Monday, November 15, 2010

Pay Attention to the REAL Source of the Problem

It is interesting to watch some of the items at play within the American psyche these days when it comes to personal and national security.

On the southern border with Mexico, the US Government is focused on an “us versus them” mentality as it spends billions every year trying to keep the drug trade from sending drugs across the border into the US.  While the focus is on the cartels themselves, little is said about the millions of US citizens who fuel the drug trade with their ever-increasing taste for illegal drugs in the first place.

Waging a war against your own citizens doesn’t make a government very popular.  On the other hand, waging war against an external threat is ALWAYS valuable.

On the airline security front, there is great controversy over the full body scanners, whether in regards to alleged health concerns or, for those who don’t want to be submitted to the scanner, the full-body pat-down that results.  Despite all of the money (billions of dollars annually) and controversy behind the security measures, security can still be easily circumvented.

Some time ago when I was traveling through Toronto International Airport, I observed a cleaning lady with a large cleaning cart showing her ID and being waved around security.

I sent a note to CATSA, outlining my concern with this.  Assuming the cleaning lady is trustworthy, someone could distract her outside security while someone else plants something on the cart (she even left it unattended at one of the bathrooms).  Once the cart has passed uninspected through security, the process could be reversed.  Voila – an illegal object has been passed through security.

The response from CATSA was in essence that they were experts in security and I wasn’t, therefore I should mind my own business.

Another time flying from Newark, NJ to a point in Eastern Canada, I had a large package that could not fit in the x-ray machine in Newark.  TSA officials inspected the package, deemed it safe for carry-on and resealed it using TSA-labeled tape.

After I went through customs in Toronto, I found myself outside of the secure area and I had to re-enter the secure area in order to catch my domestic connection.  When I offered the package for inspection to CATSA, I was told it didn’t need to be inspected because it was sealed with the TSA tape (which looks like packing tape with a TSA logo on it).

All I could think was “the things you could do if you got your hands on a roll of that tape”.

Now, by writing this, I haven’t revealed anything brilliant to terrorists – anything we can think of, they have already thought of.

However, I look at these items, I see the billions being spent on them and I wonder:

Are we REALLY focused on the solution or are we just putting a band aid on the problem?

And if that’s the case …

Why aren’t we doing a better job of focusing on the true source of the challenges we face?

Only when we acknowledge the real source of the challenges we face and we focus on solutions collaboratively can we really eliminate the issues.

Of course, the experts in these areas know this.

Don’t they?

In service and servanthood,



1. Citing the billions invested in airline security as being the enabler to keeping people more relaxed about travel and thus keeping the economy moving doesn’t count. Smile

2. And on another note, let’s hope that terrorists don’t invent explosive thread or we will find air travel to be really exciting as we are asked to strip down prior to boarding. Smile

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