Thursday, December 04, 2003

Fortunately, my pockets were filled only with lint

Char-lez and I went to the Thrashers game last night (I finally won one of my company's ticket raffles - damn good seats), and as we're going in the doors we met with the requisite "security" procedure.

In the case of Philips Arena, "security" consists of a guy standing next to a card table who tells everybody in line to empty their pockets into a little plastic basket (note to Philips ... if you're going to do this, you need more than one little plastic basket at each table).

So I get up there and the guy says "Can I ask you to empty your pockets, please?". Being that it was 35 degrees last night, I figured maybe this was to ferret out bad stuff that could be in a jacket or somesuch. So I asked him if he meant all my pockets - pants and such. "Yes," he said.

This is the point during "security" checks when I either a) tell the "security" dude that what he's asking me to do is completely pointless (see The LAX Meltdown); b) comply with the pointless, feel-good "security" measure and fume silently or c) only partially comply with the pointless "security" measure as a demonstration of the "security" measure's complete lack of a point.

Being that I did, in fact, want to see the game; I plan to spend my free cash on SEC Championship tickets and not bail; and the fact that the "security" guy was apologetic to the point that he must know how stupid his assigned task is, I chose option C.

I dumped my keys, some change and my wallet in the little plastic basket. I purposefully held out on presenting my cellphone and gloves, which were tucked away in an inside pocket of my jacket.

"Thank you, and sorry for the inconvenience," the guy said. I scooped my stuff out of the little plastic basket and moved on.

OK, so the point of that was what, exactly? To make Philips Arena 100% free of dangerous items the spectators volunteer to surrender at the door? My cell phone could have been 9 ounces of C-4; the gloves could have been pointy sticks I might use to hold Ilya Kovalchuk hostage at center ice. But "security" was only interested in seeing the things I told them I had.

Of course, there is no point to this exercise other than to provide a "sense of security" to the moronic public who believe that searching old women at airports makes us "safer" and to let the Philips Arena staff show that they take "security" seriously.

I admit that I was selfish last night. I've ranted here and in the real world that if we sit back silently and take this bullshit as we go through our daily lives, it will just encourage more bullshit. I should have said something - in a polite way since the "security" guy seemed to understand the pointlessness of his task - but for the sake of my own convenience I didn't.

To make up for my selfish act last night, I will reinforce my position about "security" here.

1) Nobody is ever "secure", nor will they ever be. Life is full of risks, and if somebody wants to kill you bad enough, they will.
2) If you feel "more secure" in airports and public places like hockey games because of the post-911 changes, you are stupid
3) If you never complain about stupid "security" measures, you are part of the problem
4) Making airports 100% free of bombs and boxcutters would do exactly nothing to reduce the threat of terrorism in the U.S.
5) Searching for bombs and boxcutters instead of searching for terrorists will make us lose the war on terrorism

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