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Well, Search Me!

Posted on November 8th, 2012 at 0:05 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet? -- Write a comment


“That search was absolutely useless.” I said. “And just shows how much of all of this is security theatre. You guys are just feeling up passengers for no good effect, which means that you get all the downsides of a search – such as annoyed travellers who feel like they have had their privacy violated – without any of the benefits. I could have hidden half a dozen items on my person that you wouldn’t have had a snowball’s chance in a supernova of finding. That’s what I meant.”

“Sir, are you hiding something?” he said, and as he did, I saw three other security guys coming our way. Oh dear.

“Of course not.” I said. “But if I had wanted to, I could have.”

“Why do you have such a problem with being searched?” another security guy said, presumably the first guy’s supervisor.

“Look, I have absolutely no problem with being searched. But if you’re going to do it, do it properly – the plane is no safer at all after this gentleman half-heartedly stroked me for a couple of seconds” I said.

“How do you mean?” the supervisor asked.

“He was stroking me as if he was trying to get me to sleep with him, not as if he was trying to find anything on me.” I said. “I’ve been searched many, many times, and in this case, I could have hidden things in my socks, taped to my thigh, taped to the small of my back, the insides of my upper arms, under my testicles or anywhere on my buttocks.”

“Why have you been searched so many times?” the supervisor asked sharply.

“I’m a police officer. I help train other police officers. When we search someone, we assume that the person who searches us may have a knife or something else they can use to harm us, so we search properly. And yes, this means that you have to take a firm grip of somebody’s groin, yes, this means that you search even the parts that are less comfortable to have searched, and yes, this means that you’re probably going to incur a couple of sexual harassment accusations along the way.” I nodded at the security guard who had searched me. “This fellow here did by far the most useless search I have ever been subjected to, and if I wanted to, I could have smuggled half a dozen knives onto the flight. I don’t have a problem with being searched at all – in fact, if you guys think it’s necessary, I’d be the first to admit that I look a little bit suspicious before I’ve had my first cup of coffee in the morning – but if you’re going to stroke me gently in front of hundreds of people, you’d better buy me a fucking drink first, is all I am saying.”

The security supervisor was standing there, frozen at my rant.

  1. [Quote]:

    This is actually known as “a Belgian compromise”, i.e. an inefficient solution that nobody is happy with and which despite a stiff price tag is bordering on utter uselessness. It is usually instated to avoid a complete deadlock on a particular matter, in the process misleading the general public that the problem has been solved.

    In general, it is accompanied by a tax raise or other form of cashing in on the issue and the final phrasing of the solution deliberately kept as vague as possible so all arguing factions can claim victory and interpret it any way they want. Execution or enforcement in the field most of the time proves impossible because nobody understands what exactly is supposed to be done, who is in charge or what other compromises it is conflicting with.

    Once in effect, the formerly disagreeing parties will do everything in their power to preserve the status quo, including demonisation of any third party questioning its usefulness in search of a real solution.

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