Fake blanket of security: The TSA


TSA’s work is arguably completely useless at times. Photo Credit: MCT Campus.

Erik Acosta, Editor-In-Chief

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has some real flaws in their screening process, and rather than making us safe, it’s making us waste time.

Recently, while on a domestic flight flying from San Diego (SAN) to Newark (EWR) my latina mother asked me to bring some Tajin aboard the flight so that she could have a taste of home on the East Coast. While going through security, TSA agent’s flagged my bag and opened it, waiting to find some post-apocalyptic survival weapon that could be used to take over an entire race of less cultured people. Unfortunately for them, it happened to be some chilli powder. Now whenever stopped, I try to remember that they are just doing their job, following a bureaucracy’s orders, but I just couldn’t help myself. As a TSA agent pulled the Tajin motherload from my blue carry on, I just had to ask “So what’s dangerous about that item?”

The TSA agent mundanely replied “It has a high sodium content, we have to check it out.” While they did this, they also checked my flat billed Gulls hat for weapons. After finding nothing they sent me on my way.

Now the public really wouldn’t mind the crotch-groping, spice-flagging security if it actually worked. As I discovered by accident, it does not. During that same Tajin flagging experience, inside of a different carry-on bag, there lay a black Tanto tactical knife. I wasn’t trying to test the TSA, so before Homeland Security puts me on a no-fly list, let me explain. The bag which was carrying the actual weapon was a bag I used while in the military for travel, and the blade was used as an emergency knife for cutting seat-belts in case of a helicopter crash. In fact it wasn’t until I was a few days into my travels that I found the sharp blade.

There are many critics out there. Many news outlets have even exposed some of the shortcomings of TSA, one such article by CBS exposed screening agents for stealing personal property from travelers. Where does one even begin to start with the amount of people that criticize them for feeling violated?

One of the most alarming reports was one published by The Seattle Times in 2006, in which “Screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport, one of the starting points for the Sept. 11 hijackers, failed 20 of 22 security tests conducted by undercover U.S. agents, missing concealed bombs and guns at checkpoints throughout the major air hub’s three terminals, according to federal security officials.”

An ABC13 report in 2010 was published about a man who forgot his loaded pistol on his carry-on. Now in 2019, it’s obvious that not much has changed. Is the public wasting their precious tax dollars on a facade of security? Is this all just a safety blanket that we cover our heads with to keep us safe from monsters?

If, without any effort, an average college student was able to bring a big steel knife onboard a flight, what could someone with actual malicious intentions do? Current screening procedures are obviously inadequate, so lets start looking for less intrusive, and more effective ways to prevent terrorist threats from happening, such as increased intelligence and more Federal Marshals aboard flights, rather than crotch-grabbing and Tajin testing.