Bruce Schneier urges us to have a reality check. This is a very nice precis of the situation. Unfortunately the broadsheets make money from fear. They don’t want to dampen the panic as that will hit their profits.
There are interesting signs of a change in the climate, though. Max Moore-Wilton (head of Sydney Airport) has called for frequent flyers to be able to bypass security checks after 2 years. Maybe that is because there’s some profit effect on the airport as people decide not to fly, given all the restrictions on them 🙂 I might be misjudging him, however. Schneier agrees that some sort of profiling is more likely to be effective on catching threats to a flight, rather than the wholesale measures currently in place.
I’d like everyone to take a deep breath and listen for a minute.
The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics.
The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.
And we’re doing exactly what the terrorists want.
Another thought experiment: Imagine for a moment that the British
government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the
TSA and its European counterparts didn’t engage in pointless
airline-security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the
press didn’t write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn’t
use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we’d reacted
that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed.