James Fallows does a good job demolishing another Atlantic article about the possibility that terrorists will hijack a plane by sneaking in when the pilot is going to the bathroom. If that kind of stuff interests you, Patrick Smith also has a good discussion of the “surgical explosive” threat that was going around last month.
The “be afraid, be very afraid” story is a real staple of local and daytime TV. Part of the reason is journalistic laziness — given some perceived vulnerability, it’s easy to spin a whole host of tragic scenarios without doing much research. Another part of the reason is the journalistic habit that any source that can produce a quote is worth quoting:
If terrorists do get inside the flight deck, the reinforced cockpit door, which Folsom called a “kneejerk reaction” on the part of the government after 9/11, could end up working against the flight crew, making it impossible to regain control of the aircraft.
Folsom is a United pilot, but shouldn’t we be a bit suspicious of someone who thinks that a reinforced cockpit door was anything but a fairly prudent safety measure? That’s especially true if the source is a proponent of a secondary barrier that costs $100,000 over the life of the airplane and will give the pilots 3 more seconds to defend against hijackers.
I take it he wants to dedicate a bathroom to the pilots?
Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen
Um. Yeah. I’ve had to fly a bit recently and I’ve observed that when ONE of the pilots (there are two after all) takes a potty break, the stewards stands guard in front of the potty, which is right front of the cockpit.
Could someone get into the cockpit by overpowering that person? Sure. But not very sneakily.
I remember flying from Geneva to Munich last year. We were delayed over 1 hour in taking off. When we finally got on board the pilot told us that the software used for the cockpit door locks was crashing-so when they were doing their preflight checks, the door could be locked, but not unlocked. Eventually it was solved with tech support.
In my head I had a picture of the Microsoft Blue Screen of Death on the flight panel.
Forget about terrorists, operating system failures are more likely.
Speaking of spinning out a story of contrived tragedy without having to do real research . . . my home town is Jacksonville, NC, home of Camp LeJeune Marine Corps base. Back in the 80’s some writer for the local rag published a breathless article describing how she had packed up a cardboard box she had labeled “bombs,” popped it into her trunk, and casually driven onto the base stopping only to collect a Visitor’s Pass and not having had her car searched.
It was, she said, proof that our military installation was defenseless against a terrorist attack.
The article was greeted with nothing but ridicule by the locals. We all of us had been to Camp LeJeune many times before, we all of us understood how to get a Visitor’s Pass, and we all of us knew that the cars were never inspected for bombs — they weren’t supposed to be.
Could a car bomb have blown up the front doors of the PX? Sure. But it could have blown up the front doors of a Wal-Mart just as easily. Engaging in a stupid stunt to craft a newspaper article pointing out what we all already knew was seen then for exactly what it was: a stupid stunt.
Lazy journalism and breathless tales of danger will be with us forever. Since we can’t change that, we can at least learn to dismiss them when we see them.
It’s funny, flying from Chicago to Las Vegas in 2005, my friend and I noticed the pilot was getting out of the cockpit to go to the bathroom and he and some of the passengers were all in a tizzy about the pilot coming out of the cockpit
“I thought those doors were supposed to be sealed?”
“Someone could storm the cockpit right now”
The whole time there was a fight attendant standing guard outside, her eyes on the passengers like a Catholic school nun at a school mass.
Funny how Fallows goes out of his way to compliment pretty much every Atlantic writer, but doesn’t mention McMegan.
Mr. Folsom is a lovely fellow. Here’s how he describes his flight attendants:
“We looked at some highly trained individuals playing the role of flight attendants and crew members and even they couldn’t prevent a breach of the flight deck,” Folsom said. “If they can’t do it, then little 57-year-old, 40 percent body fat Susie isn’t going to do it.”
The whole concept neglects the fact that planes will never, ever be hijacked and flown into buildings again. It worked one time because everybody knew that the proper way to deal with a hijacking was to sit back let them land in Tripoli or where ever. That will never happen again.
Yes, somebody could hijack a plane and crash it. It would be awful and kill several hundred people. They will never kill 3000 again simply because they won’t have control of the plane long enough to do it.
want to stop islamic terrorism?
quit nationbuilding, propping dictators, killing muslims, invading and occupying, meddling and sending xian missionaries to MENA.
GTFO Big White Christian Bwana.
Fallows is so good with his stiletto, you don’t even see the blade.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
(It’s normally not a good thing to kid about, but…)
Someone hurry, I think Samara is having a stroke! Her words are getting all garbled and random.
