How to wreak terror inside a secure airport in 2017? Place a gun into your checked bag, grab your bag off the carousel, pull the gun out, load the gun, and start firing.
That’s what happened last week in Ft. Lauderdale. The perpetrator is a deeply sick man with a psychotic past who claimed to have hallucinations that drove him to view ISIS propaganda. Watch the surveillance footage of his act of terror and ponder that he pulled off within seconds what the U.S. federal government has spent billions trying to prevent.
He could have easily walked in off the street and done the same thing.
While the point of the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) may be to make the secure side of airports safe and keep hazardous cargo from boarding the belly of a plane, the agency’s official mission is to “protect the nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.”
Does that mean the TSA or local police are to blame for what happened in FLL?
Of course not.
Thank goodness police were there to quickly stop an already tragic incident from becoming a greater travesty. Thank goodness the man did not have higher capacity magazines that could have resulted in far more deaths.
But what a joke this whole airport security thing is.
How do we move forward? Armed guards in the baggage claim area? Screenings at the airport door like many countries have? Banning ammunition in checked baggage?
Every time we make our lives more “secure” we make our travel experience a bit more of a nightmare. 11 years later and we still cannot bring more than 3.5oz of liquid onto an airplane…unless it is in unlimited 3.49oz containers that we combine after clearing security. Groping is still routine and those worthless explosive swab tests continue. It’s still theatre. And it is not keeping us safer.
If you can sense the frustration in my tone, understand that I desperately want a society in which we do not spend billions of dollars each year for a level of security that is not even possible.
There is no solution to this problem: sickness pervades humanity and government monitoring plus concerned family and friends did not stop (perhaps could not) stop this man from committing his act of terror. People will always slip through the cracks.
Bottom line: I see no policy solution. I do hope that we will not respond to this incident by further fortifying airports and making the travel experience an even bigger hassle for decades to come for everyone else. If we do, then the legacy of this killer will live on.