Matt D
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Is Security Getting Too Extreme?

Tue Jan 18, 2000 10:56 am

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the way airport security has been rising as of late. In addition to the standard metal detector, you have to bring ID, you can be subject to strip searches, CAT scans, have all your packages unwrapped, and strewn about. You have to answer the "security questions" (which I would think that folks would practice a little common sense to begin with) Laws were passed here in the US that allows the airlines to track travel habits, as well as your name, address, Check in times are getting longer and longer (do any of you really want to check in 3 hours early for a flight to LAS from LAX, when, including actual flight time, I could DRIVE there in that amount of time?)Then, of course there's the perpetual thorn in my side that seems to be growing like a tumor, and that's restricting the concourses to ticketed passengers only. They will drag every passenger off of a plane if a piece of luggage isn't matched up with the manifest. I know, I was on a WestPac flight and this happened. (BTW, why not hold the suspicious bag, and send the plane on its way?).
All of this of course is presented ostensibly "for our own safety". Personally, I question the legitamate need for having such a "big brother" paranoid approach to airline security. If some freak is going to blow up a plane, they're going to get it. Period. Even if they have to wait along side the runway and wait for it to take off, and shoot it down with a portable rocket launcher (which is available in any military surplus store). Even if all the windows on the plane are plugged. Even if all air pax are shackled to, in and from their seats-blindfolded. Most folks don't seem to see the bigger picture here. Are they so dependant on others (or so brainwashed) that they are willing to sacrifice more and more of their liberties (why is it anyone's business where I fly to, and how often?) just for a slightly reduced chance of a terrorist attack....which the odds of that happening on any given flight are statistically so astronomically remote anyway?
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RE: Is Security Getting Too Extreme?

Tue Jan 18, 2000 11:05 am

"Those who give up liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin 1775.

The average speed of airtravel has been declining for years, on my last trip from cle-BNA I averaged something like 200MPH, on my last DTW-LAS trip I averaged about 95MPH. Tell you something?

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RE: Is Security Getting Too Extreme?

Tue Jan 18, 2000 11:22 am

MattD: You ask some very good questions. However, step away from the 'puter for a bit and watch CNN. There are sickos and psychos out there. Is this story at all familiar? Better yet, do a search of on "hijack" and look at what you get. ~shudder~

I'm through an airport a couple of times a week, and you learn to deal with security. You learn to expect a line at security just like you expect rude gate agents at JFK. It all becomes part of the business travel experience. The ultimate inconvenience, by the way, is not the restriction of terminals to ticketed passengers. The ultimate is missing your flight because you get selected for a "random bag scan" where they put your bag through the heavy X-ray machine. That's happened to me.
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RE: Is Security Getting Too Extreme?

Tue Jan 18, 2000 11:31 am

Some of the things are good, like the questions, metal detectors, & X-rays. But only international flights to and from any country should be strip searched if needed and is advised by two customs agents.

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Matt D
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Middle Ground

Tue Jan 18, 2000 12:06 pm

I couldn't agree with you more.
You're right, there are a lot of freaks out there, but without going on a long tangent, all I will tell you is this:
Take the stats on gun control for example....
Now that they've all but been banned here in the US...particularly here in California, why is it that gun violence continues to rise...and rise?
Whereas 10...20...50 years ago, when virtually anyone could get one, we didn't have things like "drive by's" and Littleton.
That should lay the debate to rest once and for all.
Yes, what happend to the folks on Indian Airlines was tragic and unfortunate, and I'm not excusing it at all. But, despite the high profiles that incidents like this generate, one tends to forgot the many 10's of thousands of flights that happen without incident, and statistically, the chances of anything like that happening to you or me or anyone we know is virtually nil.
Should we have x-rays and metal detectors and security?
Should we forgo our liberties and privacy to justify the inconvenience of strip searches, long lines and hostile airport personnel all "in the name of safety"?
Absolutely NOT.
Like I said, if one of those freaks targets an airliner for destruction, IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN no matter what kind of precautions we take.
Unless we outlaw guns. And knives...and baseball bats (and cricket clubs)...and rocks....and fists....and bad words....and dirty looks....
and live in a global Concentration Camp instead, right?
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RE: Is Security Getting Too Extreme?

