Snowglobes, Gel Insoles: The Tools of Terrorism

CNN has posted up a marvelous round-up of traveler complaints after the first few days of the new airline security regulations. The absurdity of confiscating snow globes and gel in-soles really speaks for itself, but we marveled at this letter from an airline employee.

    I work for an airline and I’ve noticed a lot of people complaining that they are being inconvenienced by the new regulations. This is a problem in my opinion because people are more concerned about convenience than their personal safety. I believe that until the TSA does away with carry-on bags altogether, we will not be any safer. With more bags comes more room for error, more screening time, etc. For decades, people checked in their baggage and carried tiny little cabin bags. Why are we now so dependent on having our huge rolling suitcases with us at all times? I mean, come on people! If it means flying safely, I think you can wait an extra 15 minutes at baggage claim.

First of all, when that extra 15 minutes comes on the end of an existing hour, and when airlines and insurers won’t cover the value of the items we check-in, it goes beyond a mere gripe about convenience. And then the question is: do these regulations make anyone feel safer? Or do they simply make us more afraid? And isn’t that precisely what both terrorists and politicians want in the end, anyway?

I’d take it further, to the point that you can be free or you can be safe, but not both. But why bother? You will never win an argument with conformists to a culture of fear.

CNN.com readers share tales of travel woes [CNN]

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  1. Xian.C says:

    Couldn’t agree more… with consumerist, that is. This latest knee-jerk reactive “security measure”, like the previous one centered around explosive shoes, is nothing more than a case of, “Damn, we hadn’t thought of that. OK… um.. no liquids at all on the plane!” Steven Colbert, and my high school biology teacher, pointed out that the human body is over 70% liquid! When terrorists figure out how to make a person a walking bomb will nobody be allowed on planes? In his latest book, Greg Palast thanks God that crazy French guy with the shoes didn’t decide to hide the explosives in his underwear. Do you even want to imagine what passengers would be going through if that had been the case? Perhaps everyone should just show up at the airport with no carry-on, wearing nothing but a speedo and flip-flops.

    I have simply chosen not to fly until the airlines force DHS, TSA and the FAA to get their heads out of their asses about these knee-jerk reactive “security policies” that really do nothing but inconvenience passengers. While I know this solution may not be viable for everyone, I figure if enough people boycott airports and flying in general, more than just the airlines will redouble their efforts at lobbying for changes in the way security is handled.

  2. aka Cat says:

    That’s rich, coming from a flight attendant. Cabin crew has always rolled their luggage onboard! Although that damn well better have changed the last few days — anyone know if it did?

    I’ve been getting into arguments about the new security all weekend.

    Yes, it’s an inconvenience.

    Hell yes, I’m going to bitch about it.

    It can’t make us safe from the terrorists. Any terrorist with half a brain cell will just come up with a plan that works around the current ‘security’. They’ve still got body cavities, after all.

    I won’t be flying anytime soon.

  3. KevinQ says:

    I agree with the commenters so far. I forget who pointed it out, but the foiling of terrorist’s plans in Britain came about – not because airport security poured out everybody’s Sprite – but because the police were doing their job. These slapdash “security measures” don’t do anything to make us safer – they only make us more afraid.

    And that’s how the terrorists win.

    K

  4. Paul D says:

    excellent point, KevinQ.

    These guys were caught, not by illegal wiretapping, not red-handed at
    the scene via some elaborate TSA screening process, but by good
    old-fashioned police work.

    All this hysteria is for naught. Just let the cops do their jobs.

    “Wait, Aren’t You Scared?”

  5. LTS! says:

    Is there any particular reason that they can’t just lock the carry on compartments during the flight? That way no passengers can access them without a flight attendant’s assitance. Doesn’t this resolve the issue? Granted you are allowed to store one bag under the seat but they could get rid of that.

    It’s better than nothing and certainly not as bad as checking everything.

  6. Lesley says:

    Why are we now so dependent on having our huge rolling suitcases with us at all times?

