Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's a Deterrent!

I don't know what to make of the squeaky wheels complaining about full body scanners and invasive pat downs at airport security. Some argue that these measures are a humiliating indignity that trample on personal liberty treating the innocent as if they were guilty while doing little to enhance airline security.

I believe much of the belief that the security measures do little to enhance security is because terrorist's are not getting caught in the act. I think that point of view misses the point. The security measures are there for the most part to deter would be terrorists from even making an attempt at all. It's the hard target theory: you make the easiest way for terrorists to commit gross mass murder as difficult as possible to accomplish. When this is the case terrorists either won't even try or won't try very often. Deterrence is the main objective, not catching terrorists in the act. A lack of catching terrorists in the act is just as much a success as catching a terrorist in the act. As long as airline passengers are not getting killed we are winning.

As for the argument that these measures are a humiliating affront to personal liberty and we are treating the innocent like criminals. My simple question is, what alternative is there? There is an obvious need for for airline security to be as tight as possible because the consequences of failure are so huge. No one wants to die in a terrorist attack except the terrorist on a suicide mission. To me it makes no sense not to put the pedal to the floor on this, even though that means it makes some people uncomfortable. I personally don't find the measures being taken to be unreasonable because they accomplish the goal of making mass murder as difficult as possible.