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  #11  
Old 08-08-2007, 07:35 AM
raju raju is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

[ QUOTE ]
While this sounds good in theory, the second a group of people are segmented like this, the terrorists will be using this demographic of people to do their work.

[/ QUOTE ]

Its a big ask for a terrorist group to convert the middle aged white guy to their religion and convince him to martyr himself, his kids, wife and grandparents for the cause.

It is much more likely that this would never happen.

Bit different but hooliganism was eradicated from football grounds in England by concentrating on those that fitted the hooligan demographic, subjecting them to searches and close attention.
If that demographic had included "Asian in appearance" it would never have happened.

Does anyone remember how the Irish were treated when entering the UK in the 70`s and 80`s? during the troubles?
I`m not totally certain but i think they were subjected to scrutiny that the indigenous population were not and i don't remember the Irish terrorists ever convincing any British people to carry any bombs for them
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  #12  
Old 08-08-2007, 07:44 AM
Josem Josem is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

[ QUOTE ]
Its a big ask for a terrorist group to convert the middle aged white guy to their religion and convince him to martyr himself, his kids, wife and grandparents for the cause.


[/ QUOTE ]

I think this assumption is false - while taking the whole family would be difficult, there are certainly a number of "white" anglo-looking folks who are involved in al-qaeda and other extremist groups.
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  #13  
Old 08-08-2007, 07:51 AM
raju raju is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

[ QUOTE ]
there are certainly a number of "white" anglo-looking folks who are involved in al-qaeda and other extremist groups.

[/ QUOTE ]

I cant disagree with this but whilst we are talking about minimising disruption and solving a problem, using a much more accurate demographic than simply " everybody getting on a plane" would help to do this.
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  #14  
Old 08-08-2007, 09:20 AM
TheWorstPlayer TheWorstPlayer is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

Josem, way to include no probabilities in your calculation. What impact does prohibiting liquids have on the probability of a plane full of passengers hitting a building? That multiplied by the impact of the catastrophe has to be weighed against the cost of the liquid ban. I'm guessing that impact is basically zero. It is definitely very very small.

And for the racial profiling, I completely agree. No one is saying to give white guys a free pass. They should still go through the normal pre-911 screening process. A process which, at least to my recollection, did not allow many terrorist activities (I don't recall any pre-911, in fact). But people who more closely fit the profile (and that is not just race, it is also dress, stamps on passports, lack of luggage, odd behaviour, etc.) should be subjected to greater scrutiny. And that greater scrutiny should be targeted at those people, rather than randomly.

edit: also, everything seems extremely reactive to me. a guy lights his shoe on fire, so they prohibit shoes. a guy tries to make a liquid bomb, so they prohibit liquid. why dont we have smart people thinking about how they would attack an airplane and then proactively stop that attack from happening? in all honesty, my guess is that the smart people on our side know that it is futile because no matter the precautions we take, unless they are prohibitively expensive/inconvenient they would ALWAYS be able to take over a commercial plane.
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  #15  
Old 08-08-2007, 11:53 AM
NewTeaBag NewTeaBag is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

TWP,

So far, most of your posts in this thread have come off as angry, minimally reasoned rants. I used to do CT work for awhile (pre and post 9/11). Part of that involved airport security testing and measures effectiveness.

If you would like serious answers to your questions please calm down a bit and examine the situation from a more dispassionate and logical stance and I'll be happy to join the conversation.

I'll start by saying, airport security, in general, has improved markedly, post 9/11, yet there is still a ways to go. Some measures have a greater impact than you understand (such as shoe x-rays and liquid restrictions).

I disagree with your stated goals of airport security in the OP.

Assuring security far far far outweighs any inconveniences. That said, most TSA branchs do work hard to minimize the inconveniences BUT I don't think that should ever be their priority. Remember, everytime you board a commercial airliner, you potentially endanger possibly 300+ other passengers and crew, not to mention all those on the ground should you decide to use the plane as a weapon. In these cases, I believe the safety and security of all 300+ outwieghs any, usually minor, inconvenience you might hae to deal with during security screening.
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  #16  
Old 08-08-2007, 03:35 PM
TheWorstPlayer TheWorstPlayer is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

Obviously they were angry rants - look at the title of the thread. I travel several times per week, so this is a huge pet peeve of mine and not a minor inconvenience. When I miss my plane because it takes 3 hours to go through security because everyone has to get 'puffed' and wanded and have their bag searched, that is not a minor problem for me. Please explain how the liquid restrictions and shoe x-rays help security, and how security has improved.

I am obviously pissed off by the current state, but I am also very genuinely interested in hearing what an informed person can share about this topic.

Thanks.
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  #17  
Old 08-08-2007, 04:06 PM
niss niss is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

I hear you sort of, but 3000 people dying when terrorists crash planes into buildings >>>>>>> any inconvenience to anyone.
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  #18  
Old 08-08-2007, 04:41 PM
NewTeaBag NewTeaBag is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

[ QUOTE ]
Obviously they were angry rants - look at the title of the thread. I travel several times per week, so this is a huge pet peeve of mine and not a minor inconvenience. When I miss my plane because it takes 3 hours to go through security because everyone has to get 'puffed' and wanded and have their bag searched, that is not a minor problem for me. Please explain how the liquid restrictions and shoe x-rays help security, and how security has improved.