@Ken: The husband and I stopped watching TV news broadcasts when our son was born 11 years ago — we didn’t want a bunch of shootings and killings and accidents and shit on the tube when he was in the room — and we’ve never gone back. We watch only the specialized stuff — weather, sports, business, election results. We get the rest of our news from print media and online.
@Belafon (formerly anonevent): my words are only garbled and random to stupid people and old people that dont want to hear what im saying.
Do you know who was right? Reverend Wright, lol. He wasn’t right about everthing but he was right about America’s chickens coming home to roost.
Droning is the equivalent of 21st century napalm.
Do you know who else was right?
Raven (formerly stuckinred)
@Samara Morgan: Watch that old people shit. . .
Odie Hugh Manatee
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Naah, that’s just MC being MC. Just replace it with:
snarl… snap snap owwwwoooooooooo! heheheheheheheheh aieeeeeee! EDK EDK EDK EDK EDK!!
and it’ll make more sense to ya.
@Raven (formerly stuckinred): When you’re in high school, everyone from college age on up looks old to you.
Mrs J has a college friend a long time Flight Attendant since 911 she always keeps a pot of boiling water in the galley, for emergency use only!We were discussing 911 and my only advice in case of a hijacking was “go for the nuts”!
Raven (formerly stuckinred)
@Ash Can: The best 3 years of my life!
Raven (formerly stuckinred)
Mrs J has a college friend, a long time Flight Attendant. Since 911 she always keeps a pot of boiling water in the galley, for emergency use only!
We were discussing 911 and my only advice in case of a hijacking was “go for the nuts”!
Again, want to stop islamic terrorism?
GTFO Big White Freemarket Capitalist Judeoxian Bwana.
I noticed the same thing. I hope the slight was intentional.
@Odie Hugh Manatee: you forgot the de Bore part.
And my dedication to Julian Assange and Muqtada al Sadr.
I gave it up in November of ’08. The only time I’ll put on the news is if a wildfire is heading our way. Otherwise it’s TCM and the History Channel and that’s it.
We live thirty miles outside of Gloss Angeles so it may have been the endless televised car chases that did me in.
i think its pretty strange theres no mention of Opbart on this blog.
Only wikileaks and anonymous are discussiong it….not the punditry.
Bart shut down the cell phone service for the protestors. That means their right to peaceful assembly and free speech was violated, right?
Closer to non-linear system collapse every day.
Assange is right, his system is WAI.
@Samara Morgan: Bwana he no home.
people like to be afraid
Next Story, “Things in your bathroom that can kill you”. Pictures at 11.
Ferd of the Nort
Every-one knows that once you level up to Suicide Terrorist you automatically gain mad ninja skills. The bad guys will simply roll their sneak attack on the flight attendant, whack the pilot and demolish the co-pilot.
You terrierist sympathizers on this blog are simply in denial of the real threats to society!
I heard that surgical explosive threat about 7 or 8 years ago from a person who gets much of their information through chain e-mails and FOX News. I said “wouldn’t it be easier just to get a rocket launcher, rent some office space in an industrial park adjoining a major airport, go on the roof and get a clear shot?”
@Belafon (formerly anonevent):
Actually, our dear Samara’s words are not garbled or random, merely limited to one or other of her obsessions. Which she goes on and on about, while the rest of us
— wonder what she’s blithering about
— talk around her, or
— think “I like pie, too”
Sometimes she has a personal obsession with a front-pager or other commenter, which is why she has recently taken to hounding me about (her misconception of) Malaysian politics.
@efgoldman: These all seem like minor annoyances to me compared to the reward of getting where I’m going and seeing the people I want to see, but everyone’s perspective is different.
@MikeJ: Exactly. Little 57 year old 40% body fat Suzie is not going to be fighting off attackers by herself for very long.
@cleek: Almost as much as they like to be angry. Which is way too fucking much.
You think it wont happen here, but its already happening. Bart pulls a Mubarak and the teabaggers are our very own homegrown EDL.
its not funnie. there are 5 million orphans in Iraq and they hate Americas guts. How many of them will grow up to be terrorists?
What new and innovative ways will they evolve to revenge themselves on America the unjust, paranoid and broke?
this is what Assange predicts for the non-linear system collapse of the modern security state….death by paranoia induction.
why not do the drive in 2-3 days and stay at nice inexpensive motels along the way?
(I am The Wolf. I solve problems.)
Gin & Tonic
Go through security with an empty bottle and fill it from a water fountain (or bubbler, since you’re from RI) once you’re in the secure area.
