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Old 03-19-2004, 02:57 PM   #1
Vireil
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Default Safer now?...... NOT!!!

Originally Posted by CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department said Friday that it remains "deeply concerned" al Qaeda is planning more deadly attacks against Americans overseas and at home.

The department urged U.S. citizens to "increase their security awareness," especially when traveling abroad.

"We are seeing indications that al Qaeda continues to prepare to strike U.S. interests abroad," the State Department said in its worldwide caution.

"Al Qaeda attacks could possibly involve nonconventional weapons such as chemical or biological agents as well as conventional weapons of terror. We also cannot rule out that al Qaeda will attempt a catastrophic attack within the U.S."
story

Are we safer today than before we started the war on terror or since Saddam Hussein or Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed's were captured? With official WORLDWIDE advisories like this coming from the State Department I think not.
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Old 03-19-2004, 04:32 PM   #2
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I think most people are becoming numb to the constant reports of potential terror attacks and the so-called "terror alerts".

Not to mention that the White House has a vested interest in ensuring that all of us don't lose sight of the "war on terror". We have Bush prancing around in flight jackets, reviewing the troops regularly, and droning on and on about his war on Iraq and this etheral war on terror. Seems like a fear tactic in order to scare people into re-electing Bush.
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Old 03-19-2004, 04:38 PM   #3
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we are a nation of fear, i'm numb to fear.
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Old 03-19-2004, 04:41 PM   #4
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Vireil,

And your point is what?

If nothing was ever done to capture the terrorists (or whatever you want to call them) then they would all still be out there gaining power & forces to spread their terror to extremely dangerous levels. That's really safe huh?

However, since we have been going after them they are getting desperate and doing more smaller attacks (to scare people, like you, into leaving them alone) as opposed to when they didn't feel as threatened.

It all comes down to this:
Either do nothing and let them grow until they have the forces to be a serious worldwide threat
Or try as much as we can now, which does cause them to retaliate in small doses, but when we have done enough damage they will not be nearly the threat they were.

So saying we were safer before going after them is not logical. Maybe in your ignorance you were safer. And WE did not start the war on terror, we simply responded to being attacked.
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Old 03-19-2004, 06:31 PM   #5
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Tuan,

My point is that we are just as safe as we always were, just not as safe as we had previously thought.
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Old 03-19-2004, 06:44 PM   #6
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Um have you even walked into an airport Vireil since 9/11?
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Old 03-19-2004, 10:15 PM   #7
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Yes, I have been in an airport and have flown on commercial passeneger airplanes since 9/11. Beaurocracy does not equal safety.
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Old 03-19-2004, 10:40 PM   #8
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Are the streets safer every time a criminal is arrested? Statistics would say otherwise. Are we to stop arresting criminals then?

We were in an undeclared war before 9/11. Are you suggesting we should have remained in a neutral posture? What would have been YOUR response if you were president?
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Old 03-20-2004, 12:11 AM   #9
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Are we safer? Maybe yes, maybe no.

I think a lot of people are looking for the 100% assurance that the threat has passed for good, and we're not likely to ever have that. Regardless of how many places we attack and how many people we take into custody, there will always be the possibility of someone else stepping up to the plate.

There aren't any absolute fixes, or we'd probably be doing them. Instead, they're trying to keep us informed. They're trying to make us safer. They're trying to apprehend the people responsible, and make a statement to the world that we won't tolerate terrorist activity.

While those changes might not offer us a finite solution to the problem, it is a step in the right direction, and I can't fault them for that.
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Old 03-20-2004, 03:51 AM   #10
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Brigiid sumed it up pretty well.

