But instead of hiring more and better people (which will come with offering more money), we choose to spend our cash on new machines, and if you've been paying attention, you've probably caught on to a running theme here ...
Oh Shit, The Machines Simply Don't Work
David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images
From the moment they were introduced, the full-body scanners have been controversial. Sure, they produce an image that gives the viewer a nice heaping eyeful of your anatomy (which, of course, has never been used in a privacy-violating way), but at least they allow agents to easily see if you're carrying weapons ... as long as that weapon is metal and you're not holding it on your side.
On the Snapchat-esque photo that the examining agent sees, weapons show up as black objects, while you appear as a pasty white mannequin, like so:
Transportation Security Administration
On the other hand, if you put a mannequin in this thing, it looks like Kim Cattrall.
But, as you may have noticed, the background on the scanner is also black, which results in security nightmares like this:
The Watchmen remake is going with a much more realistic Dr. Manhattan.
Don't see the difference? In the two pictures on the right, the guy has a .380 handgun on the side of his leg. And this is when the person is carrying something hard enough to be picked up on the scanner -- if it's something softer like, say, plastic explosives, it looks like this:
And you can barely distinguish the AK-47 being clenched between his butt cheeks.
Could you tell that the guy on the right has a hunk of C4 molded to his stomach with the detonator stowed in his belly-button? We've been staring at this picture for hours and still can't see the bomb or the sailboat, so how the hell is an agent who gives it a five-second once-over going to catch it?
So, with the inability to pick up on anything other than metal, the scanners are actually worse than the far cheaper metal detectors, because at least those will go off no matter where you have it hidden on your body. Luckily, this might turn out to not be a problem for much longer -- someone at the Department Of Homeland Security finally bothered to flip through the owner's manual and discovered the scanners require routine maintenance, which nobody has done, nor do they have a plan in place to start.
Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
Betcha feel a lot safer now!
When he's not yelling "balm" on an airplane, Chris writes for his website and tweets.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and YouTube, where you can catch all our video content, such as 10 Weirdly Conservative Hidden Messages in 'Con Air' and other videos you won't see on the site!
Also check out The 6 Most Hilarious Ways People Breached Airport Security and 6 Shockingly Childish Abuses Of Power By Airport Employees.