The term “security theatre” is credited to cyber and physical security expert, Bruce Schneier. His books and blog are highly recommended, by the way, even for people outside his industry, as he touches on the human aspect of subjects like airport security and online protection.
What is security theatre?
Remember a couple of decades ago when people other than politicians, elite sportspeople, multi-millionaires and Caitlyn Jenner were able to travel freely between counties? If your recall is accurate, you might remember being “randomly” selected to have your shoes checked through the X-ray machine.
Of course, it wasn’t random at all; each lane had a quota and that usually resulted in every, say, fifth person being selected. At one point in my career, I flew out of Heathrow so frequently, I could quite easily work out which line to join to avoid the footwear genuflecting ceremony.
Did you ever pause to wonder why this check happens? Supplemental question for you; how many shoe bomb attempts have there been in the history of aviation?
The answer to these generally unasked questions can be found on the wiki page of this Sarf Lahdan scrote.
Richard Reid was an utter loser at life who converted to Islam and became a wannabe terrorist (but I repeat myself.) Being from South London, he wasn’t the brightest candle on the menorah (hopefully that metaphor offends him), therefore he failed spectacularly in his attempt to bring down the Paris to Miami flight he’d hoped would be his last.
How many attempted shoe bombings have been thwarted since? Zero. We’ll come back to that statistic later.
The consequences of the failure of the Brains of Bromley include the ridiculous ritual of removing shoes at the airport. How effective do we think that is in reducing the threat of terrorism? Well, also from Reid’s wiki (highlighting mine):
As a result of these events, some airlines encouraged passengers departing from an airport in the United States to pass through airport security in socks or bare feet while their shoes are scanned for bombs. In 2006, the TSA started requiring all passengers to remove their shoes for screening. Scanners do not find PETN in shoes or strapped to a person. A chemical test is needed. However, even if the X-ray scanners cannot detect all explosives, it is an effective way to see if the shoe has been altered to hold a bomb.
In 2011, the rules were relaxed to allow children 12 and younger and adults 75 and older to keep their shoes on during security screenings.
So, we can’t actually scan for Reid’s preferred explosive type and we’re going to assume nobody is faithful enough to the tenets of radical Islam to use a child or a pensioner to bomb a plane. Sure, that makes perfect sense then.
Similarly, if you ever found yourself annoyed at the litter on the London Underground in the early 1990s, it was as a consequence of these two attacks by the IRA. As a Ben Elton stand-up routine at the time pointed out, “every piece of litter is a Pyrrhic victory for the cause of the Irish Republican movement”. A year or two later, a genius at the Met Police (words not normally found together) realised the problem could be solved with transparent bin bags.
The Good Friday agreement was signed later that decade. One likes to think it was the demoralising results of the litter countermeasure that forced the IRA to disarm…
On an unrelated subject, isn’t it fascinating how different jurisdictions are dealing with reality?
The UK has lifted the mandatory mask requirement and backtracked on no jab no job employment rules for healthcare workers.
Denmark and Sweden have dropped all covid measures.
Israel has binned its “green pass” vaccine passport.
Meanwhile, various locations are still trying to fight a war they lost long ago (as we parodied earlier.)
Victoria has mandated a booster shot for hundreds of thousands of workers.
New Zealand has decided 23 days isolation is what der science requires of people who waved in the street at someone who ever said the word “covid”.
Austria has police roaming the streets with throwback powers their predecessors would have recognised to stop people and demand, “papier bitte”.
Even New South Wales, a jurisdiction with a marginally better track record than most, still requires masks to be worn indoors for reasons yet to be explained.
We’ll be enduring the covid security theatre for years, long after anyone can remember the reason why or when it started.
Nobody seems curious as to the justification or the actual effectiveness of the measures. Yes, another study emerged this week claiming lockdowns caused more harm than good, but anyone with a brain worked that out years (yes, years) ago.
Look at this data from the NSW health website:
Remember when we needed to get vaccinated and wear masks to “stop the spread”? Well, 95% got the jabs, nearly everyone complied with the masks and still one in every 7 people in New South Wales have caught the virus. Can you imagine how widely spread it would’ve been without all those highly-effective measures? It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Coming back to those shoe bombing statistics:
My aunt and uncle drink a lot of gin and tonic, “because the quinine protects against malaria”.
“Has there ever been a case of malaria in Kent, Uncle Dave?”
“No. See how effective it is!”