How to stop the terrorist threat on commercial airliners

The top story yesterday was that British police thwarted a major terror plot to bomb transatlantic aircraft. The terrorists were plotting to build bombs on board aircraft using chemicals brought in carry-on luggage. The response from the US government: liquids are now banned from carry-on bags.

Will this make us ultimately safer? Probably not. I’m no chemist, but I’m sure prospective terrorists will figure out how to make explosives out of other products that can still be carried onto aircraft.

But what’s bothersome is the reaction of the government. They treat the symptom (banning liquids) rather than solving the real problem (crime prevention on airline flights). Why not put armed law enforcement officers on every airline flight? This has worked for El Al, which is probably the top target for terrorists. So I did a quick calculation: how much would it cost to put armed law enforcement officers on board every flight. My calculations show that this could be done for approximately $15 per passenger, each way. Isn’t this what the security surcharge is supposed to pay for?

In the meantime, this liquid ban is a complete nuisance. Carry-on bags are probably on the way to extinction. I’m thinking about mailing my toiltetries on my next business trip. The inconveniece of flying today is why I drove last week instead of flying.

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3 Comments on “How to stop the terrorist threat on commercial airliners”

  1. Cadillac Bob Says:

    Precisely, Greg!

    Unfortunately, nobody in Europe or the USA wants to treat the cause. So we remain reactive instead of proactive, blthley reassuting ourselves with cosmetic prosthesis.

    Sooner or later, this shallow shortsightedness will enable another appalling tragedy.

  2. greg Says:

    Fighting the cause of radical Islam could take a decade or more. Putting police on aircraft could be done in a matter of weeks.

  3. NS Says:

    They can’t stop you from mixing when you’re in the bathroom. Read the NYT article about how easily TATP can be made.

    I think this is a temporary bump. There are probably only a limited number of devices which can be easily made, and we’ll expand our screening technology to these and things will return to something resembling the status quo, but it will take a little while.


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