Tue Jan 18, 2000 12:17 pm

When it comes down to it, you just can't be too careful when human lives are at stake. Most of the people going through airport security are going to be getting on an airplane, and you want to be sure they're not carrying guns.

I did a quick search of to find some news on airport security breaches, and it's frightening.

United cancels more flights after O'Hare security breach - 9 Sep 99

Miami sting reveals airport security flaws - 25 Aug 99

Sources: FAA report finds 'serious security breaches' at several major U.S. airports - 10 Mar 99

FAA launches security probe at 78 U.S. airports, following report on 'serious' lapses - 11 Mar 99

US Airways defends itself after report on security lapses - 11 Jan 99

Security breach forces evacuations of two concourses at Detroit airport - 15 Jan 99

FAA says airports improving security - 9 Sep 99

Now, can you be too careful about security?
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RE: Is Security Getting Too Extreme?

Tue Jan 18, 2000 12:23 pm

I agree with Hypermike. If someone wants to blow up an airliner, they could certainly shoot it down, but the ease of putting a bomb on a plane and blowing it up is gone and that makes the work a lot harder now. If you want to blow up a plane, you have to be committed and determined. It can't just be a spur of the moment thing with beefed up security. You can't just grab a rocket launcher and hit the target on the first try. Even tracking rockets require some practice to be able to hit the target, whereas a bomb in a suitcase doesn't miss.

Also, beefed up security does have an affect on hijackers, of which there are many, but not a whole lot from US airports. It's kinda hard to hijack a plane if you can't get a weapon on a plane and we need strict security to stop those weapons.

As for the gun control stuff in general, there were less gun crimes in the 50's because family life had more meaning and quality. People were generally raised by caring parents and in present times, many people who commit crimes were brought up in troubled families / neighborhoods.
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RE: Frog Theory

Tue Jan 18, 2000 2:16 pm

While I do believe in some amount of airport security, I also think that port authorities have sometimes been abusing their powers.
I am also a believer in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and I'm not looking to start up an argument on that topic, however a phrase I heard in a discussion regarding the Second Amendment may also fit this bill:
"If you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water it will instantly jump out. If you put a frog in a pot of water and slowly boil it, the frog will never jump out and cook".
Speaking of amendments... The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seazures. The question is, what and how much is reasonable?
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RE: Frog Theory

Tue Jan 18, 2000 2:29 pm

i saw that quote on the movie dante's peak. you know the movie with pierce brosnan(007)
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RE: Is Security Getting Too Extreme?

Tue Jan 18, 2000 2:33 pm

Oh, I'm sure it's been around a while. I just thought it was a good analogy.
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LAX Security

Tue Jan 18, 2000 2:52 pm

If security was so lax and had so many holes in it, how come no airliner was succum to terrorism?

Do we not realize that the only person the government goes after is the law abiding citizen b/c we're the easiest to control?

If someone wants to get a gun aboard an aircraft, there are ways to get one aboard. For example if the person who wants to hijack an aircraft is part of a well organized crime organization then they'll have people within the FAA, security, airline, etc and thus could sneak a gun aboard.

Or perhaps this theory: A mechanic goes to work and passes thru security. Then on his break disappears to a far end of the airport where his partner hands him a gun thru the gate. Then this mechanic manages to get aboard this aircraft and hides the gun in the bathroom or behind a false panel in the coat closet. Then a terrorist posed as a passenger acts out his deed.

My point here is: no amount of security is going to stop a determined terrorist. The only things that security manages to stop is the average businessperson to get to his/her gate. No average person is going to hijack, blow up, or otherwise harm an aircraft, b/c they don't have a reason to. Most, if not all, of the terrorism is done by either well-connected terrorists or religious fanatics.

Also, we have organizations that watch out for terrorists. CIA, FBI, ATF... ring a bell?

Oh... the Indian Airlines flight was determined to be an inside job.

- Neil Harrison

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