@efgoldman: You don’t have to be grumpy and old to say the heck with it. If it’s 16 hours from my house, I’ll drive, thank you very much.
@pablo: I swear, I think they’ve already done this.
@Suffern ACE: Wow, everyone’s perspective really is different. I can’t think of any airport/plane inconvenience that would bum me out as much as sitting in a car for 32 hours. Or 16 hours. Or even 10.
One fortified cockpit door is not enough, so airplanes ought to have two cockpit doors? The logical extreme of this line of thought is the opening credit sequence from Get Smart.
@Amir Khalid: im not hounding you about politics.
I asked you a question about Islam. ill try again.
Does Hadhari Islam (the official party Islam of malays and the Barisan nacionale) have a variant of shariah that allows proselytizing the poor and ignorant?
Because that kind of Islam-lite might be compatible with freedom of speech.
Shawn in ShowMe
Traumatic experience driving cross-country as a child? Or traumatic experince driving cross-country with a child?
Culture of Truth
Why don’t we just arm all the passengers?*
* yes that’s from a sitcom
@shortstop: Assange predicts that America will turn into a police state on its way to NLSC.
Culture of Truth
The History Channel?!
It’s non-stop armageddon over there
Hey, let’s have 20 posts by the same commentor about how the Iraq War will lead to more terrorism! That’s a great idea since we have so many people here who think the Iraq War was awesome and need to be persuaded otherwise. Keep flogging that horse!
There, you see? Predictable as clockwork.
I have answered this question before. You wouldn’t listen then, and you wouldn’t listen now either. So this time I won’t.
@Shawn in ShowMe: No, I have lots of excellent childhood memories of family road trips. Once I hit adulthood, I just stopped being able to sit still in a car. I live in a big city and use public trans/walk/sometimes bike, so I’m just not car-habituated anymore.
We do have one, though. We just don’t use it every day. ;)
ETA: I think using buses and the subway daily also makes you immune, or at least less sensitive, to the annoyances and little indignities of mass transit — which air travel certainly is!
Villago Delenda Est
Actually, I agree with all this. Particularly the propping up dictators part…because the dictators feed the central conflict in the Middle East, the entire Israel/Palestine thing, as a means of distracting their own oppressed masses from themselves.
and everywhere else, too.
fear is attractive, exciting, engaging; as long as the actual danger is just unlikely enough.
you don’t think the constant breathless exclamations of impending DOOM, DANGER, DEMISE from political pundits amateur and professional are supposed to turn people away, do you?
Oh wow, I hadn’t seen that in years. However, I have got my kids hooked on Pink Panther cartoons (via Netflix). I still remembered some of the psychedelic cartoons from when they totally weirded me out as a tyke.
We go up from NoVa to Mass about once a year with the kids and drive it. You can get flight deals on JetBlue but still need to rent a car, and yes, the train is ridiculously expensive. We’ll usually tough it out in one day going up (via the Tappan Zee), and overnight in NYC on the way back.
Villago Delenda Est
That’s one of her major problems…really bad reading comprehension. She’s accused me of being an “America…fuck yeah!” evangelical Christian. All because I dared call her out on some of her stupidity…particularly her “you can’t convert Muslims from Islam” meme that is contradicted by the fact that active measures (in the form of killing apostates) are felt necessary to enforce Islam for life.
@shortstop: I think the advantage for me is that I enjoy driving. I don’t know how to deal as a passenger in a car, though. If they’d let me fly the plane, I’d probably willingly submit to the four to five hours I have to tack on to the beginning of every flight experience just for the “privilege” of flying out of the dreadful airports in New York.
@Steve: The substance of the posts is inconsequential. The underlying theme of attention-craving is always the same.
@Steve: its not just the Iraq war. its the last 50 years of American FP in MENA. Its Operation Ajax and propping Mubarek and the Shah and King Saleh and the Saudi royals. its Raymond Davis and droning kids.
Its why OBL planned 911 in the first place.
its a very deep well of bitterness….perhaps a neverhealing wound.
but paranoia induction on a non-linear system is the cause of Americas airport woes.
All OIF and OEF ever did was make more parts for the jihaadi factory.
And im also talking about wikileaks, Opbart, and Assangian information theory….and how all those factors contribute to America becoming a police state on its way to NLS collapse.
