I want everyone to think back to the move "Animal House" and recall the line uttered in the frat house (while they were plotting revenge against the Dean and the other frat house), something like, "...this situation demands a futile gesture..."
Today, that "futile gesture" is the closing of close-in viewing areas. The airport authorities know full well that these close-in viewing viewing areas constitute a miniscule threat area when compared to the square milage area around an airport where a missile could be launched and still remain with its operating envelope. For simplicity, call it a 1% threat versus the 99% threat. The airport authorities simply have no jurisdiction for any of that 99% threat area, and can only control the miniscule 1% threat area they have responsibility for.
This can be viewed in several ways and contexts. If the airports "solve" the 1% threat exposure by shutting down airport viewing areas, they will have done the "best they could" in preventing a disaster. OK, that's true, with respect to just that 1% threat, but chances are better that any attack would originate from the 99% threat area. In fairness to the airport authorities, were they to do nothing at the airports based on the (logical and reasonable) presumption that an attack would come from the 99% threat area, they'd really be setting themselves up should someone light one off from within the 1% threat area. By closing off close-in viewing areas, airport authorities are essentially dealing with 100% of the overall 1% threat, which is all they can do. The other 99% of the threat is someone else's problem, not theirs.
All this will change, should someone sneak a Stinger or other man-portable SAM into (or offshore of) the USA and splash one or two airline aircraft. In that event, you'll see a massive push to equip all commercial transports with electronic countermeasures (not flares or chaff) to make the public feel safe to fly again. Mandating ECM would be expensive, but at any cost, it'd still be cheaper than parking the national and local economies. ECM is expensive, but more widespread and larger scale production, those costs could decline.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.