Random thought of the day

Barron suggests people show the TSA some verbal disrespect if you happen to meet them when they are not in a position of power over you.

I can’t find much fault with what he suggests. Perhaps it is just a waste of time. What I wonder is how much of this it would take before it would cause the turnover rate to noticeably increase. Beyond that how much would it take before the TSA would be shut down? And how many people would it take to accomplish this? This question can be generalized to other disliked organizations (not even restricted to governmental organizations).

If you say there are some organizations that can’t be eliminated this way then you don’t have enough imagination. Hypothetically the level of force can be scaled up to any level so in the extreme case this would be deadly force. And for small enough organizations, say a few dozen, one could imagine that a single “activist” could eliminate the entire organization and not get caught. Hence, in this extreme case one person could rid the planet of one hated organization by themselves.

At the other extreme you have one individual frowning at a single member of the hated organization composed of millions. The effect of which could not possibly be measured.

In between these two extremes there must be some level of force and number of applications of that force that results in the organization being disbanded. Could it be possible to determine what the minimum force and minimum required number of applications without going up against the TSA? Surely there is data that could be extrapolated from. If nothing else interviewing people that divorced their spouses or quit their jobs would provide some hints.

Suppose we had the numbers and we knew, for example, that the organization would disband if one of the following were true:

  • 50% of the organization were verbally abused every day for one month
  • 10% of the organization were physically assaulted at least once every month
  • 1% of the organization were murdered each month.

Now we look at the problem from a different perspective, the moral acceptability of the actions. Suppose the organization were the Police Battalions moving through Poland and the USSR in 1941-2. Morally any level of force would be justified because of the defensive of innocent life. On the other end the organization might be activists for a Pro-Choice/Life organization and even though they might stir up some strong emotions it would be difficult to justify using force beyond verbal abuse.

Now comes the tricky part. How do you measure the moral tradeoff in quantity versus level of force? That is, for the example at hand, suppose that you could end the TSA by slapping a single TSA agent. Probably one could justify that. It would be worth violation of moral principles because you stopped the violation of other principles by the TSA. Very much like using deadly force to defend innocent life from those that take it.

So is that how one should balance the moral scales? Force must be in proportion to that applied by the hated individual or organization? That works when the numbers are one on one. But what when the offenders number in the 10s of thousands and they offend hundreds of times per day and will repeatedly offend into the endless future? How are the scales of morality balanced now? What can be justified as the weight of those millions of offenses stretching on into eternity are balanced against a small number of greater offenses? Is one person suffering a vigorous slap the moral equivalent of 10 full body pat downs and five nude body scans of the innocent victims?

Closely related is another question. How many people would someone have to kill before a law were changed or broken law ignored? Imagine some criminal is holed up in a building, surrounded by the cops, and the negotiator tells him to surrender. The criminals says he wants to consider his options and asks, “How many people do I have to kill to be allowed to go free?” The negotiator says, “It doesn’t work that way. You will not be allowed to go free no matter how many people you kill.” The criminal says, “You lack imagination. Obviously if I kill everyone else on this continent I will go free. But I don’t want to do that. That would be too terrible and too difficult. But if it were somewhat fewer I might consider it. So I want to know what the number is.”

So what is the answer? If the “right people” people in the executive branch, down through the local police force, are killed that would probably do it too. That number might be relatively small. Perhaps a few hundred. It would be exceedingly immoral of course. But posing the question fascinates me because of the implications. It appears that if an extraordinary evil is perpetrated against, perhaps, some very small number of people then the entire fabric of our society could be changed.

9/11 was a crude example but that data point supports the hypothesis. The people who were murdered were, for all intents and purposes, chosen at random. And although it had profound changes on our society the response was different from that intended by the attackers. But what if the people attacked were individually chosen for their position of power and it was believed the attackers could do it again at will and probably never get caught? The attackers don’t have to put themselves into positions of official power. They just have to have “veto power” over the lives of those who wield it.

Our society and political system is perhaps far more fragile than we would like to believe. It’s resilience is extremely dependent upon being able to almost completely thwart those that would exercise “veto power” and get away with it.

Update: Mexico probably has a lot of data that could be used to answer the questions.


