Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Air Travel Scenario: Reality bites.

Breathless reporters, a jittery TSA, and frustrated customers passengers are beginning to realize that the air travel scenario has crossed the event horizon of sanity and is being stretched toward the naked singularity of reductio ad absurdum.

"X-ray machines can't see liquid or gel bombs in shoes!" panics an Associated Press hack. Well, duh, Sherlock. X-ray machines can't see your tummy when they take pictures of your insides, either. Any third-grader can tell you that; it's why they use them to look at your bones.

Listen to me, folks. Put down the legislation and step back away from it. Let out a cleansing breath. Now, chant along with me:
THERE IS NO WAY TO MAKE AIR TRAVEL SAFE.
THERE IS NO WAY TO MAKE LIFE SAFE.
Okay? Are we clear on this? In the long run, we're all dead. Nobody gets out of here alive. Some risk is inherent in life. If the Bad Guys are patient enough, they will bring down a plane, and making everbody fly naked and handcuffed to their seats won't do a damned thing to stop it. Any moderately competent fiction writer (indeed, anybody with enough imagination to have a daydream) could think of a half-dozen ways that the Muj could drop a jetliner without even having anybody aboard. There's no way to hermetically seal the things. Are you trying to kill the airline industry to appease the Hadjis? Is that it? Because that's what you're doing. Every element of our society that you cripple in the name of safety is a victory for them, and they just sit back in their Madrassas and laugh and laugh.

If they "hate our freedom" so much, Georgie, then why are we doing everything we can to help them kill it?

24 comments:

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Every day in the press, in the government, and on the street I see evidence of the people's sheer ignorance and stupidity.

And people wonder why I sound arrogant sometimes...

Porta's Cat said...

and making everbody fly naked and handcuffed to their seats won't do a damned thing to stop it.

It will just make air travel a lot like my sex life.

Lizard said...

The safer we actually are, the more paranoid we become about our safety. In Ye Olde Days, when you had 10 kids so that 1 might live long enough to breed, and corpses were pretty omnipresent, and, at any time, some random guy in a tin can might slice you in half just to see if his blade was sharp enough, there was no OSHA, no FDA, no warning labels on hammers reading "Do not strike thumb". Today, when just about everything (including thought) has been "sanitized for your protection", we quiver in fear over extremely low-probability events. All of our obsession with 'secueity' has made us feel less secure, not more, because for every danger we nullify, we can then imagine ten others, ignoring the odds of them actually happening of the cost of trying to prevent them.

"Liberty" magazine, many years back (15+), had an article showing the cost/life saved of regulating various substances. In some cases, it was in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Yes, people, you CAN put a price on human life -- ask your insurance agent or your doctor. And if safety regulations don't include a cost benefit analysis, then riddle me this: Why don't we have a national speed limit of 20 MPH? Still faster than a horse (mostly), and it would reduce fatalities from automobile accidents (currently killing a smegload more people than guns or terrorists) to next to nil. (Not to mention the gas savings!) So why don't we do it? Because you really can put a price on human life, and sometimes, safety just costs too darn much. (We won't even discuss the fundemental human rights issues involved...the safety nuts tend not to believe humans HAVE rights, or are capable of any kind of self-control of judgement, so the only way to talk to them is to talk dollars.)

Woo. Kind of a rant there, eh? Sorry.

Billy Beck said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if I were a terrorist with the money alleged to be available to these assholes, I would have just about everybody in the country shaking in their boots all day & night, every single day.

One implication of this is that they're not nearly so dangerous as everyone thinks or that FedGovCo would have them believe. Now this is a far cry from asserting that there is nothing at all to worry about in them. Nobody should think that I'm some kinda Mother Sheehan huggin' grin-bot. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Between this government and the terrorists, I know who I'd take my chances with.

treefroggy said...

Nuf' said

http://www.wondermark.com/

Anonymous said...

It's been my belief all along that Binladen is a smart guy. He simply starts an action and waits for US to self destruct through paranoia. The real "terrorist" may be the "boogieman" that the sheeple see in their sleep. All Binladen is doing is keeping the paranoia alive with occasional bad guy tactics. Not to suggest that Binladen is a nice guy, just a smart one who understands that the US will bankrupt itself chasing "Security" and knowing that there is no way to be totally safe. We are the victim of our own nightmares and immaginations. The bad guys know we are an insecure society that will attempt to buy our way out of any immagened danger, therefore he is capitalizing on our parinoia.

Anonymous said...

Well said Tamara.

I don't fly anymore, I don't like being treated like a criminal or a member of a cattle herd.

Justin said...

It will just make air travel a lot like my sex life

They should model it after my sex life. No flight would last longer than 15 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, just perhaps, it is more about CONTROL than anything else.

Then again, they haven't confirmed/denied that MI5 employed any of these guys yet, unlike the 7/7 bomber.

Kristopher said...

Yea ... but if they all fly naked, the business-suit-wearing air-marshals will really stick out.

And the next wave of suicide bombers will just have swallowed condoms full of explosives and one containing a timed detonator.

elliot said...

Sure, "nobody gets out of here alive."