    Is that supposed to be a serious question? If so, I’ll answer it: because we don’t want to be stuck on our business trips or vacations without our clothes or other necessities. It’s that simple. It’s not a matter of waiting on a bag; it’s a matter of making sure we won’t be without a bag.

    If I have to fly again anytime soon, I’m going to FedEx everything I need to my destination ahead of time.

  7. KevinQ says:

    LTS!, I’m surprised that somebody’s not working on that system, but I’d also be surprised if they actually implemented it. It would be a huge drain on the flight attendant’s time. And it would take just one person dying because they couldn’t get to their heart medicine or diabetes medicine in time before we went back to having them unlocked.

    K

  8. AndyAndy719 says:

    Pretty funny. Why are we so dependant on carry-on luggage?

    Maybe it has something to do with this story:

    http://consumerist.com/consumer/security/insurers-to-trave

    “But it gets worse: under international rules, an airline is liable to pay a maximum of £850 in compensation for lost luggage. But that figure has largely been decided upon based upon the assumption that valuables will be kept in the cabin. Prepare to pay the price of someone else’s incompetence in the name of freedom.”

    So I should check my valuables, yet, you’re not going to pay for them.

    It also should be noted that these crazy liquid dumpings and shoe taking off security measures wouldn’t have stopped the original 9/11 hijackers. I don’t remember any of them blowing up shoes or pouring dangerous sprite in someone’s eye.

  9. Triteon says:

    Maybe the time has come for 2 new flight options: increased security, with accompanying delays, headaches and restrictions to the right; less security, with increased (however moderatle) risk of attack to the left. Now, who can come up here and fly this plane?

  10. Pelagius says:

    The “temporary” security measures aren’t meant to make us safer,
    they’re meant to make it look like THE AUTHORITIES are doing something
    to make us safer, thus (to the weak minded) making us feel safer.

    This may get me on the “No Fly List” but every time I travel by plane,
    and have all that time standing around and waiting to muse on the
    subject, I make a mental game of figuring out how to bypass the
    ridiculous and shoddy security measures.

    All effective counter-terrorism is carried out by intel and police
    work. The rest is to make the hoopleheads feel better about themselves.

  11. pete says:

    Who in their right mind would put a laptop in a checked bag?
    Forget worrying about it being crushed – if they “lose” your bag the compensation wouldn’t be enough to cover that one item, not to mention everything else in the bag.
    guh

  12. Xian.C says:

    In my mind, the post-9/11 security measures at airports by and large serve three purposes:

    1. Show the people the government is doing something. Anything. This placates the ‘unwashed masses’.

    2. Spend the DHS budget. Even in fighting terrorism, the rules of Fed. Gvmt. budgeting apply – use it or lose it.

    3. Maintain a healthy level of fear in the populace. Without the constant reminder of the threat of terrorism, more people would see measures like this for what they are. Also, the threat of terrorism affords our representatives in Washington to spy on us illegaly (wiretapping) and suspend our civil rights (USA Patriot Act) while having to put up with less/little resistance.

  13. Jesse in Japan says:

    You’re damned right I care more about convenience than safety. For instance, I could strap on a kevlar vest every time I leave home on the off chance that somebody might shoot me, but kevlar vests are really quite heavy, so most of the time I just do what’s convenient and leave home without any body armor. Also, I really should remember to bring my gas mask with me in case of a biological or chemical attack. Perhaps I should bring a geiger counter with me in case of a nuclear war. But that’s really a lot of stuff to carry. It’s much more convenient, especially if I’m just running down to the store, to do without.

  14. Boo says:

    Has FedEx or any other delivery company set up a shipping outlet beside the security check point yet? I would rather trust them to get my electronics safely to my destination than the airlines.

  15. Triteon says:

    Almost 3,000 people died as a result of the 9/11 attacks, over 2,000 of which were not in the hijacked planes. We certainly have the choice of how to live our lives– with or without Kevlar, gas masks, et al. (I, too, choose without.) But don’t we have a responsibility to protect those on the ground? That’s why I’ll argue for the increased security.

