Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Terror In The Skies

I'm frightened. Not of incompetent terrorists, but of incompetent and overreaching bureaucrats who have responded to the latest terrorist attack with calls for more restrictions on travel that have seemingly little connection with safety. Is it really any surprise that it wasn't the bold TSA or the even bolder intelligence community that prevented the latest terrorist attack, but the simple courageous acts of individual passengers.

I don't intend for this to be a long post, just a continuation of my questions from last month about terrorism. If the point of terrorism is to cause "terror" then haven't the terrorists won already? We're supposed to treat terrorism as so dire that we'd suspend our usual qualms about the government (in the form of the TSA) getting all up in our business, yet statistically speaking, we're far more likely to die in a car accident on the way to the airport than we are to die in a terrorist attack. There's just got to be a point where we recognize that the piles upon piles of new laws, rules, and regulations that are supposed to protect us from terrorism don't hold a candle to simple concept of common sense. In the wake of 9-11, we've seen two positive developments in air travel: 1) locked cockpit doors, a simple solution to prevent terrorists from crashing a plane and 2) simple passenger awareness of what a barely armed terrorist is capable of. Other than that, have we really made any useful changes in terms of travel? I can't think of any.

That's not to say that we shouldn't continue some forms of safety searches- We don't want a maniac, terrorist or not, bringing weapons on an airplane. But when will Washington learn to use common sense to address a problem?


Anonymous rose said...

It is comical. After Richard Reid, we're gonna search shoes. After the failed explosive-gel attack, no more hand sanatizer. Now, no more blankets on your lap.

Are we to believe that the experts at the TSA had never considered before last week that a blanket could be used to conceal something? Or, does the TSA, like every other government agency, just want to show that they're doing something, anything.

I don't have any problem with intrusive rules when it comes to security. But I do have a problem with rules that are clearly PR bullshit. And the parallel to other sectors of government couldn't be clearer.

Does anybody believe that new financial regulations are designed to prevent some financial bust a quarter century from now? Of course not. The administration is talking about executive pay caps and such, while behind the curtain, the FHA and Fan/Fed are busy trying to reignite the housing bubble and the Treasury is promising unlimited tax payer support for the agencies.

The problem isn't that the intrusive rules don't work. It's that they're not even intended to work.

1:23 PM  

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