Flying in the post-liquid bomb world

So I had the missfortune of picking last thursday to fly on vacation. For those of you living under a rock, last thursday was when the news broke out that some terrorists were plotting to blow up planes using explosives in the form of liquids and/or gels.

The solution was obviously to stop anyone from flying in their carry-on any liquid, gel or simular substance such as chapstick. Apparently now, you can’t even have gel inserts in your shoes.

As someone in the security world, these planned attacks and our response are somewhat interesting to me. Anyways, a few observations:

  • Some people traveling really are living under a rock. One woman who was trying to go to Disneyland was shocked that she needed some form of a government issued ID to fly.
  • TSA is obviously incapable of determining who is a terrorist and who is not a terrorist, hence everyone is now treated as a possible terrorist.
  • The terrorists are constantly coming up with new ways to blow stuff up.
  • The TSA responds by constantly banning perfectly harmless things which resemble dangerous things in an attempt to prevent terrorists from blowing things up because it is unable to efficently distinquish things like drinking water from nitroglycerin.
  • The impact on perfectly honest citizens who aren’t terrorists seems much larger then the impact on the terrorists (not just the people traveling, but the owners of duty-free stores, wineries who’s customers don’t buy as much wine, causing the price of oil to skyrocket, etc)
  • If the terrorists goal is to just strike fear into the average traveller, cause havoc with our economy, etc then the terrorists are meeting their goals. My guess is that actually blowing up a plane would be bonus points. It also explains why we call them terrorists not “random murderers of many people who take themselves out in the process”.
  • How long before the terrorists figure out how to embed exploisives into clothes and the TSA requires everyone to fly naked?

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