Quantcast

«

»

Aug 28 2011

I desperately want to know what the flight crew was thinking

I need an explanation. Read this story of a flight that returned to the terminal and police came aboard to investigate a passenger, and please try to figure out what the problem was.

Here’s what we know: the passenger was black, he was reading a book with illustrations of Polish and Italian aircraft from post-WWI, and he had a fanny pack. For this, the flight crew engaged in whispered worries, had the plane recalled before take-off, and brought on police to inspect his book. It’s a mystery.

What possible wicked conspiracy could the flight crew have imagined was going on? Were they afraid of being intercepted and shot down by an Italian triplane summoned by an incantation using magical spell components tucked inside that fanny pack?

Check out the suspicious guy’s web page for clues. He worked with George Carlin for a while…obviously seditious.


You don’t believe airline personnel could be quite so stupid? Read this: in the wake of 9/11, a man was prevented from flying for reading an Edward Abbey book. Also, Harry Potter…but then, we all know Potter is a scary example.


Or read Bruce Schneier, the other blogging Minnesotan with a Friday Cephalopod. The cases described above can only be explained as hysteria and fear mongering, especially given the statistics.

John Mueller and his students analyze the 33 cases of attempted [EDITED TO ADD: Islamic extremist] terrorism in the U.S. since 9/11. So few of them are actually real, and so many of them were created or otherwise facilitated by law enforcement.

The death toll of all these is fourteen: thirteen at Ft. Hood and one in Little Rock. I think it’s fair to add to this the 2002 incident at Los Angeles Airport where a lone gunman killed two people at the El Al ticket counter, so that’s sixteen deaths in the U.S. to terrorism in the past ten years.

Given the credible estimate that we’ve spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security (this does not include our many foreign wars), that’s $62.5 billion per life saved. Is there any other risk that we are even remotely as crazy about?

Note that everyone who died was shot with a gun. No Islamic extremist has been able to successfully detonate a bomb in the U.S. in the past ten years, not even a Molotov cocktail. (In the U.K. there has only been one successful terrorist bombing in the last ten years; the 2005 London Underground attacks.) And almost all of the 33 incidents (34 if you add LAX) have been lone actors, with no ties to al Qaeda.

156 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    PZ Myers

    Australians: stop sniggering at “fanny pack”. I swear, everything anyone can say has been turned into a sexual euphemism in Oz.

  2. 2
    john_s

    This makes me wonder if this would happen here (Australia).
    I can’t see that it would.
    I don’t think we’re paranoid enough. Yet.

  3. 3
    Loqi

    You see, PZ, this guy was not white, and the 9/11 hijackers were not white also. COINCIDENCE?
    /glennbeck

    Who the hell sees a guy reading about planes on a plane and thinks that’s a tip off the he’s a hijacker? Do they think the guy is so stupid that he put off learning how to fly a plane until he’s actually *on* the plane?

  4. 4
    IndyM, pikčiurna

    It must have been the Jimmy Buffett T-shirt. /FFS

    I had a similar profiling experience (although not with such horrible consequences). This occurred a couple of weeks after 9/11. I boarded a flight and was seated; we were all set to take off. Then I hear on the loudspeaker, “Will I— M— please come to the front of the cabin immediately? Please bring your ID.”

    At first, I thought I heard wrong. Then I thought, “What the fuck?” I opened my bag and started looking for my driver’s license. They repeated their request, only more stridently.

    [Note: my name is very unusual and foreign-sounding (it's Lithuanian, and it's fairly uncommon even over there, especially my last name). "Indy" is my nickname IRL since my first name is a little difficult for Americans.]

    I get up, walk halfway up to the front of the cabin to where a cluster of Very Concerned Air Personnel are waiting. As soon as they see that I’m a Nice White Lady, they all break into smiles and say, “Oh, you can go back to your seat–no worries! Thanks!” They didn’t ask me single a question or even want to see my ID. I’m sure they thought my name was Arabic…

  5. 5
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    o/“ And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I pretend I’m free…o/“

  6. 6
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Colleagues of my husband were profiled because…
    …on their trip to the USA (from Germany) they had chosen the Halal food. Two single men travelling together eating Halal food, must be terrorists…

  7. 7
    Mattand

    FWB: flying while black.

    Is there anyone in the airline industry or the government that has that slightest fucking clue on how to handle security?

