Cost-Benefit Analysis On Why We Should Just Do Away With The TSA Completely

from the just-get-rid-of-it dept

One of the key points we've brought up repeatedly in discussing the current surveillance state we seem to live in, is that those in charge seem to have no concept whatsoever of a cost-benefit analysis. They look at the world as a situation in which "terrorists must be stopped at all costs." But that's obviously ridiculous. For example, if you really wanted to stop terrorists on commercial airplanes there's a simple way to do that: you end all air travel. That would knock out the issue of terrorists using commercial flights -- but would obviously create another set of headaches while probably doing very little to stop terrorism. That's an extreme example where the costs outweigh the benefits, that's so obviously crazy that it's not considered serious. Yet, by creeping and crawling along, we continually expand the surveillance state in similar ways without ever stopping to consider all the costs that are piling up.

Over at the Washington Post's Wonkblog, Dylan Matthews recently wrote about his experience flying commercially without having to go through security. That's because he flew a small commuter plane that is exempt from having to send its passengers through TSA security. As he noted, the experience was a lot more like taking a bus or a train. You show up right before it's time to go, collect your ticket and get on board. He thankfully points out that this was both awesome and no one died.

That eventually leads to a fairly simple idea: just get rid of the whole TSA and make all air travel like this. He points out that, on a basic cost-benefit analysis, this is probably totally worth it, even if terrorists do go back to trying to use commercial airlines in their plots:

Would this increase hijacking? Probably. But there's no reason to believe it would increase casualties from terrorist attacks overall.  That's because increasing airport security just leads terrorists to direct their assaults elsewhere.

The best literature review available on the efficacy of counterterrorism tactics found that, on average, adding metal detectors and security screenings at airports led to about 6.3 fewer airplane hijackings in the years examined (a hijinking-heavy period chronicled in Brendan Koerner's latest book, in case you're interested). But that was more than compensated for by an increase in "miscellaneous bombings, armed attacks, hostage taking, and events which included death or wounded individuals (as opposed to non-casualty incidents) in both the short and long run." In fact, metal detectors and security screenings at airports led to about 6.8 more of these substitute events. "When calculating the overall weighted mean effect size for all of the findings examining the effectiveness of metal detectors, the positive and harmful effects cancel each other out," the review's authors conclude.

Could that literature review be wrong? Sure. The evidence base on counterterrorism effectiveness is very thin because true experiments on it are hard to conduct. But you go to war with the data you have, and the data we have (including some from after that review came out) suggests that even the most rudimentary of security screenings have not saved any lives, all things considered. What they have done is waste countless hours and dollars, because we really needed a rock with which to scare away tigers.

In short: there's little to no evidence that the TSA has saved a single life in stopping terrorism. While it may have prevented specific plots, that energy just went towards other plots and attacks. Yet the costs of the TSA are immense, and we're not just talking about hiring all those people to feel you up at the airport, or even the super expensive naked scanner machines. It's the costs to all of us -- the public who travel. The fact that you have to get to the airport hours before your flight, stand in a very long line to be scanned or felt up and generally humiliated -- that's a massive waste of time and productivity for everyone, for apparently no benefit at all, other than security theater.

Yes, in many ways, this is the same point that Bruce Schneier has been making for ages, but it's nice to see more mainstream publications, like the Washington Post, not just make this basic argument (the costs outweigh the benefits of the TSA) but to go all the way to the level of arguing that totally abolishing the policy probably makes the most sense.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 5:38am

    the only threats at airports, mainly, are those instigated and caused by the TSA employees themselves! the terrorist threats they prevent are non-existent, even the made up ones!!

     

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    Just Sayin', Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 5:57am

    I invite you to fly

    You know what? I invite you to fly the day after the TSA is furloughed. I know I won't. You can call it security theater all you like, but I don't like the idea of wide open doors and have a nice day, either. I can just picture slightly drunk fliers settling an argument by pulling out their pistols from their carry on luggage and having at it in the air.

    The economic argument here is weak as well. There is no simple way to determine the actual number of hijackings that would have occurred. The late 60s and early 70s showed us that, without some semblance of a security system, hijackings were pretty much a normal part of life, and the risks were very high indeed. Even with today's secure cockpit doors, the other airplane staff and passengers can still be held hostage and the pilots coerced to fly to an alternate destination.

    America has a fetish with weapons, especially guns. Not scanning for these things is a recipe for disaster.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 5:58am

    The TSA is great if you're cool with some pervert beating his dick to you around the clock.