@Villago Delenda Est: “you can’t convert Muslims from Islam” meme
i never said that. muslims convert in america all the time, where there is freedom of speech which means freedom to proselytize.
google Rifka Bari.
i said shariah law is incompatible with freedom of speech, and that is why it is impossible to democratically standup/impose/implant/install/spread/promote missionary democracy in majority muslim nations.
Because of the consent of the governed.
Muslims like Islam, they believe they have a RIGHT to be free from Proselytizers.
Its in the Quran.
Villago Delenda Est
Yes, you did. Repeatedly.
Saudi Arabia is the totalitarian theocratic nightmare that Pat Robertson looks on with envy.
I still don’t know what “missionary democracy” is, except as a propaganda slogan of the deserting coward, which you apparently believe is more than just pure propaganda bullshit. But then again, you’ve demonstrated repeatedly that you actually fall for propaganda.
@Ash Can: As is, alas, the theme of people giving it to her.
@Villago Delenda Est: killing proselytizers is also in the Quran, she says helpfully.
@Culture of Truth: Yeah. You need to watch the science channel if you don’t want your history presented to you as one large conspiracy. However, when you stray from PBS, you get “EXTREME SCIENCE ATTACKS!” much of the time no matter what you watch on cable.
@Villago Delenda Est: missionary democracy is westernstyle democracy with freedom of speech. I have heard it described as “liberal” democracy as opposed to “illiberal” democracy.
But the real difference is freedom of speech and freedom of religion,.
If democracy is the consent of the governed, then missionary democracy can never take hold in majority muslim nations.
In Egypt 82% of the populace endorses harsh punishment for apostasy.
In Pakistan also.
and its not always death for apostates. islamic jurisprudents decide the sentencing, like western judiciaries. it just can be death, depending on the circumstances and the context.
Good God Man.
They’re PILOTS! They FLY for a living!
I’m sure the odds are greater that they’ll die in a crash due to unregulated outsourced maintenance practices (Thanks Free Market & Deregulation Fairies!) & shrinking maintenance budgets than they will from some crazed Norwegian nationalist rushing the cockpit with a spork & a rolled-up SkyMall catalog. Odd but they seem more concerned by their unrealistic and improbable fears than they do the real-world, ever-present ones over which they COULD make a difference.
But what if the pilots lock themselves out of the cockpit? Who’s going to fly the plane then, smartpants?
you know….juicers seem to think of events like 911 or the Econopalypse as discontinuities, singletons.
these events are part of the tapestry of history…in hindsight we can see the causes, the web of connected events.
the Arab Spring is happening all over the world…because of the evolution of social media and networking.
The oligarchs are simply not going to be able to maintain control.
Its a good time to be a Quellist.
I just flew back from Manchester, England to SFO through O’Hare. I got the dreaded SSSS on my boarding pass, probably at random. So I got X-rayed, patted down, and my bags searched both times. The patdown at MAN was less intimate than at ORD, but the bag search was more thorough. It didn’t take more than fifteen minutes longer than everyone else, though. The TSA guy at O’Hare was very precise in telling me what he was going to do during the patdown, and was clearly uncomfortable about it, but handled it professionally. Was it necessary? No, but it was worth it for the experiences of my trip.
Oh, and SFO now has tall faucets in the terminal specifically for filling water bottles.
@Amir Khalid: please link your answer. i missed it.
No you didn’t. You ignored it.
Reason and nuance in a discussion about terrorism?
That sounds a lot like Terrorist-talk, son. Real ‘Mericans know understand that that greatest existential threat to the United States is
Commies, criminals, welfare queens, Russia, China, Terrorists, the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Iran, no Libya, Syria, the deficit,Terrorists, and anything short of passing stricter laws and empowering the government to protect us no matter the cost is appeasement talk.
So says this fiscally responsible, small government conservative.
@Amir Khalid: what ev.
just cowboy up the link where you answered my question.
heres the question again.
West of the Cascades
Why don’t we just give Captain Fulsom a pair of Depends and a sack lunch and have him keep the cockpit door closed for the whole flight? The “secondary barrier” is the stupidest idea I’ve heard of in a long time to protect air travelers (pretty much since the full-body scanners, no liquid carry-ons larger than an eyedropper, and full x-raying of shoes).
Villago Delenda Est
It wasn’t the answer she wanted to hear.
It never is.
@Samara Morgan: Since you don’t even know what proselytizing means, whatever he answers is pointless.
No One of Consequence
The rotating tag at the top of the page, when it gets to the ‘Lighten up, Francis’ part.
Please, Samara, substitute the string: “Samara” for the string: “Francis”.