  8. 8
    Assassin Actual

    Airline crews and TSA are retarded and follow their handbooks to the letter without critical thought. A memo titled “Be aware of persons looking at Aircraft Diagrams” should be read as “If your on a 747 and someone is brushing up on how to access a 747′s subfloor, you might have a problem”. But in a mindless job like that are we suprised they don’t think?
    I think Trey Parker and Matt Stone were on to something when they called 1/4th of all American’s retarded.

  9. 9
    Valis

    “Fanny pack”, hehe :P

    I’m not Australian :)

  10. 10
    Algernon

    I’m liking this guy more and more. The video he has up on his site is so funny!

  11. 11
    Graham Martin-Royle

    That is just so wrong on so many levels.

    @PZ, it’s not just the Aussies that find “fanny pack” amusing, us Limeys do too.

  12. 12
    Greg Laden

    I think this all makes sense if you watch enough Dr. Who episodes.

    But seriously, this is absurd.

    My bff called me up to mention, among other things, that she had locked herself out of her car. A friend of hers, not thinking very clearly, told her to just try the coat hanger thing, maybe it would work. My friend had to remind her her that a black person knows better than to be seen in a residential neighborhood in Saint Paul trying to break into a car with a coat hanger.

    This guy was breaking two roolz. He was reading a book about weaponry while black, and he was wearing a fanny pack while black. I’m surprised he was not shot on sight.

  13. 13
    Aqua Buddha

    I hope Obama doesn’t read aviation books on Air Force One. His meeting with Hu Jintao might be delayed…

  14. 14
    dtrain88

    I used to work as a pilot for the airline responsible for this incident. Maybe I can shed some light on why this happened.

    The flight, although marketed as a united flight, was operated by a smaller regional airline, called Shuttle America. It is one of many airlines that United/Continental outsource flying to.

    While we have many wonderful flight attendants, some which have worked at larger (but now bankrupt and dissolved) airlines, we also have a small population of flight attendants that are truly sub-par. Since it is a low paying job (less than $15,000 the first year), we truly can get the bottom of the barrel of recruits.

    Some of our FAs couldn’t manage a one cow cattle drive, let alone be responsible to evaluate properly the security threat of particular individual. In addition to low cognitive function, some of our employees also lack any sort of class, and some are straight up racist. This goes both ways (I have worked with blacks that hate whites and vice versa).

    I’ll keep my rant brief, but this is a direct result of the “race to the bottom” for the airline industry. The downward pressure on ticket prices, has caused many airlines to outsource to smaller, newer airlines that pay as little as possible, and are stingy with any sort of benefits. Therefore it is very difficult to attract (and keep) personnel that are are quality individuals.

    So I guess in nutshell: stupid people are everywhere, the airlines are no exception. PZ, I hope this helps.

  15. 15
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    Maybe I can shed some light on why this happened.

    Still waiting for the light. What was he removed from the plane for?

  16. 16
    Michael Fisher

    Known as bum bags in the UK
    [where "bum" means arse, ass, butt, behind & rarely means lowlife, tramp, hobo]

  17. 17
    Inaji

    Vance Gilbert:

    How damaged am I from this experience? I’m not feeling particularly American. I’m angry, dumbfounded, frightened.

    I’d feel the same way, to say the least, except I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t happen to me, thanks to having the “right” skin tone and being female. Then again, maybe I’m wrong. I avoid flying these days.

    It’s loathsome that this happened.

  18. 18
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    PZ, it’s not just the Aussies that find “fanny pack” amusing, us Limeys do too.

    Not only that, you also think the phrase “keeping one’s pecker up” is fit for mixed company.

  19. 19
    IslandBrewer

    Ah! This guy had the temerity to board a flight with racist moron flight attendants! How dare he!

    Obviously all his fault.

  20. 20
    Inaji

    Algernon:

    I’m liking this guy more and more.

    Me too. I ordered a couple of his CDs.

  21. 21
    ColdDesert

    Perhaps we should by a couple of songs, an album even, of his in solidarity. A quick iTunes search brings him up. The guy has a really good voice and his songs do sound compelling, at least from what I’ve sampled.

  22. 22
    dtrain88

    Guess I’ll clarify, since there are already a couple commenters that missed my point. I will try to be more articulate this time around.

