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Cheers - AE

Monday, 19 September 2011

Intervals at the security theatre

If we have to have security theatre it'd be a nice idea to have intervals, wouldn't it? Not only could you have a break, stretch your legs a bit, browse the programmes and maybe get a glass of wine or something, but you could also look forward to the second act not being exactly the fucking same as the first. And that's where the analogy falls apart because with security theatre you actually have to have the first act all over again even if it's just because someone fluffed a couple of lines.
Flights from Sydney Airport's domestic terminal have been delayed after a security breach.
Two people reportedly entered a secure area of the Qantas-managed T3 domestic terminal without being properly screened this morning.
Passengers report that planes have been grounded and the terminal closed, with thousands having to be re-screened.
"Two passengers enter secure area in Sydney Airport (domestic) causing all passengers to be rescreened. Will be mass delays," one passenger tweeted.
Another passenger said on Twitter: "Entire Sydney Airport terminal has been evacuated due to a security breach. Looks like I'm not getting home today."
And people ask me why I avoid flying if at all possible. You have to queue up to be questioned, then x-rayed and finally scanned and fondled, all of which means passengers are sometimes being told to arrive three hours before departure (I was the last time I flew out of London Heathrow), and then you have to do it all over again if the daft sods lose track and accidentally let someone in without having first questioned, x-rayed, scanned and fondled them.

If the person who wasn't scanned doesn't own up then the whole terminal - and I do
mean the whole terminal - will have to do it all over again. I can wait all day.

Not only has this now happened four times that I know of in Aussie airports - once here in Melbourne, once in Brisbane and twice in Sydney - and caused big delays and inconvenience each time, but the media have failed to ask what seems to me to be the big questions. If people have slipped through security and got airside four times that we know of, but were eventually checked along with everyone else's recheck, then how do we know it hasn't happened a few more times without it being noticed and there being rechecks? And if so, what the hell's the point in all the security theatre anyway? Because it doesn't sound like it's actually keeping the place all that secure. It's not like it's just Aussie airports either, because as I noted a couple of weeks ago undercover journalists managed to smuggle a dismantled gun onto flights from two French airports (and just to prove the point they then took it into the toilet and mantled it) while in the US an undercover federal agent got through security on multiple occasions with her gun in her knickers. So I repeat, what is the point in security theatre that's intrusive, costly, inconvenient and can't even guarantee our security anyway? Can't we just go and see a different play?

If security be the food of air travel, play on;
Give me excess of it, that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

Well, it's worked for me, which is why my appetite for flying is roughly zero. At the risk of repeating myself, when I get treated like a paying customer again I'll happily fly, but as long as I'm treated like a suspect by security that we can see doesn't bloody work I won't unless I really have to.
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