Further to Amy Alkon's recent airport travel experience, there's a big elephant (read "truth") in the room that no one with the power to change things wants to address.
Put simply, if the entire process of getting a passenger from the front doors of the airport through to sitting down in their seat on an airplane had been thought through, designed by, and enforced by security PROFESSIONALS then we would have an efficient system that makes sense to everyone. Each step in the process would have a specific purpose and would be integrated with all the other steps.
But that's not what we have today, is it? Instead, we're burdened with a highly inefficient mishmash of separate processes, none of which seem to be integrated with each other. Anecdotal evidence suggests that what occurs at these airports was designed by committee; more likely by a series of different committees, all of whom don't communicate with each other effectively, if at all.
Rather than integrated, professional security, instead we have an overwhelming number of low wage staffers whose duties have been piled on top of one another in the hopes of providing a deterrence or more likely the appearance of deterrence.
This incredible incompetence is killing the productivity of travelers and ultimately is going to allow more than a few people to be killed. :-(
Here's a little insight into a place where they have used common sense & intelligence to implement their airport security. Some video here.