View Full Version : Security is going overboard

09-17-2001, 08:03 PM
I hope we all recognize the security madness at the airports for what it is, an empty gesture intended to make us feel better.

Almost all of the new security measures fail to address the specific problem of what happened on the 11th.

Airports have eliminated curbside baggage checks, eliminated check-ins at the gate, and prohibited un-ticketed passengers from accompanying their friends to the gate. Simply put, none of these measures would have prevented Tuesday's events, and they won't prevent another one. So why are they in place?

These are just incredible inconveniences that do very little to make the airplane secure, but they make the passengers feel more secure precisely BECAUSE they've been so inconvenienced.

And in terms of the news rules replacing metal cutlery with plastic, and not allowing nail clippers, nail files, or any kind of pocket knife on board, these are also going to have no effect. There is just no way to prevent passengers from bringing on board something that can be used as a weapon.

There's so many things that can be used as a weapon. What about hot coffee? All things made of glass? I could easily shatter a beer bottle and threaten the pilot with it. What about syringes? A diabetic needs to have his syringes with him. Do we stop all diabetics from flying? What about eyeglass repair kits? Flashlights? A bottle of vodka? A wine corkscrew? A laptop battery? Leather shoelaces? I could use them as a garrot. Poison? I could just poison the coffee and wait for the pilots to take a sip....

What about a really big man? Are we going to prevent big men from flying? All it takes is seven or eight very large muscled 250 pounders with the will to do so and the plane is theirs, with or without weapons.

I could go on and on. If we really believe our planes are going to be hijack-proof because some little old lady wasn't allowed to bring her nail file on board, we're deluding ourselves.

If the FBI is reading this or using Carnivore to monitor this transmission, I am not a terrorist.


09-17-2001, 08:35 PM
Well, making people feel safe is important. When I walk to my parked car late at night, I feel better seeing a cop on the beat. Maybe he's not paying attention, maybe he runs a 17.2 40 yard dash, maybe he can't hit the side of a barn with his pistol, but A) it makes me feel better; and B) maybe it does discourage some would-be wrong-doers.

How do we all feel about making the cockpit virtually inaccessible? Is it a good idea? Is it do-able?

By the way, I'm in favor of preventing big men from flying, especially in coach.

09-17-2001, 09:08 PM
I spoke with my brother-in-law who is an airline captain about a few security issues. The cockpit door issue came up. One thing he mentioned is that the door is designed to be broken in an emergency so that people can evacuate through the cockpit in a fire. So for now, just locking it won't do any good. More than procedures will have to change.

P.S. Andy - if you lived in Idaho instead of L.A. you wouldn't have to rely on a cop to feel safe in garages at night. You could make yourself safer with appropriate means. :-)

09-17-2001, 10:13 PM
Cockpit acces will surely be examined closely. As for other ideas, here's one I haven't read in detail, but which appears to merit consideration:


09-17-2001, 10:19 PM

These were my first thoughts to the new security precautions. None of them would have prevented last Tuesday's tragedy. In fact, air travel has been relatively free of bomb or hijacking incidents in this country for some time. Bottom line: It's difficult at best to prevent people from killing others, if they're willing to lose their own life in the process. This is true for almost any other scenerio. Not just those involving aircraft. Sad, but true.

09-17-2001, 11:34 PM
The reason why I feel safer with a cop nearby is because far too many of my fellow Angelinos have made themselves "safer" with "appropriate" means. I have been to Idaho several times and people are much nicer there than here in L.A., not that I'm revealing any state secrets with this information.

09-17-2001, 11:42 PM
I liked the link. I will try to ask my brother in law about the Airbus fly-by-wire system. He flew Airbuses and has flown 3 different Boeings I think. I remember him complaining about how bad the Airbus system is, but don't know any of the technical details. I will also try to get him to look at the link and see what he says. Some of it sounded technically unrealistic, but I don't know. I know he will approve of guns in the cockpit.