     

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  4.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 5:58am

    You mean...

    People are waking up to the idea of being able to fly without having their crotches groped?

    Seriously, TSA agents must be lonely, horny people if they have to grope that many people.

     

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  5.  
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    Loki, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 6:00am

    They look at the world as a situation in which "terrorists must be stopped at all costs."

    This is incorrect. What they really believe is that behavior outside their control must be stopped at any cost. Terrorism (child porn, infringement, drug use etc.) are just justifications they use in their pursuit for control.

    One only has to look at the often convoluted length these people go to in their attempts to tie many of these justifications together that what they really hate is freedom (of both thought and action).

     

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  6.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 6:20am

    Re:

    what they really hate is freedom (of both thought and action).
    I wish I could say that was completely paranoid rubbish... Observable reality, however, suggests it's sadly not that far-fetched.

     

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  7.  
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    Capt ICE Enforcer, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 6:26am

    Think of the needy.

    You know, for some needy people the only way they can get touched in their special places legally is at the airport. We need to think of the needy people who seek that physical connection.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 6:37am

    It's even worse than you think. We lost 30,000+ in the usa to suicide in 2001. . .ten times the 9/11 casualties.

    We lost 30,000+ more to suicide the year after that.

    And the year after that.

    And the year after that.

    And somewhere along the line to today, that became 33,000+, eleven times the 9/11 casualties, and then 36,000+, twelve times the 9/11 casualties. . .per year. . . .

    And the Fed funding for the TSA in 2012 was what again, exactly? $7.4 Billion with a 'Carl Sagan B'?

    Versus, what, some $68 million for suicide research and outreach?

    Something like that?

    Mike, when can we move from "cost-benefit analysis failure" all the way down to "basic grade-schooler allowance math failure"?

     

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  9.  
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    madasahatter (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 6:46am

    Initial Screenings

    The first screenings were to stop hijackings not terror plots. In the early to mid 70's there were many hijackings to Cuba. I do not remember any passengers or crew being harmed it was a major nuisance. So the goal was to prevent a hijacker from smuggling guns and grenades on to the planes. This goal was met because it was more difficult to hijack a plane to Cuba.

    Expanding the program to stop terrorism was a knee-jerk reaction to 9/11. Terrorists do not care how they kill only that they kill many innocent victims. Also, trying to prevent all terrorist attacks is impossible because they are attacking and they can choose the time and place of any attack. No matter how vigilant one is unfortunately successful attacks will occur.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:09am

    Re:

    Same AC, I checked WISQARS and they still don't have the 2011 data out yet.

    However, the total usa suicide deaths from 2001 to 2010 is 338,000+, making it the 11th largest cause of death. That's more than Liver Disease, Hypertension, Parkinson's, or Homicide, individually. After Homicide, it starts being more than any two causes, including HIV and Aortic Aneurysm.

    How much do we spend on research and outreach against Liver Disease, Hypertension, Parkinson's, or, for that matter, Homicide?

    Because that should be the real comparison here. How many lives do we estimate the TSA has saved,

    versus,

    how many lives we estimate would have been saved by spending the TSA's budget on research and outreach against Suicide, Liver Disease, Hypertension, Parkinson's, and Homicide?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:22am

    What about the health of the screeners and fliers?

    What isn't taken into account is the actual health of the frequent fliers and the screeners who stand feet away from the naked scanners all day. I am sure 10 or 15 years from now, they would much prefer not to have the various cancers that will most likely be cropping up.

     

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    Rekrul, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:33am

    I've said this before, but there are two simple steps that would virtually eliminate the threat of plane hijacking.

    1. Design all new planes so that the passenger compartment is completely and totally isolated from the cockpit. If there is no way for the hijackers to actually get to the cockpit, there's no way they can physically take control of the plane.

    2. Institute a policy for all flights and have it clearly stated at the start of each flight that at the first sign of an attempted hijacking, the cockpit will cut off all communication with the passenger compartment, alert the authorities and land at the closest airport. It's kind of hard to make pilots give in to your demands if they can't hear them.

    This wouldn't stop bombings or terrorists personally killing the passengers, but if strictly followed, would prevent anyone from hijacking a plane and using it as a weapon, or taking it to some other destination. Of course, it's possible that a terrorist could still get a job as a pilot, placing him in the cockpit from the start, but that would take a lot more planning and effort than just pulling out a weapon and threatening to kill people if their demands aren't met.

     

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    Guardian, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:54am

    Right..

