Why I Don’t Fly

Original post February 9, 2010

An incident out of Philadelphia worth commenting on. After being subjected to extraordinary screening (yes, the woman looks very much like a young-middle-eastern terrorist), she was arrested on felony counts of assault because her bags touched TSA workers and had called them ‘bitches’.

Pellegrino tells a different story. She never brushed against either woman, and the sandals struck no one. She had to crawl on the floor to retrieve her bag because Abdul-Malik was blocking her way. She said she felt tension rise in the screening room when she asked the screener to take care with her change purse, which had belonged to her late father. Abdul-Malik then tore the fabric with her thumbs, Pellegrino said. She informed the two TSA workers that she was going to file a complaint.

Pellegrino concedes she did say to Labbee, “What is going on here? Both of you are behaving like bitches.”

But the only time she yelled during the entire incident was that night, in jail, when a rat scurried across her cell. “I hate rodents,” she said. She spent about 17 hours in jail.

Pellegrino did not speak at her preliminary hearing on 10 charges, two for felony assault. On the strength of the TSA workers’ testimony, Judge James DeLeon asked, “So are we saying now that these people who work for us out of the Department of Homeland Security are to be subjected to any type of treatment . . . and that they’re going to be ordered around as if they’re handmaidens or somebody’s servant, you know, as to how they pack bags or repack bags?”

I’ll let BCR readers read the entire article for the details, I just wanted to comment on the Judges remarks. Yes, they are “somebody’s servant”. They are there at the expense of the flying public and taxpayer who pay for them to screen for potential terrorists, not to harass the general public. After 9/11 I have not flown, but I have visited a number of attractions which require screening (such as Disney World and NASA) and I’ve always taken the time to thank the screener for doing their job. I’m sure they do take a lot of nonsense from people who are more than a little distraught at the inconvenience.  I have not flown since 9/11 simply because I don’t want to deal with the screening hassles, so when I visit DC, I do the 13-14 hour drive in my car.

However, let us not forget that the TSA is there to serve us. Yes, if they trash our bags in a search, then they should take care to put things back the way they found them. There is no rational reason to pull aside middle-aged women for extra screening which ties up resources that would have come in handy when a young Muslim guy on multiple watch lists and CIA alerts is permitted to board with a groin bomb. Of course now they have the full body scanners with which to take naked photos of celebrities.  So no thanks, I think I’ll pass on the unnecessary searches and screenings and TSA workers examining my penis just to save a few hours of driving time.

No security system is fool-proof. No matter what the TSA comes up with, a determined terrorist can circumvent it if he (or she) desires. As the Christmas groin bomber proved, all the ‘security screenings’ are good for is inconveniencing the general public, adding cost to an airline ticket, and in general discouraging people from flying. Terrorists will not attempt another 9/11 type attack with planes. Why? Not because of the TSA, but because they know that the passengers will counter-attack because most would rather go down fighting. We are now back to pre-9/11 days when bombs where the most active threat.

There are going to be terrorist incidents, like the Little Rock and Fort Hood shootings, or the shoe and groin bombers. The bad guys will get ‘lucky’ and blow up a commercial airliner, either from a bomb on-board or by one of the Stinger missiles that the CIA handed out to Jihadists in Pakistan during the 80’s and 90’s. Maybe they will use trucks again. There has been a lot of nitrate fertilizer stolen in recent years. Pack that stuff up in a few big rigs and set them off on river bridges or in front of major buildings and they will get the desired effect. Yet the average citizen is more likely to die in a regular variety plane crash than in a terrorist incident.

The only way to slow them down is to get the intelligence and deal with them while the attacks are being planned. We had the intelligence in the case of both 9/11 and the groin bomber, but failed to act on it. So yes, the TSA is there to serve us. I was against replacing private security with the TSA when the debate was on-going in Congress. This is why.

Update 9/21/2010:

I have had several communications from Ms. Pellegrino in regards to the original news article (which is no longer on the web) asking that we remove this post. It is not our policy to remove posts unless they are in violation of our editorial standards. This was a news item and is now historical fact. We have used ‘fair use’ under the copyright laws to reference the original article. I will be happy to post links to or any clarification which Ms. Pellegrino would like to have added to the post, but I will not erase history.

What your website teaser has published about me is false and libelous and needs to be removed. You might not be aware of the fine distinctions between what was actually stated in Mr. Rubin’s article and what your website has posted as a libelous teaser link that is surfacing on Google and possibly elsewhere. Please re-read Mr. Rubin’s article again. You will find nothing to match the words your organization is using in your teaser link. Your website has morphed false allegations into proven facts. Your website has published false statements about me. There are three statements that are false in your website tease related to Daniel Rubin’s article. His original article has already been removed from philly.com’s website.

The above quote is an EXACT copy/paste from the original article. The dispute is obviously with Philly.com and that in itself is a story. So if there are inaccuracies in the account, then I look forward to the clarification and/or link so that we can add it to this post.

2 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Fly

  1. Pingback: Bloggers Beware | Blue Collar Republican

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