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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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

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

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.


Take it from someone who worked for many years as an officer in the county jail: Pat downs are no fun for either person involved, but sadly are necessary for the security of the facility and everyone in it.

Now, before anyone goes off on me claiming I'm a fascist pig jackass who enjoys taking people's freedoms, let me say that I hated being a jailer mostly because I felt that was exactly what I was doing. You're reading the words of a staunch Libertarian, make no mistake. I happily left that arena of law enforcement and now work at a terminal, assisting patrol units.

Now, back to my point. Despite the fact that inmates and potential airline passengers are subjected to exactly the same treatment these days, there is a huge difference in why that is the case. Inmates, even those charged with a crime but not convicted, MUST be searched before entering population. There is no getting around the fact that some offenders will attempt to bring weapons or contraband into a facility, secreted somewhere on their body. I have both witnessed and performed full pat-downs as well as strip searches. Every time, I felt I was violating their rights, though it is written in the OCGA that they lose such right to privacy the moment they are arrested.

Now think about that for a minute. Those were people charged with anything from public drunk to murder. Regardless of the accusation, the fact remains they were charged with a crime. Why is that such a big deal? Because your average law abiding citizen who perhaps has never committed a criminal offense their entire lives is being subjected to the same degradation, the same erosion of their rights. The problem is they did NOTHING WRONG, nothing to warrant this. They did not act suspiciously, they did not threaten anyone, they just EXISTED.

When a police officer pulls you over, he does so because he has something called Probable Cause ("PC" in cop lingo). His PC might be a busted taillight, or maybe you swerved just an inch or so over the line. At that point he has the right to detain you, however he STILL doesn't have the right to search you or your car. Only if he has a reasonable suspicion (again, after already establishing probable cause), OR a valid fear for his own safety, can he search you. Otherwise, he MUST ask permission and if you refuse he must "put up or shut up", i.e. he must arrest you, ticket you or let you go.

None of that happens in the airport. They see all potential passengers as potential terrorists. They have no probable cause yet they operate as if they do. They have no grounds for reasonable suspicion yet you are forced to comply or you end up like the folks in Thom's links above.

This is why I will never fly until this shit is fixed. And make no mistake, it is indeed broken. Even with all this "protection" and all this technology, one day some terrorist hell bent on his mission will find a way to get past it all. Then what will we have to show for this theatre?

One more thing: Exactly how does one give up their inherent rights, codified in the Constitution, by buying a ticket? That makes no sense whatsoever. It almost sounds as if a corporation -- the airline in this case -- suddenly has the ability to take away your rights as a citizen of this country. Forgive me but we're not quite living in a Cyberpunk novel just yet.

Reply Parent Score: 10

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

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

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.


So you're saying we should just shut down security altogether and let nut jobs carry whatever the hell they want on an airplane? Sure, folks probably wouldn't let terrorists hijack a plane again, but if there were several of them carrying AK-47's aboard, I'm not sure they'd have a lot of choice in the matter. More to the point though, I wouldn't want to be one of those people on the plane who had to try and stop a gang of terrorists packing fully-loaded automatic weapons.

Although what we have in place now may not be fool-proof, I'm sure it's at least better than nothing.

Edited 2010-11-17 02:03 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 0

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

Don't they simply use dogs within the airport? The US spends millions trying to create a chemical sniffer instead of just getting dogs with a far more advanced chemical sensor for the price of kibble.

I've heard both Mr Shneier and Mr Steel point out that good investigative work and information sharing still trumps technology in detecting attacks.

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