  16. Timbojones says:

    Triteon:
    The point is, the increased security does nothing to protect people on the ground because it is NOT an effective deterrant to terrorists.

    You don’t need a gun to take over a plane; you don’t need a boxcutter or fingernail trimmers or a bomb. A skilled fighter can kill a man with a plastic spork, a piece ripped off the seat, or bare hands. All you need to hijack a plane is more confidence than the crew and other passengers, to take advantage of the herd mentality by asserting control and leadership. These ‘security measures’ do nothing against that basic principle — in fact they reinforce the herd mentality and ultimately make us more susceptible to attack.

  17. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Pete:

    If you’re flying out of Britain now, you don’t have a choice. Either put the laptop in checked baggage or leave it at home. It’s only a matter of time until it happens here in the US too. Every time this crap happens, I just think about how it makes the dumb people feel safer and makes the smart people realize how dumb these regulations are.

  18. KevinQ says:

    Triteon, don’t buy the hype. From reason.com:

    Even if terrorists were able to pull off one attack per year on the scale of the 9/11 atrocity, that would mean your one-year risk would be one in 100,000 and your lifetime risk would be about one in 1300. (300,000,000 ÷ 3,000 = 100,000 ÷ 78 years = 1282) In other words, your risk of dying in a plausible terrorist attack is much lower than your risk of dying in a car accident, by walking across the street, by drowning, in a fire, by falling, or by being murdered.

    And that’s assuming that something on the scale of 9/11 happens every year – which is quite far from the reality. The article’s got a lot of good information on your actual odds of being in a terrorist attack: http://www.reason.com/rb/rb081106.shtml

    K

  19. konstantConsumer says:

    oh, i think every time something stupid like this happens, i’m much more likely to be in a terrorist attack.

  20. Well, this seems to be the consensus among everyone here-

    The point is, the increased security does nothing to protect people on the ground because it is NOT an effective deterrant to terrorists.

    How do any of you know what is or is not an effective deterrant? Pre-9/11, we were allowed to bring knives on board airplanes, and then 9/11 happened. Security went up, and we haven’t had another hijacking since. Increased airport security hasn’t been the most important factor in this success, but how can you conclusively determine that increased security measures have done nothing to deter attacks?

    Besides, what exactly is the alternative to these measures? And stow that “a properly trained fighter can hijack a plane with his bare hands” bullshit, because that’s meaningless. By that logic, we should just allow people to just bring whatever they want on board, because anything can be a weapon anyway.

    If banning certain items on airplanes was the only security measure in place, then maybe you would have a point. But it’s not. These security measures are simply meant to make life more difficult for a terrorist. Contrary to what action movies have led you to believe, there are not that many terrorists so well-trained that they can hijack a plane with a spork.

    If this stuff bothers you so much, stay home on your couch and whine for the rest of your life. The rest of us will keep using the planes, which have been terrorist-free since 2001.

  21. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    It seems that from time-to-time we hear about a terrorist plot that has been thwarted. How many of them have been stopped at airport security. I really don’t know the answer to this question, but I’m going to guess zero.

    Now am I against airport security? No. Security deters the average nutjob who might do something stupid. Security does not deter these large terrorist plots. If the plotters of the recent attack had not been stopped by British Police/Intelligence, do you really think they would have been stopped by airport security? I don’t.

    Moral of my rant: Basic airport security does indeed make us safer. Taking away my bottle of Aquafina and my hair gel does not make us safer.

  22. Mojosan says:

    Because any given security method is not 100% foolproof or failsafe does not mean it’s irrelevant or should be discarded.

    - A skilled burglar can enter your home no matter what. It still is completely logical to lock your doors and have an alarm system.

    - A skilled car thief can steal your car in a matter of seconds. I doubt anyone reading this will leave their car unlocked and with the keys in the ignition even though it’s apparently a futil gesture.

    - Spoiled meat will never be completely kept out of the food supply. That does not mean the USDA should stop inspecting meat.