I am obviously pissed off by the current state, but I am also very genuinely interested in hearing what an informed person can share about this topic.

Thanks.

[/ QUOTE ]

OK. For a constant flyer the minor inconveniences add up to big inconvenience when totaled. I can understand that. If it were workable, I'd suggest separate screening (with equal intensity/routines) for frequent flyers/1st class/whatever. This would be a much smaller line thus would process faster. Unfortunately it's simply not workable from either a security or sellability standpoint.


How security has improved:
1) Taking the job out of private "low bidder" firms hands and putting it firmly in control of an agency with essentially police powers has made the process more professional, more standardized and more accountable.
2) People, including the TSA workers themselves, take it more seriously now.
3) Passengers take it more seriously now.
4) Lots of standard/routines/protocols have changed to increase the overall screening quality.


Shoes and liquids.

Before I address each of them specificlly, try and understand this. TSA workers at these checkpoints are fighting a very difficult battle, comparable to the immigration officials. They both only get very short looks at large volumes of travellers and are expected to ALWAYS get it right. They don't always get it right but they have to try. The major advantage the immo official has is that he/she is NOT pressed for time as they see people on the backend of a flight whereas TSA sees them preflight thus have all sorts of timing pressures.

Now, understanding that perspective, TSA needs to security screen the passengers as thouroughly AND efficiently (IOW fast so you don't miss your flight).

Now lets go to a singular level. Let's say I want to specifically screen YOU. I have never met you before and I have already seen 1000's of other passengers today and I pretty much only get a 1-5 min shot at you, whilst I'm also checking at least 5-10 others simultaneously. What's the best and fastest way for me to screen you? Though it might seem annoying, the best way is to take you out of your comfort zone and force you to do things you either aren't expecting or don't usually do. Thus, take off your shoes, take off your jacket, empty your pockets, stand with arms out while being scanned, etc. All of these things taken individually, have a small impression, but taken as a whole, they give multiple opportunities for you to "make a mistake" if you are threat as well as giving you less ways to carry contraband onto the plane.

X raying shoes allows for a thorough examination on the internals of them that is simply NOT possible with the walk thru "beepy" metal detector machine. For example, several available types of composite explosives are far easier to detect using the X ray machine than the walk thru detector. This in and of itself, makes it well worth the inconvenience of forcing passenger to do it IMO. But also, the less measurable but still highly important benefit is that it forces you to bend down to remove and replace your shoes. This allows more of that "observation out of comfrt zone." It also puts you at disadantage WRT the TSA personell in that you, should you decide to do a runner, be far easier to contain/capture "shoeless." Seems silly and simple, but tis quite effective.

WRT Liquids.
Yes there have been significant advances in explosive developments such that restricting liquids can be a significant help to flight security. Also, it gives TSA a simple and explainable reason to do a more thorough search through your carry on luggage. Once again, seems silly to need an excuse, BUT every extra chance they have to get a deeper look at you and what you are carrying is an incremental increase in security.

Another advantage to these "annoying inconveniences" is that it tangibly raises ALL passenger's awareness to odd things. As you leave the security checkpoint bitching about the delays you are far more likely to notice "abnormal" things about your fellow passengers than if you had sailed through security.


In general, despite what I said above about the expectation to ALWAYS et it right, TSAs airport security is meant more to present a "hard target" to the would be terrorists vice catch them all. It is impractical to catch every single possile bit of potential contraband from both TSA manning and passenger conenience standpoints. But every new secuirty measure or twist or inconvenience also makes it a LOT tougher on would be terrorists who are forced to plan, then replan, then replan, then replan in order to adapt and try to overcme the measures. What on the surface may seem like barely useful measures to you, the non terrorist frequent traveller, are major obstacles to the terrorist.

All of that said, a well suported, well informed, well financed, and well planned group still has a >0% of breaching security. Tis a simple fact of life that Americans' basic expectation of certain amounts of freedoms/ nonrestrictions will always make this true.

I could make reccomendations that got that % infinitely close to 0% but I sincerely doubt you would like what you would have to go through AND it would likely cut air travel at least in half.

In closing, try and remember the big picture and the little picture as you get pissed off ye again at the delays. Not everything is exactly for it's stated purpose and you don't and shouldn't have to know the exact reasoning behind the security procedures as long as you understand the the overall goal/purpose. If I tell you exactly what I'm going to ask you on a test, and you are reasonably intelligent, you will study, and you will pass the test. If I tell you the basic subject and change the questions a bit now and again, and then force you to do annoying things, you may or may not pass the test BUT you're far more likely to fail if you have hidden intentions and don't know ll the answrs beforehand.
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  #19  
Old 08-08-2007, 04:42 PM
grando grando is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

I never understood why IDing people is so important on domestic flights within Canada/US/etc. - does this really do anything?

I mean, if someone wanted to blow up a [censored] of stuff and cause a huge ruckus there are a million things easier and more effective than tossing a plane into a building

edit: my 2 paragraphs don't seem to correlate at all...
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  #20  
Old 08-08-2007, 04:44 PM
grando grando is offline
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Default Re: Air travel security is retarded - why?

[ QUOTE ]
I hear you sort of, but 3000 people dying when terrorists crash planes into buildings >>>>>>> any inconvenience to anyone.

[/ QUOTE ]

putting this in appropriate context, it is an absurd statement
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