Time Magazine Says TSA Groping Not A Problem & It's All Blown Out Of Proportion By The Internet

from the thinking-critically-not-required dept

One of the complaints frequently leveled at the mainstream press is that they don't do much critical thinking. All too often, it feels like they've simply turned into scribes, rather than people who will help everyone in the community better understand things. Case in point: Time Magazine's Alex Altman has published quite an article suggesting that the anthropmorphized "internet" is making too big a deal of the TSA's "naked or a grope" security procedures. Of course, the internet itself doesn't have "ephemeral obsessions," as Altman implies: people do. Altman could have a point that people are overreacting but let's look at the evidence he uses to support this position. Amusingly, it's actually two pieces of info that we had already discussed and debunked, which Altman and Time Magazine took at face value. First up:
With furor of the full-body scans and invasive pat-downs reaching critical mass, TSA Administrator John Pistole went before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Wednesday morning to explain why the new screening measures are a necessary evil.

Pistole was conciliatory but resolute: If you're going to get on a plane, you're either going to be photographed with advanced imaging technology--the "full-body scans" that render all-too-detailed impressions of travelers' physiques--or endure an uncomfortably thorough pat-down.
We already discussed Pistole's testimony and why he's actually lying. Contrary to what Pistole claims (and Altman bought without checking), the vast majority of people getting on planes in US airports are going through neither full body scans or "an uncomfortably thorough pat-down." Most people are still just going through traditional metal detectors. Even in the airports that have the backscatter naked image scanners, most passengers still just go through traditional metal detectors. Claiming that all passengers now go through either the backscatter scans or get a thorough pat-down is a lie.
While you'd never guess it from the hysterical media coverage, most people are...pretty OK with that. The breathless headlines and expert discussion forums provide a distorted picture of public perception. According to a CBS News poll, 81% of Americans approve of the decision to use full-body X-ray machines to weed out terrorist threats. Sometimes the screams of an aggrieved minority drowns out the rest of the public, and this may be one of those cases.
Except, again, this isn't quite accurate. As we discussed in our post about the poll, if you go and look at what the poll actually asked it phrased the question in a way that leaves out all of the concerns people have about the scanners and only implies that the scanners help security. That's obviously not a fair poll and the results should be discounted accordingly. Does Altman bother to check on all of this? Of course not.

Altman may be right that people are overreacting but he didn't help by simply repeating the claims of Pistole and a weak poll, when both have already been proven to be misleading at best and downright false at worst. Perhaps instead of rushing to mock "the internet" and its mythical "ephemeral obsessions," Altman could have taken some time to actually research the issue and to inform people of the details rather than just repeating the misleading claims from the TSA. That's the kind of thing that would actually build up trust in the press, rather than disdain for the press.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Joe Discourse, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:28pm

    A Fair Hearing

    Maybe Mr. Altman is right, maybe our concerns are unfounded.
    I say that he volunteer to do the rounds with several news shows, both network, and cable, and undergo both the backscatter scan, and the enhanced pat-down. Let everyone see exactly what TSA staff do and see in the process. Then we'll have a real step towards an informed discussion*.

    *Just to balance out the theater of TV, I would encourage all good citizens to videotape as many of these procedures as possible on site as they occur, and distribute them online for comparison purposes.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

    What is this "magazine" thing you speak of?

     

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    crade (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    Except Pristol still doesn't really claim that everyone has to go through the thing, he says it's optional for everybody which is probably true. I'm sure even if you aren't selected for it, you could get one if you wanted.

    Anyway, giving the benefit of the doubt to Pistole I would read "AIT is optional for everybody. However, if you decide to opt-out of AIT screening, you must undergo alternative screening, which will include a pat-down. "

    As a poor choice wording for the intended:
    "[AIT is not being forced on anyone,] However [...]"

     

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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:38pm

    Shoddy Workmanship

    If they had just worded the poll question thusly:

    "Do you think the TSA should take measures to protect passenger safety?"

    They could then claim "99.99% of people polled are perfectly okay with the TSA taking nude images and/or groping them!"

    If you're going to put out blatantly pro-government propaganda, at least do it right. Even Saddam knew that; he always got 100% of the vote when he was in power.

     

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  5.  
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    crade (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:52pm

    Re:

    Err, sorry I'm confusing pistole with "TSA's pseudonymous blogger "Bob""

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Shoddy Workmanship

    You're doing it wrong. Here's the better way:

    "Do you think that either the TSA should take measures to protect passenger safety or that cute fluffy baby kittens are indeed cute?"

    Answer? 99.999999% in the affirmative. It's only not 100% because I've taught my dogs to use the internet....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Shoddy Workmanship

    A better question: Do you think that the TSA should do whatever they can to keep our children safe from fiery plane crashes?