Are we safer in the sense that we can just go about our everyday life and not notice that terror attacks are still happening? NO
Are we safer in the sense that the terrorist know that America and some other countries are taking measures to end terrorism? Are we safer knowing everyday more and more terrorist are being captured or killed? Yes

You guys want an instant fix. There is no instant fix much like the war on drugs, but it's nice knowing that we have an administration that is taking steps to decrease the activity. I feel safer knowing we have an administration that chooses to fight back rather than sit back and ignore the situation.
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Old 03-20-2004, 07:51 AM   #11
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Yes, I have been in an airport and have flown on commercial passeneger airplanes since 9/11. Beaurocracy does not equal safety.
So you must have realized it's much harder to sneak a weapon on a plane right?
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Old 03-20-2004, 02:26 PM   #12
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What makes you imagine that it is harder to get weapons onto planes now?

Assuming that it really is harder now, what does that really mean?

The september attack was really an attack on our airline threat model. We have a new threat model now, intended to address the shortcomings of the old model.

Interestingly enough, the only important change is the one that makes weapons on the plane pointless. Anyone know what really changed?
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Old 03-20-2004, 02:32 PM   #13
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Instructions on how to react to the threats by the crew of the planes.

Passengers will no longer assume the hijacking is the objective and fight as if their lives depend on it.

Military reactions to a hijack situation.
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Old 03-20-2004, 06:08 PM   #14
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What makes you imagine that it is harder to get weapons onto planes now?
They do more inspections, and have more advanced equipment.
Assuming that it really is harder now, what does that really mean?
That it is safer on a plane now. Did you really have to ask? I would have thought that the concept would have been simple logic.


Even if there was one terrorist plot that was prevented because of 9/11 means we are safer. If there was one terrorist that decided not to go through with a attack because of tighter national security means we are safer.
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:05 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Maximus Faticus
They do more inspections, and have more advanced equipment.
That only works if the assumed terrorist is willing to confine his choice of weapons to something the advanced equipment will detect. Terrorists were thinking outside the box in September. They will do so again.

Originally Posted by Maximus Faticus
That it is safer on a plane now. Did you really have to ask? I would have thought that the concept would have been simple logic.
Even in 2001, the effect of terrorism was swallowed up by the statistical noise of airline safety. Even flying the planes without passengers, baggage or cargo wouldn't have much effect on flight safety (but less passengers would die, per incident).

Originally Posted by Maximus Faticus
Even if there was one terrorist plot that was prevented because of 9/11 means we are safer. If there was one terrorist that decided not to go through with a attack because of tighter national security means we are safer.
The September attack was a one-off event. The paradigm it was based on no longer exists. The next one will be unique too, and based on a new idea. Continuing to build security around preventing yesterdays attack is foolish. Witness the Maginot Line.

Issuing a pistol to each passenger for the duration of the flight would provide much more effective defense against future attacks.

P.S. Kiebler, your second line was dead on. A terrorist is, by definition, untrustworthy and promises from him to release you when he is done are hollow. How this wasn't obvious three years ago is beyond me.
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Old 03-21-2004, 10:02 AM   #16
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We may not have the actual result we're looking for, but I'm glad to see that an attempt is being made at making us safer. I am not superhuman. None of us are. We cannot do everything, be everywhere, and know all, all the time. I do believe that reasonable and extensive effort is being made to rectify the problem. Is there something more that you would be able to do, given the same resources?


Originally Posted by Gojirra
Issuing a pistol to each passenger for the duration of the flight would provide much more effective defense against future attacks.
I don't know that I'd go that far. There are a lot of people out there that don't need to ever be allowed to carry a firearm in that situation, because they could effectively do more harm than good.

If I have a handgun in my purse, and I get scared on a flight by someone who I suspect is a terrorist, what would stop me from pulling out my handgun and shooting them, in my perceived sense of self-defense?

If I have a handgun in my purse, and that person is a bonafide terrorist, what if I lose control of that gun and he gains it? Then I've indirectly armed a terrorist with my handgun.

If I have a handgun and I spot a bonafide terrorist, and in the process of trying to shoot/threaten him with the gun, what if I harm someone else accidentally? Just because I can gain access to a gun doesn't mean I can be responsible with one.

