Security

You Can Keep Your Shoes on in the Airport. Someday. Maybe.

|

Rejoice, Americans. As we near the 10-year-anniversary of 9/11 (and hot on its heels, the 10-year anniversary of Richard Reid's failed shoe bombing attempt) Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says you may soon be allowed to leave your shoes on as you pass through airport security. Maybe!

nation, secure

Napolitano told Politico:

Research and development efforts on the shoe front are progressing…

"In terms of what we see coming in the months and years ahead, it will probably be easier and it looks like it will be to deal with the shoe issues before we can remove the restriction on liquids," the secretary said.

It's good to hear new tech is underway, since current X-ray scanners can't actually detect the kind of explosive Reid used (a chemical test would work better). The shoe removal two-step didn't become official policy until a couple of years post-Reid. But it has now become utterly and demoralizingly routine. Because once an official act of pointless security theater gets underway, it's awfully hard to backtrack.

The Freakonomics guys report on how shoe bomber Richard Reid managed to succeed by failing:

We perform this shoe routine thanks to a bumbling British national named Richard Reid, who, even though he couldn't ignite his shoe bomb, exacted a huge price. Let's say it takes an average of one minute to remove and replace your shoes in the airport security line. In the United States alone, this procedure happens roughly 560 million times per year. Five hundred and sixty million minutes equals more than 1,065 years—which, divided by 77.8 years (the average U.S. life expectancy at birth), yields a total of nearly 14 person-lives. So even though Richard Reid failed to kill a single person, he levied a tax that is the time equivalent of 14 lives per year.

bondage-style footwear is currently fashionable

Fun fact: September also brings another shoe-related national security anniversary. Nathan Hale, who regretted that he had but one life to lose for his country, attempted to smuggle sketches of military fortifications on the soles of his shoes on September 12, 1776. He got caught, too.

Enjoy Reason's shoes and security archive here, and a children's garden of Transportation Security Administration bashing here. For a 9/11 roundup, check out Nick Gillespie's post earlier today. The Reason-Rupe poll found that Americans have mixed feelings about the TSA.

NEXT: Introducing RealClearBooks, a Great New Site for All Things Bibliographical!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. So even though Richard Reid failed to kill a single person, he levied a tax that is the time equivalent of 14 lives per year.

    Booyah!

    1. yep that’s our plan – to waste ur time !?

      1. if wasting infidels time is ur plan, get a new leader…wait, ahh

  2. So even though Richard Reid failed to kill a single person, he levied a tax that is the time equivalent of 14 lives per year.

    In other words, after shoe removal became a policy, we all died a little on the inside.

  3. Rob Liefeld could have streamlined the process. But I guess that’s obvious, since they have one of his drawings right at the top of the thread.

    1. Go here for more info on BP’s astute observation.

  4. I am very grateful to Nathan Hale for his service to his country, and since the country he helped defend has a First Amendment, I am free to say:

    I hope Nathan Hale had at least one Dr. Scholls to use for his country, lol!

  5. you may soon be allowed to leave your shoes on as you pass through airport security.

    However, there will be an additional procedure in which you sit on a special bench to have your feet imaged and sniffed.

    1. And then they have dogs do it.

      1. Gitchy, gitchy, goo!

  6. Yeah, those Kardashian broads are pretty likely to be wearing shoe bombs.

    What’s wrong with that one’s ass, BTW?

    1. Beats me!

    2. What’s wrong with that one’s ass, BTW?

      Absolutely nothing.

      1. No, nothing more than a touch of steatofreakinpygia .

    3. “What’s wrong with that one’s ass, BTW ?”

      You mean the one on the right..apparently she’s under-nourished.

      1. Kim Kardashian always has the exact same look on her face, indicating that something has piqued her suspiscion or that someone just yelled “Hey stupid, over here!”, and she is looking for who summoned her.

    4. I’ll give her a naked pat-down just to be sure.

  7. Interestingly, I recently flew in China and Japan, where you do not need to remove your shoes. Of course, China’s security system is notoriously laxer than that of the US. Or something….

    1. On my first flight in China I asked the security guy if I had to remove my shoes. He politely told me no but he looked at me like I’d just asked him if it was OK to take a dump on the conveyor belt.

      1. On my first flight in China I asked the security guy if it was OK to take a dump on the conveyor belt. He looked at me like there was something wrong with my ass.

        1. on my first flight in china i took a dump on the conveyor…then security took my shoes !

    2. The exception being if you are flying to the US from another country. Then they give everybody an “extra” screening as they board the plane. Basically the US said “if you want your airport to have service to our country, then you have to violate your citizens the same way we violate ours.”

  8. BTW, in Europe you don’t have to take of your shoes. At least when you don’t fly across the Atlantic. I gather Europe hasn’t experienced shoe-terrorism in the air by sheer luck.

  9. The DHS shoe fetish seems cwazy.
    OTOH, 40% of Europeans are wacko and WTF is wrong with France.

    1. Surely the French, of all people, could find better ways of helping this woman with her problem!

      1. Shouldn’t the State provide for those needs?

        1. Why not re-purpose some metal detector “wands”?

  10. O/T: I know bad, but this is a shoe thread…wut up with that?

    The swiss Natl Bank just agreed to a ceiling on the franc against the euro…Franc is imploding. I never thought the swiss would be so stupid.

    1. I never thought the swiss would be so stupid.
      Or so desperate?

      The international house of cards/ponzi scheme of fiat currencies and endless lines of credit is in a slow motion collapse. I think I’m becoming a gold bug.

    2. The Swiss could really use a nice, big, fat stimulus bill. Not just a little fat. I’m talkin’ My Big Fat Greek Bailout fat.

  11. Napolitano has has either never read Orwell or is a complete moron:

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/…..ivacy.html

    “I think that what he means is we are watching too much?kind of an Orwellian view. He’s just wrong. I mean, he’s just wrong,”

    “”We don’t do anything without kind of running it through our own civil rights and privacy office. We’re one of only two departments in the federal government that actually has a presidentially-appointed privacy office and officer.”

    Is there anything more Orwellian than a government privacy office that approves invasions of privacy?

    1. Love this qualification from J Naps:

      kind of running it through our own civil rights

      1. just sorta kinda, ya know, diddling you.

    2. “We run all of our programs our technology buys all of those kinds of things we think about privacy and when too much is too much, but on the other hand our responsibility is to maximize our ability to prevent something violent from being successful. So we’re always striking that balance but we think we’ve hit it pretty right,” she said.

      Let me be clear.

      Well said.

    3. She read Orwell. She just took it as an instruction guide instead of a warning.

      1. Yes but an intelligent and capable Orwellian would probably restrain from using an Orwellian statement in response of an accusation of Orwellian-ism. It seems to be the truly Orwellian thing to do in that situation would to make themselves look obviously non-Orwellian.

        1. An intelligent person would also not make all the grammatical errors and typos I just made.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.