     

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    BT, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    I didn't get any choice when I flew in September from San Diego. I went through body scan xray then was told I needed to stand over here. Next thing I know I am being patted down. As I stood feeling sexually assaulted the tsa agent said we could go to private room. Uh no thanks. I was embarrassed. I'm flying on Thanksgiving and not looking forward to it at all. I'll take the radiation any day over someone touching parts of my body that my husband barely gets to touch.

    People who think this is OK should be thinking about kids. The first person to touch your private parts shouldn't be the TSA agent at the airport. My son was 13 and pulled out of line at the gate for a "special" security check along with other passengers as we were boarding the plane. Right in the open they are rubbing and grabbing body parts. If a stranger does this on the street that person would get arrested and go to prison. At the airport it is supposed to be ok. What's the difference?

     

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    crade (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Can someone poor dumb me me out and point out where Pristol is lying? He seems to claim he believes that the new procedures would have stopped the underwear bomber if they had been in place at the time (which he says they weren't), which is debatable, possibly even doubtful but even if it's wrong it's bad a hypothesis not a lie. He theorizes if the underwear bombing had been successful, people might have a different attitude towards the new procedures, but he doesn't seem to claim that the new procedures stopped it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:12pm

    What percentage of Americans actually ever get on a plane? I would imagine only about 19%. Well, there you have it, all those that never get on planes, of course they support full body scans. They don't want plane parts falling on them, since they don't have to go through screening, they don't care about that.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Can someone poor dumb me me out and point out where Pristol is lying?

    He said everyone has to get a pat down or a scan. That's not true.

     

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    Chris, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    Completely not Necessary

    The reality is that if someone want's to blow up a couple hundred people there are a lot easier places to go than the airport. Especially if you're ready to die doing it. Heck, you could easily take out a couple hundred people waiting in the security line at the airport. You could probably get more depending on what day you do it. Those lines are all snaked together. You can hijack a city bus and drive it into another city bus.

    There are large crowds of people everywhere in major cities and don't tell me the response wouldn't be equally dramatic if 50 people get killed in a terror related event rather than 200.

    It's garbage. It's an erosion of our privacy and personal freedom. It's that simple. Centers of power and enforcement in our Government grabbing for more power. They're slowly trying to make us compliant with any invasion they want.

     

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  13.  
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    crade (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks, can you help me find the quote? I have been reading through the transcipt link trying to find it.

     

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    DCX2, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Ineffective screening

    The naked scanner and the grope-down wouldn't have stopped the shoe bomber (flew in from Paris) or the underwear bomber (flew in from Amsterdam). Having boarded the plane in a foreign country, they would not be subjected to the screening policies.

    This is very similar to how DRM does nothing to stop pirates but inconveniences the law-abiding public. The policies will not stop terrorists, but they will humiliate innocent Americans.

     

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    Richard Kulawiec, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    If this protects anything (and that's an enormous "if")...

    ...it's planes, not passengers.

    Consider: did you go through screening after you parked in remote lot 4 and got on the shuttle bus to terminal C? Who else was on that bus? Are you sure they weren't armed? What was in their luggage? Do you think they could drive the bus?

    It's telling that the line that's been drawn is at the planes. TSA clearly doesn't give a rat's ass if hundreds or thousands of people die -- as long as it's not on a plane. They're expensive, y'know?

     

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    PRMan, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Shoddy Workmanship

    A better question: Do you think that the TSA should do whatever they can to keep our children safe from a 1 in 200,000 chance of a fiery plane crash by molesting them 1/10 times when they get on the plane?

     

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    PRMan, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:28pm

    Re:

    I would think 19% is closer to the number that have NEVER been on a plane. I would imagine that 81% of Americans have flown before at least once.

     

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    crade (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To clarify, as far as I can tell in the article on tsa-defending-its-groin-grabbing-or-naked-image-security-techniques
    The text you quoted from Pistole seems to be about the underwear bomber, and I can't find anywhere in his transcript that he claims everyone has to go through a pat down or a scan, in fact it seems quite clear they are talking about random screenings in that conversation, Ensign certainly is, anyway:
    "
    ENSIGN: No, no, I--let me--maybe not (inaudible) my question. If somebody is--a random screening. I just got randomly screened at the airport. For whatever reason, my number seems to come up quite often. [...]
    "

     

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  19.  
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    Vince, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:45pm

    Hey it's Vince with the slap chop

    Dear TSA You are gonna love my nuts. Slapping and touching and groping... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH.

    Time Magazine was paid to write it I bet.

     

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  20.  
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    interval (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:48pm

    HEY Time Magazine

    Way to shill for the TSA.

     

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  21.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Shoddy Workmanship

    Don't tell /b/ about that poll...

     

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  22.  
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    xenomancer (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:50pm

    Re:

    So the trade off you'd make is to have the first nude picture(s) of your son taken and saved by the TSA rather than have them touch him? Either one of those should make your skin crawl as a mother! The picture may be relatively painless and certainly lees mentally scarring in the short term, but the claims that they can not be saved and that they can not be removed have already been debunked.

