You know it’s bad when Europe is telling you to stop

Via email from Barron (who supplied the post title) we have Europe telling the US our Security Theater is too much:



European air officials accused the United States of imposing useless and overly intrusive travel security measures, calling Wednesday for the Obama administration to reexamine policies ranging from online security checks to X-raying shoes.


British Airways’ chairman made the first in a wave of complaints, saying in a speech to airport operators that removing shoes and taking laptops out of bags were “completely redundant” measures demanded by the U.S.


He was joined less than 24 hours later by British pilots, the owner of Heathrow airport, other European airlines, and the European Union. The EU submitted formal objections to a program that requires U.S.-bound travelers from 35 nations to complete online security clearance before departure. It called the system burdensome and said it could violate travelers’ privacy.


Even though I agree with them on the excesses I doubt they would agree with me on the appropriate solution—allow small personal weapons on planes.

13 thoughts on “You know it’s bad when Europe is telling you to stop

  1. Mr. Huffman,

    I agree totally with your solution, and I think it would go farther than any other out there, but I would settle for even a minor increase in freedom like that proposed by the English. At least it would be baby steps in the right direction. But it NEVER seems that anyone gets more free, only less, and the pace seems to be speeding up. I’ve heard about the “enhanced pat-downs” that are supposed to start this month, and sound like the sort of thing we as a society used to castrate people for. I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, and I would boycott the airports altogether if I could, but I’m stuck with 2 flights a year, and depending on what happens with my job maybe more. What galls me most is that I have no choice at all between grope and no-grope (perv scanners are out of the question and, if anything, worse due to the x-rays). Frankly, I’m a bit surprised–that term for them has taken root somewhat with our friends in the UK, not here–but I find it far more appropriate and descriptive than “backscatter technology”. I hope maybe you and your readers might find it to your liking and start using it, or perhaps something similar?

    Thanks for letting me vent,

  2. Ubu, try asking the Israeli El Al airline about that…almost all of their flights have sky marshals on board and all of their pilots are former IAF and may be armed…

  3. Ubu’s big logical mistake is failing to note that Mr. Burke was NOT allowed to have a gun on that flight. Now I suspect his specific loophole was plugged, it didn’t do a whole lot at say keeping terrorists off the plane with box cutters. Ect ect.

    Joe provides a reasonable assurance that a Burke-style attack would not succeed to down the plane, but what the TSA side of the argument fails to do is assure us that at the cost of our freedom, our enjoyment of travel, and our dignity, that their stupid little parlor tricks will actually PREVENT anything.

    There is ALWAYS another disaster, and with each disaster flight becomes more and more unpleasant….and then there is another disaster.

    Oh and meanwhile I can get on a Grayhound Bus or an Amtrack train (at least the ones Going North from Boston) loaded to the gills with guns.

    The obvious solution is to make train and bus travel more unpleasant for the sake of….NOTHING.

    Dissolve the TSA, put airmarshals (uniformed and plain clothed) on planes, and hell if I can walk through the crowded airport (at least outside the checkpoints) or get on a train, or get on a bus, with a gun on, what harm am I going to do as soon as the bus leaves the ground?

  4. I personally believe that all passengers should be issued 4″ bladed knives upon boarding the plane.

  5. A long time ago I used as an example the idea of having two flight terminals with differing security. One extremely tight like the current TSA. Another with no metal detectors, and each passenger was just asked if they are carrying a pistol. If so, what caliber and frangible ammunition was issued to aid in over penetration prevention. (All done privately so others are still none the wiser). People with just edged weapons were waved through.

    I then asked people if you were a hijacker which terminal would you go to. Most would say the highly secured terminal and would resort to sneaking something through. Those who would say the open terminal, I would ask why? There response was, “I can get weapons aboard unhindered.” To which I replied, “So can everyone else, guaranteeing you have armed victims that will fight back.” At which point they changed to the other terminal.

    Criminals, like terrorists, want to achieve their goal with minimum risk to themselves. In the case of a terrorist bent on suicide, they want to take you with them. If you kill them before they can “kill the infidel” it obstructs their goal and becomes too high of a risk. Getting caught by the man doesn’t result in death and they can achieve their goal at a later date. Death is a permanent end to their goal seeking.

    One of these days someone’s going to take over a plane with a sharpened credit card. Then we’ll have to put our cards in our luggage to then be stolen by TSA employees and used in identity theft. There’s a reason I refuse to fly commercially anymore.

  6. I know air travel has gotten bad when I seriously consider driving 2,100 miles or taking a three day train ride, with an infant and a toddler, to avoid ten hours of air travel and the attendant security theater to visit my wife’s family for Christmas.

  7. Thinking like a terrorist… If guns were allowed on planes, there would be nothing to stop a group of terrorists from boarding the plane, sitting in different parts of the plane, and taking over the plane all at once, gangland-land style. Would people shoot back? Sure, maybe some would, but if there are enough guys on the plane, they can just shoot those that shoot back and that’s the end of that. They will know who the other bad guys are. You won’t.

    Maybe it would be better if they just let everyone carry knives?

  8. ubu,

    When I was growing up I played with squirtguns, cap guns, you name it. My mom didn’t like the idea much, but she let us do it anyway. But it was always drilled into my (and my brothers’) head that it doesn’t constitute a fair fight unless your opponent also has a cap gun/squirt gun/whatever (i.e., is unarmed). So:

    Thinking like a terrorist:

    If I manage to sneak something past security, I and my terrorist buddies am 99.9999% guaranteed to be the only armed people on the plane. Fair fight? Hardly. Therefore, I win by default.

    If anyone can take anything on the plane, there’s a good chance (even if 10% or less of people actually do) that at least one person is armed. Factor in the “I’ll die if I don’t do something” factor and most people *will* do something, even if they get surprised and freeze up for a second. Just look at what they do now without guns when someone tries to blow up his panties. I don’t know who that person, or those persons might be. Some of them (particularly the well-practiced, such as an IPSCA shooter) might not even freeze up first. Fair fight? Getting there. Now my success is *much* less likely. Will I think twice about it? Probably. Will I do it anyway? Maybe. Will my would-be victims have a fighting chance at making it out alive? Absolutely, particularly if whoever’s packing has a fully loaded, high capacity magazine and a spare or two. The more people pack heat, the better their odds are. The only way to guarantee success then is to buy up the entire flight. But wait! The pilots have guns too, the cockpit entrance is narrow, the door is armored and bolted shut. If 300 Spartans can hold Thermopylae for 3 days against the Persians, can’t the flight crew hold on for an hour until they get the plane down and are met by the entire state police department standing behind a freshly deployed brigade of US Marines?

  9. Publius,

    I’m not talking about sneaking guns on planes. I’m talking about Joe’s “Even though I agree with them on the excesses I doubt they would agree with me on the appropriate solution—allow small personal weapons on planes.” That would mean that everyone could carry a gun on the plane.

  10. Terrorists tried to take down planes with luggage bombs this past week. The bombs were intercepted, fortunately.

    Planes make fine targets because plane crashes get more news headlines than, say, a bus crash. This will change when the terrorists realize operations in this country can generate significant casualties and news coverage without the problems posed by air travel.

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