Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Quick Note On Airline Safety

The Terrorists' Secret Weapon

The article mostly laments the TSA's inability to deploy some magical supertechnology that searches for airborne particles that indicate the presence of the explose compound PETN.

The article discusses the tech solution and at one point hints at the simple solution, but doesn't ask why it isn't used.

Let me make this as simple as possible:

From the article, where the writer doesn't seem to see what he just wrote:

Bomb-sniffing dogs can also detect PETN. Well-trained dogs can also sniff out particles left on a bomber’s clothing or body from having handled the powder.

Dogs and handlers work. Searches on people in the US are forbidden by the Supreme Court as government intruding into an individual's reasonable expectation of privacy.

The same does not hold true for people entering the United States. Nor do the airlines, who are allowing people access to their services, have to abide by the same rules as govt. If an individual voluntarily enters a service contract with the airline where the airline states "we reserve the right to sniff you with a dog", the problem is solved. Why? It's not the government (the dog and handler as extensions thereof) doing the sniffing. It's the private entity and the private individual entering the contract.

TSA, as a government institution, is by its very nature incapable of using dogs inside the US in such a fashion. TSA also doesn't check passengers and planes coming from Nigeria, Holland, or anywhere else outside the US.

The problem with this is that airlines will face the same nonsense that they did with the Flying Imams, a bunch of islamic agitators out to test airline security and sue anyone who said "yeah, those guys shouting "Allahu akbar!" are kinda suspicious". They were terrorists attacking us with legal means as well as physical means. They hoped to terrify us by accusing us of prejudice.

They hoped to make us feel shame for singling them out when they attack us. I'll liken it to having a toddler steal a cookie, and when the parent corrects the child (time-out, spanking, etc.), the child then accuses the parent of being mean. Any parent worth their salt will be an authority figure and not put up with that. A parent completely devoid of self-assurance will bend to their child's opinion of them and the child will have run of the house while the parent is devoid of will.

Note that these aren't statesmen, diplomats, negotiators, businessmen, or anything other civilized men (I'd say "and women", but Islam demeans and subjugates women). These aren't representatives of a state or a people asking for redress of greivances. These are fucking terrorists who want to kill people who've done them no harm. They're the toddler lashing out at their younger sibling because they know that hurts the parent.

But seeing as how dogs, like dancing, music, women, beer, short-sleeved shirts, men without beards, gays, lesbians, bacon, images of people (especially the rapist of Aisha), and pretty much everything offends muslims, there'll be some kind of outcry, and maybe a lawsuit terrorist (like the libel tourists) who come to sue with their multi-bazillions stolen from their people by being hereditary sheiks and princes.

If we ditch the "what will the terrorists think of us?" whimpering and just do what works, this problem would be dealt with.

Dogs are superb at detecting explosives, and especially with good handlers, provide for a very dynamic response to terrorism.

Even with all the other failures of the system - despite Janet Napolitano saying "it worked" when a terrorist failed to detonate his explosives because he was jumped by a Dutch guy - the addition of another line of defense would help to make it work - a dog would've found this. If everyone's so afraid of making a judgement call that they won't say "this dude's a terrorist" - even when the terrorist's father says "my son's a terrorist", then we need another line of defense.

Dogs work. Dogs aren't bigoted, dogs don't mistake a peaceful Sikh for a terrorist Muslim, dogs don't discriminate between humans - they won't overlook a white British convert to Islam and they won't harass any little old ladies. Their nose works just the same if it's Irshad Manji or Wafa Sultan they're walking past or if it's John Walker Lindh or David Hicks. They discriminate based on who's a terrorist carrying bombs and who's not.

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