     

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  23.  
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    Eugene (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re:

    Great! In that case, the poll DOES represent a 100% approval of the scanners! Huzzah!

     

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  24.  
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    Jimmer, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    Yeah..I'm okay with that. NOT! What's next? Cavity searches?

     

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    Eugene (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 4:40pm

    To be fair, the Internet makes a big deal about everything, all the time, what with containing Petabytes-worth of data and all. It's sort of the way the place works. He may as well be saying the Ocean is making a big deal about a wave.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 5:02pm

    Last time I flew, I got chosen for the scanner.

    I'm like sure. Whatever.

    Immediately after the scan, they still patted me down.

    So what was the point of allowing for opt-outs?

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 5:29pm

    "US airports are going through neither full body scans or "an uncomfortably thorough pat-down." "

    neither, nor?

     

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  28.  
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    DCX2, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 5:44pm

    Funny things to say

    to your TSA screener while being fondled

    -

    is this where I turn my head and cough?

    (pointing to previous fondlee) am I bigger than that guy?

    (or) do you think her tits are fake?

    I wish my wife would do this...

    *hold hand up to ear in shape of phone and mouth* "call me"

    So...uh...how much for a happy ending?

    No, father Murphy, not again..!

    Being that you stand next to an x-ray machine all day, how come you don't wear a radiation badge?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:23pm

    "Time Magazine Says TSA Groping Not A Problem & It's All Blown Out Of Proportion By The Internet"

    and this is why I question the honesty of various MSM survey results. These people have an agenda, they have predetermined what the results should be before even conducting any surveys.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:25pm

    Re:

    (well, at least its one reason why anyway. The MSM is generally dishonest. not saying that survey data is fabricated, just that it's not beyond the MSM to fabricate such data).

     

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  31.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 7:19pm

    Re: Re: Shoddy Workmanship

    Anyone in favor of full body X-Rays say "aye!".

    Anyone in opposition, say "I hate America!".

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 7:50pm

    DA Now Sending Deputies to SF Airport to Investigate Felony Groping

    ...incoming chief deputy DA of San Mateo Steve Wagstaffe said his office will prosecute TSA employees who engage in lewd and lascivious behavior while conducting Homeland Security mandated patdowns at the San Francisco International Airport in San Mateo County.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Shoddy Workmanship

    No no.

    Do you think, for the children, that the TSA should, for the children, do for the children whatever they can to keep our children and their children safe from fiery plane crashes that would kill our children?

     

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  34.  
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    Atkray (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:43pm

    Re:

    As soon as another "inept" middle eastern man is found on board a plane with a device smuggled on board in a cavity.....Yes. You can be fairly certain that he is already in training and that he is supposed to get caught. Might even be another Christmas surprise.

    To paraphrase, If you listen real close, you can hear the terrorists laughing at you.

     

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  35.  
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    Benny6Toes (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 6:02am

    MSNBC has a few other polls...

    MSNBC has a few read polls that would show otherwise. Granted, they're reader polls, so they're not all that scientific, but when they've got 20,000+ respondents, you'd probably think that they might show a slight indication of preferences. For instance: What do you think about "opt out" day? 69% of 25,589 respondents support it because the TSA needs to hear an angry public's concerns. http://travel.newsvine.com/_question/2010/11/18/5488278-what-do-you-think-about-opt-out-d ay Do you support TSA's enhanced security procedures? 80% of 5,987 respondents said, "no," because they believe they are a burden and safety risk to Americans and ineffectual for catching terrorists. And here are a few ideas for having fun with it: 1) Bring along copies of the US Constitution, or at least the 4th Amendment, and hand them to the TSA agents should you be selected to go through the body scanners and/or be molested. Pass some out to your fellow travelers too. 2) tape a copy of the 4th Amendment to the from of the body scan machine (not sure of the legality, but it will probably annoy them regardless). 3)Request a pat down from a member of the opposite sex. Tell them you were hoping for a cute screener. 4) Right when they're about to start the pat down ask if it would be easier for you to just take your shirt off and drop trou. Then start taking your shirt off as they answer.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 6:04am

    If the guys a young reporter he reads no more than a headline to make an opinion. If he's middle aged he will read the first paragraph, and if he's old he may not read it at all. I find that people don't read! ! more paragraph and you might get the point.
    Kinda like the test in my programming class. 24 extremely hard brain-bending questions. Question number 25 simply states: Ignore the previous 24 questions. You are finished.

