Transportation Policy

America's Security Blanket In Action

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From a New York Times story on the latest wave of security theater:

[A]n hour before landing an announcement had been made that no one could get up for the remainder of the flight.

"It was kind of funny," Mr. Barnes said, "because the previous announcement had been about the danger of deep-vein thrombosis or strombosis or whatever you get from sitting for too long. We laughed."

And:

Priya Prasad, 32, an administrative assistant who lives in Oakland, Calif., said she was annoyed by the extra hour it took her to get through security when she boarded a flight in Mumbai. "They're being extra cautious, which I guess is fine," she said. "But I don't understand what it is they're looking for. They went through my bag three times, and still I got my scissors and tweezers on the plane."

Look on the bright side: Maybe this means they've stopped confiscating scissors.

Elsewhere in Reason: "The sorry record of the Transportation Security Administration."

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  1. Why are people so afraid of plane incidents that they’re willing to give up everything for this faux safety?

    Every article should show death by plane vs. death by car statistics. Maybe that will allow the populace to get a grip on reality.

    1. Death by swimming pool or bath tub would be a good stat too.

    2. There is only one way to prevent terrorist attacks on aircraft; and that it to deny terrorists with access to the aircraft — in other words, profiling.

      That applies to fight crews, ground crews, maintenance crews, caterers, janitors, etc as well as passengers.

      Eventually, you will need a security clearance to board an aircraft.

    3. Of course the easiest way to down an aircraft is with a surface-to-air missile when it is flying low and slow on final approach.

      1. If you happen to have a surface-to-air missile, that is. Most people don’t have those.

        1. I can fix that, if you like.

        2. http://www.spacedaily.com/2003/031009144143.1zj3kmga.html

          BAGHDAD (AFP) Oct 09, 2003
          There are hundreds of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles scattered around Iraq, a coalition official said Thursday on condition of anonymity.

          The missiles have targeted coalition aircraft at least six or seven times since the official end of hostilities on May 1, the official told AFP.

          However, the coalition tally is said to be far lower than the actual number, a humanitarian agency official told AFP.

          There have been at least 19 surface-to-air missile attacks on planes flying into Baghdad international airport since May, the humanitarian official said, requesting anonymity.

          The failure to secure the area around the airport has been one of the main reasons for the delay in the airport’s opening for commercial travel, with the exception of chartered flights for diplomats, aid workers and journalists.

          Russian-made SAM-7s are the missile of choice in Iraq, the coalition official said.

          On Wednesday, US military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel George Krivo said 320 SAM-7 missiles have been turned in to the coalition, which is paying 500 dollars for every one handed in.

          The weapons are evidence of the abundance of readily available arsenal left behind in Iraq with the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

          Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the top US military commander in Iraq, conceded last week it was impossible for his soldiers to fully guard the hundreds of weapons depots remaining from Saddam’s time.

          The US military seizes major weapons caches every day, including plastic explosives, ammunition, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and surface-to-air missiles, without making any real dent in the ability of Saddam loyalists and other resistance fighters to battle US soldiers.

          Shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles have been used by international terrorist groups. Last November, two SAM-7s were fired at an Israeli jetliner flying out of Mombasa, Kenya, but missed their target, in an attack that was timed to coincide with a car bomb at a hotel resort.

          It’s been awhile sense they made the news, but in the mid-2000s, a lot of security dudes were convinced a plane was coming down in short order.

          There are still thousands of SAMs in the black market today.

        3. It’s easier to smuggle a SAM in to the US that to smuggle a bomb big enough to hurt a wide-body jet through airport security.

  2. We have to do something to show we take this latest incident seriously, even if what we do about is unserious.

  3. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

  4. How about the following approach?

    Start with the most restrictive “safety” measures imaginable — say, emetics and high enemas followed by chaining all passengers naked into their seats for the entire flight — and see who flies. If the industry makes it, great; if not, ease up a bit and try again.

    1. Passengers chained to their seats? Attractive women ride free!

        1. What? She could totally get a stiff interjection.

          1. Only if she wears a gourd over her head.

    2. Rich, would the pilot and co pilot be naked?

      1. No, the pilot and co-pilot are provided penis gourds or modesty loincloths.

        1. Why would she need a gourd?

          1. Modesty loincloths for the ladies. Penis gourds for the dudes.

            1. Oops, you weren’t talking to me.

      2. Only one could be naked at a time. Like when they take turns napping.

  5. Every article should show death by plane vs. death by car statistics.

    Unfortunately, the “lesson” learned, more likely than not, would be, “Drunk drivers are terrorists.”

  6. They really really have to start looking at safety and not have THE NTSB SAFETY SHOW.

    the NTSB SAFETY SHOW being shown 24/7 at your nearest AIRPORT is goin’ 2 lead 2 some serious catastrophe.

    – Searching people 3 times
    – stripping grandma
    – passing medal detectors all around my 3yo’s crotch
    – delaying EVERY FLIGHT with LONG lines
    – asking people “did some muslim packed your luggage before arriving to airport”
    – taking away anything other than a gun
    – and ALL OF THE OTHER STUPID SECURITY
    – blocking BABY MILK and WATER from entry
    – putting vocal critics of NTSB on the “DON’T FLY LIST”
    – leaving this BOZO (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) off the “DON’T FLY LIST”
    WILL DO NOTHING !!!

