There is a serious problem brewing at the TSA, but you wouldn't guess that if you looked at the TSA press website. Not a single mention of the upcoming long lines, or any ways to fix those things. Instead the site boasts a wall of articles touting how the TSA caught this bad item, or this illicit item. These incidents are largely from someone carrying a knife by accident, or forgetting to remove something prior to flying. From the TSA website though, I'd think we were in a post apocalyptic world.
There in lies part of the problem. Customers at the airport know the TSA is terrible at their job. They miss 95% of illicit items, yet the agency tries to make themselves sound like the best thing to ever grace the United States. This is the fundamental disconnect with the TSA. They focus so heavily on their wins, they don't even realize that they are missing almost every illicit item that passes through the checkpoints. Despite this, we have virtually no incidents on aircraft involving these major missed items. What is the point of the TSA if they statistically speaking, are stopping pretty much nothing, and yet we are still safe... maybe the TSA isn't as required as they want to think they are.
In reality, security is sometime referred to as security theater. Secure checkpoints at all airports, checkpoints at football games and political rallies. Yet, in every one of these cases, people still make it into these places with items that are not allowed. Those who are determined will find a way around security measures. TSA checkpoints merely make travel more difficult for the honest person. It's the paradox of security. As the old saying goes, the more you tighten you grip, the more star systems slip through your fingers... ok maybe that was a Star Wars version of the saying, but it still applies in some ways. Tightening security massively impacts honest travelers, while the people that we are worried about will find a way to bypass the security all together.
Personally, I think it's time to rethink the way we do security in the US and for that matter in many countries. The TSA isn't working, no matter how you measure it... maybe it is time to do away with it all together. No such security measures are in place on trains in the US, and I can think of no terrorist activity that has ever occurred on a train, maybe I'm just unaware of it, but it's rare if it has ever happened. That isn't to say we shouldn't take some security precautions. Having bulletproof doors to the cockpit is a good idea, and helps prevent takeover of the plane.
Simple changes usually have the biggest effect on security. Large scale searches rarely work and it has almost always been that way. We need to realize that terrorism is scary... but not a common occurrence. We need to look at things logically and not emotionally. The TSA logically isn't working... they are not a good solution. Emotionally we feel safe, realistically the TSA is missing almost every illicit item that passes through the checkpoint.
It's time to do away with the TSA.
Rocket Scientist, Travel Junkie, and Ruler of the 4th Moon of Omicron Persei 8