Terrorist Shoes

Would someone please explain to me why the TSA requires passengers to
take off their shoes at the airport? Seriously.

I understand that it’s a reaction to
the shoe bomber,
but what I’m asking is what security benefit this procedure provides.

Presumably what they’re looking for when they x-ray your shoes is something that

  1. Shows up in x-rays.
  2. Doesn’t show up in a metal detector.
  3. Is small and flat enough to fit inside a shoe.
  4. Can’t be shoved into one’s sock or duct-taped to one’s shin.

I submit that the last two items are mutually-exclusive, and that
therefore, the practice of requiring airline passengers to take their
shoes off is just security theater: something that makes it
look as though the government is doing something about
terrorism, without actually doing anything.

I don’t mind a certain amount of security theater: a lot of security
measures, like wiretapping and closed-circuit surveillance, are
invisible, and it’s good to put on a show to make up for that. But the
shoe thing is both annoying and pointless.

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