    Right cause when the moral and ethical fails just tell em how X costs so much that doing nothing is better...

    you yankies are pathetic

     

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    Guardian, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:57am

    you want to end all crime?

    33.1 trillion in one tax evasion bank....
    world debt 40.1 trillion of which in 2012 the usa part was 16.5 trillion

    be interesting to see the interest the world has to pay for people all the world over being ripped off in a crime against the entire world....

    what would we all do with all the added wealth...i know blow stuff up and hurt people right?

    THAT NEEDS TO DAWN ON YOU ALL....

     

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    AricTheRed (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 8:10am

    We can all do our part and get rid of the TSA the easy way

    Or at least the "customer facing" portion folks are exposed to at the airport. This really is simple. Just don't fly commercial air. If We The People voted with our wallets and feet and simply refused to fly. Then the crotch groping, grandmas' pint jar of jam stealing, body scanning, payroll scamming, oathbreaking, screener scumbags that are attempting to pass themselves off as "officers" would be out of our business faster than one can say "please respect my fourth amendment rights". But the people of this formerly great nation are more concerned with their conveniences than their rights.

    I'm a married man so perhaps I'm wrong however. You'll have to ask her...

     

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    lucidrenegade (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 8:11am

    Re:

    Not to mention that passengers don't just let it happen anymore.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re:

    Oh my yes, the minute a would-be hijacker pulled a gun or 'bomb', they'd be mobbed and torn to pieces by the passengers. Even if the hijacker was interested in taking hostages for whatever reason, rather than killing the people on board, these days people are going to automatically assume that doing nothing will mean all of them will die, so they'd have plenty of incentive to take out the hijacker/terrorist first.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 8:46am

    At All Costs

    The costs don't matter if you're not the one paying.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 9:13am

    And yet all it will take is a "news outlet" screaming that they are soft on terrorism for wanting to end this waste of time/money to keep the system working.

     

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  20.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 9:21am

    Re:

    Exactly. I've been making the same arguments since 9/11. They seem relatively cheap, simple, obvious, effective, and respectful of everyone's rights. That's probably why it will never be done that way.

     

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  21.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 9:23am

    Re: We can all do our part and get rid of the TSA the easy way

    I really wish I could do this. Unfortunately, my own personal cost/benefit computation on this comes down on the side of being unable to forgo flying completely. I do keep it to the absolute minimum, though.

    Mostly because the TSA makes what used to be a wonderful experience into one that is unpleasant in almost every way.

     

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  22.  
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    akp (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 9:32am

    Re:

    They've already sort of done that.

    One of the immediate reactions to 9/11 was to mandate reinforced cockpit doors that lock. That single change, if in effect on 9/11, would have prevented the hijackings.

    They also expanded the Air Marshal program, which is another change that probably would have prevented the 9/11 attacks.

    Likely, we could have stopped there. The real security hardening of commercial air flights did happen, and we didn't need to extend any additional screening to passengers.

     

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  23.  
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    akp (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 9:36am

    Re: We can all do our part and get rid of the TSA the easy way

    This is just not an option. Too many people have to fly for business (and there are sooo many jobs out there..) and thus have no choice.

    Consider also those of us who live in Alaska and Hawaii. We have no other (reasonable) way to access the rest of the country. Where the rest of you have the option of bus/car/train travel (which also could get the TSA treatment), we simply don't.

    I do have a right to travel within my country, and if I don't do it by air, I can't.

     

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  24.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re:

    Just adding locks to the cockpit door is better than nothing, but is not nearly as good what Rekrul is suggesting. There needs to be no passage from the cockpit to the passenger section at all. It should be impossible to move between the two sections in flight even if an authorized person wants to.

    The Air Marshal program is, in my opinion, just more security theater. If it's impossible to take over the plane or communicate with the pilots, there is no need for Air Marshals at all.

     

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  25.  
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    AricTheRed (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: We can all do our part and get rid of the TSA the easy way

    What I'm talking about is not a total and permanent abstinence from flying, just a hiatus. How many days of no flying Americans do you think it would take before the Airports and airlines forced .gov to cut the crap with the TSA and the flying public?
    Really what it takes is a little will on the part of us, The People.

    And regarding the jobs complaint, that sauce is a little weak. How many companies would like to see business travel take 2hrs less? That is a quarter of a normal work day, per traveler. Everyone is paying for the TSA, for their ineptitude and general douche-baggery, one way or another and it is not just our wasted tax dollars, it is with our time, our dignity, and our patience.

