Wasted money on airplane security

Anne Applebaum almost gets it right.  Right up to the very end when she should be concluding the obvious (“security screening” probably cannot ever be made to work successfully and should be abandoned) she wimps out and doesn’t face the facts she herself put forward.  But it’s close enough to get people thinking.  Here’s a taste of the good stuff:

…outside inspectors have found, over and over again, that federal screeners perform no better than the private screeners they replaced. Since they inspect only passengers and baggage, not the airport and its perimeter, they haven’t eliminated the need for other forms of law enforcement either. And even when they are doing their rather narrow job correctly, their impact is dubious.

…this mass ceremonial sacrifice of toenail clippers on the altar of security comes at an extraordinarily high price. The annual budget of the federal Transportation Security Administration hovers around $5.5 billion — just about the same price as the entire FBI — a figure that doesn’t include the cost of wasted time. De Rugy reckons that if 624 million passengers each spend two hours every year waiting in line, the annual loss to the economy comes to $32 billion.

But, then, this isn’t a country that has ever been good at risk analysis. If it were, we would never have invented the TSA at all. Instead, we would have taken that $5.5 billion, doubled the FBI’s budget, and set up a questioning system that identifies potentially suspicious passengers, as the Israelis do.


I conclude that we don’t actually want value for money. No, we want every passenger to have the chance to recite that I-packed-these-bags-myself mantra to a uniformed official before boarding an airplane. Magic words, it seems, are what make Americans feel really safe.

Yup.  You got that right.

See also my web pages on this topic.

Mental problems of anti-gun people

As I mentioned earlier today JPFO has a bookletDo Gun Prohibitionists Have a Mental Problem?  Here are some of the mental problems mentioned in the booklet:

  1. Projection–A person cannot accept their own feelings because they are bad, wrong, or forbidden so they project them onto others.  A typical anti-gun person that uses this mechanism might have feelings of unconscious rage toward gun owners, project them onto the gun owners, then have a conscious fear of gun owners.
  2. Denial–A person refuses to accept reality because that reality is too emotionally painful.  A typical anti-gun person that uses this mechanism might believe that the police are all anyone really needs to protect them from attack by criminals or that a tyrannical government could never happen here.
  3. Reaction formation–A person turns an unacceptable feeling or desire into its complete opposite.  A typical anti-gun person that uses this mechanism might have a murderous rage toward his fellow humans and then claim to be a pacifist and believe they are “superior” to “less civilized” people who engage in “violent behavior” such as hunting or target shooting.

The booklet goes on say that pointing out the mental problems to the anti-gun person isn’t going to be very productive.  What you need to do is:

  1. Make the person feel safe, then provide experiences and information to help him understand the positive aspects of gun ownership.
  2. Be gentle.  Defense mechanism protect people from feelings they cannot handle.  If you take that protection away, you can cause serious psychological harm.  And because defense mechanisms operate unconsciously, it won’t do any good to point out to the anti-gun person that he or she is using a defense mechanism.
  3. Use the mirror technique.  Feed back what the anti-gun person is telling you, in a neutral inquisitive way.  If someone says that people shouldn’t own guns because they don’t want to be killed if their neighbor had a bad day, you might respond, “So you fear if your neighbors had guns, they would use them to murder you.  What makes you think that?“  It’s important to ask “open-ended“ questions that require an answer other than “yes“ or “no“.  Such questions require he anti-gun person to actually think about what he is saying.
  4. Don’t try to “win“ the argument.  If you are arrogant, hurtful or rude to the anti-gun person, you will only convince him that gun owners are arrogant, hurtful and rude people–who shouldn’t be trusted with guns.
  5. Respond sympathetically to the plight of the anti-gun person.  If they believe they are surrounded by people that want to kill them and their family if only those people had a gun and they could do nothing but wait for the inevitable they lead a terrified life.  Invoke your own compassion for their situation.
  6. Provide corrective experiences.  Corrective experiences are experiences that allow a person to learn that his ideas about gun owners and guns are incorrect in a safe and non-threatening way.

There is a lot more material in booklet.  Many of the JPFO “Gran’pa Jack” booklets are for giving to anti-gun people.  This one probably is better utilized by distributing it to pro-gun people.  Although I haven’t done that with this one I have purchased a few hundred of their booklets and let the local sporting goods store give them away.  I’ve also given them away at Boomershoot events and local IPSC matches.

Update: See also the more complete version here: Raging Against Self Defense.

Update October 22, 2010: See also Peterson Syndrome.

Their warped view of reality

Maryland just initiated a state program to license retired police officers to carry concealed handguns, making Maryland one of the first states to implement new federal laws expanding gun rights for retired and off-duty officers.  Idaho (YEAH!) and Arizona were ahead of them as might be expected.  The governor, Robert Ehrlich, was a supporter of the change and said this:

 “This is good public policy that will make a safer state, which is why I am very proud Maryland has led.”

But a barking moonbat gun control advocate had this to say:

     Leah Barrett, executive director of the gun-control group CeaseFire Maryland Inc., said allowing officers to carry a gun anywhere at any time is “essentially dangerous.”
    “We have too many guns in this country and too many people carrying them,” she said. “Accidents happen.”

While cleaning out my room in Richland yesterday (I’m all moved back to Idaho now) I found my copy of the JPFO booklet Do Gun Prohibitionists Have a Mental Problem?  Of course Ms. Barrett is a walking, talking example of a mental problem but I’ll post a few items from the booklet later today to help you identify the specific problems you see in these fruitcakes.