Amtrak is stepping up security

which means I can say goodbye to even more of my traveling freedoms.

According to this CNN article, Amtrak will start patrolling platforms with bomb-sniffing dogs, and conducting random searches of passengers. It’s not in response to any particular threat, but apparently it is “just the correct step to take.”

Next thing you know they’ll have metal detectors set up, then x-ray machines…then they’ll start making you take your shoes off and shuffle barefoot through security, as well as requiring you to carry no more than three 3oz containers of liquid (that barely filled tube of toothpaste marked 12oz is forbidden, even though you and I and every person with the slightest bit of sense knows there’s only enough left to brush your teeth 2-3 times!).

This makes me angry. Part of the reason I love taking the train is that you can show up 5 minutes before it is supposed to depart and waltz right on with no hassles. It is actually faster for me to take the train many places simply because I save so much time by avoiding the long airport security lines. I hate TSA – it does little to make you or I safer in our travels and instead only gives a superficial (and false) sense of security…all while belittling us as humans and imposing costs on already expensive travel (both in terms of time, and by forbidding you to carry certain items – thus essentially forcing you to buy things like bottled water or shampoo every time you travel).

In the case of Amtrak some of this is hard to avoid – Amtrak is, after all, a government-run (read: monopoly) train service so they can do more or less whatever they want. But in the case of airports I think TSA should butt-out – let the individual airlines decide how much security they want their passengers to go through. It is the airline, and not TSA, that ultimately has to deal with the consequences of an actual or attempted terrorist attack. Let’s see what kind of security we have to go through when we vote with our money – maybe you prefer the barefoot or dirty-sock shuffle through metal detectors, but I don’t and would gladly spend my money at an airline that allows me to bypass that demoralizing facade of safety.

~ Lily


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