Today’s sarcastic jokes are often tomorrow’s real life. And here we are once again. No doubt, many gun owners said after the event at the Boston Marathon, or thought to themselves sarcastically; “I guess we’ll have to ban pressure cookers then. That’ll stop future bombings.” Well, it turns out that a company halted sales of pressure cookers after the Boston bombing.
Sure; it’s not an actual ban imposed by out-of-control law makers. They halted sales of pressure cookers voluntarily for a while “out of respect”. You may think; “What’s the big deal, Lyle? Jeeze.” and to that I say that this is quite insane, and that this sort of insanity is rampant. It is promoted.
It’s a cooking implement, for Pete’s sake! Put out some flowers if you want to show respect, or, you know, actually reach out and offer help to the victims and their families? Ever thought of that? Hmm?
What if someone used a pair of crutches to commit a crime? You going to halt the sale of crutches “out of respect”? Idiots. Hmm…you know it would be entirely possible to make a bomb using a fire extinguisher as the containment vessel. Let’s ban those then. Same goes for guns – we restrict the tools of self protection in response to crime. What a bunch of blithering idiots we’re becoming.
This is yet another in a very long line of cases of punishing the innocent for the actions of the guilty. They punished the whole city of Boston too, with that lock-down. I’m disgusted that there wasn’t a city-wide defiance of that order. Such cowards as we are, such zombies, maybe we deserve to be slaves.
Biden may actually be giving good advice to his audience. Double barrel shotguns are simpler than an AR-15. So simple that given enough time and an instruction video even anti-gun Democrats could probably fire off a shot or two.
His advice is entirely consistent with Security Theater advocated by most government types. He is suggesting people “Do Something” and they will feel better even if it accomplishes nothing that helps your situation.
Or instead of being onto something he could just be on something. Was he in Colorado testing out the local herbs when he shared his stupid thoughts with us?
Via email from Kevin:
As I said in email to Kevin, “What isn’t said is that you can do the same thing to a room, building or airplane.” I know people who have taken down a house with a few cups of flour.
And how do you think it would work out if TSA were to test for flour, powdered sugar, and non-dairy creamer? Those powdered donuts you had for a quick snack before running to the security line would get you the full blue glove treatment. And as long as they don’t do those tests testing for conventional explosives and searching for knives, guns, and throwing away your shampoo is nothing but security theater.
I made it through TSA (A Security Theater) wearing my “Celebrate Diversity” t-shirt without problems. I’m now waiting to board at the gate for my flight to Orlando and the Gun Rights Policy Conference. I’m looking forward to hanging out with Robb, Chris Knox, Mark Vanderberg, John Richardson, and many many other “cool kids”.
Elaboration on the following Tweet from Saturday night:
Ticket taker for Dark Knight checked my companion’s bag for a gun. She didn’t notice the STI Eagle on my right hip or the mag on the left.
The ticket taker asked to check my companion’s bag and said, “We are doing this since the shooting in Colorado.” The ticket taker glanced inside the bag and said, “Okay” as my companion and I glanced at each other in shock. We took a few steps down the hall toward the theater and burst out laughing. Through my shirt my companion patted my right then left hip and laughed even louder.
It was an STI Eagle 5.1 chambered in .40 S&W. I was carrying a total of two 18 round magazines plus one in the chamber for a total of 37 rounds. I could have been carrying a dozen magazines in my pockets and socks and the ticket taker wouldn’t have noticed. It was nothing but security theater.
I was tempted to tell the poor young woman that if she asked to inspect the bag of someone intent on an Aurora type shooting that she was going to be first to get shot. But I didn’t see the point in making her more unhappy with her job than she already was. After all, who could like a job where people laugh at you behind your back?
The Tweet above was sent while waiting for the movie to start and was retweeted by nine people and made a favorite by two others. This makes it the most popular, by far, tweet of mine.
*Title as per the suggestion from Bitter
. I considered “Security Theater in the Theater” but the shorter version creates some addition stress from the ambiguity which I kind of like.
I hadn’t thought of it this way before (even though he used my video to demonstrate his point) but he’s correct.
Why Magazine Limits Don’t Improve Security:
This video demonstrates what a practiced shooter can do with lower capacity magazines in short order. It should be quite clear that a high magazine capacity ban will do nothing to prevent a shooter of this skill level from wreaking significant havoc. Therefore, a high capacity magazine ban is nothing short of false sense of security– security theater.
Via Politico I found out Rand Paul has introduced legislation which from a principled viewpoint I find pathetic. Only if I put my Wookie suit in a hidden vault and delete thousands of blog posts could I praise his first piece of proposed legislation. It is “a ‘Bill of Rights’ for air travelers” (S. 3302). “Guaranteeing a traveler’s right to request a pat-down using only the back of the hand” is to be considered a “right’? Really?
