I just realized the solution to all this security stupidity. A solution so simple, rational, and agreeable that it’s basically guaranteed to never happen.
Let the people choose. A lot of people, including the TSA head, have claimed that if you let people choose they’d choose the invasive security measures. So let’s let people choose. Just not between no security and invasive security. Let people choose between the invasive security and the metal detector + luggage X-ray that we’ve used for years.
It’s quite easy. Allow airlines to fly low-security and high-security flights. Allow the employees of the airline to choose which flights they’d like to fly. Run them out of separate terminals at the airports to keep security areas separate. For small airports designate the far-end as high-security and the closer end as low-security. You pass through low-security first, then high-security passengers continue through the enhanced screening to their gates.
Logically the low-security flights would cost less since all that screening costs a lot of money. Then we’d see how the American people really feel. For $10 more each way you can fly high-security. Problem solved.
If people really don’t mind the added cost and hassle of the high-security flights then we can realistically expect the low-security flights to be empty. And if that happens, cancel the flights and reduce their frequency. I doubt that would be the case though. I imagine you’d find many people would be happy to take the cost reduction (and supposed security reduction) and get on the low-security flights while enjoying a greater level of freedom.
Sadly this solution is so simple, logical, and un-divisive that it will probably never happen. I’d happily fly again with such a setup.
Now that the cockpit doors are reinforced and locked from the inside hijacking is not a credible threat. The only remaining risk is almost entirely limited to those on board, so let them choose what level of security they want.