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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Why Aviation?

The Future Was Yesterday has a post on this subject, but I have a slightly different take on the subject.

Aviation is an attractive target for terrorists. In blogland and in the media, there are always questions about why things happen in aviation security, and they will spend hours waiting for the plane to crash only to find out it was a crazy passenger and not terrorism. Future and other bloggers/commenters seem to think that the Bush Administration hypes the threat to keep us in fear.

My first thought is: That is disingenuous and false. My second thought is: Allowing for the sake of argument that it is True, then GOOD! Americans are not respectful of terrorism enough. Respect being an acknowledgement of the possibilities, not living in fear.

But, aviation has always been a strong medium for terrorist attacks. The paradigm of terrorism/aviation has changed from political hijackings to bomb targets, to the use of the plane as a weapon and the attack as one to hurt the US in more than one way. Not only are there immediate victims, but the economy suffers, liberty suffers, and the ramifications take months, if not years, to dissolve. Remember the immediate consequences of 9/11? It took three years for air travel to rise above those attacks. People are fearful of aviation attacks because of the uncertainty. No one knows which planes at what time and what day will be a target. Sure, air travel is safer statistically than highways, but being on a plane that is hijacked these days almost guarantees death. Is it really worth that trip do Disneyland or Vegas considering the chances?

Beyond that, aviation creates mega-media response. A terrorist attack itself is propaganda for a group. Due to the large response that any aviation event draws, a group can simply claim responsibility and they are guaranteed front page and lead-in stories from print and broadcast alike.

People also fear the lack of control. In a car, we can stop a vehicle slide. In a car, we can apply the brakes, or change direction within seconds. An aircraft cannot accomplish these things, and even if it could, we are riding with someone we don't know to a place we have never been, and have absolutely no say in what happens.

Terrorists know all of this. Terrorists will continue to attempt aviation attacks, and the bigger they are the better they are. People should have terrorism in mind when they go to an airport. People should also be grateful that our government takes this threat seriously.

10 Posts From Readers:

Ellie said...

I'm afraid i'm amont the bloggers who "seem to think that the Bush Administration hypes the threat to keep us in fear." even you have to admit that most of these terrorist attacks come at the most politically appropriate times.

still workign on that post, i'm kinda busy but its coming along.

if you notice there is also an increase in the number of horror movies on planes. like red eye, snakes on a plane, there was one with jodie foster or someone that i remember as being terrible, there seems to be a lot of them going around. the uncertainty on a plane seems to be a big topic now adays.

Ellie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ellie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ellie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ellie said...

sorry about the deleted comments. When I hit the publish button it didn't publish automatically so i hit it a buncha times. slow computers drive me insane. sorry bout that.

Robert said...

NP Ellie, it happens all the time. I do it on others sites more than they do on mine!

Ellie said...


The Beltway B@stard said...

Back from my temporary water rescue observations.

I have a question - what good is all of this airport screening, when many offending items can be brought aboard concealed on the person - liquids included.

I'm surprised the media hasn't run with this one. Isn't it enough that cockpits are now secure (as they should have always been), passengers awareness has been increased, and the Air Marshall Service is actually in service...well maybe, I don't know enough about them.

The Brit scare should have remained just that, a scare. It did seem too convenient when I look back on it now, with all of the negative back-lash against Reps happening.

I don't question the fact that Government takes the threat seriously, as they should. But the grand-standing is not necessary, and I would shake my finger at either party for doing so.

Robert said...

If I had to take a wild guess, I would say that the Air Marshals Service is much more effective than one might think ;)

Liquids are no longer allowed....

Finally, there is always an issue of international compiance with aviation security standards. If you notice in airports, which no one does, there are signs at the air carriers counters that tell you which countries have been found tonot take appropriate security measures.

The problem here is that we are reactionary. We are trying to retain freedoms, while being safe. I personally hate the fact that I can't take my Starbucks on a flight anymore, but to adequately prevent the plane from blowing up, I have no choice.

You can't protect everyone from everything at every moment. Sometimes you jsut have to do the best you can.

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