The terrorists have accomplished their mission

Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. … Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those violent acts which are intended to create fear (terror) (Wikipedia)

Right after 9/11, I flew to Australia for a vacation I had been planning for almost a year. Many people asked me if I was afraid to fly and implied that I should have stayed home, close to family and friends. I replied that if I had stayed home, the terrorists would have won.

Unfortunately, my government does not agree with my definition of winning. They think that living in fear and trying desperately to keep us all 100% safe while flying is the most effective way to fight terrorism. It reminds me of a boss that told me he liked it when people lived in fear of being fired, they worked harder. I told him being fired held no fear for me. When you live in fear, you do irrational things – like sending millions of people’s shoes through an xray scanner every day.

The terrorists that used planes as bombs on September 11, 2001 have changed our lives forever. Now I spend hours each month standing in line waiting to be closely inspected and treated as a potential terrorist myself. I buy shampoo in small bottles. I buy special bags to get though security faster. My life and our economy has been fundamentally changed by those terrorists. Not because it needed to change in response to their actions but because we choose to let them create irrational fear in us. We allowed them to terrorize us.

I had to watch my older son fight back tears at the airport as his bags were taken, all his toys were examined by a stranger and his bag was searched for explosive residue. And I had to answer his questions about why they were doing this and why I was letting them.

Today I read that the TSA will now tell children that groping them is a game. Terrorists, through a series of acts in one day 9 years ago, are now causing our children to be sexually molested when we travel. Having a stranger touch your genitals is not a game unless you are both consenting adults.

We need to grow up, crawl out from underneath the bed, trust each other and fight back. We need to carry our fingernail clippers and our knives on the airplane again. We need to give up the charade that we can be stripped of everything that can be a weapon. We need to fight back with intelligence, not fear. Invest all the money that is going into scanners and use it to fight terrorists not travelers.

Remove TSA from the airport process. Let airlines decide how to run security for their flights and let travelers vote with their money for the type of security they want.

Take the money you were using to fund TSA and fight terrorists. Fight terrorists in a much smarter, more targeted fashion. And while you are at it, think beyond weapons as planes. I certainly think the terrorists are thinking beyond planes at this point. But that tactic sure worked well for them!