40 thoughts on “Random thought of the day

  1. So how soon are you expecting a visit and from what agency, hypothetically speaking that is? 😉

  2. I’m not certain where you get your “morals”, but it’s not our place as humans to make such calculations. Maybe governments do it, but that doesn’t validate it in my mind. Our contemporary justice system suggests we can, with punitive lawsuits, and attaching monetary value to people in liability cases.

    Responding to injustice should be like a violent self defense encounter. Your actions are for the purpose of stopping the attack. Many times that may mean the bad guy takes a dirt nap as a result of being “stopped”. While materially the same, if we describe the same scenario as the bad guy getting what he deserved, we’re on a slippery slope.

    I other words, don’t get consumed by hatred for the TSA.

  3. I advocate shunning them. If you know someone that works for TSA don’t talk to them or have any dealings with them. If you have a relative that works for TSA have as little contact as possible. Let them know why.

  4. An interesting concept.

    Although morals dictate we shouldn’t be breaking the law when we do not need to. However there are many things that the TSA, and other government agencies, do that don’t break the law either and still screw us. Why not take a few tips from their book.

    For example, every TSA employee and their family members are not allowed to buy groceries at a shop. That would be difficult to implement unless it was a small town. Gun shops can make TSA agents fill out photo id forms, at their cost, that they sign to say they allow you to distribute to anyone with a gun permit. No form, no sign, no shopping. Photos of TSA agents on the walls behind the counter with do not serve notices. How about boycotting gun companies that sell to the TSA directly. How about gun manufacturers refusing to sell to the US gov or any gov employee in IL. There are many ways that persecution can be done. There are a lot more of us than them and to us it is not just a paycheck.

    There are many ways that are perfectly legal that can still work but it will take everyone to join in.

    I watch with interest.

  5. I think that most people underestimate how effective verbal abuse against the TSA screeners directly would be.

    The fact is, they think that they are patriots. They really buy the BS that they are protecting us from terrorists. That sense of patriotism is what keeps them going. When we get through their thick skulls that we aren’t grateful for their “protection” then it really does get reduced to just a job. A job that everyone hates you for doing, that is boring and ridiculed and doesn’t even pay well.

    Crush their esprit de corps and you crush the organization. Killing them just strengthens it. Ridicule destroys it.

  6. Brilliant musings. Makes one think.

    Since the government is, of the people, and they often abuse their power, I think it is valid for average citizens to contemplate what responses we have as options, but the slippery slope is so very, very steep. Pesonally, I cannot advoacet violence as a policy, but I worry that I might smack a TSA agent if they touched my child, just like I would to any pervert who did so.

    Shunning, verbal abuse, reminding them incessantly about the Fourth Amendment (got to do this recently and still got on my flight), and basically telling them that they are drones of the government and only one step removed from jack-booted thugs.

  7. “Although morals dictate we shouldn’t be breaking the law when we do not need to.”

    For me, obeying the law isn’t so much a moral obligation, as it is “I just want to be left alone!” There are a lot of silly laws that outlaw activity that isn’t immoral; to the extent that I know about them, I obey them, but only because I don’t want to be fined or sent to prison.

    As for Joe’s question, it’s an interesting thing to think about. I have a relative who used to work for the TSA, but he left years ago because of health issues and a desire to pursue other goals. Beyond that, I personally wouldn’t be doing any of this to TSA brutes, because I don’t know anyone who works for the TSA.

    Having said that, I have often wondered what would happen if a large group of people, say 50 to 100, would dress up as Indians, walk right up to the grope-machines, pry up the machines from where they are bolted, and smash them to bits?

    Such activity would be difficult to coordinate, but once done, I’d imagine it might be difficult to prosecute, even if caught on camera (here, disguise is crucial). If this happened in enough places around the country, and such activity had the support of the People, it might lead to the disbanding of the TSA as well.

  8. Maybe if everyone said something to them _after_ going through the line?

    “It must suck to know you can only earn a living by irritating people.”

    “How does it feel to be hated by so many people?”

    “Do you enjoy groping people, or is it ‘just a job’?”

