I was reminded how silly Americans have become as I boarded a flight to Philadelphia this morning. Since it was a Monday after a holiday weekend the security checkpoints were particularly busy; hundreds of people waiting in line as a crack troop of TSA specialists kept us all safe from shoe bombs and nitro disguised as Coke. Bad leadership, panic and misinformation make us do silly and often expensive things, and I am quite confident that someday we will look back on the ridiculous measures we have taken after 9/11 and shake our heads in disbelief.
The odds of an American being killed in a terrorist attack are roughly 1 in 5 million. You are 575 times more likely to commit suicide, yet you don’t see massive national programs to combat killing yourself. Our airports are not lined with free mental health clinics to counsel depressed travelers.
Since 9/11 over 100,000 Americans have been killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents, which is over 33 times the number of people killed in the terrorist attacks. Certainly there is a national effort to combat drunk driving, but we don’t make everyone that travels take a breathalyzer.
According to the new book SuperFreakonomics Americans take their shoes off in airports approximately 560 million times a year, all because of a guy named Richard Reid who tried to light up his Nikes.
We simply can’t afford, nor should we be forced to endure, ridiculous and expensive programs designed to make us feel better but accomplish little else. Terrorists can wear their exploding moon boots into movie theatres and kill just as many people as they would on a plane.
Here’s a bold move for our politicians. Fire the TSAs – and hire more teachers. The smarter we are, the less we will have to worry about terrorism.