In the last 10 years since the 9/11 attacks, airport security has really seen a revamp. As much as people have complained about not being able to take liquids on a flight, see off family at the gate, or being “violated” during security checkpoints, most of us are thankful that these precautions have given us 10 years of safety.
But one recent experience had me shaking in my boots and feeling really livid at the lack of vigilance at an international airport, making me wonder what else is passing right under our noses?
Traveling out of George Bush International Airport in Houston, TX, I was disturbed to say the experience was pleasant but failed to give me the peace of mind any traveler should have boarding a flight. It seemed to be that during a recent trip to a friend’s where we were cutting fruit (coconuts, specifically), I was rushed leaving and threw the large knife into my purse on the way out – and it stayed in there all the way to the airport. The knife proceeded to make it through security checkpoint without so much as a second glance, and I only noticed that I was toting a large and very blatant weapon when seated at my gate. How could a large KNIFE make it through security? It’s understandable that sometimes there are items that are ambiguous and vague in shape, but even the most vigilant security officials have double-checked my purse and made me toss a tube of lotion. And yet, a knife with a 5″ blade made it seamlessly through.
The 9/11 attackers needed weapons as small as box cutters to mark our nation with one of the everlasting tragedies we will ever know – how could we be letting KNIVES pass through? I understand that mistakes happen, and everyone makes them. But when your entire job is to ensure that mistakes are NOT occurring, especially in such a despicably careless manner – there is absolutely no excuse. This cannot be occurring on any circumstances. Do we really want to be welcoming another attack on our nation, and have the entire world laugh at us because our airport security officials cannot see weapons as obvious as knives pass through?
On that note, I used to carry around pepper spray on my key chain. I toted it around for over two years and traveled through countless international airports: Austin-Bergstrom, LAX, La Guardia, Chicago O’Hare, etc. Not a SINGLE airport even stopped me to question the fact that I was carrying a weapon on my key chain that would have been so easy to use on-board the flight. It was only taken up at a small connecting airport when someone finally pointed out the fact that I was carrying a weapon. At first I was angry and resistant, arguing that no other airport had stopped me. Then it struck me – why HADN’T anyone stopped me? It’s pepper spray for God’s sakes!
This is a story that has only been extended in my experiences. Have you had anything similar happen to you? If so, it really is time to do something before we’re kicking ourselves for being even stupider than before and crying over lives lost and a violation so great that we may never recover.