    In the USA you do have an enherant “right” to your life. You don;t have an inherant right not to suffer minor inconveniences.

    I wish we could go back to the days where security was an afterthought to convenience. But those days are gone, won;t ever return, and the safety of passengers far outweighs the convenience of what items are allowed in carry ons.

  23. aka Cat says:

    Kurticus, I have no problem with reasonable security. Metal detectors and x-ray machines probably do discourage a number of random nuts, and cause others to become more noticeable in the planning stage. Ditto for making people show ID that matches their tickets.

    Forcing me to leave my sports bottle at home isn’t going to do much more than give me a dehydration headache.

    As for the decrease in hijacking, some of that probably is due to the increase in security. And some is probably directly due to 9/11.

    Prior to 9/11, it was a fairly straight-foward formula. The hijacker threatens the plane, everyone does as they’re told, the hijacker gets his flight to [insert country here.]

    If a hijacker threatens a plane now, no one’s going to believe that they’ll remain alive by doing as they’re told. The hijacker will end up dead in the aisle. Only the stupidest hijacker doesn’t know this; happily, they’re the same ones most likely to be caught by the metal detector.

  24. KevinQ says:

    Kurticus, the airplanes were well-nigh terrorist-free before 9/11, also. Tragedies happen occasionally, but a knee-jerk reaction to banning anything that might remotely be harmful helps nobody. You asked, “How do any of you know what is or is not an effective deterrant?” Well, we would ask the same question of those who would restrict our freedom. Were any other terrorists thinking of using liquid explosives prior to the recent arrests? I don’t know, and neither does anybody else. Did banning water, deoderant, and lipstick save lives? Nobody knows, but I doubt it. They certainly didn’t catch any terrorists by making them throw away their liquids.

    Also remember, the 9/11 airplanes weren’t hijacked with knives. They were hijacked with box cutters, common tools. Somebody who wants a weapon will find one or make one. In the meantime, I shouldn’t have to live in fear.

    K

  25. Megan Trigg says:

    I dropped my cousin off at the airport on Friday, and she called me later that day to let me know she’d made it safely. One of the things she mentioned to me was security — she’d just bought a new tube of sunscreen and meant to very carefully put it in her checked bag. Instead, it ended up in her carry on and got confiscated at security. (Now here’s the important part:) She told the guy at security that it was a brand new tube, unused, and she was really sorry to be losing it, but if he could, she hoped he could use it rather than it just getting thrown out. He said he’d love to, but regulations said they couldn’t (not that that necessarily means it doesn’t happen), which was a real shame because he’d seen a lot of really nice stuff confiscated.

    Here’s the part that gets me. The security agents are confiscating this stuff because they’ve been told they’re supposed to. And yet they feel it’s safe enough they wouldn’t mind taking it home and using it themselves if it weren’t for the regulations. Doesn’t this say that they think it’s safe and, say, not going to explode? Aren’t these people hired expressly to protect our safety from things that they know to be dangerous? If they know it’s safe, why can’t it go on the plane?

  26. Yes, planes were well-nigh terrorist-free before 9/11. But people were legally allowed to bring blades on board, and lo and behold, somebody did! So they were banned.

    As for the liquids-ban, I can’t imagine that this will be permanent. They’re already relaxing the ban slightly, and eventually we’ll be allowed to bring our Pepsis on board again. But last week, when they made the initial arrests, they didn’t know if they got everybody involved. Based on various statements, it seems clear that the UK/US governments were pretty sure that there were still an unknown number of terrorists planning on continuing with the plot- given that knowledge, it only makes sense that they would ban liquids until further notice.

    Seriously, what’s the big deal here? For a couple days there were some considerable delays in certain airports, and now we all have to add an extra 30 minutes to our security times. We can’t bring beverages on board, but you’ll be served something on board within 45 minutes of boarding anyway (besides, if I recall correctly we weren’t always allowed to bring food on board any way). No shampoo or soap, so I guess frequent fliers will have to stop by CVS when they land, which is unfortunate. But, in the big scheme of things, I think this is hardly something to complain about.

