1.2% of all air travellers revealed as terrorists

Preparing to go on a vacation involving air travel for the first time in a year and a half, my first thought after finding the lowest possible fare was, of course, safety. Because I hold my sacred American duty to be afraid of everything very close to my heart (naturally, right where fear belongs), and we all know that they love nothing more than blowing up airplanes. I spent an unplanned-for night in the hotel at the Cincinnati airport a few years back after trying to smuggle a suspicious box of muffins aboard my plane and being delayed by the vigilant forces of the TSA. And I was glad to do it; sometimes, the only thing that stands between our way of life and complete, terrified anarchy is one bad muffin.

So I wanted to see if the TSA are still performing at peak levels. Fighting terror is fatiguing, I imagine, and it would be understandable if they were maybe slipping as time goes on. While I don’t remember there being any attempted terrorjackings as of late, that could easily be because a) I don’t really pay attention, and/or b) the TSA has caught all potential terrorists.

Sadly, the best I could find was a number of media mentions from the Summer of 2005 which I suspect all stem from the same report/hypothetical press release of this report on confiscations from 2/02 – 3/03. Which reveals that out of a total of 1.7 billion passengers, almost 16 million of them were weapon-carrying terrorists.

Confession: 16 million is a bigger number than I’m able to actually appreciate. I couldn’t tell you how big of a suitcase you’d need to pay a $16 million ransom in unmarked twenties. When I see Hamptons property listings, I don’t see significant difference between the 10-million and 20-million dollar homes unless they have carnival rides in the back yard. Sixteen million is like twice the number of people in New York, but that assumes you can tell residents from commuters and tourists.

Fortunately, this TSA report breaks it down by airport. As I’ll be flying out of JFK, I’m choosing to just focus on their statistics. Here’s what the TSA nabbed from freedom haters during the period covered by the report:

  • 9,490 knives with blades longer than 3 inches
  • 107,088 knives with blades shorter than 3 inches
  • 409 fireworks
  • 261 ammo or gunpowder
  • 43,195 tools
  • 262,365 sharp objects
  • 3,557 replica weapons
  • 52,741 flammables/irritants
  • 41 explosives
  • 6,119 dangerous objects
  • 4,958 clubs, bats and bludgeons
  • 2,263 box cutters
  • 12 firearms
  • TOTAL: 492,499

Honestly, I can barely wrap my head around a number approaching half a million; it’s like a terrorist for every Cheerio I’ve ever consumed. Note that these statistics predate the declaration of all liquids in containers larger than 4 oz as potential weapons. I sure hope the TSA is keeping up the good work.

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5 Responses to “1.2% of all air travellers revealed as terrorists”

  1. What I want to know is what is the deal with Olympia, WA? That table lists 914 terrorists per 1000 passengers! Please tell me that you won’t be going on vacation anywhere Washington State; you’re mother will be up all night worrying about you!

  2. intoallthat Says:

    Yeah, Olympia… that’s where Courtney Love is from, isn’t it?

  3. Preparing to go on a vacation involving air travel for the first time in a year and a half

    How come you get to go on a vacation other than “Beach Week” with the rest of us poor slobs?

  4. intoallthat Says:

    Shhh! I’m incognito.

  5. Good post. Hope to see much more great posts in the near future.

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