Even though that's true, I'll still lock the slide back before handing a gun to a friend.

Just because nothing can be perfectly safe doesn't mean that you don't do what you can to make it reasonably safe.

And if carrying a solid deoderant instead of a "gel" in my carry-on will make it somewhat less likely that the plane I'm on will plunge to the ground in a roiling ball of flame...well, that's a sacrafice I'm willing to make.

Joseph said...

Elliot, that won't help a thing; they'll just find another way to blow themselves up.

Tam said...

"And if carrying a solid deoderant instead of a "gel" in my carry-on will make it somewhat less likely that the plane I'm on will plunge to the ground in a roiling ball of flame...well, that's a sacrafice I'm willing to make."

The Muj behind you in line will be carrying a solid deodorant, too. Only his will be made of C4.

Come out of the closet, Tom; it's okay. We're all fine out here in the big scary world.

Fathairybastard said...

Well worn quote from Ben Franklin that I'm sure you've heard, seems more and more relevant as time goes by.

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - 1759.

Anonymous said...

FHB,
Since when did being able to carry shampoo in your carry-on become an essential liberty?

Tam,
I've already responded over at uncle's but going forward I'll move it over here:

Yes, you are correct, nothing will ever make you completely safe.

So why do you carry a gun? It won't protect you from the thug who shoots you in the back of the head in a crowded mall. So is carrying a weapon pointless?

Hell no.

A gun won't protect against all threats, but it will protect you against some threats won't it? And so you wear it to protect yourself from those threats.

Just because you can't protect against all threats doesn't mean you don't protect yourself from the ones you can.

-Masked Menace

Anonymous said...

...and for what it's worth. I do agree that banning things like fingernail clippers is rather pointless.

I just don't think doing so amounts to Bush destroying our freedoms.

-Masked Menace

Tam said...

It's not about "Bush destroying our freedoms", it's about a culture of nutless dependancy and craven risk avoidance. A seeking after some chimerical Whiffle Life in Nerf World. A culture that pervades this entire nation that tells people that it is better to stoop to any indignity if it just might make them one tiny iota safer. Grope my breasts, Mr. TSA. Probe me, baby. Just save me from the bad guys.

Pa-fricken'-thetic.

For what it's worth, I don't carry a gun to protect me from muggers at the mall. I don't even carry a gun to protect me, period. I carry a gun every day despite living in an area where I'm more likely to be hit by an asteroid than attacked by a mugger as a symbol of my refusal to buy into this culture of teat-sucking victimhood for one day longer. I carry it because I can.

Have fun getting probed in the airport line alone, pal, 'cause Tammy don't play 'dat no more. If I'm needed someplace, I'd damned well be able to drive there, or they can live without me.

Masked Menace© said...


If they "hate our freedom" so much, Georgie, then why are we doing everything we can to help them kill it?


But it's not about Bush destroying our freedoms?

Masked Menace© said...

Since when is not being able to carry-on shampoo equivalent to "probing"?

I agree we have gone too far down the nerf scale, but to suggest no measure should ever be taken is lunacy.

As I said at uncle's: is it pathetic nerfing to not allow people to drive 120 through a school zone?

.and when I said you, I meant in the global sense, not the individual one.

Daniella said...

Poor Georgie. He's always being blamed for everything. And to think the ban started in London. I think this is carrying it too far.

Anonymous said...

Pardon my going off on a tangent, but a tiny bit of common sense could obviate all of this "extra security." There's only one group of people that produces suicide bombers. All we need do is keep members of that group off our airplanes.

Tam said...

So, what we have here is "BDS".

No, not "Bush Derangement Syndrome", but its close cousin, "Bush Defense Syndrome." At any hint that their boy might be getting slandered, the faithful rally 'round the flagpole...

FWIW, a careful reading would show that I in no way implicated the Chief Executive in this particularly sniveling, boneheaded decision. I did, however, toss out a rhetorical question to him, since he's the one who claims that "They hate us because of our freedom". If that is the case, and since the Hadjis are indisputably our mortal foes, would it not make sense to expand our freedoms more and really piss them off, or should we clip our own wings, which would, by implication, make them happier?

Believe me, I'm not one of those who ascribes everything that happens to the current sitting Prez, but at the same time, signing up for the job does open one's self up as the standard figurehead for the Complaints Department...

Anonymous said...

I've been pointing out the failures for some time now. And it's not a failure due to incompetence. It's failure due to the wrong approach to the problem. It's way past time to look at the alternatives.

Joe

Masked Menace© said...

would it not make sense to expand our freedoms more and really piss them off

Because being able to fly with shampoo in your carry-on luggage is one of our freedoms that really pisses them off.

No, not "Bush Derangement Syndrome", but its close cousin, "Bush Defense Syndrome." At any hint that their boy might be getting slandered, the faithful rally 'round the flagpole...

Yeah, 'cause none of us are upset at him for that damned prescription drug benefit, rolling over and playing dead on SS reform and immigration, or bending over without even asking M-F to be gentle and signing the incumbent protection act. That's me, defending Bush from all slights, real or perceived.