And I'm all for more weapons in the plane. Make me feel like I'm still in Idaho. If they ban carry-ons and give us weapons I'll like flying a lot more. Except the biggest reason to use a club on a fellow passenger will be gone, i.e. the 400 pound lady with 57 plastic bags full of crap purchased at the outlet mall de jour. :-)

09-17-2001, 11:44 PM
Just read through the suggestions from the link, and one would hope many of them will be considered by the FAA and other appropriate government agencies.

09-18-2001, 12:02 AM
You might be meeting the wrong people in both places. :-) I see people here who give me the creeps as much as many in L.A., but maybe familiarity breeds contempt. But the problem is that the law-abiding Los Angelinos don't take appropriate steps, only the ones who just don't quite care about consequences.

The reality is there are a lot of people who are willing to do you harm wherever you go. And I don't want to sound paranoid, because I have spent enough time in big cities where I am not allowed reasonable steps, and have never had a problem. I haven't had any problems here either. Although there was the night where an armed kidnapper decided to cause some excitement in the middle-of-nowhere casino I play at... But nothing came of it except his arrest.

09-18-2001, 02:36 AM
When we checked into our condo in Sun Valley, a person came over to our car, welcomed us, asked us if we needed any help, gave us instructions on where to park, etc. Couldn't have been nicer. (Ditto for the clerk at our motel in Boise.)

My wife said to me, "What was that?" I answered, "That was a person. We don't have many in L.A. We have a-holes."

Having grown up in N.Y. and lived all my adult life in L.A., I am momentarily stunned, as my wife was, when we meet people from more of a small town environment. They're just plain nicer.

There was a famous incident many years ago where a disgruntled looser shot through the windows of a card club in Gardena. The security solution then was to do away with windows in the clubs.

09-18-2001, 03:40 AM

Did you check out 60 minutes last night? The segment on airport security was appalling.



09-18-2001, 07:10 AM
>>Just read through the suggestions from the link, and one would hope many of them will be considered by the FAA and other appropriate government agencies.<<

You've hit on one of the major problems,

FAA = Analysis Paralysis.

I'm fairly certain that many of these suggestions have been proposed before. In fairness though something like the SAFE mode being described would take years to implement even without analyzing the change and it's effectiveness. Not saying it isn't a good idea though because it is technologically feasible.

09-18-2001, 07:14 AM
I would think that pilots would be reluctant to give up the capability to override the computers in SAFE mode. Could be wrong though as it will be interesting to read what you report back. SAFE mode is feasible technologically IMO.

09-18-2001, 07:20 AM
Regrettably I have to agree with much of what you write. It seems to be a bit of a dog and pony show. Why regrettably? Not because I wanted to disagree with you but I was hoping that something more substantive would take place. I think in time there will be substantive changes that are effective. Hopefully that time span isn't too long.

09-18-2001, 09:12 AM
Natedogg, where have you been? I'm going to nominate you for a sub-Cabinet post inflicting, err, initiating new measures for the traveling public.

"What about a really big man? Are we going to prevent big men from flying? All it takes is seven or eight very large muscled 250 pounders with the will to do so and the plane is theirs, with or without weapons."

Starting tomorrow, there will no longer be a check in for our flights; there will be a weigh in. Flights will be organized according the classes recognized by the staff of _Ring_ magazine. At the very top, above Heavyweight, we shall add a new super category called Suma Class, to hold Samoans and those NFL linemen who pose such an unnatural threat!

In the meantime, don't order fried liver in the concourse eatery: you'll never get through it with plastic cutlery.

09-18-2001, 09:24 AM
...could be part of the instructions we now get for the oxygen mask, emergency exits and flotation devices. I'm almost not being facetious. Democratic self-defense could have made a 6,000 life difference.

09-18-2001, 09:33 AM
Twenty years ago when I lived in Arizona, it was accepted as a statistical reality that one in four motor vehicles contained a firearm. I do believe that motor traffic was more civil. The only truly rude drivers, the ones who'd make that deliberately (the term "road rage" hadn't yet been coined) threatening lane change followed by a gesture were tourists who didn't appreciate the frontier environment.

09-18-2001, 09:43 AM