    I don’t blame the passenger. At all.

    I blame the cabin crew, but also the airline for hiring flight attendants that are obviously incapable of making a competent evaluation of a passenger’s security threat (or lack thereof).

    Why did it happen? (my opinion)

    Because the flight attendants are either too dumb, or too racist (or some combination of the two) to see that this gentleman was obviously just a normal passenger. (The police were able to figure that out real quick.)

    Because the airlines sometimes hire shitty people (who eventually get canned), and passengers sometimes suffer because of it.

    Because the flight attendants get very little (maybe a few hours worth) of meaningful security training. And even less training in customer service.

    Again, not the passengers fault. He is a victim of a frequently shitty industry that sometimes hires shitty people. The airline will have to answer for their shortcomings, and try to make it right with this passenger. However, knowing the management team in place at this particular airline, nothing will change.

  23. 23
    Niblick

    It doesn’t look like anyone answered PZ’s original question, except to say “stupidity.” Which though true is uninformative, since that’s practically always the answer.

    I’ll cheerfully bet anyone $100 that the moronic flight attendant saw pictures of airplanes and decided that it was a flight manual, and that the Scary Black Man™ was brushing up on how to fly (but not land) the plane after hijacking it.

  24. 24
    ColdDesert

    And as a follow up to my previous comment, I like the fact that his latest CD is title “Old White Men.”

  25. 25
    Gordon T

    I guess I should stop watching episodes of Air Crash Investigation (Mayday) on my iPhone whilst on flights then?

  26. 26
    Trebuchet

    The ghosts of Jim Crow, Osama Bin Laden, and GW Bush will be with us for a long time.

    I love airplanes. I used to design airplanes. But if I never get on one as a passenger again it’ll be too soon.

  27. 27
    Infophile

    It doesn’t look like anyone answered PZ’s original question, except to say “stupidity.” Which though true is uninformative, since that’s practically always the answer.

    Here’s my best guess at what happened. If the flight attendants have any security training, it’s most likely a checklist of suspicious things to watch out for. The incident with his fanny pack probably qualifies as suspicious because it might mean that he’s keeping a weapon (or chemicals to make a bomb, or whatever) in it, for easy access. Most likely, whatever checklist they remember has something like “reluctant to part with baggage” on it.

    The book most likely also falls under one of the points on the checklist. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s something like “Reading material about airplanes/terrorism/weapons” that they’re told to watch out for.

    His race may have had something to do with this as well – it’s possible that the flight attendant(s) was racist against blacks and so considered him more likely to be a terrorist. I can’t judge whether this is the case in a vacuum, though. I’d need to see a pattern, either about this airline’s behavior (which dtrain88, above, says is indeed present), or the treatment of blacks across all airlines.

    So, put these two (maybe three, with race) factors together, add zero common sense, and you get a potential terrorist. Thankfully the policeman had enough common sense to see that there was nothing to worry about, so Vance was at least able to take this flight.

  28. 28
    Martha

    Something similar happened to a friend of mine several years ago. He’s a very tall, black chemistry professor with a Muslim name. He was leaving Washington DC after a conference and absent midedly got up to go to the bathroom during the 30 minute don’t-leave-your-seat period. He said a whole police cars met the plane at the airport. A friendly FBI agent questioned him and let him go. Luckily his citizenship had come through the year before or it could have been much worse.

  29. 29
    Inaji

    Infophile:

    Thankfully the policeman had enough common sense to see that there was nothing to worry about, so Vance was at least able to take this flight.

    Thankfully? Made his flight? Something tells me you didn’t read Mr. Gilbert’s letter, which is on the main page of his website (link provided in OP).

  30. 30
    Cerberus

    Black man or even non-white man is a huge trigger in our culture for danger thanks to the strong cultural messaging, huge racist baggage from our culture, and our continued media shorthand for underhanded or criminal being a black face.

    It’s why there are any number of “crimes” labeled XWB, aka, doing any activity X while black is liable to get you pulled over by bored or frantic police officers or security personnel. The call for more active racial-profiling in airports after 9/11 (because that incident proves that all terrorists are non-white as long as we never label a white person a terrorist no matter what he does) means that people are encouraged to act on their initial racist instincts to view non-white people as inherently suspicious.