    “Do you ever worry about the machine giving you cancer since you’re here every day?

    “Have you heard about the cancer clusters among TSA workers?”

  9. What is the benefit of verbally disrespecting TSA? Will it make you feel good or will it make you look like just another a88hole?

    There are very few jobs people won’t do because of “verbal disrespect.” In fact, I can’t think of one vocation that has vanished due to “verbal disrespect.” The world hasn’t run out of crappy comics or bad musicians. Rush Limbaugh is still on the air. Ever sat at a Complaint desk? Some people actually thrive in an environment where they are verbally disrepected every single day.

    I can’t think of anything more useless than a plot to verbally disrespect people and think it is going to accomplish something.

  10. If the American Revolution is any example, the “abuse” (of the representatives of the Brits in America) led to an escalation of force by the British. That in turn, along with “Common Sense” (the publication) led to open hostility and war. That in turn led to the creation of the best country in human history, but it is a singular anomaly among revolutions, so far as I know. The others seem to have resulted in the replacement of one brutal regime with another, sometimes much worse regime.

    Any abuse of TSAers will result in accusations of terrorism, being on the side of terrorists, etc. There can be no doubt of that, I believe. For that matter, today, any support of the American Principles of Liberty are met with accusations of terrorism. Calls to cut federal spending are “holding a gun to the heads of the American People”, and the teaparty is a bunch of “terrorists” so that’s the game we’re in already.

    See; we’ve been set up. That’s been the game all along, and you all thought is was about feeding hungry children, or taking care of the elderly, or “keeping the country safe” or some other such bitter nonsense. You’ve been set up. You’re a “terrorist”. That’s already a done deal, and those who set you up are itching for a fight – a revolution (in their own words).

    So where do we go from here? As I’ve been saying, if a political solution is even in the cards yet, our first action must be to defeat (infiltrate and overcome) the Republican Party, which stands firmly in the way of our defeating the Democrats. That is best done at the state level first.
    (Note that Bush 43 gave us the DHS, the TSA and TARP One, among other transgressions)

    The TSA is but one little boil on our butts, but we’re covered with boils.

  11. I think shunning and boycotting (refusing to do business with them) individual TSA goons could be very effective if it was combined with widespread and persistent verbal abuse. In order to be really effective, we would have to obtain and publish photographs and personal info for significant numbers of the child molesters.

    I envision sort of a sex-offender registry for TSA employees.

    I don’t see where it could hurt. Voting and lobbying haven’t changed anything, why not try this?

  12. @Ubu52

    I can’t think of anything more useless than a plot to verbally disrespect people to condone sexual assault, molestation, and humiliation of the law abiding under the guise of “security” and think it is going to accomplish something actually make us safer.

    There fixed that for you.

    There have been numerous people throughout history that have justified horrible and despicable acts all around the basis of “it’s my job.” These people lack even the most fundamental basics of character and be exposed as the pawns and thugs they are.

    Many of those that work for the TSA think that they are loved by the American public, in truth they have ensured I, and others like me, will never fly again, and now they want to prevent me from engaging in commerce, which includes going to work. Obviously Ubu, you have no problem with the Brown Shirts Blue Shirts of the TSA violating you, your property, and your rights. In the words of Samuel Adams, “May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

  13. Since I do everything I can to minimize flying now, I am concerned with the TSA testing the waters for their “services” at train and bus stations.
    I assume the next step will be for them to set up check points on road ways with an impolite, “Your papers please” just for me to drive my car.

    Sometimes dictatorships/totalitarian regimes go for end zone on the first play and sometimes they start small and encroach progressively.
    I wonder when citizens will say, enough is enough.

    And yes, a concerted effort will make TSA so miserable that too few will sign on. There are not enough masochists to fill the positions.

  14. Some interesting thoughts here.

    My activism against the TSA includes (mentioned) flying as little as possible, preparing to “sell my vote” only to those who promise to dismantle the TSA as the first order of business 1/20/13, and gathering intell. I won’t do verbal assault because the caliber of people I would be assaulting is low, (little tolerance for verbal taunts) and verbal assault could easily escalate to deadly force. With the legal deck stacked against me, such a situation, regardless of it’s clarity, would make me a prisoner for the rest of my days. I’m saving that risk for when it will count bigger coup.

