Sunday, December 19, 2010

Security Charade

A recent story - December 16 - about tests of TSA checkpoints showed that in many cases, the ones conducting the tests were able to get pistols, knives and other menacing hardware past the crack TSA screeners.

A question that has puzzled me for quite a while is why the "security" bureaucracy is so convinced that airplanes are the primary target of terrorists. There are loads of easy targets that would wreak devastating economic havoc on the country with very little risk to the terrorist.

Take for example a railroad trestle. Many trestles are supported by creosoted wood pillars that will burn furiously once ignited or can easily be removed or weakened with a common chainsaw. The ones that are supported by steel beams can easily be cut with a "demo saw", an oxy/acetylene torch or the more handy and versatile Arcair Slice Torch. For the lazy terrorist there is always the derailer that is affixed to the rail to prevent cars from getting past a certain point. As an alternative, the goblin can cut out a short piece of rail with any of the above mentioned tools. Power transmission towers would be equally vulnerable, but would pose some hazard to the terrorist.

A man with a drip torch could burn millions of acres on a windy day if he so desired and perhaps not even be caught. A gasoline tanker driven down the road with its valves open could pose quite a threat, and I think somebody has already done this a while back. The Union Army's own home-grown terrorist, William Tecumseh Sherman demonstrated the efficacy of fire for destroying property and instilling fear. Fire also has the selling point of being free or low cost - matches and petroleum cost something - and self-propagating.

The government prints books on this kind of thing, so it is certainly aware of the potential for devilment.
Several titles from Uncle Sam are Improvised Munitions and Warfare, Booby Traps, Incendiaries, Explosives and Demolitions, and others. There are also private publications such as Anarchist Cookbook and The Poor Man's James Bond, if they are still available.

None of this is super-secret, which leads me to think that "terrorism" isn't much of a problem here unless the FBI takes somebody under its wing and encourages them blow up a Christmas Tree lighting ceremony or something similar. Osama Bin Ladin or Carlos the Jackal know all this stuff and probably lots more.

It doesn't take much to throw the public and the government into a panic. If you think about how the Tylenol Murders caused packages to be sealed so as to prevent Harry Houdini from getting into them you can see how one incident brings about a tremendous over-reaction. This is also a prime example of murdering people surreptitiously without using a bomb or hijacking a plane and never getting caught. If this happened today, the government's response would probably be to put all ingestible products behind a counter, inaccessible to the consumer. The only thing ever uttered by John Kerry that I agree with is his statement that terrorism is a "nuisance", or something to that effect.

The government is never going to provide security because it is impossible to do so. The theater of operations
is too large and the number of targets too great. No one needs sophisticated equipment to bring about destruction. All that is needed is a determination to carry out the plan and the materials to accomplish it.

Many welding suppliers used to have a picture posted of about a four story brick building reduced to rubble by one small acetylene cylinder leaking inside it. This was of course an accident, but it could just as easily been intentional. The purpose was to warn against transporting cylinders in closed vehicles.
Any industrial supplier can supply just about anything a free lance terrorist could want.

People for whom death is the greatest evil will always be slaves to fear and bleat for government to come and shepherd them through the valley of death. It is hard to believe that we are the progeny of those who risked death or everything they had to secede from England.

1 comment:

  1. Chris, I find it very clever how you point out "the absurdity of government security", but you don't come out and say what it really is all about. If it really isn't about security, what is it all about?

    I'll bite:

    I think it's really just about control. If the herd is good and scared, the sheeple are much easier to control and there won't be any "anti-shepherd" activity.

    Our feminized society has become spine-less, and gut-less. Security is what we value, but subjugation is what we get.

    The government creates an enemy to protect us from even if there isn't one. "Terrorism" is great because the government doesn't have to produce much evidence of its existence and can contour it up to justify the power grab.

    Of course, the real threat may be grandmothers in wheelchairs and terroristic nursing mothers that the TSA catches every day.