We don’t need a new law like this, we just need to enforce those already on the books. I’m of the opinion the 4th Amendment is the guaranteed right. All who voted for or have been involved in the implementation of TSA should be prosecuted under 18 USC 241 and/or 18 USC 242. Impose fines for every violation and you would see second thought given to a lot of other government infringements of our rights as well as A Security Theater going down in flames.
The other Bill, S. 3303, “ends the TSA screening program and requires screening of passengers at airports to be conducted by private screeners only”. While elimination of the TSA would earn my praise the requirement that private business violate our 4th Amendment rights nearly nullifies the benefit.
But, as I said, that is from a principled viewpoint. Principles are a serious obstacle in politics. If you want to get anything done you had best leave your principles at the door and just keep a short cheat sheet up your coat sleeve when you enter the legislative arena. If either of these bills could be passed it would be a step in the right direction. Incrementalism is sometimes all that is politically feasible and that we have legislators looking for a path in the proper direction is something to be pleased with.
People in this country need to understand when you go to any airport in the United States, you are not protected by the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. They can do anything they want to you and there is no where you can go to seek redress.
June 13, 2012
Jesse Ventura No Longer Flies, Thanks To Transportation Security Administration
[Well… strictly speaking there are some options. They just aren't legal.
What really needs to be done is to abolish the Security Theater known as TSA.—Joe]
If having your cell phone or other electronic device turned on could jeopardize the safety of an airplane then why allow electronic devices on the plane at all? Why couldn’t a group of suicide terrorists carry high powered electronic devices on airplanes and turn them on during critical portions of the flight and bring them down at will? Or even aim a directional beam at planes from the ground and bring them down?
One has to conclude that the prohibition against having your cell phone turned on is just more security theater.
Update: Some awesome stuff in the comments. I think I need to back down some on my claims above…
Via Say Uncle we get this annoying news:
The FBI is asking Internet companies not to oppose a controversial proposal that would require firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google, to build in backdoors for government surveillance.
In meetings with industry representatives, the White House, and U.S. senators, senior FBI officials argue the dramatic shift in communication from the telephone system to the Internet has made it far more difficult for agents to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities, CNET has learned.
The FBI general counsel’s office has drafted a proposed law that the bureau claims is the best solution: requiring that social-networking Web sites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly.
“If you create a service, product, or app that allows a user to communicate, you get the privilege of adding that extra coding,” an industry representative who has reviewed the FBI’s draft legislation told CNET. The requirements apply only if a threshold of a certain number of users is exceeded, according to a second industry representative briefed on it.
This is so crap for brains stupid I am surprised the author of the article and the industry representatives didn’t fall over laughing at the FBI. Since the “requirements apply only if a threshold of a certain number of users is exceeded” as long as the number is greater than two they can’t enforce such a requirement against small groups of people. And that assumes the criminals were to use service providers in the U.S. that are easy to track down. With overseas and even open Wi-Fi access points so easy to access even finding a group of a criminals who utilized an illegal communication system would be tough.
This is nothing but A Security Theater that invades the privacy of those that pose no threat to the general population and can be used as a tool by unscrupulous politicians and government thugs to embarrass or blackmail their opponents.
If the TSA were to scan for Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer (AN) they would get a very high percentage of travelers testing positive as this guy did:
An 82-year-old farmer from Brush got quite the surprise Thursday when he was briefly detained by Fort Collins-Loveland airport security after his suitcase tested positive for the chemicals used to make bombs.
Large numbers of false positives mean they have to hand examine large numbers of people. This will require far more manpower and increase the frustration with the TSA. If they don’t scan for AN then they leave a huge gaping hole in their security. Yes, AN needs something else with it to detonate. Boomerite, for example, uses Potassium Chlorate (PC) and Ethylene Glycol (EG). Scanning for either of these isn’t going to accomplish anything. PC is one of the main ingredients in matches. EG is the common automobile anti-freeze. False positives are us.
Scanning for all three, AN, PC, and EG would detect Boomerite but there isn’t anything particularly magic about those three. AN with any number of things will explode. Here is just a partial list of things I have used:
- Aluminum powder
- Model racing fuel
- Powdered milk
- Powdered sugar
- Wheat flour
- Propylene Glycol
- Acetone (nail polish remover)
- Methanol (wood alcohol)
- Naphthalene (moth balls)
Basically anything that will burn will enable detonation of AN. So unless TSA is willing to detain and hand search every passenger that walked through their recently fertilized lawn and then ate a powdered sugar donut on the way to security there is no point in scanning for AN. Plus this assumes that a real threat would not be able to seal and clean up their explosives device and themselves sufficiently that they couldn’t get their chemical profile below the detection threshold.
Since explosives detection is pointless and they do not hand examine every passenger TSA is really nothing but A Security Theater.