     

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  37.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 6:20am

    Please don't fly

    Crybabies shouldn't get on planes in the first place. What is this? TSA has never caught a terrorist with the scans or pat downs? It hasn't happened YET. It will happen, and when it does the guy that objected to the pat down will be the first to sue. Ignore the fact that someone put a bomb in their UNDERWEAR trying to kill innocents. These terrorists love the fact that whiners are trying to eliminate these security measures. Saying these scans invade privacy, then saying that the scans don't work. What is it? Just the fact that these measures are in place deters terrorists, but there are no stats on that so it must not be true.
    What is the solution? Tell me! Any ideas? Quit crying, take a train, boat. Don't get me killed.

     

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  38.  
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    Joe Discourse, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 6:43am

    Re: Please don't fly

    These terrorists love the fact that whiners are trying to eliminate these security measures.

    Actually, I'm betting that these terrorists love the fact that we went from being a relatively free society to:

    - Being willing to subject people to modesty demolishing scans and pat downs to fly a plane.
    - Eliminating the scourge of toner cartridges from the friendly skies.
    - A government that's willing to give vague and non-specific, but thorougly stern warnings to the mass media about travel during holidays.
    - Rendition and Guantanamo Bay, with a double side order of waterboardings.

    In short, I'm willing to think you're not trolling long enough to tell you that these nutjobs are happy because they managed to turn us into EXACTLY the opposite of who we used to be.

     

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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 7:02am

    Re: Hey it's Vince with the slap chop

    YES! When you go over to the side and the TSA agent explaines the proceedure, look him directly in the eye and tell him "you're going to love my nuts" with a wistful, anticipitory smile. Then ask him if it was good for him too. Make it as rediculously uncomfortable for them as it is for us.

     

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  40.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 7:13am

    Re: Please don't fly

    "TSA has never caught a terrorist with the scans or pat downs? It hasn't happened YET. It will happen, and when it does the guy that objected to the pat down will be the first to sue. Ignore the fact that someone put a bomb in their UNDERWEAR trying to kill innocents."

    You're new here, yes? We've already covered the fact that the 'underwear bomber':
    1) Was never subjected to any TSA screening... he was coming in from out-of-country
    2) was only stopped because the device he had on his body ONBOARD THE PLANE failed to detonate properly
    3) would not have been stopped by a 'grope' because the back/top of the hand would fail to notice anything out of the ordinary with materials stitched into the underwear.

    So tell me... how are the TSA doing anything? Just because no one's been caught doesn't mean the measures are working. That's like saying the Elephant Repellant works in New York City.

    The terrorists love the fact that are security is so focused on ONE method of terror that they have quite a few alternatives that we haven't locked up yet. What they REALLY love is the multitude of sheep that have been lulled into a false sense of security by the TSA telling them "don't worry, you're safe because we're doing THIS".

    If you're going to strip away my freedoms, at least do it for something more than a smoke & mirrors theater performance aimed at making sheep more comfortable and docile. Go baaaaah somewhere else.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 7:50am

    Re: Completely not Necessary

    This! A thousand times this.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Please don't fly

    Show me one example of how the TSA is effective at any of the goals they are supposed to be achieving.
    And remember, the Brits are laughing at us! Coming from the country with a camera on every street corner, that hurts. Loss of rights and freedoms to combat fear.. Plain and simple.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Please don't fly

    I'm not new here, and the fact that the underwear bomber didn't go through TSA has nothing to to with my point. My point is this. How do YOU know it doesn't work? How do you find out how many terrorists have canceled plans because of the screenings? What is the solution you would apply? The primary goal of the TSA is to protect us from someone that would use transportation including planes as a missile or save the lives of passengers. Why would they look at alternative devices terrorist use? Shipping containers don't fall under the TSA's jurisdiction. Concentrate on flying a jet into a building. Wrap your mind around the TSA's goal of trying to protect. That ONE terrorist stopped in the screening could save hundreds of lives makes it worth it to me. How do you equate pat downs and screenings with smoke and mirrors? List the alternatives you speak of, and keep it in reference to flying a 747 into a skyscraper. The sheep comment is old, lame, and used by truthers across the globe. I'll keep posting, you keep smacking the cliches.

     

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    Punmaster (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    You said "The primary goal of the TSA is to protect us from someone that would use transportation including planes as a missile or save the lives of passengers. "

    I would disagree - from where I sit, the primary goal of the TSA is to make it LOOK like the government is trying to protect people from terrorists. It certainly seems to be ineffective, and bureaucratic, and authoritarian.

    The best things that happened to improve security on planes was the addition of a secure cockpit door, and the willingness of passengers to fight back against those that would attempt to take over a flight.

     

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  45.  
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    Joe Discourse, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 10:22am

    Other Things the TSA could do to prevent terror attacks with planes, AKA, the follies of hindsight.

    List the alternatives you speak of, and keep it in reference to flying a 747 into a skyscraper.

