Over at RedState, there is a post that succinctly sums up the three choices currently facing people who plan to travel to a faraway destination:
Door #1: Have nude pictures of yourself beamed to some video monitor to be viewed by a total stranger where it may or may not be stored; or,
Door #2: Allow yourself to be groped, poked, patted down, felt up, frisked, and squeezed at the hands of some police academy reject in a Smurf-blue uniform; or…
Door #3: Don’t travel.
Of course, those choices don’t arise in a vacuum. They exist in a travel world that no one imagined prior to the 1970s, when hijackings started, and before the 21st century, when planes started being turned into bombs: How do we protect travelers?
In the hijacking days, metal detectors made sense, as a fairly unobtrusive way to guard against guns and knives, although that approach failed miserably on 9/11. But with the creative types at Al Qaeda using liquid explosives, putty explosives, underwear explosives, shoe explosives, etc., traditional machinery doesn’t work. And as noted above, non-traditional approaches — nude photos and groping — are untenable to the American public.
Which leaves a question: How do we improve airport security? I’d love to get your answers on this one. I hate to fly, and would prefer that my flight didn’t end with my plane exploding. But I’m also someone who has a large zone of physical privacy, a zone that extends to my family, and I therefore find utterly repugnant the thought of nude photos and public gropes. So what’s left in a day and age when the terrorists have gotten creative?
I’ll start the conversation with profiling, which the Israelis have used successfully for decades. This is deep profiling. They’re not just looking for the guy in Muslim dress. They’re looking for profound clues about people’s background and behaviors. I don’t know if we can get that up and running anytime soon and, given the size of our air traffic compared to the Israeli’s air traffic, I don’t know if we can spread this kind of knowledge and insight around.
Now it’s your turn….
UPDATE: This is an appropriate companion piece to my question above airport security.
UPDATE II: And another suggestion for non-radioactive, non-groping airport security.