    The way things are setup now on flights, anyone can probably start a fire on the plane:

    They serve Vodka on the planes. Does someone really need to sneak in a flammible agent? They can just order a few of those vodka little bottles straight up, save them, and use that to cause fires.

    Anyone can stab anyone on a plane:

    They once took my wife’s nail file away from us during a flight where we were in 1st Class. Ten miniutes later, they gave each of us a small bottle of Merlot. Obviously, the people at the NTSB making security decisions overlooked this.

    What we really need

    – REAL technology used to screen people RIGHT before they get on the plane and not at three different locations. I know it’s gonna cost money…so what, it still would be much much cheaper than what we are spending now on bullshit.

    – We need an identification system based off of biometrics and a complete record of people flying. This would help so so much.

  7. Rich-

    The only way I’m on board with the naked thing is if I’m the only male on the plane with the Hawaiian Tropic “team” and I have the key to the locks.

  8. ROTFL, the TSA is a JOKE. PLain and simple. Biggest WASTE of an agency there is LOL

    RT
    http://www.Ultimate-Privacy.net

  9. Shut the fuck up, spammer.

    1. Forgive anonymity bot for it knows not what it does.

      1. If they didn’t blow the ROFL acronym, all would have been forgiven.

        1. One shouldn’t begin and end a post with acronyms denoting laughter anyway.

            1. LOL, you completely missed the point, ROFLcopter.

                1. Yeah, I know. I just wanted to type “ROFLcopter”.

  10. REAL technology used to screen people

    Terahertz imaging is looking promising, and shouldn’t be amazingly expensive compared to metal detectors and x-ray scanners.

    The only “problem”* is that it pretty much makes you naked to the screeners’ eyes.

    *Its a “problem” for the screened. Its actually a Problem, no quotes, for the screenERS. god, i’d die after a few days looking at that level of fat ugliness.

    1. *Its a “problem” for the screened. Its actually a Problem, no quotes, for the screenERS. god, i’d die after a few days looking at that level of fat ugliness.

      True.

    2. Some people are into that. Consult Google Images.

  11. i’d die after a few days looking at that level of fat ugliness.

    That’s just mean. And anyway, I don’t fly.

  12. get up a get get get down TSA is a joke in your town…

  13. America’s Security Blanket In Action

    Air travel has reduced our country to a bunch of Linuses.

      1. Was he the one responsible for the drive by at Pigpen’s crib?

        1. Code of the streets and all. I’ve already said too much.

  14. [A]n hour before landing an announcement had been made that no one could get up for the remainder of the flight.

    So, if you’re less than an hour out, and you see someone across the aisle trying to light a fuse, you are verboten to stop them if doing so requires you to leave your seat?

    1. Rules are made for breaking

  15. Quick anecdote: yesterday I flew from Denver to Chicago and security was a breeze.

  16. So, if you’re less than an hour out, and you see someone across the aisle trying to light a fuse, you are verboten to stop them if doing so requires you to leave your seat?

    Leave it to Janet Napolitano’s finely honed system; push the stewardess call button, and await rescue by a cadre of highly trained professionals.

  17. I thought everyone carried a little PETN in their wallet?

  18. So, if you’re less than an hour out, and you see someone across the aisle trying to light a fuse, you are verboten to stop them if doing so requires you to leave your seat?

    What, you thought federal bureaucracy learned the right lesson from 9/11?

  19. I thought everyone carried a little PETN in their wallet?

    It’s just what you need if you lose your house key.

  20. You cannot even take a dump anymore in a plane…
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories…..?tag=strip

  21. Predicted response to complaints about not being able to go to the bathroom:

    It is the passenger’s responsibility to wear adult diapers is they think this may be an issue.

    1. Now we’ve hit on the number 1 reason I don’t fly. My back injury has one symptom that makes traveling difficult.

      1. number 1 reason

        Intentionally or unintentionally clever?

        1. unintentional. I am not sharp enough to be clever by design. FWIW, my bowel is the problem, not my bladder.

  22. This country was founded on sacrifice.

  23. I got my scissors and tweezers on the plane

    Wow! Tweezers?? The horror!

    Unless she was a Navy SEAL, I don’t see how she could’ve taken over an entire plane with… tweezers. Not even MacGuyver could do that much damage.

    1. I saw an HBO special yesterday where one guy stabbed another with a pen.

      1. Joe Peschi did that near the beginning of Casino.

        1. When I was in 5th grade this kid stabbed another kid with a pen.

        2. The woman quoted in the article likely couldn’t do that much damage if she gave it serious effort.

          Joe Pesci, OTOH… maybe. That li’l fucker’s crazy.

          Seriously, though, stabbing one person – maybe two or three, if one is quick – won’t take down enough people before the bulk of the passengers gang-slap the stabber into submission. A pencil in the thigh may hurt like hell, but it ain’t plane-nabbin’ level violence.

    2. Step One: Summon the head flight attendant.

      Step Two: “Give me the plane or the eyebrows are history!”

      1. As if some muslim dude is going to know how to use tweezers that way.

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