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Welcome To Security Theater Act 2

In the Homeland Security Appropriations bill we will take up next week, we will appropriate $860 million for this needless, useless agency. This money is a total waste: $860 million for people to sit on airplanes and simply fly back and forth, back and forth. What a cushy, easy job.

And listen to this paragraph from a front-page story in the USA Today last November: “Since 9/11, more than three dozen Federal air marshals have been charged with crimes, and hundreds more have been accused of misconduct. Cases range from drunken driving and domestic violence to aiding a human-trafficking ring and trying to smuggle explosives from Afghanistan.”

Actually, there have been many more arrests of Federal air marshals than that story reported, quite a few for felony offenses. In fact, more air marshals have been arrested than the number of people arrested by air marshals.

Full Transcript

I do have one initial complaint about this report.  They mention problems with these guys involving alcohol and domestic violence, etc.  These are not actions that directly relate tot he job of being an Air Marshal.  It’s not like say, these guys are beating up their wives while on the planes or anything.  I’m not supporting it, It’s just a bit misleading.  One could probably make the same point for say, the military, or the police force in some cities.  The reality is, arguing that more cops in City X are arrested for domestic violence would make the point of questionable usefulness than this argument since part of the job of a cop is to prevent domestic violence.

An air marshal only has to prevent violence on or involving the plane.

Still, one could argue that despite the high cost “per arrest” these Marshals, the presence of them has prevented many other incidents.  Unfortunately this isn’t an easily calculated statistic.  How do you count “potential” terror attacks?   Especially when you have people who think everyone is a potential terrorist running around?

Still, to push for the idea of suspending this service, aren’t we already going through enough pain and suffering before boarding these planes?  If the naked body scanners and x-ray conveyor belts are truly effective, why do we need an armed guard sitting on the plane as well?

He does make a good point about the true success of the 9/11 terror attacks.  I’ve believe for a while that the point wasn’t to destroy buildings, it was obviously meant to cause TERROR.  Hence the word TERRORism.  Now we all live in a panic state of fear, not necessarily fear from random al Qaeda jihadists but fear of our own government.  Fear that we aren’t in control. Fear that we need to “look over our shoulder” constantly..

And this is why the terrorists won a long time ago….

The Illusion of Security…

Security has been a “hot issue” for a while now what with terrorists running absolutely RAMPANT EVERYWHERE. At least we’ve gotten over the idea that every crazy Arab in the world is focused only on dropping a plane or a nuke on every podunk worthless town and Wal-Mart in the world.

Anyway (a term I’ve noticed I use way too much), you might have heard about the recent shooting of a security guard at the capitol of Illinois. For the ill informed, there was a shooting of a security guard at the capitol in Springfield, Illinois. (all different links BTW)

As someone who works downtown and travels to various state buildings (see, one of my jobs is as a runner for a law office), I havn’t actually noticed TOO much change so far due to this event, but I imagine changes are just around the corner. I did discover however that in order to enter the Driver’s Services facility, the one that’s not even downtown but way out on Dirkson Parkway, you have to sign in AND sign out now. I guess the idea is that there might be some OTHER crazy shooter out there and that having to sign his real name in a book will prevent any fatalities. Nevermind that it’s an inconvenience for every customer that comes in there and an inconvenience to the poor woman at the desk who has to remind everyone to sign the book. It’s not like they checked your ID or anything to make sure you signed the proper name, I’m thinking I’ll start signing superhero names or something each visit (I go there a lot due to work).

The other downtown Secretary of State building also makes you sign in and show ID. They have real guards too, well at least as real as the one shot at the capitol; in the sense that there are guys with badges but no guns or body armor. It’s not like a fake ID is hard to come by or anything. Several other state buildings have metal detectors. I swear no matter how many times I walk through the one in the county building with my sunglasss, they will still ask me for them if they see them in my pocket. Hey, they are shinny silver but they are probably 99% plastic. Not to mention I don’t think my keys or my cell phone set the thing off much less my sunglasses. I do believe the county building has real cops guarding it’s entrance though.

Friday they also had bags over ALL the meters downtown but I am pretty sure (and really hope) that it was due to the Route 66 Classic car festival going on and NOT due to the shooting. However when the country is put on Yellow to Red alert and those crazy ship’s klaxons start sounding, they put these same meter bags out. I guess the idea behind this is that a suicide bomber with a car bomb won’t destroy any state buildings if he can’t pay the meter. He might get a ticket or even towed. Forget that if he’s a suicide bomber he is going to be dead anyway or that if it’s a regular car bomb he’ll have more than enough time to leave the vehicle and get a hundred miles away by the time a tow truck shows up.