Kvatch Kvestions - Security Measures And The Drive To Keep Us Afraid
In a recent article, the Atlantic Monthly noted that the most intelligent response to 9/11 was the strengthening of airliner cockpit doors, and the reasoning went something like this: Though people may die in a terrorist hijacking, intrusion proof cockpits mean that a plane can never again be used as a flying bomb. And I might add that if all a terrorist wants to do is kill people, blowing oneself up at San Francisco's United Economy check-in counter would be far more effective. In other words, all of this new TSA nonsense is mostly security window-dressing that helps to reassure the flying public.
So it seems that today will be a day for "what if's?" What if every bag larger than 1 cubic foot in volume had to be checked? What if you were only allowed 1 such bag on board (or maybe two at half that size)? What if TSA searched every single carry-on...by hand? What if attempting to sneak a weapon on board meant you didn't take your trip...that trip...period? What if the threats, the investigations, and the responses were kept quiet? What if causing a disturbance, any disturbance, on an airplane were grounds for restraint? And what if airlines employed private visible security personnel to enforce the rule?
Would you still fly? Would you feel more safe? Less safe?
UPDATED, 2006/08/24, 9:15 am PDT
Cartledge @ Grub Street Journal, does an excellent job of tackling this very issue from the perspective of the airlines and how it affects their bottom line. Take a look.
It's clearly a political game and the cracks are starting to show in Europe where governments aren't engaged in that game.
In the end it all boils down to that old American aphorism - you pays your money and you takes your chances.
I've always wondered about something. Do airports have security personnel watching the baggage handlers, mechanics, cleaners, etc.? Do they people with binoculars scanning the area for people with shoulder launched missles? Do they run security checks on the outside vendors who prepare the food and deliver it to the airports? Do they check the liquid drinks the vendors bring in? In my opinion, a terrorist will look for vulnerabilites and avoid the obvious places where security is already in place.
I fly a lot - mostly internationally. Comments from a pilot on a Qantas flight: "Normally, we encourage people to get up and walk around, as long as you don't block the aisles. But the US government doesn't like people to congregate any longer, so you'd bloody well better sit down."
At a security line in Auckland, New Zealand, the security guard said "Quit yer whinging, or else change your President. It's not my fault."
I think there is a distinction to be made between congregating and causing a disruption. Take that woman on the New York flight, for example. There was no reason that plane had to put down in Boston. She should have been restrained and well before they made the request to divert. Perhaps the presence of private security personnel would deter people who don't want to 'play by the rules'.
No, we aren't really safer at the airports, except that we have succeeded in getting a lot of people to wear slip-on shoes. That ought to help...something...I guess.
I does, however, reassure the Stock Market types.
And isn't that all that matters anyhow?
Michael, pisses me off, but part of that is that TSA is pretty arbitrary about who they seach. Sometimes it seems that they tell you to take off a belt, your shoes, or search your bag just to be assholes. That's why I suggested that we just search every damn bag. That might actually provide some deterance.
Generik, that was exactly my experience at St. Petersburg.
And another thing, whats with all of the "false alarm" airline terrorist threats that have taken place recently? There's been four such incidents in the past week alone! See: http://livingin1984.blogspot.com/2006/08/terror-hysteria.html
Lets face it the more scared we become the more willingly we give up our civil liberties, it really is as simple as that!
MOB...welcome. Right you are. We're seeing a succession of monthly 'surprises' designed to reinforce in our minds that Republicans can best take care of America.
And then you've got the makers of those cockpit doors...
Actually, the whole situation makes me more afraid of the US and British governments than anyone else.