  27. Triteon says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you folks, but I’m old enough to remember the rash of airline hijackings in the 70′s and 80′s, Pan Am 103, the capture of the Achille Lauro and the bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut. The airline hijackings were the pull a gun (we didn’t use metal detectors back then) and fly-me-to Cuba/Beirut type. There were no Todd Beamer-types on those planes or on the boat. Until the Pam Am flight very few people died. These were political messages meant to make a worldwide statement.
    But now the message has changed, and the prime motivation for Muslim Fundamentalist action is martyrdom via suicide bombings. Last week someone posted that the 21 arrested in Britain hadn’t actually “done anything” yet, and that they shouldn’t have been arrested until they “actually did something.” How to arrest a suicide bomber after the fact is baffling to me. How someone can’t see this is life or death is an issue of life-and-death is equally baffling.
    We all have read stories of various experimental medical procedures that may save a life, and the drug companies’ failures to test these meds on the sickest-of-the-sick…on those who are sure to die without any treatment. It’s always an extreme measure to use untested drugs on a human, and it may work or it may kill them even faster than their disease. But we all wonder why the drugs aren’t used, even if it’s a 1 in a billion shot.
    If even every 10 billionth airline passenger is tied to terrorism, and the extreme measure of making you and everyone else drink their bottle of water before boarding helps find that one terrorist then I’m all for it.

  28. AndyAndy719 says:

    Ben Franklin said it best:

    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin

  29. Timbojones says:

    Re: liberty and safety

    Indeed. I see that some here have been very effectively terrorized. Personally I refuse, opting instead to believe in the dream of freedom and the hope of convenience.

  30. Mojosan says:

    >>>>
    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
    >>>>

    That’s what’s known as a “metaphor” It’s not literal.

    I understand that to some folks, not being able to have hair gel in their carry on bag is an essential loss of liberty. But your right to have instant accessibility to hair product does not outweigh my right to live.

  31. mactbone says:

    It’s only an extra half-hour. Added to the extra hour from the last scare, added to the extra hour for international flights, added to the extra hour and a half recommended by the airline. So, now I get to enjoy three hours in a damn airport with no liquids, maybe electronics, probably books and a lot of overpriced crap. That’s bull. Would you think it OK if nothing was allowed on flights? You can buy anything you need at your destination, right? Clothes, entertainment, it’s all available wherever you go so maybe we should pre-empt every other plot and ban everything. We all assume the possibility of the plane crashing down and that’s a hell of a lot more likely than a terrorist. I’m cool with a metal detector and x-ray, but why the hell should I take my sandals and belt off?

  32. Mojosan says:

    >>>>>>>>
    Would you think it OK if nothing was allowed on flights? You can buy anything you need at your destination, right?
    >>>>>>>>

    No, you simply place it in your checked baggage.

  33. Morgan says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphor
    That’s not a metaphor. If he’d said “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety are dogs,” that’d be a metaphor. No, what you have there, my friend, is at best a rhetorical device, but it happens to be a statement that many of us do believe in, even in its most literal sense.

  34. webgoddess says:

    I love that final line (“you can be free or you can be safe, but not both”) – I may have to steal it sometime… I agree with the majority of posters here. It is ridiculous to assume that really dedicated terrorists – like the ones who pulled off 9/11 – aren’t going to be able to get around any security measures we put in place. As for comments like Mojosan’s, who advocates placing all of your stuff in your checked baggage, I’d like to point you to this cool site called “The Consumerist”. They have LOTS of stories – one today even – of people who have been ripped off by security workers and had stuff stolen from their bags. Just “simply placing it in your checked baggage” isn’t go to ensure that you get to your destination with all of your stuff!!

  35. Here’s the List of Prohibited Items, and here are the new regulations. I don’t know why you guys are talking about laptops and books, because they don’t appear on the list. In fact, TSA specifically says that you’re allowed to bring electronics on board, even if you’re going to the UK. If the UK has different rules, that’s their problem.

