Thursday, August 19, 2010
Orange, Red , Whatever
"The National Security Threat Advisory is Orange", according to the recording you hear in any airport in the United States. Trust me, I hear it over and over, in the same friendly voice, along with the various warnings of not to take any packages from strangers. (Well, Hello, my Mama told me that when I was little, and the stories she added to back up the threat scared me enough that I have never since considered the thought.) Or, report any unattended luggage to the authorities. I assume this especially pertains to the ones with wires protruding and the gentle sound of ticking clock coming from within.
Back to the threat advisory. I can remember Saturday Night Live doing a skit soon after the five color threat level was put into place. In their skit, the five colors were offwhite, cream, putty, bone, and natural. With off white being the lowest risk and natural being an enormous risk. Don't laugh are we more vigilant between orange and red, than we would be if the level were changed from bone to natural? Could we really tell the difference? - Most likely not.
I did not even know there was a green (low) or blue (guarded). Can we ever hope to see those? Probably not. So why even have them on the chart? (To make us feeler better.) Basically, we all pay attention to what is going on around us. Some are even paranoid (they should just drive and spare us the drama.) And, who knows, that friendly business man from Des Moines sitting next to you in 7B may just be a Sky Marshal. One would hope.
The bottom line, as I see it, is to make the flying public feel better. We will protect you by not letting the terrorists bring more than 4 ounces of liquid on the plane, checking every one's shoes, and keeping vehicles away from the terminals. Heck, if it were up to me, put Sky Marshals on every plane. Let folks know that there is one there, may be let them know who they are, may be not. Let's not play around with shampoo. American travelers are being treated like a bunch of weaselly people, and everyone is scared they may inconvenience them or hurt their feelings.
Well, I for one will take getting my feelings hurt and live to tell about it, rather than die pampered any day. Security lines do not bother me, I always consider the alternative. When everyone is polite and explains what they are doing, the program works. If one feels that flying makes them special, I would think that their desire to live would be assumed. Or, maybe they are "too" special to be bothered with such mundane matters.
The bottom line is that life has changed and our travel will no longer be the same. Deal with it. If you are so special that it is beneath you, then take NetJet (if your Gulf Stream is in the shop.) I can assure you that all the passengers in those four planes that went down on 9/11 would have stood in line, taken off their shoes, and moved their cars in a nano second given a chance to do so that morning. We are given that chance and some of us just don't get it.