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Merry Christmas from the TSA

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Is it just me, or do the new airline security regulations make no sense?

So let’s get this straight. The shoe bomber led to the slip-off-your-shoes rule. Now the leg bomber has brought us this stay-in-your-seat-with-an-empty-lap-for-the-last-hour-of-flight regulation.

Both were reactions to very specific incidents. That’s “re”-action. And this latest rule is so specific that it’s practically useless; even the most law-abiding citizens could figure out ways around it. Sure, the TSA had to do something. But how about something “pro”-active?

At least Janet Napolitano is now saying that the security system failed. After all, I’ve been busted with a larger-than-3.4-ounce tube of toothpaste. And I’ve gotten the third degree for having “Rich” on my ticket when my license says “Richard.” So how does someone who has been reported to authorities—and reportedly paid for his ticket in cash—allegedly get a bomb on board?

Yes, incidents like this force us to take a look at existing security measures, and perhaps modify them. And no, we may not like the results. But let’s hope the TSA focuses on the real questions here rather than trying to regulate past events.

Rich Beattie is the online executive editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Mira / Alamy

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