Good Lord. Or Allah. Or Flying Spaghetti Monster. Or Beiber. Whatever.
Just please, for the sake of my non-existent pie filter, try the decaf?
I’ve told you before, “Islam Hadhari” is a marketing term for UMNO’s approach to implementing Islamic principles in Malaysia. It is not itself an Islamic sect. It specifies no particular implementation of Islamic law. (UMNO’s coalition partners in Barisan Nasional aren’t Islamic parties, and don’t have anything to do with this.) Your question is meaningless.
@No One of Consequence: Lighten up NOoC
i know what it says in the Quran. How can Amir claim to be muslim if he doesn’t?
why is asking for links considered unfair on this blog? all i asked for was the link where AMIR ALREADY ANSWERED MY QUESTION….as he claims.
if someone asks me for a link i give it.
the internet is forevah.
then the answer is NO…correct?
Yet PAS, the islamist party, describes Islam Hadhari as Islam-lite.
do you agree?
did you say this?
that is why im curious about Islam Hadhari. Perhaps PAS is correct, and not you, and it IS Islam-lite, and allows freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
its really hard to get your pointy little western heads around this, but Islam is DIFFERENT in various SIGNIFICANT ways from christianity.
And that is why America just spent 10 years and 4.4 trillion dollars FOR NOTHING.
The child thinks she knows, yet misses the obvious truth right in front of her. She types her words in a Western country. Bound by Western laws that allow her to speak and practice her faith openly. Without recognizing that if she actually were in a Muslim country right now, she would not have that freedom. I love the smell of irony in the morning.
I wonder what an explosives expert would say about some of these ginned up scenarios? Surgically implanted explosives? Excuse me, it might create one hell of a mess and a bunch of perforated eardrums, but take down a plane, don’t think so. Suicide bombers wear vests packed with explosives and loaded with ball bearings, screws, nails and other chunks of metal, thats what does the killing not the explosives. The shoe bomber? What was he going to do? Put his foot up against a window? Even that wouldn’t take down a plane. The underwear bomber, what was he going to do hump the rear door and try to blow it off? I’ll bet he didn’t have enough C-4 in his shorts to blow his dick off much less other passengers and the plane. It’s all bullshit.
y’all, let’s look on the bright side.
There must be people who actually have to deal with her in 3 dimensions. Think of it.
Paul in KY
@Amir Khalid: I missed it. Please post it again for me, if not for her.
Edit: Saw your answer. Thanks!
Whoever they are, they have my sympathy.
@Amir Khalid: You don’t have to deal with her here, you know. ;) Just walk on by her posts.
If you can find a flight, the White Plains airport rocks.
@Yutsano: so. fucking. what.
and you dont know, if i lived there i might be the new Rabi’a.
MY POINT (which you all try verry, verry hard to ignore)…is that millions of humans DIED because westerners don’t understand Islam.
and after all that death, all that blood and all that treasure, AMERICA GETS NOTHING.
“Just as every policymaker needs to know the ABCs of diplomacy, they need to understand the ABCs of culture. And a deep knowledge of the culture is the knowledge of religion. Lacking that, there can be all kinds of faux pas. Important military divisions and wings of our government [have shown] that there is a tremendous knowledge deficit.”
you all wanna lissen to Maftoon Khalid tell you there is no problem with free speech and shariah.
He is WRONG.
maybe there is no problem in Malaysia, i dunno.
but there is hella sure a problem in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Do you actually think this is some sort of brilliant observation? Pretty much everyone on this blog has been saying a variation of that for nearly 10 years.
don’t YOU ever get bored saying the same dumb shit over and over?
Mitch Benn as usual sums it up beautifully.
I prefer not to think of things like that. It makes me somewhat violent for about 2 seconds till I realize that one should not get violent with children unless they are armed and attacking. And then I start thinking about how hard it is to run away with bad knees. So I fixed the entire situation. PIE.
Thanks Cleek. One of the best things I ever downloaded.
@MattR: that is a falsehood. VDE and others argue the point all the time.
one thing you (in particular) have been saying, however, is that the “freed” market works.
which is another anti-empirical pile of crap.
@MattR: Apparently Islam makes one impervious to reading.
@befuggled: marketbased economies are teleologically incapable of improving the human condition. They only improve the condition of the overclass.
that is why Americans eat fried butter while Somali babies starve.
MattR laid a buncha free market crapology on this blog during the Kain Wars.
im not the one that cant read.
And, another thread destroyed by a kook.