    As long as it works even ONCE, the TSA could:
    - Ask for the power to refuse anyone to fly. Why not cut out the inconvenient searches.
    - Cavity searches, and forced emesis. To my understanding, both backscatter and patdowns can't catch items hidden in the body, and it's a natural progression for Bob Terror to make.
    - Profiling. Let's do some real demographic research on just who does this, and where they're from. Automatically subject anyone meeting that criteria to any and all tests necessary to prove them safe enought to board.
    - Force everyone to board the plane naked. We should have nothing to hide when lives are on the line!

    Keep in mind that a similar attack hasn't happened here since, and that despite whatever you think, it could happen again, No. Matter. What. You do your best, and the rest is up to fate/chance/God/karma. Not even handsy agents and machines with x-ray specs can stop it.

    Your opinion sucks because it stipulates that it's all gonna be worth it in the end, when all you're doing is setting up the next misguided hind-sighter to even greater hights of "security", all the while crying "Never Again!", and "As long as it suceeds ONCE, it's worth it!"

     

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    hiptech (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    I don't know if this is necessarily correct but ever since a handful of corporations bought out the majority of media companies they have biased/censored the news to support their parent companies views and positions.

    Question, who owns Time magazine and what do they stand to gain by purporting such a story?

    Again, I don't say this is fact but generally if you follow the money and it doesn't pass the sniff test...

     

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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    How do you know it's ineffective? Obviously it's bureaucratic and authoritarian. It's easier to fight back when all the terrorists have is a plastic fork. Would you agree?

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    JeffR, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

     

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  49.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    I equate the whole farce to smoke and mirrors. And I'm not going to limit my view to just using a 747 to fly into a building, because the TSA is not trying to prevent just that. The whole reason for the ATI and 'enhanced pat-down' was BECAUSE of the underwear bomber. So why would I exclude that incident from my argument?

    Just like the 3+3+1 rule for liquids. That was instituted because of a foiled plot where someone was going to create an explosive device using gels carried on with them. But that was foiled in the UK, not America. We instituted the 3+3+1 to stop that kind of plot from happening here. Because I'm SO sure that terrorists would try it again after they saw how successful it was there. And that doesn't even take into account the GLARING hole in the logic of the 3+3+1: if I can't make enough explosive with the items I'm carrying, me and my accomplices could surely bring enough separately to combine later.
    "How do you find out how many terrorists have canceled plans because of the screenings?"
    I have no idea. Do you? Until you do, don't tell me that it's working just because something hasn't happened yet. There are many different factors that could be causing that... such as, not the least, the fact that it's a more tactically-sound plan to try a new and unexpected method of attack. You're using a Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc argument. To quote Frank Herbert's character who was paraphrasing Nietzsche: "The noes does not cause the tail!"
    "The primary goal of the TSA is to protect us from someone that would use transportation including planes as a missile or save the lives of passengers."
    I will assume that your poorly structured sentance meant that you believe the primary goal of the TSA is to prevent terrorists from using transportation as missles (including planes), and to save the lives of passengers. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    If I'm right, you are WAY off of thier purpose. Here's thier statement on thier own website...
    We are your neighbors, friends and relatives. We are 50,000 security officers, inspectors, directors, air marshals and managers who protect the nation's transportation systems so you and your family can travel safely. We look for bombs at checkpoints in airports, we inspect rail cars, we patrol subways with our law enforcement partners, and we work to make all modes of transportation safe.
    Sounds to me like their purpose is MUCH larger than just scanning you at the airport to make sure you don't fly the plane into a building. They arn't the Airport Security Authority or the No More Missle-Planes Authority.
    "That ONE terrorist stopped in the screening could save hundreds of lives makes it worth it to me."
    So where do you draw the line for your privacy and the privacy of the THOUSANDS and HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of people who would be groped and prodded unnecessarily? What about the rape and assault victims and children who have to be subjected to that? If 1,000,000 people are scarred, is that your balance for a couple of hundred lives saved? And what if no terrorist is ever seen again? How many hypothetical lives do you tell yourself were saved so that you can sleep?
    "List the alternatives you speak of, and keep it in reference to flying a 747 into a skyscraper."
    Again, I refuse to limit the scope of my argument just to make yours sound more relevant. I never mentioned alternatives, but since you asked... I agree with the idea that passengers could be armed with non-lethal items such as stun-guns or a good ol' stick with which to subdue terrorists. Or, and I think I'm echoing a few people here, how about we accept the risks of the world we live in without SUCCUMBING TO TERROR.
    The sheep comment is old, lame, and used by truthers across the globe. I'll keep posting, you keep smacking the cliches.
    Its age, proliferation and list of users does not negate its relevance and applicability. If you'd prefer, I can use a parrot, since you seem to like bring up tired rhetoric of "never again" and "worth it in the end". How about I use “uncaring, heartless sociopath” since you want to try a Machiavellian "ends justify the means" excuse? Or, if none of those are to your liking, how about “mindless knee-jerk reactionary nationalist masquerading as a patriot by playing the 9/11-Card”?

