Monday, December 28, 2009

Terror Pimps Peeing Their Pants

Along with very nearly everyone in our nation; I'd prefer not to be in an airplane that explodes or gets driven into something or be where one is crashed. I suppose that seems like stating the obvious, but there are other pieces of the obvious that are entirely left out of this NW Airlines bombing attempt. Let's start out with the most distressing, if enough people try, sooner or later somebody is going to manage it, even if everyone has to fly in the nude. That is just a matter of people being ingenious. Somebody will manage to break out of jail this year, out of a group of somebodies who all the authorities rightly suspect of being motivated to do it. That doesn't mean you throw your hands in the air and give up, but it does mean being smart and also not bothering to try to scare the public spitless like, say, Rep Peter King.
"I would say, right now, we do need the full-body scan, especially when you have countries like Nigeria, which have inadequate security to begin with; then you have passengers transiting in Amsterdam and coming here," King said. "I think we have to face up to this reality, that we live in a dangerous world where Islamic terrorists want to kill us. And, yes, there is some brief violation of privacy with a full body scan. But on the other hand, if we can save thousands of lives, to me, we have to make that decision and we have to come down on the side of saving thousands of lives."

Why not take a look at Nate Silver and see just how likely you are to get scattered across some landscape. Not very damn likely.
Therefore, the odds of being on given departure which is the subject of a terrorist incident have been 1 in 10,408,947 over the past decade. By contrast, the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 500,000. This means that you could board 20 flights per year and still be less likely to be the subject of an attempted terrorist attack than to be struck by lightning.

I'm actually subject to this analogy since I work outdoors and frequently in higher places using tools that are grounded; in effect making any of us lightning rods. If we hear thunder we start reducing the chances, but the reality is that lightning can happen before you hear any thunder or even see a reason to worry. And so?

The terror pimps got their real start with 9/11, the political and media impacts weren't missed by these opportunists. In the face of pretty obvious stupidity and incompetence BushCo managed to get re-elected in 2004, mostly on the back of fear mongering. A segment of the electorate in the 2008 election was worked over on the concept that the now President was a Muslim and "palled around with terrorists." Now the collective media and Republicans are pissing their pants because a guy set his pants on fire.

How far is this going to go in the search for the unattainable? What other or more "brief violation of privacy" will satisfy Rep King when whatever more steps are taken and avoided by a terrorist? What exactly is it that the President of the United States is supposed to say on TV that would make them feel better? Let's get to the nut of this, nothing that can be said or done is going to make for absolute security - and that's the game they're playing and you're their suckers.


Zak Johnson said...

The quivering of the "terror pimps" reminds me of the quivering of the would-be gun banners. A similar stat comparison I came across lately was that last year 2,600 people in the U.S. DIED due to drivers texting or yakking on their cell phones. During the same time 2 people in Washington state were murdered with rifles of all kinds combined. So the big public protection movement in Washington state is to ban . . . semi-automatic rifles, natch. Some people need to grow a pair if they're going to keep spouting that "home of the brave" line.

realbtl said...

There seems to be a substantial overlap in the "OMG the terrists" crowd and the ones who scream "nanny state" regarding things like mandatory seat belt laws. This couldn't be political grandstanding could it? Nah.

Zak Johnson said...

Well said, realbtl. I'm totally stealing that line! : )