Reinstating Freedom?

My son recently returned from a trip to the DC/NYC area.  He had a great time, other than the three hours he spent in a plane at JFK, due to an undefined “security breach” and of course having to go through several check points along the way.  Oh, and he had a pair of toy handcuffs (they have no lock and no key, among other differences from the real thing) confiscated from him at one of these checkpoints.  Somebody dodged a major threat to society there– a 13 year-old student on a trip with fellow students, smuggling toy handcuffs.

After talking with him about this at length, and remembering the fact that I had been in DC, NYC, and other places around the country years ago, complete with multiple knives, without a single checkpoint involved, I posed this question to my family:

What would it take for our society, our country, to eliminate security checkpoints within our own borders?

For some people, it is a hateful, disturbing question, not least because they like the idea of checkpoints.  For others, there will be varying, even diametrically opposed answers.  I know the answer (yup, little ol’ me) but after getting hostility directed at me in return for having said it, I’ll just pose the question and have people think about it for a while.  Hint: Joe’s April 7th QOTD.

I suppose that in order to ponder the question, you, like me, would have to actually want to travel your own country without being treated like a potential criminal, or feeling as though you’re in France and the year is 1942.

Maybe I’ll post my own short, sweet answer later.

Update: Just to make it more clear, the question is about the sort of changes we would need to make in our society, and in our government policies.


2 thoughts on “Reinstating Freedom?

  1. Well, the most obvious solution would be to make sure nothing smuggled on-board an aircraft would be of an advantage. For example, the 9/11 attacks were largely triggered through box-cutters, even though they were only a five men against several dozen. One great man or woman with a knife or gun, or a dozen good men and women, could have stopped them.

    That’s not to say anything bad about the victims — most of them believed they were merely going to be the next hostage crisis and then let free — just that causing an offensive to fail is an overwhelmingly strong deterrent.

    From a purely theoretical viewpoint, allowing and even encouraging the typical or above-average passenger to carry arms, armor, and be trained to deal with an offensive threat situation in an airplane would be incredibly effective.

    Not that it’s very likely we’d be able to initiate a cultural change to the level where even 5% (12 people on a Boeing 767) of the population would be willing to be armed, and capable of dealing with the psychological difficulties associated with what would effectively be a [i]massive[/i] hostage scenario. It also does nothing to prevent explosive or other sudden threats, which an armed response is unlikely to react to fast enough to prevent.

    An alternative would be to encourage such a pathological dislike of terrorism that our culture as a whole demands complete and total revenge for any terrorist acts, including family, friends, and financiers, making terrorism significantly less cost-effective than it currently is. Encouraging religious scientific ‘combination’ possibilities at the same time would also reduce the drive to radical religions by younger individuals frightened of the lack of rules that many atheist scientific universities and countries have put forward.


  2. I’ve been on this hobbyhorse since 9/11.

    It would take the realization that chasing contraband is a chump’s game.

    It would take internalizing the understanding that there are no dangerous objects, only dangerous men.

    It would take acceptance of the truth that, in order to secure a place or object, you do not need to know the identity of anyone, but you do need to determine the trustworthiness of everyone.

    There might still be checkpoints, but they would amount to a place you might slow to flash a pass, but no more. The pass would not permit the state to know anything about who you were, but would reliably inform it as to your trustworthiness.


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