During the last three weeks we have noticed several unusual trends. First, for the week ending 2/20/2011 the number of firearms found on passengers or in their luggage at TSA checkpoints increased to 19 from the 7 reported the previous week. Since that time, the results from the weeks ending 2/27, 3/6 and 3/13 have been 25, 23 and 22 firearms intercepted, up from the weekly average of approximately 13 (based on the date we started tracking these number starting in May, 2010).
In addition, items that the TSA describe as “Artfully concealed prohibited items found at checkpoints”, jumped to 9 the week ending 3/06/2011, up from 1 the previous week and well above the weekly average of approximately 3 items confiscated. However, the number declined to 2 the week ending 3/13/2011.
Next, for the week ending 3/13/2011 the action defined by the TSA as “Passengers arrested after investigation of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents” rose to 15 from the 7 recorded for the week before, above the weekly average of approximately 6 passengers arrested .
While taken alone, these numbers are suggestive, it should be noted that around 15 million passengers pass through security every week in the United States. In essence, the numbers in the TSA reports and the variances we noted are not statistically significant, but , at least from our point of view, are troubling. Just who is it that doesn’t know that you not allowed to take firearms aboard an airplane? Since you can buy whatever you need almost anywhere you go, what could you possibly want to smuggle onto an airplane in the United States, except something you wanted to be able to use on the flight that regarded as dangerous to carry in the cabin of an airliner? Finally, is it news to people that they need to have to have bullet-proof credentials to pass through TSA security? Hard to figure, isn’t it?
Since the TSA does not reveal details on their website related to the “TSA Week At A Glance” reporting categories, it may be that the modest fluctuations reported by ThereArePlaces in this blog are related to wild and crazy college students departing for “Spring Break”. Or, it could be an early start to summer travel. It could be a lot of things, but it could also be terrorists probing our security systems.
We are not excited about the security surrounding today’s air travel, but we would rather have than not . Yes, the TSA might be able to improve the security process, but as the numbers show, some folks just don’t seem to get the message, while others might have ulterior motives. Such is the price of vigilance.
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