Airport Security?

Tuesday, August 2nd 2005


Listening to NPR this morning, I heard a report on the history of airport security that blew my socks off. It was difficult driving without socks, but what I heard is worth repeating.

The report was talking about airports before the advent of airport security. In the early 1970s, there were an average of two hijacked planes per month in the U.S., as the chart on this page shows. For the most part, it seems that the hijackers just wanted free rides to Cuba. But in the mid-1970s, hijackers smuggled guns and grenades onto a plane, and threatened to fly it into the Oak Ridge nuclear facility in Tennessee. That got peoples' attention. This was no longer a free ride - it was now a national security threat.

"The trouble with the plans is that airlines and airports will have to absorb the costs and so they will scream bloody murder should this be required of them," according to a White House memo from 1972. "Otherwise, it is a sound plan which will curtail the risk of hijacking substantially."

And it seems that the airlines did scream bloody murder. The NPR report quoted the airlines as saying something to the effect of "You expect us to inspect every passenger and all their baggage? It's outrageous!" And I suppose that before the era of airline security, it would have seemed outrageous. ALCU also put up a fight, saying that the search without reasonable cause would violate fourth amendment rights. But I sadly believe that in today's world, nearly no one will claim that airport security is unneccesary. Although we may wish it unneccesary.

Since most of this happened before I was born, and much of it happened while I was too young to know any better, I just found much of this fascinating - if not entirely happy.

History of Hijackings

Comments on Airport Security?
Comment Tuesday, August 2nd 2005 by tagger
I notice your source goes back to only the 1970s. Prior to that, there were virtually no hijackings at all in the US that I can remember. I started flying commercial air in the 1960s, and it just wasn't an issue.

Part of the problem with airport security (or anything else the government does to "protect" us) is the high percentage of brain-dead, rock hard STUPID people running these programs.


There are lots more, but as you laugh try to remember that these idiots have guns!

Comment Wednesday, August 3rd 2005 by The Guru
I remember traveling in the 70s with my parents to Europe during the summers. It got progressively more strict every time we went...but it was always strict on the flight home. The German security in the Frankfurt airport was always a "hassle" for my father :-)

I fly my 9 year old cross country twice a year, and we don't mind the extra certainly makes me feel better, and he doesn't really care.
Comment Wednesday, August 3rd 2005 by tagger
I'm sorry? . . . Shaking down 70 year-old ladies from Iowa for nail clipers and showing an I.D. to Barney Fife every 5 minutes makes you feel better?

If anyone running these "security" checkpoints had two working brain cells, they'd use profiling (like everyone else in the world) to figure out whom to strip search. Let the politically correct crowd whine all they want, it works. Ask the Germans.

As long as people can still stroll out on the tarmac at will and smuggle weapons aboard with the toilet paper and booze, all the shoe x-rays and ID checks in the world are worthless.

Want to feel better? Arm the passangers. Require any bona-fide U.S. citizen without a felony conviction on his record to carry a gun. The first year of so will be messy, but things should settle down after people relearn being polite and thinking before they speak. I'd like to see a dozen nutbags with box cutters hijack an aircraft seating 200 armed Americans.

I know - it'll never work. Americans have become pretty gutless. Go back to taking off your shoes and showing your ID every time you want to go somewhere.
Comment Wednesday, August 3rd 2005 by The Guru
>I'm sorry? . . . Shaking down 70 year-old
>ladies from Iowa for nail clipers and
>showing an I.D. to Barney Fife every 5
>minutes makes you feel better?

Comment Wednesday, August 3rd 2005 by tagger
to "The Guru" -

OK, then - whatever floats your boat.

Keep in mind, however, that this is only the beginning. Your son may well grow up in a country where he is required to have RFID devices implanted in him so his government can "protect" him. I sincerely hope not, but the technology is here right now and the same psychotic politicians who have managed to rig at least one national election will feel compelled to use it.

It's happened in other places before. It can happen here and now.

I sincerely hope you are able to get in touch with me in ten or 20 years and tell me I'm full of it! Sometimes I really want to be wrong.
Comment Wednesday, August 3rd 2005 by The Guru

You should check out

Also, you can listen to Alex's radio show on 3210Khz (SW) at around 9pm. He's pretty good, I listen quite often.
Comment Wednesday, August 3rd 2005 by tagger

(I assume you mean 9PM Mountain?)
Comment Thursday, August 4th 2005 by The Guru

Now, granted, Alex has a tin foil hat reputation, and some of his theories are WAYYYY out there, but in many cases he is right on. I have his DVD "The Masters of Terror"'s some scary stuff, but a lot of it has proven true.

If you wanna discuss further, pop over to my blog and drop me a line.

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