We all want to be safe when we fly, of course, and I don't think anybody objects these days to metal detectors (as much as we may rue the necessity for them) or prohibitions against carrying deadly weapons onboard. But many of the procedures we are required to go through if we want to get on an airplane these days are pretty obviously cosmetic (do those guys really think they're preventing another 9/11 when they pat down some granny in a wheelchair?) and annoying to just about everybody — not least to food-and-wine-loving travelers who can no longer stash a bottle of Spanish olive oil or Italian vino or some other liquid (or gel-like) culinary souvenir into their carry-ons. (Officials in Las Vegas confiscated a cupcake-in-a-jar because of its lethal-looking frosting; I once had a can of Cincinnati chili taken away because the agent who inspected it shook it and heard it sloshing and announced, "This is a liquid.")
There is, in any case, no apparent logic or consistency to the rules that are enforced, and I simply don't believe that they would, for an instant, prevent any halfway intelligent would-be evil-doer from taking over another airplane. With that in mind, I'd like to pose these questions to the man in charge of the people who are supposedly keeping our airways safe — John Pistole (hey, is he allowed to fly with that moniker?), whose redundant-sounding title is Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.