Under the umbrella of protection against terrorism, airlines have adopted heightened security policies whose effectiveness I question.
Not too long ago I flew out of Jacksonville International Airport to Richmond International Airport to attend a wedding. My experience was rather interesting.
Paying in cash and having a carry-on bag resulted in my random bag and person search on four different occasions.
It began when I walked past the armed military personnel to place my bag on the conveyor belt at the security checkpoint.
Perhaps my bag, being too tightly packed, led security to quickly feel through it. No problem.
I proceeded to the gate to check-in. I got my ticket and tried to board, but I was told to return to the counter. This was the first time I was told of my random selection to be searched yet it was the second time my bag was searched. Since the plane was boarding, I received a less in-depth search.
An airline employee removed several items and searched my entire bag. My toiletries’ bag was opened and searched as well.
I guess the employee found what she was looking for because she confiscated the pink Bic razor I use to shave my legs. I thought she was joking.
However, she informed me the rules aren’t consistent but this week, razors weren’t allowed on the plane.
I shook my head in disbelief. All the while, another employee approached to wand me down with a handheld metal detector.
My returning flight was at 6 a.m. Again, my bag was taken from the conveyor belt and searched. Again, I checked into the gate and was told of my random selection.
I nodded and stopped the employee in mid-sentence. I already knew the procedure. This man, however, took his job more seriously.
He proudly put on a pair of latex gloves and thoroughly searched my bags. No pink razor.
But this overachiever wouldn’t return my bags until it was time to board the plane.
Before boarding, I was again waned down as other passengers watched curiously. Afterwards, I was given my bag and immediately boarded.
So there I was, wearing an undeserved scarlet letter, sitting in seat 53F, while the flight crew checked the lights and equipment. I closed my eyes and went to sleep.
I am telling my story to suggest new security measures implemented to prevent further terrorist acts on commercial planes, give passengers a greater sense of security rather than ensure prevention of a repeat of Sept. 11.
Terrorism is a tactic. You can’t fight it.
You have to change the conditions causing people to want to use this tactic.
Maybe if the powers that be took this into consideration and revised American foreign policy, I would still have my pink Bic razor.
Crystal Muse, 21, is a senior Business administration student from Queens, NY. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.