    The suggestions of how a small number can take down a big organization are pure revolutionary theory. Castro did it in Cuba, quite successfully, with less arms than most of us can supply, but other than in “Soldier of Fortune”, this doesn’t happen very often. Vanderboegh (sp?) probably has gone farther along these lines than anyone with his novel.

    Look at the history of the Waffen SS. Initially, it was a highly selective organization in it’s recruiting as Hitler got started, but in the end, they were taking anyone who could walk, talk and chew a sausage. The TSA is probably already at this stage. The $15/hr that they pay can be gotten almost anywhere there is a police opening for a beginning patrol officer.

    The Powers That Be probably envision the TSA as the sort of National Police Force that the Euro socialist states have, but in reality, the only way such a force could exist would be to dragoon all local forces into it’s organization. Were that to happen, I believe that at least a third would resign, and be available to form a revolutionary core (along with most of the OIF and ‘Stan vets).

    If the conservatives win in 2012, I look for the TSA to go away quickly. It’s our best shot at the TSA to encourage discussion amongst the likely candidates as to just how they would make that happen.

  15. Poke at ’em — but understand they will retaliate, first against you personally and eventually, as their relationship with the public becomes more hostile, they’ll dink with anyone who even blinks at ’em.

    This might not be a bad thing but keep in mind that a nice, simple insult/refusal to treat with freely boycott is unlikely to directly result in TSA going away; they’ll just become more and more like bad cops in the slums — or an occupying army.

    It does, eventually, produce results. Possibly not good ones.

    The Republic has been slouching down into Empire for many years. While I’d like to see it get cleaned out and rebooted, I fear History suggests otherwise. 🙁

  16. @Rivrdog, I never said do it in an airport. I said do it when you see them elsewhere, when the deck is no longer stacked in their favor. You can verbally harass all you want, just don’t threaten and you’ll be fine. Preferably video tape it. If they get physical they have no back up because at that point they are absolutely unequivocally a citizen. They are not an agent “representing” the government, and they are not sworn law enforcement despite their belief to the contrary.

    @Roberta X, It will thin out those who are there who still have some resemblance of moral character left. That way when we go in and clean house, we can do it with an absolutely clear conscience that they would destroy us if they had the opportunity. The problem right now is they think they’re god, case in point the TSA is harassing congress critters. It’s time to put some fear back into them. The idea of a TSA registry works for me, post phone numbers, and addresses for people to post around as they see fit. Nothing quite like tossing someone’s phone # into a personal ad to cause a little marital stress at home.

  17. I dunno. “nude body scans” sounds kinda kinky. Like you might be some sort of prude if that bothered you. Or had a tragically poor body-image. How about “whole body dose of ionizing radiation”?

    Here’s another option. Hug the the next TSA agent you encounter. Tearfully ask him or her, “For the love of God, can’t you see that this is so wrong? It’s pathetic and degrades us all. It shames the memory of our courageous parents. Please, stop.” While a tad more difficult for a guy to pull off (due to residual gender stereotypes of appropriate emotional expressiveness), it’s much less likely to get you jailed.

    Jeff “A Nation of Cowards” Snyder did a challenging series of columns for American Hangunner a few years a back centered on non-violent resistance. If you found “A Nation of Cowards” to be as influential as I did, you should check out where his thinking headed afterwards. One of the series can be found here.

  18. If TSA goes away, what is it going to be replaced by? Israeli airport style security? The kind of security we had before 9/11?

  19. @ubu
    I’d be happy with just checking luggage and carry-on’s by X-ray for obvious explosives and detonators. I don’t care about people carrying weapons onto the aircraft. All it does is disarm those who would otherwise be armed. I carried knives on a regular basis on flights prior to 9/11, it never magically hopped out and stabbed someone. Ultimately all screening minus profiling is a pointless endeavor. Someone who is determined to accomplish an attack against a fixed position will eventually win. The only thing we’re doing now is making sure that victims are disarmed, just like the gun control crowd wants.

