Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 16th Nov 2010 22:34 UTC
In the News As none other I know how problematic it is to discuss matters related to politics on the web. However, every now and then, there's no way around it, and this is one of those moments. There's this thing going on at airports in the US, and while many will see it as a separate issue, the body scanner issue, and the sad stories it has spawned, are symptoms of a far larger problem that is a direct threat to everything we've fought for during and since the Enlightenment.
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Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

If the answer is no, and there are no alternatives to improve security at airports, then I guess people are free to carry guns and bombs on planes if these security measures aren't doing a thing to prevent it, right?


The naked scanners and sexual assault pat-downs indeed add little to improve security, with the former also posing a health risk. In addition, they both violate the Fourth Amendment and accepted, well-established privacy and decency norms.

And for what? Because 3500 people died 9 years ago? It sucks for those 3500 people and their relatives, but dear lord, 150000 people are murdered every year in the US alone. And let's not even get started about how many people have died in Afghanistan and Iraq due to West's involvement (including that of my own country, sadly).

It's time for perspective in this idiotic terrorist debate.

Reply Parent Score: 24

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

And for what? Because 3500 people died 9 years ago? It sucks for those 3500 people and their relatives, but dear lord, 150000 people are murdered every year in the US alone. And let's not even get started about how many people have died in Afghanistan and Iraq due to West's involvement (including that of my own country, sadly).


Yeah, and if you or someone you loved are killed the next time a plane gets flown into a building (or worse), I guess that's just too damn bad. I mean, people are murdered every day, so why should anybody give a shit about protecting lives?

I'm not saying that these scanners/pat downs are the solution... if there are better alternatives that won't jack the price of plane tickets sky high (they're way too expensive already and the reason why I only fly once every couple of years), then let's do that. But, common sense would tell you that if you don't want planes getting hijacked/blown up, you're going to have to search people in one way or another before they board planes.

Edited 2010-11-17 01:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Yeah, and if you or someone you loved are killed the next time a plane gets flown into a building (or worse), I guess that's just too damn bad.


You're missing the bigger picture. The chances of getting killed in a terrorist attack are miniscule. Heck, I live in Manila and the chances of me dying in a terrorist attack are still miniscule. I don't even worry about it even though I've been close to one or two attacks.
The problem with these scanners are that they have not been proven to work but still huge amunts of the taxpayers money are spent on them, money that could have been better used, and people are being violated.
I'm not so sure what the big ruckus is about the pat-down though. Some guy touches my groin because he's doing his job? Meh, big deal.

Reply Parent Score: 5

TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

"And for what? Because 3500 people died 9 years ago? It sucks for those 3500 people and their relatives, but dear lord, 150000 people are murdered every year in the US alone. And let's not even get started about how many people have died in Afghanistan and Iraq due to West's involvement (including that of my own country, sadly).

Yeah, and if you or someone you loved are killed the next time a plane gets flown into a building (or worse), I guess that's just too damn bad. I mean, people are murdered every day, so why should anybody give a shit about protecting lives?

I'm not saying that these scanners/pat downs are the solution... if there are better alternatives that won't jack the price of plane tickets sky high (they're way too expensive already and the reason why I only fly once every couple of years), then let's do that. But, common sense would tell you that if you don't want planes getting hijacked/blown up, you're going to have to search people in one way or another before they board planes.
"


First off, no one said life was safe. But its stupid to trade freedom for safety. Second off, who in their right mind, even if they are facing certain death, is going to let terrorists hijack a plane in the next 100 years? Don't you think terrorists know this? The only reason the first attack succeeded was because the "hostages" thought they would be ransomed. Third, these machines do nothing to prevent a terrorist from having a bomb sewn up inside them. If they are willing to die, what's the harm in a bit of extra surgery? They only really have to make it on the plane alive.

Edited 2010-11-17 01:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

bugjacobs Member since:
2009-01-03

We all know 911 was an inside job.
Everything is about deception and manipulation.

Edited 2010-11-17 12:54 UTC

Reply Parent Score: -1

flyingrobots Member since:
2010-09-30

The idea that there is only one way to protect against such an attack is not correct. Israel, for example, hasn't used naked body scanners nor sexual assault in all the years they have protected all their airliners.

I suspect that Israel has been at risk for this type of thing far longer than we have. I wonder what they are doing that we aren't....

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Guns where successfully detected previous to the full body scanners and a properly executed investigative work would put those scanners to shame in finding real threats. The scanners are not increasing safety any more than previous to the scanners being implemented. They are the very definition of security theater; a thing put in place to appear safer without any real increase in safety. The worst part is that they are not going to stop the next attack; they only add an extra planning step *if* the attackers choose board through the normal method.

Flying is still safer than crossing the street; just as it was previous to all this TSA madness.

I wish I had the URL handy. Mr. Shneier does a great writeup on why the next terrorist attack will not be through airports or with planes. I did find these entries to get you started though:

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/01/the_comparative.html

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/08/what_the_terror.html

http://www.schneier.com/essay-124.html

That second one discusses some pretty clear evidence that the US has done as much as it can to insure that past terrorist attacks continue to be successful.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

And those numbers then pale in comparison to the number of preventable deaths through obesity and smoking.

The day the twin towers came down, 1100 people died in America of smoking. And another 1100 the next day. And the next. And the next … and so on still to today. Where is their memorial, where is their skyscraper?

Why isn’t the news full of the real things we need to be working to prevent, like diabetes and cancer? We live in terror of the terrorists, and yet the real killers are easily prevented.

Reply Parent Score: 7

vodoomoth Member since:
2010-03-30


And for what? Because 3500 people died 9 years ago? It sucks for those 3500 people and their relatives, but dear lord, 150000 people are murdered every year in the US alone. And let's not even get started about how many people have died in Afghanistan and Iraq due to West's involvement (including that of my own country, sadly).

It's time for perspective in this idiotic terrorist debate.

I read the story and started reading the comments and I hadn't taken any stance yet apart from a vague resistance to both the scanner and patting method... until I read you and thought "he's right". Because what you wrote reminded me of something that I thought about last year when that swine flu was raging: people in Africa and the third world (or "developing countries" as is politically correct these days) die from malaria by millions each year! And the money necessary to cut that figure in half is ridiculously low compared to what is spent on "marginally effective" (but oh, so costly) security measures.

May I re-add to the debate that, as project_2501 wrote
How effective are these intrusions - do you really think those intent on bad things will fail at these hurdles? No. They're only for show.

these people intent on doing evil will find other ways. An example is the fact that air mail transport (by Air France) from Yemen to France has been stopped, just days ago, after several explosive envelopes (or boxes, don't remember) have been detected. IIRC, the French president and the Greek prime minister were among the targets.

If I were one of those terrorists, I would take a somewhat more likely to succeed path, like going the James Bond way: high sea boat, divers, propelled lightweight vehicles, beach, strike and back. I'm sure Tom Clancy has tons of such scenarios at disposal, but what happens then? Nets against undersea vehicles on thousands of kilometers of shoreline?

Reply Parent Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I've heard that nothing in the navy can currently catch a cigarette boat. Load it with explosives and drive into a ship. (I'm guessing a missile would stop the sucker but it's still a remarkably low cost attack compared with the cost of defence.) I think Mr Steel mentioned most recently.

Reply Parent Score: 2