Most Americans have probably had at least one negative airport security encounter in their life times. We’ve all had our I.D.’s checked 3 times, been groped, been forced to take our shoes off, our belts, and suffer many other indignities at the hands of TSA officials. Unfortunately, many of these security measures only provide the illusion of security. Are we really to believe that taking our shoes off, giving up our hair gel, or having our ID checked 3 times is going to stop a terrorist bent on taking his own life? Security officials insist on screening people equally, which further slows the process. In the name of anti-discrimination TSA officials screen old Asian grandmothers (who haven’t been responsible for a terrorist attack on an American airliner in the history of the United States) in the same manner as young Middle Eastern men. Even if this increased security was effective, the only result would be to push terrorists away from making highly risky attacks on airplanes and onto less secure targets such as infrastructure, stadiums, and schools, where the probabilities of success are far greater.
The question remains though: are we really safer due to increased security? The odds of being killed by a terrorist in a lifetime are about 1 in 10,000,000. If the average American takes one trip per year, with each trip requiring at least two plane trips (a plane there and a return), and each trip requires at least 30 minutes in airport security, plus the extra time airlines now force passengers to arrive before flights, which can range from one to three hours depending on the flight, then these measures are responsible for an estimated average of 1.5 hrs in the airport per trip, or three hours total. There are other security checkpoints that Americans must go through like sea ports, but for simplicities sake we will focus on airports.
If an average person lives 77 years or 20,235,600 hours, then the three hour loss per year in the airport would equate to .001% of a life, which is greater than the .00001% chance of being killed in a terrorist attack. If an average American sleeps 1/3 of their life, works another 1/3, and spends another 1/10 for maintenance such as doctors, bathroom, brushing teeth, etc.. then we really only have about 25% of our lives for free time, which equals 5,058,900 hours. In the name of increased security Americans are spending .0045% of their free time in airports. To make matters worse, we are actually working longer hours to pay taxes to finance the TSA and their increased security measures. The point is that the government is actually killing us more than the terrorists. In fact, 350 million x.00001= 3,500 Americans murdered by the TSA. Or if you want to look at free time, 350 million x .000045= 15,750 Americans murdered by the TSA. Since the largest terrorist attack in American history killed less than 3,000 people, the TSA has a little explaining to do.
*An argument can be made that without extra security there would be more attacks, which would increase the likelihood of being killed by a terrorist, but this has not been supported by evidence. If anything, the evidence points to the contrary as other European countries with pre 9-11 security measures have seen no increase in successful airplane attacks. Most of the elaborate post 9-11 plots such as the underwear and shoe bombers were foiled without the help of the TSA. Regardless, does anyone believe that taking our shoes and belts off is going to save 15,750 lives?