Thursday, December 13, 2007

When stupid rules meet stupid people

Image courtesy of T-shirts are available at (Kip Hawley is TSA Administrator, and is credited with the liquid rule)

BERLIN - A man nearly died from alcohol poisoning after quaffing a liter (two pints) of vodka at an airport security check instead of handing it over to comply with new carry-on rules, police said Wednesday.
Quaffing is guess is a nice way of saying chugging.

Do you remember why we have to take off our shoes? Richard Reid attempted to light a fuse on his shoe on a flight from Paris to Miami. Yet when you fly into the US, you don't need to take off your shoes. So this rule wouldn't have prevented Richard Reid at the time. So why do we check still, when a terrorist would likely try something else?

Or why must passengers show government issued photo IDs before and after the metal detectors (but not at the gate)? 5 of the 9/11 hijackers had government issued photo IDs. [Another reason why a photo ID requirement for voting is dumb too]

But anyway, remember why we need to bring only small amounts of liquids or gels on board a plane?
"The idea that these people could sit in the plane toilet and simply mix together these normal household fluids to create a high explosive capable of blowing up the entire aircraft is untenable," said Lt. Col. Wylde, who was trained as an ammunition technical officer responsible for terrorist bomb disposal at the Royal Army Ordnance Corps in Sandhurst.
Once the fluids have been extracted, the process of mixing them produces significant amounts of heat and vile fumes. "The resulting liquid then needs some hours at room temperature for the white crystals that are the explosive to develop." The whole process, which can take between 12 and 36 hours, is "very dangerous, even in a lab, and can lead to premature detonation," said Lt. Col. Wylde.
So unless you are flying from New York to New Dehli, I don't think you have to worry about this one.

Obviously, the man who downed a liter of vodka was incredibly dumb to drink that much alcohol that quickly. This is the danger of having equally dumb and pointless "security measures" which might make us feel safer without actually making us any safer at all.

1 comment:

Jason The said...

I always found airport security measures kind of humorous.

They make me leave my travel-sized Gillette shaving cream, but in my backpack is 4-pack of cigarette lighters I bought at Walmart. I told them, they didn't care and let me on with them.

Once I flew from SLC to Dulles for work. I had forgotten completely that in my backpack was a leatherman last used on a backpacking trip, complete with 6 inch serrated blade. I had no idea 'til I landed. They made me take my shoes off and leave my shampoo at the gate, but never said a word about the knife.

I think a lot of the "security" is simply to keep us from screaming on flights every time a fellow traveler reaches into their suit-pocket.