The Wonderful World of Oz

August 26, 2019

Security Theatre

Filed under: Uncategorized — B @ 8:05 pm

Unsurprisingly, traveling brings the laughable nature of security theatre to my attention. Surprisingly, it is Oz that highlighted this more than any other country I have been to.

How often do you hear about airport-related violence, attacks, or danger coming out of Oz?

And yet, they have the most laid-back security of any country I have yet visited.

It is not that there are no security measures. Before any flight, you still have to go through the standard bag screening and metal detector (or body scanner machine). But, most of the ridiculous add-ons we have seen since 9/11 are non-existent. You can bring any amount of liquids onto flights in Oz. You can keep your shoes on as you go through security. You do not even need to identify yourself. All you need to get onto a flight in Oz is a boarding pass; no ID is necessary. In fact, I only needed to present ID at one of the five hotels I stayed at in Oz. At the other four, I just gave my name and they gave me the key associated with the reservation attached to that name.

And yet at no point did I or anyone around me feel unsafe because of this lack of silly measures. To the contrary, I felt relaxed and un-antagonized. This simple feeling made me dig even deeper into my analysis of these security efforts around the globe. Why the stress on unattended bags in airports? Any unattended bag you see in the terminal has already gone through security screening. Do we not trust the security screenings to detect bags with dangerous items? If we don’t, what is the point of the screenings at all?

Oz is not exactly known as a laissez-faire country in this regard. In fact, it has more of a reputation for big government than the US. And yet it felt downright relaxing to return to the calmer airport experience from halcyon days. With absolutely no increased threat as a result.

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