    Oh, and enough with the abuse of that Franklin quote. Franklin was talking about actual liberty, not the ability to carry shampoo. Franklin was talking about Constitutional rights, like the 1st or the 3rd Amendment. Besides, do you think an inventor like Franklin would be bothered by a 3 hour wait if it meant he could fly?

    Like I said, this will certainly inconveniance frequent flyers who don’t normally check baggage, because they won’t be able to bring their toiletries with them. But that’s all this is- an inconveniance. Not an infringement of liberty. If you honestly believe that a shampoo ban is an infringement of your personal liberties, then I think you have lived a remarkably sheltered life.

    Oh, and you have to take off your shoes because many, if not most, shoes today have a strip of metal in the sole, and that strip will set off metal detectors. Flip flops and sandals might not, but then, taking off your sandals isn’t really all that time-consuming or intrusive.

  36. Mojosan says:

    Morgan,

    Do you lock your car doors? Than you are giving up liberty for security.

    Do you place your money in a bank subject to government regulations? Then you are giving up liberty for security.

    Is your house built according to proper fire and electrical codes as opposed to it being built whatever way you feel like? Then you are giving up liberty for security.

    I’m sorry, but not having immediate access to your hair gel in flight is not denying you of any essential liberties. If your concern for your access to hair product outweighs your concern for the lives of your fellow passengers (as well as people on the ground) than you should take an alternate mode of transportation. You are completely free to do so.

    You do not have a right to fly on a plane in the exact way you deem appropriate.

  37. Morgan says:

    “Franklin was talking about Constitutional rights, like the 1st or the 3rd Amendment.”
    What about, say, the 4th Amendment? The right to avoid having one’s belongings searched and, say, one’s shampoo or water being taken away is a liberty we should be concerned with; it’s one our founding fathers were concerned with, and while I have no documentation handy showing Franklin’s specific stance on it, it’s pretty unreasonable to reject out of hand the idea that Franklin’s statement applies to the 4th Amendment as much as it applies to the 1st.

  38. Mojosan says:

    Morgan,

    No one is taking away your shampoo.

    You can either put your shampoo in your checked luggage or travel using a method where you can keep your shampoo on your person at all times.

    In fact, in most nations you can travel by train and actually shampoo your hair while traveling!!

    What did Ben Franklin say about carrying guns on planes? What about dynamite? What about your “right” to bring on a boom box and loudly play a rap CD (or how about a CD to convert all the passengers to Christianity)?

    You simply do not have a right to avoid all inconvenience in your life. I had to wait 30 minutes to get through the Lincoln Tunnel on Sunday. Were my rights being violated?

  39. Morgan says:

    Mojosan:
    First, I haven’t lost a liberty unless there’s something outside myself (usually a law) saying I have to do so. Until someone passes a law saying I must lock my car or that I must put all my money in a bank, I haven’t lost any liberties. Being able to choose whether or not I do those things with my property is a liberty, and I may indeed do those things or not as I choose. Laws on building exist to protect consumers from builders who would not create safe structures as much as they exist to protect people from their own stupidity and to protect others who will enter the property, but if you consider building poorly to be an essential liberty, feel free to make that argument (funnily enough, there was a church built recently in Thorsby, Alabama that was not built to code. After the roof collapsed in June, they desided to rebuild with the proper permits). While having immediate access to hair gel, if I were ever to aquire some, may not seem like an essential liberty, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” (that pesky 4th Amendment again) is. I’d like to think that we agree on that, and simply disagree on what constitutes a reasonable search and seizure. I think passing through a metal detector and taking away obvious weapons (which in my opinion include guns and combat knives but don’t include such things as small pairs of scissors, swiss army knives, or even a small pocket knife) does qualify as reasonable; I don’t think taking away water and shampoo does qualify because the chance of them being dangerous is so unreasonably small.

