Airline Security-- or the lack of it
I just watched a very upsetting newscast that covered a lady who intentionally tried to bring box cutters onto a plane to see if she could get through. The minute they let her through she demanded her money back. I don't blame her.
I had a buddy who used to work for UPS and I remember him telling me that when he was in the truck loading it he only had a few seconds to read the address lable on the packages. He had to sift out the wrong addresses as swiftly as possible. One day he screwed up and put an improperly addressed package on the truck. He was immedietely fired. How, you may ask, did his bosses know he made the mistake so quickly? Because the package was a ringer, sent in to test him.
At all of our airports there should be at least 3 ringers a day walking onto planes with weapons to see if they can get on. If airline employees know that at least 3 people a day will be carrying weapons I'm sure they will try alot harder in order to avoid being fired. I know the airline industry has been through alot lately, but if they had of been tighter in the first place this bad incedent wouldn't have happened. I'm not blaming them, I blame Bin Laden, but we've got to be able to be 100% sure that this doesn't happen again.
Something else to consider...
Those security guards aren't paid much above minimum wage and therefore, their motivation for the job is lacking tremenously!
These people lack skills, training, motivation AND pay. Bottom line is airports are not going to get the type of individuals that SHOULD be on the job for the wage they're willing to pay.
Just food for thought. I think WallStreet has a worthwhile idea!
Good topic for discussion, WallStreet.
Exactly -- you wouldn't want to fly in a plane piloted by a guy who was hired for only $5.15 an hour, would you? To make matters worse, the airlines recently beat back an attempt to require that security guards have their backgrounds vetted by an independent organization -- because it would have cost money, of course. So how reliable a security guard is depends heavily on how well the agency screens its workers.
In many other countries, incidentally, airport security is a branch of the government. I remember how startled I was when I flew to Poland a few years back and saw uniformed soldiers manning the metal detectors and X-ray machines -- I wondered for a moment if I'd walked into some kind of coup.
Last edited by Shem the Penman; 09-19-2001 at 09:40 AM.
NR: Charles Palliser, The Unburied
wallstreet - thanks for the info and i hope ur doing ok. u remind me of a movie i saw after the tragedy of pan am 103 over lockerbie in 1988. apparently pan am security chief at the time knowing his airline had lax secuirty measures, hired members of israeli intelligence , and the world knows that no airlne is as secure as el al, to try and see if he could get a bag on board a pan am flight without it being checked by security. after a few dollars changed hands, the desk clerk took the bag and put it on the belt. well we all know how pan am secuirty ended up to be manifested in the end. it put the town of lockerbie, scottland on the map.
after this payoff, this man called his new boss at pan am and told him he had just succeeded in getting the bag on the plane. he told him it was empty, but could just as easily not have been empty.
this man at pan am tried to convince his bosses at the airline to institute el al levels of security. he even went so far as to say el al was willing to come over and train pan am in how to improve security. for his trouble, pan am fired this man. proof once again that no good deed goes unpunished.
WallStreet's idea looks good until it's examined closely. The airport "security" rent-a-cops are making minimum wage. Getting fired from that isn't much of a threat. For most of them, it wouldn't be the first (or the last) time they get fired.
We would do better to use real police officers to man the airport gates. Because the problem is national, the additional costs should be paid with USDOT funding from aircraft fuel and airline ticket taxes.
How about just getting Military Soldiers to cover the airport security measures with a back up of Government Civilian employees?
During Peace Time, Soldiers have absolutely nothing to do but Training exercises and maintenance on equipment.
When I was stationed in Germany, I was on Gate Guard Duty for 90 days and worked hand in hand with the MP's and civilian gate guards. We checked personnel id's and car registration along with a random physical car inspection for drugs, weapons and bombs. I'm sure an extra Duty ("Detail" for you Military folks) like this could be worked out with the Military for airport security at little if no extra cost.
I know that privately owned companies would lose money/contracts and employees would lose jobs, but our National security is worth it. I believe that it's a sacrafice worth making if it's going to strengthen our vulnerability at the airport.
Just my opinion. Since it's a National concern, why not use National resources?
Just as I stated on the other thread...MM is always right...lol. Actually I'd like to see it to be an "elite" assignment for only the top 5% of our military trainees. As I'm sure you also remember MM, there were certain individuals who were...unmotivated....by certain types of details. We can't afford to have them guarding our backs. Q
"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax
and get used to the idea."
