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ACE is the place, unless you’re Uncle Sam

November 27, 2010

This will be my last post on the TSA and airport security for a while, I promise. And I know I’m likely preaching to the choir here, but I do have one simple question. Why did we add a completely new and enormous government agency in the wake of 9/11 when we could have just taken a trip to the hardware store?

Seriously. There was one simple fix that could have prevented the deaths of almost all of the 2,936 people on September 11th; and that fix was to put locks on the doors to the cockpits of the airplanes that the terrorists hijacked. It was so simple a fix, in fact, that I was stunned to hear that they weren’t already locked in the first place. I’d flown a few times in my life before 9/11, and I never would have thought that I could have just up and waltzed into the cockpit of the plane I was on without a key. I mean, I can’t even get into the receiving room at work without knowing the code to the electronic door pad. Would it really have been so difficult to head on down to the Home Depot and slap a lock on the entryways to the control rooms of multi-billion dollar flying machines? The answer is, of course, no; it wouldn’t have been.

In fact, it wasn’t all that difficult. Adding locks to cockpit doors was one of the first things the airlines did after 9/11. So why wasn’t that enough? Why didn’t we just fix the one glaring problem with airplane security and stop there? I have to admit, I’m a bit stumped on this one. I’m sure it has something to do with a need to be seen as action oriented on the part of the government, and a need to feel protected on the part of the population. We don’t like to admit that simple solutions are often the best kind. When you’re a politician or a bureaucrat, I suppose you have to be seen as doing something. Otherwise, what do we need you for? Anyway, I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter. Perhaps one of you will have some insight into this that I don’t.

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