Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Security Theater

I've given up flying.

It's nothing to do with false modesty.   It's simply that I refuse to put up with security measures that do nothing to improve my odds of getting to my destination and which simultaneously violate both the Constitution and rules of common decency while putting me at an unacceptable health risk.   Don't even get me started on 'the presumption of guilty until proven innocent'.

I mean, really, if I were a suicide bomber intent on causing chaos, do you think I'd try to blow up a plane?   Puh-leeze!   After 9-11, there cannot be found anywhere under any circumstances an airplane full of people who will meekly stand by while someone tries to light their shoe or who will do anything but laugh at a hijacker with a Swiss Army knife.   Think about it.   Somebody announces they're taking over the airplane.   Even if they have a pistol, how much ammunition can they have ready-at-hand?   30-some-odd shots?   and while they're shooting at First Class, somebody in Coach is going to sucker-punch them into next Tuesday because everybody on board understands that they're all dead anyway if the terrorist gets hir way.

The terrorists understand that, too.   They know they might kill a dozen or so before they're brought down, and their chances of seeing an airport during their remaining lifetime is approximately zero, or close enough for government work.

No.   A terrorist intent on causing chaos buys a ticket on any flight and heads for the TSA checkpoint.   There the terrorist blows hirself up, killing 80, 100, maybe 200 waiting would-be-passengers, all the TSA agents, all the screening equipment, and turning the entire departure area into a crime scene.   Got it?   That terminal will not be used for arrivals or departures until the police forensics boys and girls are done collecting evidence, and there will be a lot of evidence to collect.

And all of this happened before the first TSA agent said "Please step forward into the scanner area."

Net result:   one dead terrorist, same as in the hijack-this-plane scenario above; dozens or hundreds of victims including a whole bunch of TSA grunts, lots more victims than the hijack-this-plane scenario above; no planes destroyed, but an entire terminal (in some cases, that will be the whole airport) shut down for the indefinite future.

You'll stop worrying about getting on an airplane.   You'll worry about going to the airport.

Hijack an airplane?   What?   Do you think those terrorists are stupid?   They may be crazy, but they are not stupid.   They may be religious nutballs, but they are not stupid.   They may be amoral killers, but they are not stupid.

TSA?   They're stupid.

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