    Frankly nothing should have changed because of that day. Instead everyone flipped their handle and look what happened. A bunch of people pissed everyone else’s rights down the drain that weren’t theirs to piss to begin with. People panicked in the moments after a tragedy wanting to “do something” instead of actually thinking the problem through. It was a knee jerk reaction that didn’t actually do a damn thing other than create the mess we have now and trash our rights. Note the TSA hasn’t actually gotten anyone, they’ve let firearms and box cutters through. It has been the humiliated passengers that actually stop terrorists.

    The bottom line is statistically there is no reason for the pile of BS that we go through to fly, lifetime risk of dying in a terrorist attack is 1 in 1282. However that rate is only accurate IF, there is a terrorist attack on the same scale as 9/11 EVERY year. In otherwords, why are we worrying about something that is such a statistical anomaly that we’re more likely to be struck by lightning?

    As for this just being for flying, maybe you missed the news Ubu, they’re coming to a mall and a road near you. They are nothing but blue shirted modern gestapo thugs who are getting tired of those of us who refuse to be molested so now they’d rather confine us to our homes or molest us on the way to work. Besides, what are they going to do when they see I’m legally carrying firearms and have 1 ton of AN in the back for Joe. Not a damn thing cause it’s all legal so WHY are they doing it!?

  20. “If TSA goes away, what is it going to be replaced by? Israeli airport style security? The kind of security we had before 9/11?”

    I’d like to go back to security before metal detectors; Barron Barnett also suggested x-raying things to make sure there are no explosives, which is also a reasonable step to take–but one we don’t do, even for buses. (I don’t know about trains, though, one way or another.)

    The thing is, we are vunerable, and there’s nothing we could do about it. Put x-rays and metal detectors on every road corner; require us to fly naked; require as many tracers in as many explosives precursors as you can–but the fact remains that there will always be weak points that terrorists will exploit. In the meantime, the billions who aren’t terrorists will be inconvenienced for nothing!

    Indeed, the measures we’ve taken so far have created a new weak point, that is surprising that terrorists haven’t yet exploited: the crowded area in the airport where people are waiting to be checked. Imagine just what a suicide bomber can do, even before going through the scanner or getting groped!

    As Joe pointed out before, it’s not the government’s job to prevent terrorist attacks, and to expect them to do so is to expect them to do the impossible. It also destroys our rights and freedoms.

    There is always a balance between liberty and security (or security, so called, because often we just get an illusion)–and so it’s very useful to answer this question: what level of humiliation and loss of freedom will push you over the edge, before you say “Enough!” and demand your dignity?

    Meanwhile, we would do well to remember the immortal words of John Stark: “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.”

    And I would add: If the Tree of Liberty needs to be watered, every so often, with the blood of soldiers and tyrants, is it too much to ask each of us to risk the rare terrorist attack, for the right to keep and bear arms on airplanes, buses, trains, and even our own cars driven on roads?

  21. Barron,

    There’s a difference between condoning the BS that the TSA does every day, and believing that some coordinated name-calling will make any difference at all. I actually agree with Ubu to an extent. People will do all sorts of idiotic jobs if they need to make a living. TSA is just an outsized, federalized group of mall-cops, with the authority to make your life miserable. I don’t know of too many groups that are derided more than security guards, yet those companies seem to maintain full employment.

    Cute plan, but it’s highly wishful thinking. When they start feeling me up at the mall, I think it’s time for more than epithets.

  22. There is and will be only one effective method of getting rid of the TSA, and that is simply to stop flying. The airlines operate on such thin margins that 2 days of no reservations would simply cause such a ripple that they would be begging the government to pull the TSA goons from airports.

    If some really enterprising (and rich!) individual were to start a private airline that catered to only those who are armed, it would further incapacitate the TSA. It would be private, thus anyone could board who was cleared.

    Verbal abuse won’t stop it, inner city cops get verbally abused constantly, and yet the pool seems to stay full.

    The simple fact is that so long as we fly, we give tacit approval to continue the molestation caused by TSA. Yell and scream all we want, but the economics are in our favor, IF we simply have the willpower to use the stick. (We don’t, and too many people would keep flying because they enjoy the psychological benefit they get from seeing those “Security” people there keeping them “safe”, regardless of the fact that there is no real benefit.)

