel containers in a one quart ziploc bag. I've watched my mother questioned roughly by arrogant screeners, old people in wheelchairs scared into tears, baby strollers searched, and women felt up by perverse male screeners.

And a guy could fly on a plane carrying radioactive polonium?

Wouldn't that be one of the more important 'threats' to screen for? Couldn't they put a Geiger counter in that stupid airport screening machine? Shouldn't a dose big enough to kill a man set off something?

I know, I know, the whole airport security thing is a huge joke, just like the 13 or so years where we got asked the Lockerbie questions [Have your bags been in your possession the entire time? Has anyone unknown to you asked you to carry anything?], like anyone would ever answer 'yes' if they really had a bomb. It's just window dressing. In my rational brain I know that, but still, I expect that something major like a radioactive element that could be used as a trigger for a nuclear weapon is something that shouldn't go into the passenger cabin on a commercial aircraft.

WaPo: Britain Extends Probe Into Poisoning of Former Russian Spy

Police search the Itsu sushi restaurant on November 25. Traces of radiation have been found at the London restaurant which was visited by former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko on November 1.(AFP/File/Leon Neal)

(I walked by this restaurant last month, but Coach Mom and my sister don't like sushi, so we had lunch closer to Piccadilly Square.)

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