Security Theater

There’s no better source for amusing security theater scenarios than Joe Huffman. (This was a topic of great conversation in Louisville at the first Blog Bash, but I can’t seem to find any posts about it from the time.)

Anyway, while we were preparing for Hawaii, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about security for a number of reasons. Number one being Phoenix. We don’t get the benefit of an oops again. Number two reason is the debate for a trip like this over how much to bring in the way of toiletries and their damn 3-1-1 rule. Number three being the general pain-in-the-ass of TSA these days – and the fact that in Kona, we had to exit secured areas and re-enter when we had only 50 minutes between flights initially and our arriving flight was delayed by about 20 minutes. (Run!)

If it’s truly vital that no containers that can contain more than 3.4 ounces of liquid are allowed on the plane, then I should be forced to have a haircut pretty much every time I walk through security. At the very least, they would probably have to deny me entry if I try to board a plane after washing my hair.

I’m serious about this. We joked that I singlehandedly countered the effects of a rising tide in Hanauma Bay when I decided to go in just long enough to get my hair wet. My hair is crazy thick, very long, and holds a ton of water.

So, if my hair is not considered a security risk based on the fact that I’m quite confident it can hold more than 3.4 ounces of liquid, then why do we still have this rule? Sebastian’s aftershave was .1 ounce too much. Most of the travel-sized items are made to 3 ounces because people haven’t figured out that the actual rule is closer to 3 1/5 ounces. (Thank you Listerine for making your bottles just the right size!)

I guess I shouldn’t give TSA any ideas. Knowing that they are headed up by a woman who believes a nickname based off an Orwell novel is a good thing. Many of the TSA agents I’ve encountered have been bad enough, I’d hate to see who they would hire to give the mandatory haircuts at the gate.

6 thoughts on “Security Theater”

  1. By the way your body holds about 1.25 Gallons of blood.

    Let the bloodsucker jokes begin!

    (BTW, it’s “Bottles” that are verboten, not liquids. An empty jar can be used to mix explosives. IIRC, the most likely DIY bombs are so low yield that if you mix only 3.4 fluid ozs the bathroom stall will contain the boom. You’ll need a new door though..)

    1. Yes, I know it’s containers, that’s why I considered my hair to be the issue, not water in it. My hair can hold more than 3.4 ounces of a liquid. I’m assuming that some liquids wouldn’t hold as well, but others would. When I squeeze my hair after washing it, it usually sounds like I’ve just poured a giant glass of water down into the tub.

  2. The point is more that the security requirements are ridiculous. OK, so they feel like they’ve solved the binary liquids problem (but not really). But what about other threats? You can’t defend against the level of threat they are trying to defend against with the kind of security we have.

    The only country that does airline security correctly is Israel, and there’s no way American travelers would or could tolerate that kind of security. So we go with security theater. Everyone feels safer, without actually being safer.

  3. “The relevant term is “Kabuki Theater”.”

    Nope, people take Kabuki seriously.

  4. Israeli security won’t scale to the level we would need it to – the US has too many airports and not enough trained security professionals. Israel gets the cheap use of military labor due to their universal service requirement, and their airports are few and small.

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