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    Thoughts On The Christmas “Bomber”

    Internet, I cannot help myself.  All of the talk around this guy that tried to blow up a plane is frustrating me to no end.  Nobody seems to want to apply an ounce of rational thought to the situation.  I have no idea why our ‘leaders’ are ignoring any relevant information.  I guess that’s just what politics are.

    Consider a few of the following topics that have been in the news:

    Republicans have hinted that there should have been a big red flag next to the suspect’s name….how [could] the suspected terrorist could fly in the first place after his own father had warned authorities his son was possibly under the influence of religious extremists.

    Well, let’s see.  I was listening to NPR and they had a guy on that said there are about 500,000 people on the watch list database but only 4,000 – 5,000 on the no fly list.  A single complaint from a father is not evidence to put someone on a no-fly list.  Wow!  That actually makes sense.  Score one for the FBI.  They don’t just randomly prevent people from traveling, they actually need evidence that they are a danger.  At least we are still of sound morals, despite what the supposedly ‘moral’ right would have us believe.  Hell, they may even want me on some watch list because I disagree with them.  Now if they would just ban anybody that is a religious extremist…oh wait, that would prevent some of themselves from flying.  Talk about a lack of research or any knowledge at all.

    Obama said: “Had the suspect succeeded in bringing down that plane, it could have killed nearly 300 passengers and crew — innocent civilians preparing to celebrate the holidays with their families and friends.”

    300 innocent people.  If they would have died that would have been tragic, for sure.  But how many people die every day in vehicles?  Well, so glad you asked.  The National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration has the answer for you.  In October of 2009 they released a report (link to PDF) that showed we were at record low traffic fatalities to start 2009!  We managed to get the rate down to 90+ people dead a day, with 16,600 dead through June!  Way to go USA!  So if we assume that more people travel during the holidays (and the death rate is deaths per 100 million miles traveled) then we may have had more people die over Christmas weekend on the road than if the guy would have blown the plane.  But this gets no mention.  Nothing is ever put in context with other issues.

    Would it have been possible to prevent this guy from getting on a plane?  Yeah, I am sure it would be.  We’d have to burn our already partially scorched Constitution, but we could do it.  People complain about insurance companies reaping mounds and mounds of profits and yet who can rationally blame them.  We are in a culture that is fearful of everything.  People are willing to sacrifice everything to live “safely”.  So we buy insurance of all types, give up our privacy, and submit to what would once be considered clear violations of personal freedoms.

    Meanwhile we ignore the clear dangers of driving (1.19 deaths per 100 million miles) and a multitude of other activities while pretending that terrorism is the biggest threat that we’ve ever faced.  It is far too easy to quote people, and yet I will do it anyway (from TenthAmendmentCenter):

    The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. ~ James Madison

    A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have. ~ Thomas Jefferson / Gerald Ford

    I think the TSA is far more of a danger to our Constitution than terrorists will ever be.  I am sure other disagree.  And I respect that people want to be safe.  But what is missing is the element of common sense, and I just can’t get over that.  A fact that I am reminded of every time I travel and see the TSA confiscate something.  I mean really, if they think the liquid is dangerous, shouldn’t they treat it as an explosive instead of just throwing it in the trash.  Or take away “weapons” but give real silverware in First Class.  My only fear is that some idiot at the TSA will read this and instead of applying logic to see how silly they are and how they are not making us safer they will see an opportunity to further tighten the straps while thinking “silly civilians, liberties are for kids”.

    Would you rather have the illusion of safety or less hassle when you fly?

    This has been a Thought From The Cake Scraps.

    4 Responses to “Thoughts On The Christmas “Bomber””

    1. I’ve kept myself pretty ignorant of the actual incident over the last week, but I have read about the TSA’s new rules regarding passengers leaving their seats within an hour of landing, etc. I actually think this is a good thing. Not that the rules are good, they’re moronic rules. I think it’s good that it shows just how reactionary the TSA is. They do absolutely nothing to prevent these things from happening and they really can’t. Like you’ve said, everything we do carries risk and it’s impossible to mitigate every risk.

      I too will quote people: “Only two things have made flying safer: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers.” – Bruce Schneier

      Thankfully the TSA has implemented the no leaving your seats within an hour of landing, no more announcing when you’re flying over landmarks/cities because I feel so much safer now.

    2. Rosemarie says:

      But seriously, what if I have to use the bathroom??? Is there an exception?

    3. Douglas says:

      Just came across an interesting soundbyte on a Newsweek article addressing this topic:

      “More screening for every passenger makes no sense. When searching for needles in haystacks, adding hay doesn’t help.”

      And the opening paragraph, in my opinion, is right on the money: http://www.newsweek.com/id/229996

    4. [...] makes it worse is that the pointless TSA rules force you to discard items (like beverages) and yet provide no oversight on the cost of the [...]

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