    You keep pointing at cliches, I'll keep smacking the logical fallacies down.

     

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  50.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Other Things the TSA could do to prevent terror attacks with planes, AKA, the follies of hindsight.

    El Al has not had a hijacking since 1968. They profile. Probably stopped more than one terrorist. Since the TSA stopped letting you carry knives on the plane its easier for the passengers to fight back, no? I would like the TSA to give you the option to skip the security check, as long as you board a separate plane with the other objectors. "Your opinion sucks" is right up there with the sheeple comment.

     

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  51.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    Here you go grammar nazi...

    "I will assume that your poorly structured sentance meant that you believe the primary goal of the TSA is to prevent terrorists from using transportation as missles (including planes), and to save the lives of passengers. Correct me if I'm wrong. "

    OK. Sentance=Sentence, missle=missile

    The only way to prove the TSA is ineffective is to quit screening entirely then add up the casualties.

    You never mentioned alternatives?

    "The terrorists love the fact that are security is so focused on ONE method of terror that they have quite a few alternatives that we haven't locked up yet."

    Was that you? Correct me if I'm wrong.

     

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  52.  
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    Joe Discourse, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Other Things the TSA could do to prevent terror attacks with planes, AKA, the follies of hindsight.

    Hey, aside from once, there really wasn't too much wrong with the old security checks! And the reason it failed is because it was executed in a fashion that few anticipated and less took seriously. I don't see how the current system will be any different.

    How about a real choice? How about I get to go through the old security system, you take the new, and I get to bet real money that once of us dies in a car accident after 10 years? Sure I don't get enjoy the money if I'm the unlucky party, but I got to fly way more hassle-free miles than you did.

     

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  53.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    ""The terrorists love the fact that are security is so focused on ONE method of terror that they have quite a few alternatives that we haven't locked up yet." Was that you? Correct me if I'm wrong."
    I was referring to alternative methods of attack. Some of which have already been stated in this and many other blogs: such as bombing a mall at holiday shopping madness, a large sporting event (although, would we REALLY mourn the loss of a Nascar event? ;) )

    And, ok you caught my spelling errors that I missed in my spellchecker... but why not point out the three consecutive "thier"'s I had in there? Or my misspelling of "noes"? Or how about where I failed to hyphenate "poorly-structured"? If you're going to nitpick, feel free... but admit that my spelling errors was not corrupting my point. Your error was leading to a potential misunderstanding of your point. I'm a bad speller... I'll admit that. Want to admit to your poor sentence structure?
    "The only way to prove the TSA is ineffective is to quit screening entirely then add up the casualties."
    I almost forgot that you actually replied to the points I was making and not just the spelling errors... altho both seemed quite lacking.

    Actually, you're arguing against yourself there. If we were to stop all screening and watch the body count rise, all we would is how effective they were. To prove how ineffective they are, keep them in place and watch terrorists find other avenues of attack and laugh at us banning our >3oz hair gel bottles, water bottles, and Dr. Scholl's Inserts. All they have to do is blow up a mall and watch as we continue to feel each other up in airport security lines.

    The TSA is ineffective because they are (to use another of your hated cliches) closing the barn door after the horse has already left. But the real problem with that is that they are doing so while saying "Look America, we're winning! We're sorry about your freedoms, but it's all for a good cause!" And they put into place security measures that independent research, testing and experts prove are INEFFECTIVE AT THEIR STATED PURPOUS.

     

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  54.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Other Things the TSA could do to prevent terror attacks with planes, AKA, the follies of hindsight.

    Ahh, I see. Since the odds are still in our favor we should ignore the bowie knives on planes. On top of that, we'll all die in car accidents anyway, so what's the use? Whatever it takes to make your life hassle free.

     

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  55.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    Nitpick? You brought up sentence structure first I believe, before that I said nothing about your frequent misspellings.

    "The only way to prove the TSA is ineffective is to quit screening entirely then add up the casualties."

    The would prove either effectiveness or ineffectiveness, because if it is ineffective like you say, casualties would go up.

    By the way, I said "transportation" on my poorly structured sentence, not just planes, but you don't read any better than you spell.

    The TSA is not in charge of malls, they are in charge of transportation.

    "Actually, you're arguing against yourself there. If we were to stop all screening and watch the body count rise, all we would is how effective they were."

    You say that independent research, testing and experts proved the TSA is ineffective? How did they do that?

     

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  56.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    Whoops... there I ago again...

