Monday, December 28, 2009

America, please grow a spine

Another mentally ill al Qaeda cannon fodder has tried to blow up an airplane. It's encouraging that they're still scraping the barrel to recruit suicide bombers.

Meanwhile, in America, there are rumors that we'll have to forsake electronics and all motion or access to personal goods for the last hour of flight. At one point it was rumored that we'd have to go without a book for the "last hour". We might as well scratch all children and many adults with medical, cognitive or psychiatric disorders from flying.

Oh, and I love they way they say "last hour" as though planes never spend 1-2 hours circling the airport or waiting for a gate.

Meanwhile anyone who's seen a movie or read a book about smuggling or prisons is waiting for the first bomb smuggled in by body cavity - or surgically embedded into the abdomen. The next generation of scanners will have to incorporate a rectal probe.

The TSA administrators can't be as stupid as they look. They must know there's really no practical way to secure an airplane (train, bus, public space) against a truly competent and determined attacker. The best we can do is balanced risk mitigation. As Schneier has told us so many times, the big changes post 9/11 were to secure the cockpit door and look to the courage of passengers.

So if the TSA administrators aren't stupid, where do these regs come from? They come from legislative pressure. Now, many of our legislators are stupid, but not all of them. So why do they do this?

Because they know if a plane blows up and they didn't max out on security theater they'll be out of office - because we American voters are who we are.

We gotta stop this. Voters and legislators alike need to grow an American spine -- before our fear and stupidity drives us off the deep end of history.

Update 12/29/09: Signs of vertebral development. The absurd early responses have been dropped. Also, rectal bombs have already been used in Saudi Arabia.

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