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The state of security in this country

blackllotus

Golden Member
May 30, 2005
1,875
0
0
First lets take a quick glance at how secure our public transportation systems are:
Airports (security rating: F)
- Newark failed 20 out of 22 underground security tests in 2006
- Albany International 5 out of 7 underground security tests this month

Trains (security rating: 0)
- Nothing. Randomly patrolling policemen are useless in the grand scheme of things. Anybody without a mental handicap could board a train with a bomb without notice.

Alright... not so good. Lets look at ways for terrorists to enter this country or smuggle materials in.

Border (security rating: 0)
- As good as open

Shipping (security rating: F)
- Old news articles indicate that only 5% of incoming cargo containers are inspected. I haven't been able to find more recent statistics, but I have been able to find several sources indicating that there are severe problems with current cargo scanners.

I think we can all agree that the security of our country sucks. What I think many of us disagree on is how far we should go to secure ourselves, so lets try to establish why we are trying to prevent terrorist attacks. Maybe I've become misled, but I think the top reason that most people want to prevent terrorist attacks is to save lives. This is a great reason however if saving lives is one of our nation's top priorities then we should be focusing on events that claim tens to hundreds of thousands of lives per year (ex: car accidents, obesity, cancer, etc...) not terrorist attacks that claim maybe a few thousand lives per decade. One could also make the case that we should try to prevent terrorist attacks because that they have a serious, negative impact on the economy. This, however, does not seem like a worthwhile venture. 9/11's long term impacts on the economy seem virtually non-existent nowadays, and I would think that that our counter-terrorism efforts in response to 9/11 have had a much larger impact than the attack itself (I would appreciate it if our resident economic gurus could either qualify this claim or shoot it down).

So whats my answer to the question "how far should we go to secure ourselves"? I think the fact that our airports and train systems are not secure is not that big of an issue. I enjoy being able to quickly buy a NJ Transit ticket and hop on the train without having to wait in security lines. The chance of dying to a terrorist attack on a train or airplane is so ridiculously small that I think convenience should trump security in these cases. In fact, I would go as far as to say that they might as well loosen up some of the security measures in airports. They don't work anyways and it sure as hell isn't worth it to wait an hour longer in line just for more security.

I do, however, believe that we need to put more effort into securing our borders and monitoring what gets shipped into this country. While the threat of a nuclear attack is extremely small, the consequences of one would be so devastating that we shouldn't ignore the possibility. Furthermore, having the ability to reliably monitor all incoming cargo containers could help prevent other crimes/attacks as well. It also wouldn't severely inconvenience travelers.

Thoughts? How far do you think we should go to secure this country? (Apologies in advance if this post appears rushed)
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
5
0
I think we are doing the same thing we did pre 9-11.
Chasing terrorists and leads and trying to stop them, but ignoring the faults in our system that let them carry out their attacks.

It?s like running around with a fly swatter trying to kill flies, while ignoring the fact that your front door is open.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,240
3,778
126
Originally posted by: bamacre
That depends on what you want to secure. Lives, or liberties?
That depends on WHO you want to secure. Us or those who adhere to the ideology whose various segments have declared war on us?

We should go so far as to profile those who have declared this war, or Jihad, against us. They should be removed from this country.
 

babylon5

Golden Member
Dec 11, 2000
1,363
1
0
Locking down border could be seen as racist. After all, only racist country has this funny thing call a border.

Americans would rather get blown up than be seen as racist, that is much worst.

 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
5
0
How many have heard the stories about Arabs terrorists being smuggled into the country via our Mexico boarder?

I would be willing to guess that all it will take is one terrorist act carried about by someone who enters that way and the boarder will be secure with in a few days.

Pearl Harbor and 9-11 show that we tend to be slow to react to approaching dangers, but when we do react it tends to be swift and hard.
 

miketheidiot

Lifer
Sep 3, 2004
11,062
1
0
i think we went to far pre-9/11. Being safer really doesn't feel or make me much safer, and theres really nothing you can feasibly or infeasably do to stop it.

So some people get killed every now and then and a building falls over. If we really wanted to do something, we could save alot more lives and property on our roads.
 

Nebor

Lifer
Jun 24, 2003
29,582
11
76
America's too big to effectively "secure." If we can't stop illegal arms, drugs and immigrants from coming in, there's no way we can stop terrorists from coming in.

That's why we have to fight them over there.
 

blackllotus

Golden Member
May 30, 2005
1,875
0
0
Originally posted by: Jaskalas
Originally posted by: bamacre
That depends on what you want to secure. Lives, or liberties?
That depends on WHO you want to secure. Us or those who adhere to the ideology whose various segments have declared war on us?

We should go so far as to profile those who have declared this war, or Jihad, against us. They should be removed from this country.
How do you suggest we go about funding your "great purge"?
 

blackllotus

Golden Member
May 30, 2005
1,875
0
0
Originally posted by: babylon5
Locking down border could be seen as racist. After all, only racist country has this funny thing call a border.

Americans would rather get blown up than be seen as racist, that is much worst.
How often do you see people getting blown up in this country? We don't have suicide bombers (at least not yet) and our last terrorist attack was six years ago. Terrorist attacks happen but not often enough that we need to shit our pants over them.

EDIT: Btw, I agree with Prof John's assessment that our borders would be secured real quick if we got attacked by terrorists who crossed them.
 

StageLeft

No Lifer
Sep 29, 2000
70,150
2
0
Beef security on high-risk facilities like nuclear plants and airports, but soft targets forget about. They're impossible to secure anyway. Even a brain dead monkey could walk into any mall with a backpack bomb and do whatever he wanted. These risks can never be averted. We are safe simply by running the numbers and knowing that the chances of any one of us caught in such a thing is negligible.

Terrorism has never been as big a threat to the US as many think. It has killed far fewer than many ailments pointed out in the first post. It MIGHT kill more, but these other problems ARE killing more.
 

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