The growth of TSA’s bureaucracy has outpaced the number of travelers the agency was designed to protect.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.)
March 28, 2012
How many airport security screeners is too many?
[I went through the Moscow/Pullman airport a few weeks ago and counted six TSA agents. There could have been more in back out of sight. 15 years ago, with only slightly less of passenger traffic, there was one security agent.
There are some things government is really good at—spending lots of other people's money is near the top of that list.
If you have a desire to waste huge amounts of money then giving it to the government is probably a near optimal method of having your desires realized. If you merely burn your money and don't get it completely burned someone could come along and recover a portion of it. Money given to the government is much less likely to incur those sort of risks.—Joe]
Via email from Tony S.:
Created by: OnlineCriminalJusticeDegree.com
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was formed to ensure America’s freedom to travel. Instead, they have made air travel the most difficult means of mass transit in the United States, at the same time failing to make air travel any more secure.
TSA is finally feeling what it’s like to be screened. It has walked through the detector of bureaucratic failure and the red light has gone off. It’s time that we ask congress to have TSA “step over to this area” for a more thorough search. For once, “TSA screening” will be productive. I predict that dangerous amounts of inefficiency, derivative thinking, and reactive policy will be located, if not in their shoes, in their DNA.
January 24, 2012
[I could probably pull a half dozen QOTDs from this post. It’s really good.
H/T Say Uncle and Richard R.—Joe]
We generally don’t consider a crease to be damaged or mutilated such that it would prevent travel. Even if the RFID chip in the passport fails to operate, as long as the data and photo are legible, there should be no problem.
Colorado Passport Agency
February 23, 2012
Denver family stranded after passport denied because of crease
[H/T Say Uncle.
So… what this appears to mean is that you may intentionally (perhaps with plausible deniability) destroy the RFID chip and not worry about it invalidating your passport. This eliminates all the concerns about remote RFID scanning. It also means our government knows and acknowledges the RFID chips do not enhance security. Any security arguments made about their use in passports is invalid by their own admission.
One must now ask, "What is the real reason why they want RFID chips in the passports?"—Joe]
David Perera must have gone through the scanner a few too many times and his brain turned into crap. He claims that just because someone has a security clearance that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to go through airport security without being subjected to TSA scrutiny:
First, if the ability to go through the expedited line is given to all secret holders regardless of the purpose of their travel, clearance holders would be the recipient of an unfair perk relative to the rest of society. Clearance holders receive access to classified documents – not a badge that permits them to cut in line at the gas station, take 20 items through the 15-item supermarket checkout line or buy 3.2 beer in an Arkansas convenience store on a Sunday.
Just what does he think TSA security is for? It’s not a line at a gas station.
I kept expecting him to explain that the only purpose TSA serves is to harass and desensitize people to illegal searches. If some people don’t go through the desensitization process then TSA effectiveness is drastically reduced. After all, TSA has been insisting that pilots and the rest of the flight crew be searched so what purpose could that serve other than desensitization? Do they think that unless they search the pilot for box cutters he would be able to hijack the plane he was already flying?
But that doesn’t appear to be the case. As near as I can tell he really believes what he says. I can only conclude he has crap for brains. I expect that soon he will insist Air Marshals also go though TSA screening. After all their badges don’t enable them to take 20 items through the 15-item supermarket checkout line either.
For the near brain-dead supporters of the TSA that still exist out there I would like them to think about how the TSA could possibly stop a dust explosion such as this one on an airplane in flight. Compare the size and shape of the grain elevator in that picture to an airplane fuselage. Compare the strength of the materials (reinforced concrete versus a thin aluminum skin with window) used in the construction.
A few pounds of powdered sugar, flour, or powdered milk can make enough dust to take out a grain elevator and it is more than enough to take an airplane out of the sky. And just how is the TSA going to scan for that when everyone that has eaten a powdered sugared doughnut since they last changed their clothes is going to test positive?
The TSA is nothing but A Security Theater and only the most ignorant and stupid don’t know and understand that.
A biometric login for your computer is useful and very cool. A biometric database of 9 million Jews with pictures, fingerprints, name, date of birth, national identification number, and family members is a target.
From 1933 through the early 1940’s IBM made a lot of money helping the Germans collect, sort, and distribute that sort of data.
That target was hit and is now available for free download.
Think about the implications before you advocate for a National ID card or the mandating of ID in order to be functioning member of society. Giving up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety has known consequences.
Update: Tamara knocks it out of the park.
Given the credible estimate that we’ve spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security (this does not include our many foreign wars), that’s $62.5 billion per life lost. Is there any other risk that we are even remotely as crazy about?
September 15, 2011
[Some people are that crazy about guns. But for the most part I think Schneier has it nailed.—Joe]