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Monday, December 28, 2009

Trobec: "Crotch Bomber" Means More Futile Airport Security

We have spent eight years constantly tightening airport security, and one loon can still manage to sneak exploding pants onto a plane. Now we take away blankets, don't let passengers move, and increase body searches. Can you say diminishing returns?

Frequent flyer Jay Trobec can: he agrees that more layers of airport security are futile "knee-jerk reactions" to the "crotch bomber":

The TSA announced the irritating, meaningless measures because it feels it has to do something - even when it is powerless to do anything meaningful. There will now be calls for those full-body scanners, the same ones that were criticized by civil rights and women’s groups because they allow screeners to see beneath clothing. A better idea would be to do what other countries do: profile. Take everyone whose passport isn’t attached to a documented, long-time history of law abiding behavior, and run them through additional screening including highly-invasive pat-downs. After all, 80 grams of explosive hidden in underpants is pretty hard to detect.

As I see it, we have three choices: full-body scanning that violates people’s privacy, profiling that violates people’s rights, or new TSA regulations that irritate everyone without providing one bit of actual protection [Jay Trobec, "Crotch Bomber Ignites TSA Lunacy," Jaystream, 2009.12.27].

If I were a terrrorist, I would view Friday's botched bombing as a smashing success. Instead of just killing a couple hundred people, I've used 80 grams of chemicals and one bumbling patsy to create ongoing daily inconvenience and invasion of privacy for over a million people, not to mention one more drag on the American economy. The terrorists are getting us to do their work for them. That's a real return on investment.

Meanwhile, prepare to fly naked... or in airport-issued spandex.


  1. I love it when someone whose only claim to know wtf he is talking about is that he is a "frequent flyer" tries to analyze the effectiveness or lack thereof of our airline security measures.

    He did forget option 4 though, get rid of DHS altogether and just cross your fingers whenever you get on a plane...

  2. Forget the political correctness and profile those who are doing the terror. Oh, pardon me, this bomber wasn't a terrorist, he was called a criminal and has already lawyered up probably. As long as we allow political correctness to run amok, we are in danger. The Muslims who are not terrorists should not mind being profiled; after all, it is them being protected in this way also. No blankets, pillows, being allowed out of your seat during flights, etc will not solve the problem. We know what will help, and it's time that procedure be allowed.

  3. Sorry, that was me, Nonnie.

  4. BWJunior:

    I vote for little to no security theater from now on. 9/11 only worked because we had been told not to fight hostage takers. Now that we know to fight rather than sit by idly I can't imagine any real disturbance ever happening again.

  5. Yes we really are safer under Obama


  6. Good luck with that Tony, the only reason the underwear bomber failed (and the shoe bomber Richard Reid for that matter)was because he was an idiot not because the passengers restrained him. By the time they noticed the smoke, he had already failed to detonate the PETN and had instead burned the wrong wick if you know what I mean.

    In a successful attack, by the time passengers would have figured out something was wrong they would have been looking at a huge hole in the fuselage of the airplane next to where the bomber had been sitting.

  7. "Now that we know to fight rather than sit by idly I can't imagine any real disturbance ever happening again." And you wrote this today, after this latest incident??? Unbelievable.

  8. BW and Nonnie:

    We spend billions a year on the heightened security at our airports with little to show for it. I would call that a terrorist win. Everytime you get on a plane you are constantly reminded about previous attacks. Absolute security from a dedicated, intelligent enemy cannot be stopped.

    We just draw the line at different levels. I value my privacy more than either of you evidently. I'm more inline with the English stiff upper lip approach to terrorism.

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

  9. I'm with Tony. We're frisking babies and telling passengers they can't read. Such measures will not stop the clever and determined terrorist. Such measures (and the costs Tony menions) further demonstrate the terrorists need not mount successful attacks to damage the American economy and culture.

