03 August 2018

"Security theater" award winner

No-touch pat-down done to perfection.  "Security theater" explained, for those unfamiliar with the TSA.  Video via BoingBoing.


  1. This guy looks so over even trying--ha! Of course, it won't win me any applause, but, truth be told, many times what is called "profiling" is really just smart policing. Yes, any one of those guys who got a pass could have been a terrorist. That's just the truth. But without any disrespect being intended, if we had to guess between a 78-year-old Norwegian grandmother and a 27-year-old Iranian, it's sad, but true, that the odds are that it will be the young Iranian. I hate that it has come to that, but the alternative is to act like everyone is equally likely to be the bad guy. It's just not true.

    Now, this security guard is either crazy like a fox...or he could really care less who gets by him. Some people can detect anomalies of behavior that others are blind to. I DOUBT that is what is going on here (looks more like a guy who is just wanting to get done and go home), but who knows?

    1. Doesn't look like he could care any less to me...

    2. I appreciate your polite phrasing, but I respectfully, and totally, disagree! Ethnicity is just not a valid predictor of violence, or violent terrorism.

      Using your own example, we can point to the Norwegian mass shooter in 2011, or the absence of Iranian terrorist activity on US soil, as counterfactuals. Further, most Iranian terrorist activity has been levied as political action (e.g. against embassies) and not against the public. Screening for individual Iranians would not remotely help us deter terrorist activity. Much of this is also do to the fact that we have a primarily merit-based immigration system; that is, a large number of Iranian (and Muslim, more generally) immigrants in the US are highly educated, something that largely deters violent activity. However, your example would work, but only because younger men account for the overwhelming majority of both violence and violent terrorism and older women do not. Their ethnicity is just not the relevant factor.

      My job is to look for the evidence and to develop programs that effectively target the evidence-based predictors of violence. Granted, I do not focus on violent terrorism. That being said, I'm wildly against racial and ethnic profiling, because the evidence is not there. More importantly, by screening a group of individuals based on some cultural or phenotypic feature, we're effectively making second-class citizens out of a group of innocent individuals.

      As an example, even though men account for more than 90% of violence, not all men (sorry for this phrasing) commit violence, and those that commit violence are not always men. We couldn't selectively profile men without making assumptions about the 95% of men that aren't, and will never be, violent.

      However, we can undoubtedly say that all acts of terror have been caused by extremism - religious, political, nationalist, separatist, racist, etc. If we were to effectively screen to prevent terrorism, we'd be paying far more attention to extreme ideologues and less to where they're from. Fewer than 300 people have died from violent terrorism since 9/11 and the majority were due to right-wing extremist white men, not immigrants or Muslims. We can compare that to the nearly 250,000 people who died in the same time period by homicide or the 450,000 who died in fatal car wrecks. Violent terrorism is bad, absolutely, but it's not worth abandoning the constitutional rights of racial and ethnic minorities and immigrant groups.

      Sorry for the diatribe!

    3. Diatribes are quite welcome. Thanks for sharing your insight.

    4. "TSA Employs Psychic Healers"


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