Saturday, December 26, 2009

Let's stand up to terrorists

This isn't about wine, but I have to get this off my chest.

When are we, as a nation, going to stand up to terrorists? When are we going to stop diminishing our freedom and quality of life every time some lone crackpot tries something that doesn't work?

At my fitness club this morning I was forced to watch CNN, where it's all terrorist, all the time. No wonder Americans are so fearful.

But folks -- the attempt failed! The guy didn't cause a fire, didn't blow anything up, didn't cause a single injury to anyone but himself.

Yet as a result, every one of the millions of air passengers in the US now can't go to the toilet for the last hour of every flight. That's going to make me miserable plenty of times, because I like to stay hydrated. And not only me.

No, it is not a worthwhile sacrifice. This new restriction wouldn't have affected this terror attempt at all, because the guy was sitting in his chair when he did it.

You know what would have helped? Having somebody realize that this guy's own father told the US Embassy several weeks ago that he was a security risk.

US security officials let us down -- just like on 9/11, when they hadn't read their memos -- and now they're punishing all air travelers for their mistake.

Moreover, Nate Silver published statistics at 538.com that show that, including the 9/11 attacks, you are 20 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be on a plane where a terrorist incident occurs. We're not taking lightning strikes seriously enough! We need more lightning security!

I want some leadership in this country. I want somebody -- preferably President Obama, but any major leader will do -- to stand up and say, "We will not sacrifice our comfort and our lifestyle to these lone terrorist actions. There may be more behind-the-scenes security procedures. Our screening on known potential terrorists may be stepped up. But we want to encourage American business people and tourists to continue enjoying the freedom to fly and travel that our ancestors and contemporary military continue to fight for."

Who's with me, anyone? Or should we just concede that the terrorists have won another round?

6 comments:

Jack said...

It's amazing the extreme degree to which our country over reacts to terrorist incidents. Nate has some stats:

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/12/odds-of-airborne-terror.html

W. Blake Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Nate is the man. I'm revising the post.

99 said...

I'm with you.

Anonymous said...

Yep, but until people stop being scared by their govt. and get angry I don't see this happening any time soon. The French didn't close cafes during the late 50s/early 60 life just went on. I would like to be wrong and here's a little more truth than you see or hear on this matter and others like it. Check the links for fun.
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/12/27/the-lap-bomber-mystery/

Oh well , I'm just trying to get out to the Winery in Ripon next week and not some were by air.
jo6pac
Hi 99

Anonymous said...

I fly almost every week - the thought of having the feds x-ray me every time I get on flight makes me nuts! I don't need extra exposure to any sort of scanner. Who is raising the issue of health impacts of repeated low-level exposure? I have already experienced more than my fair share of x-rays cat scans MRIs and other medical tests that I am pretty sure I already glow.

No manner of screening is going to stop these terrorists from trying to inflict harm. Me holding a blanket or pillow in my lap is sure not going to further their ability to launch an attack. These new security measures inflicted on the general traveling public are beyond ridiculous.

Steve Shaffer said...

The extra security is to make the populous feel safer not to catch dedicated people. The only way to stop them is before they get on the plane.
Once again we need to remind our government (of the people for the people) of two things:
1) We're not stupid and won't be placated by feel good security.
2) We have out enough money into intelligence and IT for intelligence that you should be able to coordinate information in near real-time and have nuanced approach - no-fly, watch for alternate triggers before stopping etc.
Highly recommended reading is Bruce Schenier's blog