People are so used to air travel meaning delays and invasions of basic privacy that we’re willing to travel in less convenient, more dangerous ways to avoid the hassle. From Bloomberg Businessweek:
There is lethal collateral damage associated with all this spending on airline security—namely, the inconvenience of air travel is pushing more people onto the roads. Compare the dangers of air travel to those of driving. To make flying as dangerous as using a car, a four-plane disaster on the scale of 9/11 would have to occur every month, according to analysis published in the American Scientist. Researchers at Cornell University suggest that people switching from air to road transportation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks led to an increase of 242 driving fatalities per month—which means that a lot more people died on the roads as an indirect result of 9/11 than died from being on the planes that terrible day. They also suggest that enhanced domestic baggage screening alone reduced passenger volume by about 5 percent in the five years after 9/11, and the substitution of driving for flying by those seeking to avoid security hassles over that period resulted in more than 100 road fatalities.
You realize that there is very little evidence that the TSA makes air travel safer. You get that, right? The shoes, the liquids, the random bag searches that uncover dildos and G.I. Joe weapons — none of that is actually helping. The TSA is one big rock that promises to prevent tiger attacks; you’re supposed to think it’s working just because a tiger doesn’t show up in your backyard to maul you.
Mystal then moves to the crux of the problem:
Maybe it’s the law school in me, but I think the problem is that there is no one particular interest group that TSA is picking on. There’s no “legal defense fund” that represents people who have been violated by the TSA. Hell, we don’t even have a Gloria Allred of TSA claims. We don’t have anybody whose job is to legally protect us from the TSA.
TSA’s greatest strategy has been to violate all of us. Not only Arabs or only poor people or only gun owners or only people who dislike watching their children molested. It turns out, there are no lawyers for “Americans.”
And so the TSA-ists win.