  23. If you cut out the tumor, what is it going to be replaced by?

    If you kill the rabid dog, what is it going to be replaced by?

    If you cut out the gangrene, what is it going to be replaced by?

    If you remove the mudslide from the road, what is it going to be replaced by?

    If you remove the nail from the tire, what is it going to be replaced by?

    If you remove the excess fat from your ass, what is it going to be replaced by?

    If you remove the worm from the apple, what is it going to be replaced by?

    If you remove the slug from the garden, what is it going to be replaced by?

    If you remove the hornet nest from the entry way, what is it going to be replaced by?

    “If TSA goes away, what is it going to be replaced by?”

    I would hope that any person capable of reason would see that the correct answer to each and every one of those questions is exactly the same one word answer.

  24. @Alpheus, I often play red team scenarios at work and extend them to other exercises as well. I have thought of exactly the checkpoint scenario you describe and there is absolutely NOTHING that can be done about it. Not only that, I think the casualty rate for an attack in such a place would be considerably higher, not to mention the permanent unavailability of the terminal if properly executed.

    @Defens I never said that it would solve the problem unequivocally. My wife needs a job right now but you don’t see her applying to the TSA position that just opened up where we live. My view of people who do that job are those who lack character. Most of those groups you mention are only derided while on the job while working, I’m saying nail them while even off the job. Take the one liners after screening, but make them feel ashamed everywhere they go, do NOT let them escape it. As Joe said, use your imagination, I think Wade was onto something with his idea for a registry. It’s amazing the level of harassment that can be done by just obtaining someone’s phone number and you not even dialing a digit.

    @Bill No longer flying isn’t going to work anymore. Yeah it will add pressure from airlines but they have gotten large enough they will just harass you on your way to work in your car. As for the private airline, TSA was talking about moving to small private aircraft as well. Wife was on a private charter while with the WSU marching band. They screened the band and cheerleaders as they boarded the aircraft. Don’t know what the hell for other than to extend their reach.

    Your real option is to cause the TSA to actually become the problem. If you make them uncomfortable enough they start assaulting people outside of work. Make them so they cause issues for airlines as well.

    @bob r Well put.

  25. Barron,

    I disagree on the no longer flying as an option. It WOULD work, and work incredibly quickly. The airlines have miniscule margins. Even a bad storm in a region of the country makes their bottom line very unstable. If we could somehow convince people to not fly at all for 2 days, the system would be so disrupted that the airlines would throw the TSA over so quick that we would all wonder if they ever existed.

    Remember, TSA is now voluntary for the airports. They can opt out, if they have the guts to do so. Nothing provides that like a financial incentive.

    TSA would then be left with a huge workforce and no where to go. They have no jurisdiction away from the transportation hubs, and most local PD’s and Sheriffs departments have little sympathy for what they consider to be nothing but highly paid mall cops.

    It would work, but as you and I both know, the American people have little stomach for protecting their own liberty. We’d rather send our best, most patriotic young men and women half way around the world to try to save countries that don’t want us there and where we have virtually no chance of long term success.

    This will not end well.

  26. “Barron Barnett also suggested x-raying things to make sure there are no explosives, which is also a reasonable step to take–but one we don’t do, even for buses.”

    I forgot to mention a point I was going to make when I said this: although we don’t screen buses for explosives, they aren’t bombed all that often either. And this isn’t because buses would make impossible targets–as a certain bomb attempt in London demonstrated, and as is continually demonstrated in Israel for that matter–terrorists are willing to bomb buses as part of an act of terror.

    The loss of liberty really isn’t worth the perceived increase in safety!

  27. @Bill:

    Remember, TSA is now voluntary for the airports. They can opt out, if they have the guts to do so. Nothing provides that like a financial incentive.

    You’re wrong on the opt out. Airports have to get approval from the TSA for private screeners. The TSA refuses to allow any new private screening applications the have a self created monopoly on the system.

    While they do operate on small margins, they are also getting large subsidy’s from the government. What’s to say that the government won’t just keep paying the bills as usual? Also you cannot actually stop passenger service 100%, you have businesses that still need to travel, you have people who must travel due to illness, and numerous other causes.

