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Lockdown at LAX - Justin Boron

The sad reality of the Los Angeles International airport is that some forlorn soul cannot get a drink at 10:30 in the evening. Not even the mention of seven hours spent in misery waiting for flights all day would sway the martinet behind the bar.

A 10 p.m. closing time is just the cusp of some questionable policies in the 50 to 59 businesses on the concourse at LAX.

They run a blisteringly tight shift there. Word is they are taking advice from the bean counter, Dodger General Manager Paul DePodesta. Regardless, what this inhumane adherence to policy and rules amounts to is a cruel, downtrodden realization that no one in their sane mind should face.

The LAX airport is teetering on the verge of being a full-on prison.

At security, one is forced to remove their shoes. Never mind that I have rights as an American to cover my feet if I want to because I can afford them, or that every other airport offers an option one way or the other. If you are confident that they have no metal, come through the metal detector, some airports will say. But if you think they might, why not take them off. This dichotomy in the perception of shoes as a terroristic threat is not recognized in L.A. They are all business.

Transportation Security Administration officials do not give a cursory glance to any ID especially those with a dark tan. Instead, each piece of state issued ID is thoroughly examined along with the bags, which remain in the X-ray for at least 45 to 60 seconds a piece.

Even the news stands and restaurants are equipped to deny any out-of-the-ordinary request. The efficiency lies in the lack of primary English skills. The pure genius is that any strange statement is immediately reported to TSA officials for translation.

Asking for $10 change with a 50 cent purchase is not taken lightly here either. It absolutely must channel through an intricate chain of command that, I assume, ultimately leads to the overriding authority, once again TSA.

To reiterate, it is certain that TSA officials, here, are not encouraged to overlook security measures in order to improve check-in time. This is likely the central dividing point between LAX and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Nevertheless, there is no reason to take it to the extreme of bartending. Why do I need a background check to buy a drink? Furthermore, who is in the position to deny a drink to someone who has spent more than seven hours in the depths of this fascist transportation hub.

Information is even controlled here in a sense, because they close the news stands before the bars. No magazines or truth for late risers. Instead, we get prepackaged airport video news.

Is LAX becoming the next Salt Lake City International? I sure hope not. Since flirting with indentured servitude at SLC, I will avoid the airport at any cost.

The contrast between Atlanta airport and the L.A. airport also may have dire consequences for the travel industry as well. For example, if these stringent measures are what it takes to bring in high dollar cafes like the California Pizza Kitchen, then Hartsfield-Jackson may slip into the dark ages once and for all.

I certainly hope the hub of the South doesn't tighten up anytime soon.

Justin Boron is the government reporter for the News-Daily. His column appears Monday. He can be reached at 770-478-5753 or jboron@news-daily.com .