    *my spelling errors WERE
    *PURPOSE

    FTFM

     

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  57.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    "By the way, I said "transportation" on my poorly structured sentence, not just planes, but you don't read any better than you spell."
    From previous:
    "The primary goal of the TSA is to protect us from someone that would use transportation including planes as a missile or save the lives of passengers."
    You stated that, then proceeded to instruct me to limit my arguments to the act of flying planes into buildings. You tell me how I misread that?
    "The would prove either effectiveness or ineffectiveness, because if it is ineffective like you say, casualties would go up."
    Nooo... because if they are ineffective at stopping terrorism, there would be no change in casualties when those measures are removed from the equation.
    "The TSA is not in charge of malls, they are in charge of transportation. "
    True, but are those threats changed by the fact that we are focusing all of our attention on airlines? If anything, I think terrorists are sneaking in the back door while we're watching the front just because that's where they came in last time. Or, more accurately, I think that’s the stronger possibility than using airlines again.
    "You say that independent research, testing and experts proved the TSA is ineffective? How did they do that?"
    Read again:
    "And they put into place security measures that independent research, testing and experts prove are INEFFECTIVE AT THEIR STATED PURPOUS[sic]."
    The subject of the sentence is [security measures]. That is what is being proven to be ineffective... not the TSA. Want me to clear it up a bit? Here: Security measures which are proven INNEFECTIVE AT THIER STATED PURPOSE by independent research, testing and experts are put into place by the TSA. Better? Maybe more grammatically-correct, but I think my point is clearer the other way. Sorry if it's misleading or confusing

     

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  58.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    "Nitpick? You brought up sentence structure first I believe, before that I said nothing about your frequent misspellings. "

    I wasn't nitpicking... I was seeking clarification. Was I a bit pithy in my method? Perhapse. I'm a smartass. Sorry if I offended you with that.

    But do feel free to point out my 'frequest misspellings' before the post that I helped rip back apart.

     

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  59.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    -sigh-

    *perhaps

    Time to fire either my coffee or my spellchecker. One of them is failing here. :/

     

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  60.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    "Nooo... because if they are ineffective at stopping terrorism, there would be no change in casualties when those measures are removed from the equation."

    Thanks, I had it backwards but you proved my point. Removing the TSA would prove effectiveness or ineffectiveness. Lack of change = ineffective.

    "True, but are those threats changed by the fact that we are focusing all of our attention on airlines? If anything, I think terrorists are sneaking in the back door while we're watching the front just because that's where they came in last time. Or, more accurately, I think that’s the stronger possibility than using airlines again. "

    We're focusing all our attention on airlines? Only in this article. That's why I instructed you to limit the discussion to the act of flying planes into buildings.
    The webs are alight with blogs about all security measures involving malls, power grid, cyber battles, mail bombs, etc. It's only because of the naked scans and pat downs that we discuss airports now.

    "And they put into place security measures that independent research, testing and experts prove are INEFFECTIVE AT THEIR STATED PURPOUS[sic]."

    I understood your sentence and still ask, how did these experts prove these were ineffective? It is the TSA that is using these security measures after all. If you have time, give me a link.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    noes=nose
    sentance=sentence
    missles=missiles (twice)
    thier=their (3 times)
    arn't=aren't
    Nascar=NASCAR (acronym)
    altho=although (although I get it)
    PURPOUS=PURPOSE (thanks for fessing up)
    perhapse=perhaps

    When you see the word underlined in red, you need to fire the coffee.

     

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  62.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 20th, 2010 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    Yeah, that's the one that I ripped apart.
    "Nitpick? You brought up sentence structure first I believe, before that I said nothing about your frequent misspellings."

    Before that ('that' being the first post I mentioned the sentence error), the only errors in my spelling were the ones I copied & pasted for quote purposes.

    Again, feel free to point out the 'frequent misspellings' before my mention of grammar.

     

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  63.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 20th, 2010 @ 5:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    "Thanks, I had it backwards but you proved my point. Removing the TSA would prove effectiveness or ineffectiveness. Lack of change = ineffective."

    If I agree to your Post Hoc Ergo Proptor Hoc argument, sure why not. However, until extensive studies and tests are done ALL of the factors involved, you cannot point to any one factor and say "There! That's the one that's doing it!"

    So, no, I didn't prove your point. I merely made you more entrenched in a logical fallacy.

    "We're focusing all our attention on airlines? Only in this article. That's why I instructed you to limit the discussion to the act of flying planes into buildings.
    The webs are alight with blogs about all security measures involving malls, power grid, cyber battles, mail bombs, etc. It's only because of the naked scans and pat downs that we discuss airports now."

    Of course this article is focused on the airports... because that's where the subject of privacy-invasion comes in. That's my whole point... look at all the attention the media is giving to just this ONE facet of anti-terrorism work. And that's why terrorists will have an easier time sneaking in the back door. Because one of our primary weapons in this - the alertness and awareness of the citizenry - is focused elsewhere.

    "I understood your sentence and still ask, how did these experts prove these were ineffective? It is the TSA that is using these security measures after all. If you have time, give me a link."