    As for being toothless outside the airport, that’s my point. Make them uncomfortable, squeamish, and scared when they can’t hide. Cause them to be the one’s to get physical first. Then as my dad said growing up, “Fuck them up so bad every day when they look in the mirror they wish they hadn’t hit you.” Video cameras in glasses like Joe’s would be quite helpful in a situation like that. The bottom line is people are looking at my solution and saying it will never work. The thing is, you can make it work with enough imagination while looking at the problem. Pressure can be applied in numerous and different ways for different results. You will never get all of the American public to quit flying even for 2 days. The only way that can happen is if the government shuts down travel, or TSA starts screwing the pooch so hard whole loads of people miss their flights. The only way I see to cause those last two statements involve committing felonies.

  28. I’ve often wondered if pushing the airlines to failure wasn’t part of the plan for TSA in the first place. After all, we can’t let our airlines fail, now can we? The only solution would be for the Gov to step in and take them over. National Security, you know.

  29. While I have no problem with the discussion I had not intended my post to be specific to TSA. As far as I am concerned TSA is a solved problem.

    It would only take dozen or so volunteers a few days to fix it. There would be no violence or property damage required but if you got caught there probably would be jail time and/or large fines and massive civil liability.

  30. “Indeed, the measures we’ve taken so far have created a new weak point, that is surprising that terrorists haven’t yet exploited: the crowded area in the airport where people are waiting to be checked.”

    Doesn’t your airport have airport police and bomb sniffing dogs? If your airport police are on the ball, they should start checking you out when you arrive at the terminal (drive up in your car or get off the shuttle bus).

  31. “Also you cannot actually stop passenger service 100%, you have businesses that still need to travel, you have people who must travel due to illness, and numerous other causes.”

    After 9/11, all air traffic was stopped for several days. Have you forgotten about that?

  32. “Doesn’t your airport have airport police and bomb sniffing dogs? If your airport police are on the ball, they should start checking you out when you arrive at the terminal (drive up in your car or get off the shuttle bus).”

    Bomb-sniffing dogs can only sniff out “tracers” put into certain explosives, as companies are required by law to be put in them; if terrorists create bombs from scratch, though, these tracers won’t be there. Furthermore, I don’t recall seeing bomb-sniffing dogs the last time I flew; perhaps they are more numerous now, but I doubt it.

    As for airport police, do you really expect me to believe they provide meaningful checks for suicide bombers the moment people arrive at a terminal? I remember my local airport very well–I’ve been there about a dozen times–and I’ve been picked up, and have picked up others, at the terminal, in such a way that I could have easily just walked to the check-up point and blown myself up. Very seldom is there a police officer at the doors of the airport, and there are so many people at the airport that I have little faith that police officers would provide any meaningful security at all.

    Heck, I have little faith that our TSA agents can find a suicide bomber, or prevent one from getting on a plane!

    @Joe: I don’t quite see how the TSA could be solved as you describe it, unless you are referring to insulting agents whenever we see them; now that you mention we’re “off topic”…I’ll have to say that the previous link to one of Jeff Snyder’s articles (about Civil Disobedience) has given me a bit to think about–and a bit of annoyance, because Snyder mentions civil disobedience, violence, and a third way, to fight tyranny, and I’m left wondering how I can find the entire series that Snyder discusses!

    In any case, it’s good to think about alternatives to violent revolution. As Jeff Snyder pointed out, relying on violent revolution alone puts us in a position to tolerate a lot of abuse, that isn’t morally on a level to justify violence to correct.

  33. @ubu

    Doesn’t your airport have airport police and bomb sniffing dogs? If your airport police are on the ball, they should start checking you out when you arrive at the terminal (drive up in your car or get off the shuttle bus).

    I suggest you find out how bomb sniffing works and how easily it is dealt with. Home made explosives cannot be sniffed for.

    After 9/11, all air traffic was stopped for several days. Have you forgotten about that?

    That wasn’t voulentary now was it? No it was mandated by the government, which if you read my whole post you’ll see it said the following:

    You will never get all of the American public to quit flying even for 2 days. The only way that can happen is if the government shuts down travel, or TSA starts screwing the pooch so hard whole loads of people miss their flights.

