Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Looking for Safety in an Unsafe World

The safety of the public and how to obtain a modicum of perceived sanctuary from those who would do harm is in the hands of government. If you think about it, going back to the arguments of the Federalists, that one task is the purpose of government, to keep the status quo safe from those who would impose upon that status quo through force or threat of force. One of the areas which has caused considerable discussion would be the security of our airports and how to best carry out the implementation of policies which might afford ways of routing out those intent on doing damage with the Pandora’s Box full of possible civil liberties intrusions.

I tend to think that most of the policies which were hastily put into practice around our airports have worked in favor of the terrorists goals of disrupting normal day to day lives of Americans. The minor inconveniences imposed are just that, minor inconveniences; no parking near the terminals , no lighters, no nail clippers, no bottles of liquid or even long lines while passing through detectors prior to boarding. While believing most of these to be of little if any importance that would improve security around our airports, I put up with it in the hope that it makes the terrorist work just a little harder to carry out mayhem and destruction on an unsuspecting populous. We have succumbed to routine searches, without cause, while standing in line to board aircraft. I don’t know about you but that part about “without cause” sticks in my throat and has a terrible taste that has nothing to do with America.

The libertarian construct of thought could be summarized by Brad Warbiany over at the Liberty Papers where he wrote, “A few years ago, I would have told you that government can’t do anything effectively and efficiently, but they could probably at least be effective at providing safety, if not efficient. After all, it’s their actual job, right? But the more I watch, the more I realize they can’t even do that right. I keep asking… Why exactly do we need government?”

I read from Fox News where, “Airport security officers around the nation have been alerted by federal officials to look out for terrorists practicing to carry explosive components onto aircraft, based on four curious seizures at airports since last September.”

{. . .}

“The four seizures were described this way:

— San Diego, July 7. A U.S. person — either a citizen or a foreigner legally here — checked baggage containing two ice packs covered in duct tape. The ice packs had clay inside them rather than the normal blue gel.

Milwaukee, June 4. A U.S. person's carryon baggage contained wire coil wrapped around a possible initiator, an electrical switch, batteries, three tubes and two blocks of cheese. The bulletin said block cheese has a consistency similar to some explosives.

— Houston, Nov. 8, 2006. A U.S. person's checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a 9-volt battery, wires, a block of brown clay-like minerals and pipes.

— Baltimore, Sept. 16, 2006. A couple's checked baggage contained a plastic bag with a block of processed cheese taped to another plastic bag holding a cellular phone charger.”

These types of disclosures would tend to support a continued need for keeping security measures at a higher alert status. I’d like to read a little more; perhaps a disclosure that would indicate the identities of those persons involved in the four listed incidents; were these folks associated in any way shape or form to radical Islam or were these college kids on the way to Science Fair? The individuals who brought the suspicious items listed, what kind of follow up investigations were launched and the results of those investigations; were they fruitful or dead ends? Simple straight forward answers would be helpful when asking an already weary public to remain burdened with what has appeared, at least for the most part, an inept and ineffectively intrusive version of the Keystone Kops.

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