I understand your argument, I really do. I just think it would be an awfully difficult rule to implement in a manner that would be fair to everyone. To say that everyone can carry a firearm opens it up to any one of the situations listed above. To say that no one can carry a firearm upsets some who feel that they would be able to maintain control of the situation and have a constitutional right to bear arms and protect themselves.

Could we make it a case-by-case selection process? Who would get to determine who is allowed to bring a firearm and who isn't? Is there a handgun and/or terrorism threat response course they'd have to take? Is there a permit? Are medical conditions of the gun-bearer a factor, and would they be told they were not allowed to possess a firearm based on them? Would that be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act if they were?

I think it would boil down to something similar to the seatbelt laws adopted by most (if not all) states. You don't have a constitutional or God-given right to air travel. It's a privelege and a convenience, nothing more. I think the ultimate answer (from whomever makes the decisions) would be that you can either choose to follow the rules, or find your own transportation from point A to point B.

The easiest, most economical, and most enforceable rule here would be to say that average_citizen_01 is not allowed to carry a fire-arm on their person or in carry-on luggage on any commercial flight.
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Old 03-21-2004, 11:50 AM   #17
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The answer to more or less each of your questions is: There are ~100 other people on the plane, also armed. Remember, I said to issue a pistol, not merely allow it if you happened to have one.


I'm glad that the security theater makes you feel confident, but it doesn't make you any safer.

Security is done through balancing cost and benefit. None of the security measures I've seen proposed or implemented gives much in the way of benefit (and some even have negative benefits), and nearly all have staggering costs, usually hidden. People rarely question this, because they feel someone has made things safe for them, or at least that an attempt is being made.
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Old 03-21-2004, 12:48 PM   #18
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What would your suggestion(s) be? It's an honest question. I thought about it kinda off and on today in between calls at work, and my honest answer is, "I don't know." I'm interested in your perspective.
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Old 03-21-2004, 07:19 PM   #19
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First, I'd call this guy:

http://www.schneier.com/

and I'd ask for the names of as many people that "get" security as he knows. Next, I'd have them evaluate current practices here, practices in other parts of the world (Israel, for example, knows how to run a secure air travel industry, but we wouldn't accept the costs), and whatever else they could think of.

I would scrap existing practices that gave no benefits, and those with costs far in excess of their benefits, and I would implement the most cost effective.

That is kinda the meta-approach. If you are looking for specifics, I have few to offer. I only know some general principles and things that don't work.

My suggestion to issue guns to everyone boarding planes is probably the most cost effective security measure I can think of. It would effectively limit all attacks against air travel to a single aircraft per team of attackers. If that isn't good enough, completely close off the cockpit from the cabin too. The combination would reduce all attacks to a couple of people per team of attackers.

Making people check their pocket knives and toenail clippers in their luggage doesn't actually help any. Crap like that only worked back when people thought they should sit down and shut up and an attacker can improvise something at least as effective if necessary.

Requiring identification for travel is extra stupid pointless, and I won't even go into libertarian reasons to dislike the idea. Everyone involved in the September attacks had valid identification and there is no reason to suspect they won't the next time either. CAPPS2 is a nightmare that actually makes it easier for attackers.

Adding people and equipment to "check" passengers and luggage only makes sense if you think that you can prevent an attack by depriving the attackers of their equipment. I don't think you can, and that isn't an attack we need to worry about any more because passenger attitudes have changed.

Actually, I don't think that the next important attack will involve aircraft at all (but there might be some nuisance events).

P.S. If the WTC buildings had been built as designed (with asbestos) the death toll would have been a few hundred instead of a few thousand.
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Old 03-21-2004, 11:45 PM   #20
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I agree with the majority of what you said, other than the handgun issue. I posted my thoughts on that, so I won't rehash in this post.

Some of those thoughts and ideas may have been considered when they were coming up with their grand security scheme. It may have just not survived the red tape process or the other people involved in making those decisions. We may never know.

Regardless, good ideas.
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