    I would argue that you didn't understand my sentence... hence your response of
    "You say that independent research, testing and experts proved the TSA is ineffective? How did they do that?"
    ...which is NOT what I said.

    But now that you do seem to understand what I was talking about, let me Google a few links for you:

    http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20101116-31209.html here's the one that Techdirt pointed to

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/11/tsa-says-better-body-scanners-will-end-p rivacy-uproar-dont-bet-on-it/66761/ here's another one that discusses the problem with the analysis technology, though I hesitate to label it as 'expert'.

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/01/german_tv_on_th.html here's a site that has a link to my favorite video about the failure of the system to find multiple objects. Yes, some or most of them are in the guy’s jacket and that would have been removed, but what about the one in his mouth? Oops.

    I'm sure there's more, but I'm at work and can't spend all day searching the interwebs for you.

     

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  64.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 21st, 2010 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    "Of course this article is focused on the airports... because that's where the subject of privacy-invasion comes in. That's my whole point... look at all the attention the media is giving to just this ONE facet of anti-terrorism work. And that's why terrorists will have an easier time sneaking in the back door. Because one of our primary weapons in this - the alertness and awareness of the citizenry - is focused elsewhere."

    Of course it is focused on airports, that IS the whole point, and as I mentioned in the other comment you didn't read, the interwebs are alight news on what homeland is doing on all those fronts. I don't think they are ignoring any doors. We are talking about the TSA's groping and scanning. You keep trying to change the subject.

    "If I agree to your Post Hoc Ergo Proptor Hoc argument, sure why not. However, until extensive studies and tests are done ALL of the factors involved, you cannot point to any one factor and say "There! That's the one that's doing it!"

    Yes you did prove my point, nice of you to agree, try Mucinex. Your fallacy is trying to avoid failure.

    The scanners have never been able to find something in a body cavity, this was reported from the beginning.

    "I would argue that you didn't understand my sentence... hence your response of

    "You say that independent research, testing and experts proved the TSA is ineffective? How did they do that?"

    ...which is NOT what I said."

    Is the TSA using this technology? Yes they are. Your quibbling with semantics doesn't help your case.

     

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  65.  
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    Howard the Duck (profile), Nov 21st, 2010 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    The alertness of the citizens is most important. With the citizens reporting any suspicious objects, or persons, we help to create the same Orwellian environment as scanners. We should all wear camera glasses and have little red buttons on a chain around our necks.

     

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  66.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 5:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    "Of course it is focused on airports, that IS the whole point, and as I mentioned in the other comment you didn't read, the interwebs are alight news on what homeland is doing on all those fronts. I don't think they are ignoring any doors. We are talking about the TSA's groping and scanning. You keep trying to change the subject."

    Agreed, Homeland Security is applying their wonderful wares [sic] on other avenues. My point was that all this increased security at the cost of our privacy is unnecessary because terrorists are less likely to try the same path again. I'm not changing the subject, I'm illustrating my point.

    "Yes you did prove my point, nice of you to agree, try Mucinex. Your fallacy is trying to avoid failure."

    No thanks, I don't need Mucinex. And I did not prove your point... why do you keep thinking that saying "Uh HUH!" is going to make you right? All other factors in this equation cannot be ignored in determining which single one is effective. You CAN NOT say the TSA is effective or ineffective just by removing it unless it is the ONLY FACTOR INVOLVED. Why is that so hard to understand?

    My fallacy is trying to avoid failure? Are we switching to an Ad Hominem now?

    "Is the TSA using this technology? Yes they are. Your quibbling with semantics doesn't help your case."

    And your twisting my points doesn't help your case. My comment was on the effectiveness of the technology the TSA is employing. I didn't say ANYTHING on how that reflects on the TSA's effectiveness. If you read that into my point, that's your inference, not mine.

     

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  67.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 5:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Please don't fly

    Wow... we ARE paranoid aren't we?

    I never mentioned citizens reporting suspicious activity to anyone. Interesting and illustrative that this is the first place your mind went.

    It is the duty of individual citizens to take personal responsibility in their own safety. And I feel it is a noble trait for an individual to take personal responsibility for the safety of others. But note that I said for an individual to do this. Because we have, as a society, failed to do this and to constantly cry to the government to do it for us, we have this situation where the TSA is being forced on us whether we want it or not.

    If everyone would take this responsibility, we wouldn't need the TSA except for the more broad-scope things like making sure a shipping container isn't packed with a nuke.

    So, for example, if some jackass pulls a gun in a line at the security check, every parent should react to shield their children, and everyone who's not doing that should tackle and subdue the guy. Could someone be shot? Yes. Would I rather be shot while taking action to protect myself and others instead of cowering in the corner? You bet your ass.

    So, where in all of that did you hear me say "point and blow the whistle and tell big brother what Jonny is doing over there"?

     

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