As people scramble to make their way somewhere to spend the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I would highlight some online commentary that relates to the recent controversies involving airport security, but in different ways than have been blast across the mainstream media. These writers impressed me with their world view, subject matter expertise, and their ability to look at the larger picture. Enjoy –
“The TSA can conduct a full-body search, prison-style, on everyone who gets near an airport: we can lock down the country, and treat everyone like a potential criminal, conducting random searches on the streets like they’re already doing in New York City. We can turn the country into one big prison yard, and still the terrorists will get through, eventually.
“There are two basic kinds of terrorists. The are the sloppy planners, like the guy who crashed his plane into the Internal Revenue Service building in Austin. He’s going to be sloppy and stupid, and even pre-9/11 airplane security is going to catch him. The second is the well-planned, well-financed, and much rarer sort of plot. Do you really expect the T.S.A. screeners, who are busy confiscating water bottles and making people take off their belts — and now doing uncomfortable pat-downs — to stop them?
Of course not. Airport security is the last line of defense, and it’s not a very good one. What works is investigation and intelligence: security that works regardless of the terrorist tactic or target. Yes, the target matters too; all this airport security is only effective if the terrorists target airports. If they decide to bomb crowded shopping malls instead, we’ve wasted our money.”
“Enough trivializing important values – e.g., air safety – by monomaniacal attempts to maximize them. Disproportion is the common denominator of almost all of life’s absurdities. Automobile safety is important. But attempting to maximize it would begin (but by no means end) with forbidding left turns.
Again, (William F.) Buckley: “Every year, whether the Republican or the Democratic Party is in office, more and more power drains away from the individual to feed vast reservoirs in far-off places; and we have less and less say about the shape of events which shape our future.”
The average American has regular contact with the federal government at three points – the IRS, the post office and the TSA. Start with that fact if you are formulating a unified field theory to explain the public’s current political mood.”
Best wishes to everyone for safe and uneventful travels, and a pleasant and fulfilling Thanksgiving holiday.