-- Robert A. Heinlein
More Cold Water
Sorry Mia. Except for the MP's, soldiers aren't trained to do law enforcement work. Furthermore, unless the situation is serious enough to declare martial law (it isn't, yet) I'm very reluctant on philosophical grounds to use troops for law enforcement duties inside the USA.
I'd be happier to see regular police officers patrolling the airport, and taking turns doing maybe 2 hours per shift on the gate. Any more than that and it will be harder to maintain concentration.
Yes it's a national problem. The cost to the city of the additional officers should be paid for by a Federal Block Grant or with DOT money. But let's not forget who we are, and what we stand for.
Regardless, I still think it's a worthwhile idea. MP's can do the law enforcement. All they would need to do is incorporate some the the training that the rent-a-cops go through. Big deal.
On the contrary, Soldiers are trained to secure and protect on a large scale, a Macro level if you will. Police Officers go through a more detailed training regarding law enforcement because each State has varried laws. I believe an idea such as this still has probability because of it's National impact.
I'd be happier seeing Police Officers patroling the neighborhoods. I agree with that we must not forget who we are and what we stand for, however, isn't that what we would be protecting? We all know that as Americans, we will have to make sacrifices. So who's willing to put their money where their mouth is? Many Americans say "Retaliate", I just wish that more of us said "Prevent" or "Protect".
Cold water? A tall glass please. Mine is just an idea/opinion like anyone else's.
I'm Israeli, and despite my country being a major target for terrorism, there hasn't been an air-travel related terrorism act in Israel or aboard Israeli planes in about 25 years.
The cockpit doors on Israeli jetliners are double reinforced doors, and the pilots have strict instructions that the cockpit doors not be opened AT ANY TIME, no matter what the circumstances are - even if a passenger or crew member has a knife at their throat, or a threat to blow up the plane is being made. There's an armed security person on board in all flights.
Not that I'm a terrorism expert or anything, but it does seem that using these simple measures, or at least the cockpit door part, would have prevented a major part of this tragedy.
Mia, do you want a shot of Bourbon with your ice water?
Seriously though, using troops for domestic law enforcement is always a bad idea unless civil law has completely broken down. Military service is very different from working in law enforcement. Soldiers are trained to engage in combat with enemy forces and defeat them by any means required to do the job. The police officer's job is to serve and protect the public, who have rights under the Constitution.
The distinction is rapidly disappearing. That's unfortunate, because it's an important one. The "War on Drugs" has been a horrible mistake, not least because of use of "war" rhetoric. It's caused the militarization of law enforcement, primarily on the Federal level but also local with Task Forces, SWAT Teams, etc. One result is that some in law enforcement regard certain segments of the population as The Enemy. Instead of serving search and arrest warrants, now they plan combat ops. That sort of thinking encourages contempt for the niceties of the law on the part of its enforcers - I think we can agree that's undesireable.
These are dangerous times, but I'm confident that we'll muddle through somehow. Let's not give up what's left of our liberty in so doing.
I wish you were in NY, I would gladly take you up on that Bourbon! Sounds good to me! (feeling a little melancholy for the past few days blah...blah...blah...)
Also, you make a very good point that I never thought of before. This is why I love civil debates. Thanks for sharing...you've now filled my plate with good food for thought.
I have to fully concurr with all of this. Being a student at Arizona State, I see ads in the school paper for security at Sky Harbor all the time. Basically, to earn your $6 an hour, you must speak reasonable English, and be willing to work nights and weekends. That's about it. The local telemarketers all offer about 10, with comission. McDonalds will pay people 8. UPS pays 8.5, and requires a high school diploma.
I've been through security there several times going on trips and stuff, and its just pathetic. I once saw the guy in line ahead of me set off the detector time and time again, only to be told that it must be the metal rivets in his boots, and be waved on through. This was months ago, and it gave me the creeps THEN.
We need decent, well paid security, better x-rays, bomb and chemical sniffing dogs, etc... and even then (god forbid) what the hell happens if someone brings on a chemical or bio agent in a sealed plastic bottle? Can we detect something like that?
Yuck. Its a sick, sad world these days...
Good point strelnikov.Let's not forget the forfeiture laws which are used to confiscate private property without due process(you can always sue us).It is known that at least 80% of the property taken has nothing to do with the drug trade.