I am a little too ill to post much today (stupid migraines grrrr) so I will share a few extremely entertaining links on people pushing back against Security Theater ™.
First, a great post from the American Scene: Air Safety in the Ugly Aggregate.
I pulled the same data that Nate did, and get the same aggregate totals for his ten-year period. But dividing those numbers out to the level of the individual passenger makes no sense to the managers responsible for maintaining the system. Nobody cares what your odds of being a victim are. What matters to the security principals is the risk of one catastrophic failure in the entire system during their tenure.
Say you are the Secretary of Homeland Security, and you plan to serve for four years before getting the hell out and working on Wall Street. There will be almost 3 million enplanements during your tenure. Aircraft for which you are nominally responsible will fly almost 30 billion miles. If we must do the Nickelodeon Numerology game, it would take light about 43 hours to go that far in space! Using Nate’s estimate of one terrorist per 11.5 billion miles flown, you can expect about 2 1/2 incidents on your watch. Look busy!
And, from the Register, Trouse-bomb clown attacks — how much should we laugh:
First: It is completely impossible to prevent terrorists from attacking airliners.
Second: This does not matter. There is no need for greater efforts on security.
Third: A terrorist set fire to his own trousers, suffering eyewateringly painful burns to what Australian cricket commentators sometimes refer to as the “groinal area”, and nobody seems to be laughing. What’s wrong with us?
I am very pleased to see the security community starting to get some real airing of risks vs. reality vs. political theater. The commentary is better than anything I can write.