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Sitting On Our Brains?

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2009 3:58 AM

If your house were broken into, and at the recommendation of police, you put a new deadbolt on the front door and install a state-of-the-art monitored alarm system ... but then fail to use the deadbolt or set the alarm, whose fault is it when your house is broken into a second time?

So let's keep our perspective in the wake of the Pantsbomber incident. Our watch and no-fly lists failed. Screening technology that could have detected explosive residue was not used at the Amsterdam airport.

We need to re-examine our security procedures and come up with better answers than 'passengers must remain in their seats for the last hour of their flight' - because if a passenger is a terrorist, they're not going to give a good goddamn about your rules.

Additionally, if someone were to stand up in violation of this nifty guideline, what are the cabin crew going to do? Whip out guns and shoot the transgressor? Are other passengers suddenly free to stand up and pummel the 'suspected terrorist' into submission? (Yes, we want passengers to be able to fight back, but we don't want someone getting dogpiled because they had a cramp or are airsick. Under these guidelines, which also prohibit the handling of personal items, it'd be against policy to let a child hold a teddy bear.)

In short, security will not be improved by sitting on our arses.

So, the questions are:

- Do we have the technology to detect explosives like PETN? (Yes, we do.)

- If so, why is this technology not being used? (Cost? Inconvenience to passengers/airlines?)

- How can we improve the system so that 'warnings' from family members are given the proper weight, without crippling the system with false positives? (The State Department says they require 'hard evidence' before they can take definitive action on a warning/report. At the same time, Abdulmutallab was denied a visa for the UK/Great Britain, but not for the US - was there information sharing here?)

As to the usual al-Qaeda claims of responsibility and promises to unleash a horde of the faithful to bring death and destruction ...

... Al Gore created the internet. Human activity is responsible for global climate change. Saddam had WMD's.

The point is not to discount the very real and serious threat posed by al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups, but to leaven their propaganda with healthy skepticism and keep our balance rather than make our default response 'fear'.

Apparently, the latest proof of Darwin's theories is 'tree surfing' - idiots who tie a Christmas tree to the back of their truck or SUV and ride it as their buddies go slaloming about.

It's landed one Southern California man in the hospital with serious head trauma, after a sharp turn threw him into the side of a parked car.

The Ministry has received 1 comment(s) on this topic.

Dave - 2009-12-29 19:54:28
According to the OC Register, the driver of said SUV took off, leaving his "buddies" wounded in the street. Nice.