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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

Misplaced concern for security

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Stepped-up screening procedures at Los Angeles International Airport that were designed to make flying safer have created another potential vulnerability: long lines that are a "tempting target for terrorists," security experts said Friday.

Rand Corp. researchers recommended in a 47-page report that airlines and federal officials spend $4 million a year to add skycaps, ticket agents and screeners to speed travelers through lines in terminal lobbies and on sidewalks and into the secure gate area — where they would be less vulnerable to attack.

"We think this should happen right away," said Donald Stevens, a senior engineer at Santa Monica-based Rand and lead author on the highly anticipated study.

The report found that if airlines and the federal Transportation Security Administration, which manages screeners at the nation's airports, hired 5% more personnel at LAX, lines and potential fatalities could be reduced by 80%.

- LA Times
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Typically, I let stupidity pass without too much comment because let's face it, stupidity is everywhere. But am I wrong or is this not the most narrowly focused security measure to come out of a think tank like Rand? Unbelievable. Are they that hard up for brains? We need to be thinking better than this.

While hiring five percent more personnel may reduce potential fatalities by 80 percent, why airports? If I am a terrorist I am looking at an airport for its planes not its visitors. If long lines are a tempting target for terrorists, which I highly doubt, there are plenty of places that have far more people than airports for terrorists to hit. Just because it is an airport does not mean terrorists are not thinking elsewhere.

Really, lines, long lines are a terrorist target? For crying out loud, at some point in the future I have got to renew my driver license. Why hit an airport when the DMV will do?! I want to be safe there too.

Seriously, if the same security concern existing in one place exists elsewhere, then address all aspects of the concern. Easing the minds of those with post-traumatic 9/11 disorder who simply cannot tolerate an airport queue is patchwork thinking and not exactly cost-beneficial when spread across to all lines in America. However, an extra five percent hired everywhere would certainly help wipe out unemployment. And that'd be good for the economy, right?! Oh, now I understand Rand's thinking.

No, no I don't. For $4 million I can think of better ways to spend that money on like... okay, I can't in this cloud of disbelief, but enunciation lessons (and a little deodorant) would go a long way at the Department of Motor Vehicles.