Shoes Aren’t Security Threats

Going Through SecurityFinally. Vindication. I’m not any safer flying when those dedicated TSA employees x-ray my shoes or throw away my bottled water.

A team at the Harvard School of Public Health could not find any studies showing whether the time-consuming process of X-raying carry-on luggage prevents hijackings or attacks.

They also found no evidence to suggest that making passengers take off their shoes and confiscating small items prevented any incidents. (link)

I’m not holding the individual TSA peeps personally responsible. Most of them are pretty nice. After all, they’re only following orders. I am, however, gleefully happy over the fact that the TSA itself looks foolish to institute such measures that do nothing except irritate passengers and waste time.

Again and again, we see politicians, appointed officials, and government agencies use fear, either from current events or of a general boogie man, to determine public policy. For once, I’d like to see proof that supposed protective measures actually work prior to their implementation and the aggravation they generally cause. Isn’t there a better place to spend my security tax dollars than on making sure everyone’s liquids fit in a quart-size bag?

For every day application, think about the hassle of airport security the next time you ask your clients to jump through hoops. At some point, they’ll question you, and if you don’t have real answers to explain your demands, you will pay a price. If you’re lucky, it won’t take a Harvard study for you to get the point.

To conclude, here’s my favorite part comment from the researchers related to removing one’s shoes for security purposes:

“Can you hide anything in your shoes that you cannot hide in your underwear?”

Hah. I guess I should be careful. For all I know, strip search is next on the list of TSA initiatives just waiting to be rolled out for the general public’s enjoyment.


(Image courtesy of Josh McConnell. Some rights reserved.)


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January 2008
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