Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Ensuring" Airline Safety

I just read a typical idiot an article with the "but Christian extremists are just as dangerous" type of logical fallacy titled "Why Profiling Can't Ensure Airline Safety". 

The article went about pointing out two cases where an airline bomber (or potential bomber) was not an Arab or a Muslim (although in the woman's case I believe she was either dating or married to a Muslim -- and he had planted the bomb in her luggage) to show us why we shouldn't profile.   This is like pointing out the few rare instances in which seatbelts have actually cost lives and saying we shouldn't wear seatbelts.

Note the common element in these stories. In no case was the carrier of the bomb an Arab or a Muslim.
Question: Did they, or did they not profile this woman?

They thought it curious that the pregnant woman, a hotel maid, would be flying alone to Israel.
This is called "profiling".

Followup, since the answer to the first question is "yes" -- and they found the explosives, just how is this an example of profiling not working?

As some bean-brain said on Fox, "Christians are not blowing up airplanes." But they have ... some wittingly, some without knowing.
"Bean brain" on Fox, eh? Nope, no bias there at all. The fact remains that statistically, it's Muslims, and the margin is enormous to the point of making all others negligible. So make the Christians aware of Muslim Extremist trickery, and focus on the Muslim Extremists. The "Bean Brain" is right.  This line of thinking intellectualizes one into self-imposed idiocy.

Newsflash: Nothing can Ensure Airline Security. But certain things can go a long way toward minimzing risk.


tim said...

It’s becoming more and more depressing knowing that we actually have to debate sh*t like this. We are our own worst enemy, the Jihadists just need to keep enough pressure on us and we’ll do all the rest, we’ll destroy ourselves.

From giving the terrorist Constitutional rights, to closing down the perfect prison to appease the same scum who belong there, to charging SEALS for giving some scumbag a fat lip, and on and on…I sometimes wonder if we’ve failed already, that we’re not even good enough to carry on what our forefathers hand in mind for us, to fly the flag that represents all that it represents. Sometimes I believe we’ve already lost.

I just don’t see how we come back from where we are. Things turn around from here and get better? When has history shown that?

And it’s not me I even worried about, hell I’ve lived, I’ve seen, I’ve enjoyed many things most people could only dream or have never even thought about. The future is more important than me, and I’m afraid for it and the people who have to live it.

Excuse the drama if it reads as such, it’s just what’s in my heart and I wish it wasn’t so.

Cylar said...

I stumbled across Ms Harrop's idiocy over at creators.com last night myself, so it's an interesting coincidence that you just happened to comment on it as well.

Here's the comment I left at the creators.com site:

Ann Coulter pointed out something rather astute: We're fighting an enemy that has no leader, no country, and no uniforms. The one advantage we have is that they all look alike. The last thirteen attempts on US airliners have all been by young men with the same hair, eye, and skin color. Half of them were named Mohammed. Ok, Harrop...now that I've stopped laughing at you....seriously, tell me why we can't profile."

Another reader wrote: "Posted by: Paul Sternberg
Comment: #2
Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:47 PM
This article provides all that is necessary to prevent Ms. Harrop from leading Homeland Security (a title I detest, by the way). Two bombings from over 50 years ago, when there was no tough airport security, and a more recent example of a women that fit a profile? She responds as if an Islamic or national origin connection is the ONLY element of the profile! Profiling looks at potential risks and focuses scare resources to minimize those risks. Origin of travel, sex, age, religious affiliation, how tickets are purchased, presence on watch lists, suspicious behavior, etc. are all profile elements. The key element in profiling (or any effective security measure) is to actually look at and question passengers. Use the intelligence information we have to assign levels of risk to passengers (see Thomas Sowell's column from 1/12/2010, for example). If we have list of suspect people, then question those on the list and act on the side of caution. If Ms. Harrop's examples are enough to make her case, what about these (not an exhaustive list): June 1985, Lebanese Hezbollah terrorists hijack TWA Flight 847 and kill US Navy diver Robert Stethem. November 1985, EgyptAir Flight 648 is hijacked by Muslim killers. Fifty-eight were slain or burnt alive. March 1986, a Palestinian splinter group detonated a bomb as TWA Flight 840 approached Athens, Greece airport May 1986, TWA Flight 840 bomb explosion was set loose by Arab Revolutionary Cells. Also, four from the US were slain when a bomb exploded on a TWA jet going from Rome to Athens. The ARC claimed responsibility. September 1986, Muslim killers hijacked Pan Am 747, leaving 20 slain. December 1994, an Islamic bomb on Philippine Airlines Flight 434 killing a Japanese businessman. December 1994, Armed Islamic Group hijacks an Air France Flight to Algeria. August 2004: Islamic suicide bombers destroyed two Russian domestic airliners in precision attacks that killed 90 people. Not including the successful attacks of 9/11, Richard Reed's shoe bombing, and this latest attempted attack. Nearly every attempted or successful airplane hijacking or bombing over the last 20 years was perpetrated by an Islamic fanatic or terrorist group. To ignore the obviousness of this when scrutinizing passengers is madness - there is no other word for ignoring the obvious when safety is at stake. Nothing can ensure absolute safety. We need to consider, though, the patterns of past events when we decide policy for the future. We owe it to those who lost their lives or whose lives were irreparably changed by those past events."