    It seems to me there is a better way DHS knows it, TSA knows it and everyone here reading this likely knows it too.

     

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  26.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: We can all do our part and get rid of the TSA the easy way

    What I'm talking about is not a total and permanent abstinence from flying, just a hiatus.


    I, like pretty much everyone I know who flies, already do this. I don't fly at all unless it is absolutely unavoidable. What you're talking about is more than "a little will." It would represent an enormous sacrifice.

    And regarding the jobs complaint, that sauce is a little weak


    In what way is it weak to argue that avoiding flying means you'd lose you your job?

     

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  27.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    Not just news outlets, any politician wanting to scale back the TSA would get the same from their opponents.

     

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    AricTheRed (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 11:16am

    Re: We can all do our part and get rid of the TSA the easy way

    My point about the jobs argument being weak is that it is in everyones interest to stop the TSA as they are wasting out time. Even the employers should be behind boycoting to force them (DHS, .gov, executive branch...) to eliminate the TSA as we know it. Additionally we all make choices as to what we are willing to do for work. For me no long distance business travel was a priority dso I sought out a job that I felt was appropriate for me and would never make me fly for work.

     

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  29.  
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    PRMan, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re:

    Just watch Locked Up Abroad. Pay attention to the dates in the show and then the dates when certain checks started at the airports. They have NOTHING to do with safety and everything to do with catching smugglers.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: We can all do our part and get rid of the TSA the easy way

    The employers don't actually care. The additional costs is just cost of doing business, and a tiny percentage of the overall cost of sending a worker abroad. Certainly not worth (speaking form the bottom-line view only) the expense and loss of business that would result from engaging in a boycott.

     

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    Applesauce, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 1:47pm

    Only one cost matters

    Cost of embarrassment to administration if there is another incident (no matter how minor)? - infinite.

     

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 2:12pm

    Terrorists do what terrorists do

    There a N terrorists in the world. Each can institute N terrorists events in any given time frame. It matters not whether these are on planes, trains, or other public places. N events will happen... So, as the article suggests, just tightening up security for air trace doesn't reduce the overall impact of terrorist activity, and you can't infinitely tighten up security for all human activities without creating a world that the terrorists are trying themselves to create... :-( IE, when they attack, hit back! But do NOT try to stop them before the fact - it isn't really possible. Look at how "effective" the NSA has been at that attempt!

     

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  33.  
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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Terrorists do what terrorists do

    air trace -> air travel

    Man, I hate fat fingers! :-)

     

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    abramN (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 3:12pm

    priorities...

    in the United States, I will hypothesize that the mob goes through this line of thinking:

    1) won't someone think of the children?!?
    2) if anything bad happens, I'm blaming the government for allowing it to happen
    3) sheesh - Middle Eastern guy - must be a terrorist
    4) well, I still want to fly so I can get to my destination faster...
    5) wait a minute, it's taking too long to get through security!

    So, as you can see, #1-3 will always trump #4-5. I think we're stuck with what we got folks.

     

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    BeeAitch (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 4:27pm

    Re: you want to end all crime?

    33.1 trillion in one tax evasion bank

    [citation needed]

    (Mostly because I want to to satiate my own curiosity.)

     

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  36.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 4:37pm

    Re: We can all do our part and get rid of the TSA the easy way

    Can we do an informal survey?

    Those TechDirt readers that fly often: compare the prices through http://privatecharterjet.com/ with major airline prices.

    Just for fun: add your hourly pay rate for the amount of time you spend in "security theater" to the major airline prices.

    Is this a viable option?

    Disclaimer: I very rarely have to fly, so I really have no idea if this is viable.

     

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    BeeAitch (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 4:39pm

    Re: At All Costs

    All Americans pay for this, whether you fly or not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 6:56pm

    cost-benefit not a good argument

    around 2000 when a fault in the cargo hatch locking mechanism was found, was not fixed because of "cost benefit analysis" by the airline manufacturer. The argument was "well not many planes are going to fall out of the sky because of this, and its going to cost ALOT to fix it and make it right".

    So if only a few planes fall out of the sky and a 1000 or so people are killed that's ok, because the cost to save those few thousand is too high.

    So your using the same logic here, if the lives that are saved is (in your opinion) not worth the cost to save them, LET THEM DIE !!!!!

    can you guess what the response to this argument was ? (Do you fly?)

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re:

    but wouldn't it also make more sense to also take efforts to stop the person getting on the plane in the first place ?

