The airport security threat no one’s talking about

The airport security threat no one’s talking about

By Bryan McKenzie

There is an airport security threat that the babbling, bobble-headed nabobs of nothingness on the alphabet soup of cable news shows haven’t nattered about ad nauseam.

While the Transportation Security Administration strip-searches 64-year-old grandmothers, gawks at radioactive pictures of naked passengers in body scanners and force fliers to doff shoes and surrender nail clippers, people are walking across the airport tarmac and climbing willy-nilly into the belly of planes for free rides.
Consider the case of the late Delvonte Tisdale, a 16-year-old from Charlotte, N.C., whose battered and smashed body was found in November in the comfy, cozy Boston suburb of Milton, Mass. Seems Mr. Tisdale snuck past Charlotte airport security, climbed into a Boston-bound jet’s wheel well and rode toward Logan Airport.
Unfortunately, airliners travel at great heights with little to no oxygen and temperatures that can reach 50 degrees below zero. When the airline put down its landing gear about 1,500 feet above the ground on its approach, Mr. Tisdale came down as well.
The discovery of Mr. Tisdale made quite a story in the local Boston and Charlotte media, but not so much among the cable networks.
It took self-proclaimed “award-winning attorney and humanitarian Christopher Chestnut — lauded by President Barack Obama, the National Bar Association and other esteemed parties” to get my attention when he announced to the world that he would file lawsuits in the death.

“The evidence in this case makes it quite clear which party is at fault,” said the man lauded by many esteemed parties.
Of course those parties are not Mr. Tisdale, but the airport and airline. Although I disagree on that point, I have to agree with the presidentially lauded litigator on one point: Where was airport security?
How did a 16-year-old member of the Junior ROTC in high school get onto the airport and into the airliner without someone noticing? For that matter, how did a man evade John F. Kennedy Airport security in February to crawl into the wells of a Delta Airlines jet on its way to Tokyo, dying of hypothermia on the way?
More worrisome is that the Federal Aviation Administration estimates at least five cases of stowaways occur every year around the world, based on the number of bodies found or stowaways captured. About 21 percent survive the flights.
Luckily Mr. Tisdale and the New York-Tokyo stowaway were interested in free trips rather than going to Heaven on the buddy plan. Imagine if a committed killer clambered aboard with a briefcase full of boom and detonated a bomb from the wheel well as the plane gained altitude.
Hey, go ahead and search me, but it sounds like authorities have more to worry about than what’s in my shoes or my Fruit of the Looms.
bmckenzie@dailyprogress.com | 978-7271

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