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Airport Security on Shaky Ground

April 25, 2002

Re "Tighter Purse for Air Safety," editorial, April 21: Air safety has become a major issue after Sept. 11. Its importance is so huge that Congress has given the Transportation Security Administration more than $6 billion to spend on upgrading safety in airports. High-tech equipment is one of the resolutions that the TSA is considering, and why shouldn't it; after all, it does have $6 billion in spending cash.

Yet there is some practical reasoning that can be used for tighter air security. A few weeks ago I found myself at LAX stunned by the fact that baggage checking was done randomly right before boarding an airplane. Wouldn't it make more sense to check everyone? What's the point in checking my baggage, patting me and asking me to take off my shoes if the person behind me isn't going to be getting the same treatment?

Alondra Hernandez

Los Angeles

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I am a National Guard soldier stationed at the Santa Barbara Airport. In "Troops to End Airport Mission" (April 22) there was a quote from an airline mechanic from Los Angeles who said, "The guns are not loaded anyway."

Serving on the Aerosafe Taskforce I am not allowed to tell the public or the press if our rifles are loaded or not; however, I want you to know that the quote is wrong. I hope that some nut who has read your article does not decide to challenge a National Guard soldier stationed at an airport, because then the public will find out the truth about our equipment. You did your country a real disservice with that article.

Sgt. Joseph Berlin

Ventura

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