    Sure, make the cockpit doors locked, but if you need those locks it's already too late right?

    and no amount of lock on doors is going to stop a bomber who does not care if he is in the cockpit or not, a bomb on a plane is a bad thing, in the cockpit or not.

    its about weakest links, not cost benefit, if the doors are lock but there is little or no terminal checking, then bombers will simply give up on trying to gain access to the cockpit, and set a bomb next to the centre fuel tank.

    Or place a bomb in a suitcase as was Lockerbie.

    Or forget cockpit doors, and place a bomb under the seat for the next flight.

    its not about cost, its about effectiveness, and you can argue that I agree, but to make it a 'cost-benefit' is just stupid.. Using such a poor argument as 'cost-benefit' makes me think you don't have much else as a decent argument.. if you do why not present it instead.

    There would probably be a favourable cost benefit analysis to use non-bullet stopping bullet proof vests in the middle east, but try to tell that to the people who are fighting there and wearing those 'cheaper' vests !

    In many (most) cases when lives are involved it is not appropriate (or accepted either) to place it under a 'cost benefit' analysis.

    sure cars might be cheaper to buy if they did not have to meet specific safety standards, or emission standards, or have seat belts, or compliant brakes so is that a valid reason to not have those safety standards in place ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    except if the person just want to blow up the plane and not comment the pilots to fly it somewhere.

    do you see that there is more than one form of terror.

    Did unlocked doors help or hurt the Lockerbie plane crash ? or an air marshal? No both of those would have and were completely ineffective. But correct baggage records and baggage security applied correctly would have stopped that terrorist attack.

    You seem to think that the TSA is ONLY trying to stop people gaining access to the cockpit and taking control of the place to fly it into a building. A very narrow (and incorrect) definition of their task.

    again, locked doors is not going to stop the shoe bomber, or the underpants bomber, or the Lockabie bomber, or the terrorist who kills 1 person every minute until the cockpit doors are opened. But TSA actions and normal security MIGHT, its not about cost its about stoping the threat before it gets to that stage.

    Sure I know the underpants bomber was stopped by another alert passenger, but what if that passenger was not alert, then possibly the air marshal would be alert enough instead.

    But he cant be if he is not there, and no amount of locked doors is going to deter someone bringing a bomb on the plane in the first place.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 9:10pm

    Re: Re: At All Costs

    I think the point was the TSA and the ones funding them aren't the ones paying or being affected, so they don't care what the costs are.

    For example, a congresscritter would never have to deal with being taken to a room and strip-searched/patted down/locked up for hours because a TSA agent thought there was something 'funny' about about them, or they objected to or refused to comply with something the agent was doing, so they'll never be able to understand why people might object to such treatment. It's easy to say 'It's not that bad' when you never have to experience or deal with it yourself after all.

     

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    Eldakka (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 11:08pm

    Re: I invite you to fly

    I can just picture slightly drunk fliers settling an argument by pulling out their pistols from their carry on luggage and having at it in the air.


    How often does this happen on buses, trains, ships, ferries and other forms of mass transit?

    What makes you think it'd be a more frequent occurrence on air travel than other forms? Sure it'll probably happen, at the same rate as on other forms of mass transit. Does that risk stop you taking the train or bus? Why would it stop you taking a plane?

    How much do you want to pay for perfect security? Safety? As the article states the most effective way to stop plane hijackings is to stop all planes.

    Even with today's secure cockpit doors, the other airplane staff and passengers can still be held hostage and the pilots coerced to fly to an alternate destination.


    Do you really think after the events of 9/11 where all the passengers died anyway that people would just sit passively by and allow this to happen? That the pilots would really allow a hostage taken from amongst the passengers/crew to coerce them into opening the cockpit door? They know that EVERYONE will die if they do that.

    Since 9/11 there have been instances of passengers/crews foiling hijacking attempts (in some cases at cost of their own lives as in the plane in 9/11 that crashed in an empty field after the passengers heard about the other attacks as part of 9/11 and didn't let the terrorists use the plane).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 11:53pm

    Re: I invite you to fly

    You have no idea what you're talking about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 3:40am

    Re: Re:

    Education alone would reduce the numbers/problems stated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 3:58am

    Re:

    What are you suggesting, a two hundred ton steel wall that would take hours to cut through? One person per flight then due to weight.

    Don't thieves cut holes in roofs to steal tampons? I meant ipads. I think a jet would be a better payload therefore worth cutting a hole through the wall.

    Why not just pump sleeping gas into the chamber after everyone is boarded?

