Stop using terrorism as a political tool – UK lowers threat level to ‘severe’ – Aug 14, 2006

“The threat level is at severe, indicating the high likelihood of an attempted terrorist attack at some stage, and I urge the public to remain vigilant.”

I’m glad that was the British Home Secretary saying that, and not someone from our DHS. It would have been really embarrassing if Chertoff said something that dumb. Now, if I had a devoted readership, it would be mere minutes before someone would dig up an equally stupid quote from Chertoff. But, since my devoted readership is about five people, I’m not sure it’s going to happen.

Anyway, the point of this post is not to attack stupid quotes. I mean, if the British government wants to terrify their citizens over the threat of attempted attacks, that’s fine. It’s idiotic, but it’s fine.

The point of this post is that all of these security measures are ridiculous. You can bring electronics on this flight, but not that flight. You can only bring a clear plastic bag on this flight, but three days later you can bring a regular carry-on. You can bring a computer or a hair dryer, “provided they are visible at security checkpoints”. So, I’m free to put a bomb in my suitcase and use my hair dryer to set it off, but I ABSOLUTELY MUST ensure that the hair dryer is visible to the security folks.

None of this is making us safe.  This is making us afraid, and this is making it a pain in the ass to travel.  But it does nothing for our safety.  It’s so frustrating that I don’t feel as if there’s anything I can do.  I could make a fuss at the airport, but what will that accomplish?  The people there are just following orders from higher up (If anyone makes a “the Nazis were just following orders, too” comment, I’m going to block your IP.  If I can figure out how to do that.), so complaining to them is useless, and likely to only delay me further.

So I bitch about it here, and to anyone else who will listen.  I’ve heard people suggest that many of these terrorists we’ve caught were planted by the government as an excuse to do things in the name of national security.  I don’t think I’ve sunk quite to the level of paranoia it takes to believe that, but the fact that it doesn’t sound all that far-fetched anymore worries me.

Note to any and all government agencies who may be listening in:  I am not a terrorist.  I am not bringing any bombs on any planes, nor have I ever even seen a bomb.  I love my country, for better or for worse, and have no ties to any terrorist organizations.  When I talk about being free to bring a bomb on a plane, I mean that in a purely hypothetical sense.  I would never actually do it.

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