Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flying Commando

In light of the recent Christmas Day attempt to blow up a US airliner (Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam), it would seem only common sense to look at the attached image and believe that this is the answer. If only we could have the Arnold Schwarzenegger character from the film "Commando" either in the cockpit or flying as an Air Marshall no one would dare attempt to take over a plane (after all, he did take a bad guy out on the plane in the movie). Certainly we would all feel much safer knowing the character of John Matrix is somewhere out there insuring that all airline passengers arrive safely at their final destination, regardless of the threat.

Remember the "Good Old Days" (I know I shouldn't use that expression, but I can't think of another that fits.) when the worst that could happen to you on an airplane was a short diversion to Jose Marti International Airport, about nine miles southwest of Havana, Cuba? What could you expect but some dirty bathrooms, bad water, and maybe some good cigars that you weren't allowed to bring home. These days however, the problem is much more serious and much more deadly; not only to the people on the plane, but to those on the ground that they are flying over. The only people who don't seem to understand just how serious and how deadly things are these days are the folks Transportation Security Administration (TSA), whose responsibility it is to keep those very airlines safe here in the US.

I have spoken in the past of these "Barney Fife" characters, often referring to them as the "Wal-Mart greeters" of airline security. I now wish to retract that remark and apologize ... to the Wal-Mart greeters. Nothing could be a greater insult to those who at all times act in a friendly manner to each of the people entering their place of business than to compare them to these hide-bound government rentacops.

Of course I do not limit myself to TSA in handing out such palsied praise for government agencies and bureaucracies. The alphabet soup of NSA, CIA, FBI, USDHS (United States Department of Homeland Security), as well as the minions of the State Department can all take pride once again in proving themselves slightly less able than the "Keystone Kops" in their ability to lose, mishandle, and ignore information vital to performing their function in keeping the citizens of this country safe.

I won't bore you with the details of the story, as many other media sources out there have gone over it ad nauseum by now. I just wanted to talk about the potential evolution of airline travel that lies ahead. If we look back the history of Homeland Security and TSA reaction to terrorist threats, I think that we can at least somewhat accurately deduce what that future will hold.

Terrorists attempted to sneak explosives onto airplanes on laptops, hence laptop computers are required to be run through x-ray machines on their own. They then sought to bring explosive chemicals on, hence the current inability to carry on more than 3 oz of fluid in a given container. The infamous "shoe bomber" attempted to set off an explosive device implanted in the soles of his shoes, hence all shoes must be removed now and run through x-ray machines. Now we are looking at a terrorist who has attempted to smuggle an explosive device in his underwear. Can you imagine the terrifying consequences of this action?

But I have a solution that some of you may now be beginning to see (and perhaps smiling). Yes, as the title of this posting implies, I am suggesting the creation of a security system based on one of the alternate definitions of "Commando" (that of not wearing underwear).

Imagine how much more quickly security lines could move if we just created a special line, or better still an airline, for those who instead of worrying about their mother's advice about wearing clean ones when they traveled simply decided to gamble and forgo potential embarrassment. I move that the only way to get airline travel back on track is to "Fly Commando".


Roland Hansen said...

I say let's all just fly naked!

Tim Higgins said...


I was right there with you until I once again looked in a mirror. It's bad enough to terrorize the airline traveling public without torturing them in the process. ;-D

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...


Flying "commando" is alright in the warm months, but when your willie gets chilly, accidents happen.

I think I'll stick to my "woolies."