    I wasn’t aware that my mother in law was stranded in Maryland wanting to get on the jet and come home just because she didn’t want to fly. Here it was I thought the GOVERNMENT shut air traffic down. They then bailed out the airlines from the finical mess they were in because of it.

    @Alpheus No Joe is right the TSA is a solved problem. There have been long discussions on how to accomplish it, however, the problem is as he states at the end, if you do it and get caught, you’re going to jail. You’re also going to need a bunch of help to make it work successfully to destroy the TSA.

  34. @ubu52, The local (Pullman Washington) airport does not have police or dogs.

    My brother does search and rescue with his dogs and I probably know a little more than the average person about working dogs. Dogs get tired and “lose focus” much quicker than humans. And as other have said, and I have posted about, for plastic (and some other) explosives detection depends on marker compounds being added. For example, Boomerite is not detected by the explosives detection equipment at the airports I have gone through.

    @Alpheus, I have not publicly talked about the solution to the TSA problem. Barron and a few others know.

  35. Hmmm… I just realized there is a way to blow up a commercial airplane in flight while you are not on it with no special access privileges and using conventional explosives and detonators. The current security theater will not detect this method.

  36. @Joe, Red teaming is a very valuable exercise. It allows us to one see flaws in the system without the actual damage. Not only that but it can also illustrate the futility of harassing everyone.

    I just wish others would engage in the practice, though many would call us monsters for daring to think like our enemy.

  37. I’m going to say that Joe had his account hacked. Because he is not a communist, to be urging other folks to get arrested for a long time for his ideals. Joe knows that the people who deal with the public are the lowest level, and that harassment will drive out the 5-10% that actually make us safer without discouraging the psychopaths and losers we want to quit.

    Whose hearts and minds do we most want to win? Congress, judges. Targeting TSA screeners is like picking on toll booth workers.

  38. Joe knows that the people who deal with the public are the lowest level, and that harassment will drive out the 5-10% that actually make us safer without discouraging the psychopaths and losers we want to quit.

    Your assumption is that their current system works at all. Frankly I’d be happy if everyone quit because it’s A Security Theater. It doesn’t make anyone actually safer, it just makes people like you feel safer. Red team the problem for a bit, you’ll eventually see the issues. There is no way to actually do what they are trying to. Given Joe’s recent revelation, even stripping everyone nude for screening and drugging them so they sleep during flight won’t stop an attack.
    Also while they’re at the lowest level, if the honest among them would rather be treated with dignity and respect, maybe they should police those giving them a bad name.

  39. I would like to revisit an approach that someone else proposed a while back.
    Sorry, I cannot remember who or where. It is the penultimate in un-PC approaches, but it could work.

    Specifically, we should end the security non-sense at the airports.
    It does not catch the terrorists and is an affront to our liberties.
    People should be allowed firearms on-board aircraft and our citizens will deal with any SOBs.

    What do we do instead if attacks are successful in this new environment?
    Since nearly 100% of the terrorists are from a specific religion and a general area of the world, we know our enemy.
    Any terrorist incident is met with an immediate and disproportionate response, the nuclear obliteration of a city.
    Say flight 195 goes down, then Karachi is vaporized, then a retalitory attack on n embassy and Damascus is no more.
    Execute this without an investigation or determination of culpability, no warning, no survivors, and no remorse.

    This assumes a level of rationality in our enemy, like the Soviets had, in which the threat of the nuclear trip-wire kept Western Europe free and produced the Cold War, not WWIII.

    Even home grown terrorists may think twice if they know that Mecca could be reduced to ash and glass.

    It is basically the nuclear equivalent of the German reprisals against the population for partisan activites.
    It did not work for the Germans because they were the aggressors, the occupiers, and resistance was necessary.
    However, for the current terrorists, they are motivated by a religious ideology of hatred and conquest.
    Nuclear reprisals reduces their ability to enslave the world and puts their religious sites at risk.

    Maybe, just maybe, the cost will be recognized to be too high and they will end the terrorism themselves.

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