  40. Triteon says:

    Many positions have been posted and I find the discussion enlightening. So I ask some questions, none of which are intended as anything other than questions:
    Is flying a choice or a necessity? Are there no other means to travel, are there no other avenues for business meetings?
    What is the proper amount of security at airports?
    Where is our breaking point on too much security? (For example, various news reports have discussed SUV owners who hire people to “steal” their low MPG vehicles in order to collect on the insurance. $3/gallon was the “magic number” that broke them.)
    If the 21 hadn’t been arrested last week, and had successfully blown up a plane, how would any of us– those for or against the recently added measures– be reacting right now?
    (I can answer my first question, but have no idea about the other three.)

  41. Mojosan says:

    Morgan,

    It’s not an “unreasonable search and seizure”

    You are NOT required to surrender your liquids or gels if you choose not to do so. You do not have to follow the rules of the NTSA if you do not want to. No one is forcing you to.

    It’s no differnt than my examples above. If you do not agree with government banking laws that’s perfectly fine, you are not required to place you money in a bank. But if you want to deposit money in a bank, you have to follow the law.

  42. Mojosan says:

    Triteon,

    There isn’t a pat answer. Times change and we need to adapt.

    What I feel will eventually happen is that only persons who have submitted to a voluntary pre-screening process will be able to bring carry on luggage on a plane. Just like only persons who have voluntarily bought a first class ticket can get served ice cream on a plane.

    I’d love to be able to ride a horse in midtown Manhattan like everyone used to. But times change, and you can no longer do that. You need to adapt.

  43. Morgan says:

    Answering Triteon’s questions:
    Flying is a choice that can become a necessity. I live in California; I could drive up to Washington or over to New Mexico in a day, but if I have to get any farther than that in under a day, I’d have to fly (and, having a job, I rarely have that much extra time to travel). Techincally I don’t have to fly to get there, but there’s no other practical way to get there. Business meetings are a perfect example of this; my company does a lot of business with another company with a large location in Georgia. While I am lucky enough to not have to go to meetings there, I have a coworker who needs to go to a meeting there about once a month. He needs to be able to get there in under a day, have his meetings, and get back as soon as possible; he doesn’t have the leeway to spend half a week driving or travelling by train to get there and spend the other half getting back.
    I think I answered what I think reasonable security is in my last post, and everything I think is reasonable was already in place pre-9/11. I don’t think we need to be worried about boxcutters or swiss army knives; I could do more damage using my laptop as a weapon and no one will give in to hijackers with such small weapons now that they know listening to the hijackers won’t guarantee they survive.
    Taking away water is a breaking point for me. Taking away electronics might also be one (I’m not sure about that), and taking away books definately would be. No flying in Britain for me anytime soon. If this hightened security vis-a-vis liquids continues, I won’t fly anymore. (As a side example- there was a wedding in New Mexico I attended in June; I flew there because I decided it would be slightly less annoying than a 13 hour drive. Now I’d take the drive.)
    I’m not sure how I’d react to the plot having been sucessful. I don’t think I’d change my opinion about water being an unreasonable thing to take away, though.

  44. But your right to have instant accessibility to hair product does not outweigh my right to live.

    You make it sound like either they ban all fluids and gels or the plane blows up. It is neither necessary nor likely that gel shoe insoles being present on an airplane will cause you to die.

  45. ocean11 says:

    Morgan,

    A quick reading of the 4th Amendment doesn’t make you a legal scholar.

    Airport searches are administrative. Follow that line, and you’ll understand why it’s not violative.

    I’m with Kurticus and Mojosan. It’s a hassle, but it’s better than dead. It’ll be something else next week, too. It’s a reasonable response to bad guys, who by the way, continue to find innovative ways to kill us.

  46. Morgan says:

    I never claimed it was illegal. The only thing I’ve really claimed and backed up are 1) Mojosan doesn’t know what a metaphor is and 2) Ben Franklin’s quote can be applied to this situations, because there are rights we’re giving up for the illusion of security.

  47. Triteon says:

    Two days after the argument, and one day following the last post:
    US airport in ‘explosives’ alert http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5261456.stm
    Also picked up by CNN http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/08/17/airport.evac.ap/index.htm