22 November 2011

The government doesn't kill people, it neutralizes them.

Or depopulates the area.

This is a useful way to look at the impact of public policies, by looking at the consequences of their implementation. If a policy designed supposedly for safety's sake is instead resulting in hundreds of deaths then chances are excellent that it is a bad policy. Perhaps there are safety related regulations or rules that could have been imposed relating to air travel post 9-11 that actually would make people safer.

a) most of them were adopted almost immediately by either airlines, travelers, or the government as things like secured cockpits, more attentive passengers, and better (but not necessarily very good) filters over screening one-way visa travel.
b) we have no official mechanisms in place for determining the actual efficacy of things like harassing passengers at the gate, random searches, nude body scanners, and so on. Studies that are available suggest that either it's an extremely overboard system that wastes of a lot of energy and time and requires too much manpower to be effective, or that even the technical aspects involved (body scanners for instance) are inadequate to the supposed goals of detecting explosives or weapons.

So for right now, it looks like we're more interested in appearing to be safe but in fact letting more people die. They are likely to let us leave our shoes on soon. Maybe we should be thankful for that much at least. I think it's more like we call it "security" so we feel like we did something meaningful, maybe even patriotic. When it's really "take off your damn shoes you pathetic plebeian scum!". People being screwed with just because they can be arbitrary and petty with the application of power.

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