Friday, January 15, 2010

You must have read my mind

Despite the usually negative theme in popular science fiction, I’ve always thought it would be kind of cool if someone could read my mind. First of all, they’d probably find my jumble of thoughts to be endlessly entertaining and two, they would know when to take out the garbage, change the channel, turn the heat up…whatever. I wouldn’t have to actually tell people [meaning my family of course] what I wanted them to do, and thus waste time having to 1) find them, 2) get their attention, 3) make my wishes clear in a language they can understand, 4) repeat myself.

I don’t think that would be so bad. But after having read this article the other morning, I’m rethinking my stance on the benefits of telepathy.

Due to the recent airport security snafus there’s a scramble to figure out better ways to keep airplane passengers safe. I have no problem with increased security at the airports. I hate to travel by plane, and the harder it gets to do so freely, the more money I will save by not paying the ridiculous prices they charge these days for airfare. Eventually, it will just be too expensive to fly and either the airlines will all go out of business and we’ll have to learn to flap our wings, or the airlines will lower their prices and we’ll be able to afford to fly.

In the mean time, the people who do fly will have a much harder time getting from the ticket counter to their seats. Especially if airport security is doing some of the things mentioned in this article. First you’ll have the mind readers – hey, at least psychics will be able to find work in this economy. The problem with mind readers is, what do they do with someone whose mind is blank? Blink. Blink. Or someone who’s taken a handful of Dramamine and is seeing pink elephants in the duty free shop? What about every kid over the age of 4 whose mind is on the last rock’em, sock’em shoot up video game they played? If they’re going to be looking for real thoughts of violence and mayhem, they’ll have to wade through all the thoughts of virtual violence and mayhem first.

Next, apparently they will be flashing disturbing images at people. This could be a problem depending on the images they show. For instance, if they flash me a picture of my latest real estate tax bill, I would certainly entertain dangerous thoughts. Lie detectors would be a problem too. Suppose they’re going through your suitcase and pull out the new bathing suit you just bought for your trip to the Bahamas. Their question: “Ma’am, do you really think you can squeeze yourself into a size 14 spandex?’

Come on. How do you answer that without being hauled off to jail? Either you lie or you kill someone.

Seriously, though – the bottom line is, in order to be ‘fair’ and ‘constitutional’ the airlines have to treat all passengers the same way. They can’t profile and that means, as the article says, they’ll be forced to waste time confiscating grandma’s knitting needles while the guy with the bomb strapped to his testicles waltzes by because he has no problem fitting into a size 14 spandex and he’s wearing flat shoes.

My question is, don’t we have the right to be safe, even if it means some people are inconvenienced and others are offended? If you want to know what I think, you’ll have to read my mind.


  1. I'm one of those people who gets pulled out of line with some regularity. I've had my bags opened and searched, been patted down (I've learned to never wear a bra with an underwire to the airport), and been put thru the special chemical screeners.

    I'm sure it's because I'm "fidgeting and glancing around" while on line...because I'm having homicidal thoughts about the idiots who can't follow the simple screening rules and screw everything up for everyone else.

    If they install mind readers I may never get the chance to fly again.

  2. I hope you never decide to take your evidence bag with you when you fly. LOL. I think I'm more the opposite. Most people wouldn't notice me even if my head was on fire.