    My best suggestion is quit being afraid of the bogeyman. How the hell do half of americans cross the street safely?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 4:10am

    You want to compare a known flaw/threat with an unknown possibly non-existent threat?

    How much would you like to donate to my alien invasion relief fund?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    btrussell (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 4:11am

    Re:

    Was supposed to be a reply to "cost-benefit not a good argument"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 5:35am

    Re:

    Well that depends, this 'relief fund', it wouldn't happen to be called 'The X-COM Project' or something along those lines, would it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 6:25am

    Re: I invite you to fly

    [sigh]

    No, the usa has a male suicide problem. The majority of firearm deaths in the usa are male suicides: http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/leading_causes_death.html

    Again, the majority of firearm deaths in the usa are suicide.

    Furthermore, it's been that way for years. You have to go all the way back to 1996/7 before the rolling average drops below half. So considering the trends over the past few years, that's probably going to get pushed back even farther by the 2011/2/3 stats.

    This is all basic, fundamental demographics. Minimum, lowest-common-denominator ADULT competence on the issue requires at least this much knowledge.

    If you didn't know that, it means your sources for gun issues are exploitive anti-male bigots.

    And if you don't change your attitude and behavior, so are you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
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    Niall (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 7:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The TSA wouldn't have stopped Lockerbie, and they obviously did jack squat against all the various other shoe/underpant bombers. Plus, numerous people have smuggled guns and dangerous chemicals on board planes as tests of the system. So what use are they other than a massive boondoggle?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    We need to tax more of your income?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    Sunhawk (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 9:35am

    To my mind, the ideal threshold for security (in most arenas) is "the idiot with a plan"; don't bother making an effort to screen out the truly committed - they'll do something else. Ask the French how the Maginot Line worked in the early 20th century :-p

    You want enough to stop someone who thinks they'll gain something from it, goes postal, etc; they're unlikely to rationally plan out what the best target to hit would be (as terrorists generally do).

    The single change in security after 9/11 that I feel is useful is having the cockpit sealed upon takeoff. Threats to blow up the plane/kill hostages we can deal with and have in the past.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 9:51am

    Re: I invite you to fly

    I invite you to fly the day after the TSA is furloughed. I know I won't.


    I absolutely would. I might even enjoy it for once.

    I can just picture slightly drunk fliers settling an argument by pulling out their pistols from their carry on luggage and having at it in the air.


    You can imagine it, but it won't happen -- even with the gun fetish Americans have. I know this because it doesn't happen on buses, trains, etc., and it didn't happen back when you didn't even need to go through a metal detector or show ID to get on a plane.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    except if the person just want to blow up the plane and not comment the pilots to fly it somewhere.


    This is true, but it's also something that happens so rarely that taking extreme measures to prevent it is a stupid waste of resources and liberty. If we're going to go down that road, perhaps we'd do better to address equally (or more) deadly things that are orders of magnitude more likely.

    As the article says, it's a cost/benefit thing. The TSA shows that nobody's doing any kind of cost/benefit analysis.

    If people blowing up airplanes becomes something more common, then we can talk. Until then, these measures are nonsense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    to make it a 'cost-benefit' is just stupid


    So you assert, but what is your reasoning? I can't imagine cost/benefit analysis every being stupid. What's stupid is paying a lot (in term of money, liberty, and convenience) to get only a little in return.

    sure cars might be cheaper to buy if they did not have to meet specific safety standards, or emission standards, or have seat belts, or compliant brakes so is that a valid reason to not have those safety standards in place ?


    Do you know what was done before those regulations were enacted? And do you know what was used to justify those regulations? That's right: cost/benefit analyses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
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    BernardoVerda (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re: I invite you to fly

    One word: "Air rage"

    OK, two words.

    Between air pressure, alcohol, and whatever else, it would likely be a bigger problem on an airliner flight than on a train or bus. And there's less options for anybody who just wants to get the hell away from the fracas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jan 4th, 2014 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re: Re: I invite you to fly

    O2 rage about whatever I want?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jan 7th, 2014 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re:

    They've already sort of done that.

    One of the immediate reactions to 9/11 was to mandate reinforced cockpit doors that lock. That single change, if in effect on 9/11, would have prevented the hijackings.


    Better than nothing, but still not very secure...

    Terrorist: Open the door!

    Pilot: Never!

    Terrorist: Then listen to this woman scream as we cut off her fingers!

    Woman: AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    Pilot: OK! Stop it! I'll open the door!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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