(On Screen): It seems as if the new refrain in the world is "Stop with the pretty words and posturing, and demonstrate some real action. If you don't solve your problem, we'll solve it for you." We said that to the Taliban. That's what Israel is telling Arafat, and that's what the Indians are telling Musharraf.
And I think it's what the American public is going to start saying to the airline industry. I swear, the airlines must have a death wish. They have so thoroughly botched their security since September that it boggles the mind. Their clumsy attempts to clamp down have managed to thoroughly alienate the travelling public, and yet it doesn't seem to actually be doing any good.
Case in point: a man named Brunstein had a 9mm pistol in his carry-on luggage. He boarded a flight with it in Tampa, and it was not detected. Then in Atlanta he boarded a flight to Memphis, and again it was not detected. In Memphis he again changed planes and while boarding another flight back to Atlanta it was found. He's in custody and they're going to throw the book at him.
The pistol was found in a random search in Memphis. The question is why it wasn't found by routine screening in Tampa or Atlanta. Just what the heck are they looking for, anyway?
It won't take too many more episodes like this one before the American public comes to think of travel by air as something you only do when you have no other choice, because it's too dangerous to do routinely. If that happens, the entire airline industry takes a major stairstep down in sales, and the bankrupcies and layoffs begin. It could take years to recover from such an eventuality.
It's been blatantly obvious for a long time that the airline security measures were more for show than anything else; they were there to reassure the passengers rather than to actually find threats. It's now clear that the system is so badly broken as to be beyond repair: it's time to fire everyone associated with airline security and build a completely new organization from the ground up.
And they can begin by not adopting a policy of contracting it out to the low bidder.
Update: This is not exactly what I had in mind.