Boy wants to fly to Hawaii. Boy sees Hawaiian Airlines jet parked at San Jose Airport. Boy jumps fence and hides in the wheel well. Boy miraculously survives, making once again a mockery of our so-called airport security.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—we are going about this airport security thing all wrong. We treat airline passengers like criminals, imposing nonsensical restrictions on hand baggage, yet airline personnel often roam free with only precursory background checks that make Edward Snowden’s background check actually look reasonable.
And then there is the nice, chain-link fences that surround airports and can be scaled like a six-year-old climbing a jungle gym. Yes, let’s make sure granny is stripped searched if one of her hip replacements sets off the metal detector, but we cannot be bothered to stop random people from jumping over the fence, even if they can make it to widebody aircraft carrying over 250 people undetected, perhaps with a bomb or other lethal device that could conveniently be placed in the wheel well and remotely detonated.
The point is not about how bad airport security is. The point is rather than anyone determined to breach security will ultimately find a way to do so. Can you imagine securing the perimeters of every airport with the Berlin Wall or armed snipers? Can you imagine even screening every catering and fuel truck that goes through an airport gate? Commerce would slow to a halt and airfare would rise. The costs would outweigh the benefits.
I am happy that this young man survived his stowaway experience—it so rare to successfully stowaway when oxygen disappears and temperatures drop to -80ºF at 40,000 feet. The question now is what to do—if anything.
You have talking head politicians expressing concern but no solution–
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Hayward) said on Twitter that he is concerned about the security issues. “I have long been concerned about security at our airport perimeters. #Stowaway teen demonstrates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed,” he wrote.
Duh. Glad you have “long been concerned” Congressman.
Here’s a solution Rep. Swalwell: you install security cameras around the perimeter of the airport, you make sure they work, and you hire someone to watch them carefully 24-7. It doesn’t do a lot of good to have surveillance systems when they are not monitored.
It does seem rather sad to have to even pay minimum wage to someone 24 hours a day to watch a screen for fear of people climbing a fence with a sign that says “Warning: Do Not Enter” but that makes a lot more sense than placing all our eggs in the passenger screening basket.
So how about we transition some of the TSA clerks from checking IDs to checking monitors?That way they could at least be doing something useful.