  10. Steve Sibson12/29/2009 5:26 AM

    So Tony and cory,

    Are you both now ready to remove all gun control laws and let us carry firearms onto airplanes?:

    "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" - Benjamin Franklin

  11. Tony and Cory,

    We can debate back and forth as to the real effectiveness of the current security rules to the cows come home but 2 facts remain. Not one successful attack has occurred since they went in to effect and if the security requirements are too much for you to deal with you are free to find another way to get to your destination.

    And you are right Tony we must have different ideas of what constitutes privacy invasion. I spend more time worrying about our security agencies being given carte blanche by Congress to wiretap my phone without a warrant after passage of the retooled FISA regulations than I do worrying about having to take my shoes off when passing through airport security.

  12. Flying is safer than driving, but we drove 1500 miles to Florida in October and had a very relaxing, enjoyable trip. No strip searches, saved about $750 over the cost of airfare, no plugged ears or viruses floating around. We'll still fly, but driving a long trip was a great experience, we saw several states and were able to stop and take in local culture along the way.

  13. Perhaps no image better captures the ideology of Steve Sibson better than armed civilians turning a jetliner at 30,000 feet into a free-fire zone.

  14. Steve:

    Is your world view only black or white? Everytime you post something here it is always one extreme or another ignoring any rational position in between the extremes.
    In my post, I specifically state that I'm drawing the line at a rational point between the extremes.

    Next time you ramble on about natural law should I just post some random extreme example about how such a system could run amok? And since you obviously wouldn't take the insane position provide that as evidence of the failure of your position?

  15. Tony

    Based on your statement 'I vote for little to no security theater from now on.' I think Sibby's question is very reasonable, and deserves a resonalbe answer.


    As for you agreeing with Tony's statement, as I mentioned above, Sibby's question is not out of line. In fact I was going to ask something similar but Sibby beat me to the punch. IMO Sibby deserves a legitimate answer.

    Tim Higgins

  16. Tony & Cory:

    Either of you two want to guess at the percentage of people who died on those 4 planes on 911 would not have wanted a Second Amendment opportunity to defend themselves, their neighbors, and this country from those who were going to use the airplane as a weapon?

  17. Let me make my response more explicit, Tim: untrained civilians packing heat on an airplane are a disaster waiting to happen. They would make the sky marshals' job a nightmare. They would increase accidents. And while explosive depressurization isn't a guaranteed danger, enough can go wrong with bullets whizzing around inside an airplane (or any enclosed space filled with panicky civilians) that armed passengers fail the cost-benefit analysis. As the crotch bomber deomonstrates, the only arms we really need are the strong ones with which we all come equipped.

  18. Steve Sibson12/29/2009 4:20 PM


    Thanks for your analysis that applies the cost benefit rule.

    So the costs are stupid Americans who would cause accidental shootings. While I agree that risk is there, I consider it small. And the benefit is:

    Tony’s words: “I would call that a terrorist win.”
    Cory’s words: “Such measures (and the costs Tony menions) further demonstrate the terrorists need not mount successful attacks to damage the American economy and culture.”

    I simply disagree that the benefit of not letting the terrorists win while they damage America’s economy and culture is smaller than the costs of accidental shootings.

    But it is OK for Cory and me to disagree on that. What we need to understand is that the federal government cannot constitutionally deny the Second Amendment right to bear arms. That should be up to the airlines.

    So for example, CoryAir does have the right to not allow its customers to have guns, because they are too stupid. And SibbyAir does allow his customers to have firearms after meeting certain requirement, such as bullets that shatter. So if the terrorists targets CoryAir and use his planes as weapons, then he is made responsible for damages. Even CoryAir does not lose his insurance coverage, many of his customers probably will smarten up and use SibbyAir, which is much safer.

  19. No offence Corey, I will be booking on SibbyAir

    Tim Higgins

  20. No offense taken, Tim: I'll have fewer accidental shootings, hijackings, and crashes, not to mention much easier security screenings.

  21. Sibby Airlines.

    "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, please unload your firearm and place under your seat/flotation device, and we appreciate no gunplay until the captain has turned off the seat belt sign."


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