    After all, that “funny feeling” might save your crews life from a threat already handled by locking cabin doors.

    Hell, the baggage of racist culture is one of the prime reasons “instinct” especially in a security role tends to be useless.

    Not that television cop shows won’t still be encouraging people to utilize it thinking they’re stopping the next Al-Queda as they harass a black comedian reading up on decades old aircraft.

  31. 31
    Nom de Plume

    @#22 dtrain88: Thanks for your insight as a former airline employee. I suspect you are very close to the truth here.

    As someone who has flown post-9/11 and carried on all kinds of bags, I can tell you that I have never had an issue with stowing something under my seat, so that was the first thing about this story that rang weird to me. The flight attendant’s primary preflight duty is to secure all loose items in the cabin–either put them in the overhead compartments or make sure they’re stowed under the seats. Pretty simple.

    So if the FA somehow had a “problem” with the guy stowing a fanny pack under his seat, there was absolutely no reason for it according to any safety rules with which I am familiar. This was a case of racist hysteria, as dtrain88 points out.

  32. 32
    Dragon

    I travelled a month or so after 9/11 to visit my grandparents with my daughter, then 8 years old.
    My family name is very similar to a middle eastern one, but we think it is actually a rare Scottish name. It has been in the ‘colonies’ since just before 1700. Both my daughter and I are clearly of European descent at first glance.
    I soon realized that we were ‘randomly’ picked to be searched often (75% of the time). And it was clear that the agents relaxed when they saw us, and had to complete the search only because they had called us out by profiling our name.

    I can also so see myself reading WW1 and WW2 airplane books on a flight to visit grandparents. I too love the subject and shared that interest with one of my grandparents – though not the one I visited on that trip.

    Given what I have seen with my black friends, yes it was racial.

  33. 33
    SteveV

    Is it OK for us Brits to snigger?

  34. 34
    Charlie Foxtrot

    During World War II, the fighter pilots would keep posters on their walls of the silhouettes of all the friendly and enemy planes they were likely to encounter.

    I guess they need to implement the same idea for the flight crews on these airlines.

    They could even keep the same posters.

  35. 35
    Bill Door

    You apparently shouldn’t read that one page guide they put in the seat pocket in front of you: after all, it gives you a floorplan for the plane you’re on – tells you where all the exits are, where the cockpit is, where the crew is, what happens during an emergency… it’s a goldmine for terrorists!

  36. 36
    Infophile

    Thankfully? Made his flight? Something tells me you didn’t read Mr. Gilbert’s letter, which is on the main page of his website (link provided in OP).

    I was referring to the current flight, not the connecting flight. I was mentally comparing this outcome to one in which he was detained at this airport for questioning and missed this flight as well, but I see that my original post wasn’t perfectly clear on which flight I was referring to.

  37. 37
    Dr. I. Needtob Athe

    The really sad part of this is, with the attitude of the general public these days toward security and the notion that it’s better to err on the side of safety, this guy will have no recourse whatsoever, no matter how much he was inconvenienced and how inappropriate it was to suspect anything in the first place.

  38. 38
    ShawntheSheep

    How stupid can people be? Forget the racism and the profiling for a minute and just think how stupid these flight attendants were. First, they failed to recognize that the book on planes being read was a book on planes from 60+ years ago. Then, they failed to consider that most terrorists would probably read up on how to bring down a plane PRIOR to boarding the targeted plane.

    On the other hand, I don’t like fanny packs, so I can understand why anyone using one would be deemed suspicious. But the rest of the story is ridiculous.

  39. 39
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    I swear, everything anyone can say has been turned into a sexual euphemism in Oz.

    Apparently it’s the other way round in this case. According to Etymonline.com, which is generally pretty reliable, the sexual reference is primary.

  40. 40
    bybelknap

    I saw this guy in concert as an opener for Carlin’s last tour before he died. Good stuff. Time to buy some of it. Maybe if he’s Pharyngulated the right way a bit of good can come out of the bullshit he went through.

  41. 41
    Pierce R. Butler

    Maybe Puerto Rican ex-Sen Roberto Arrango would be willing to help him pack his fanny (that’s kinda like lifting luggage, right?)…

  42. 42
    F

    I just hope Vance Gilbert gets some sort of payback in the form of recognition for his music since he has made it into the news. I see some commenters up-thread have already bought some CDs.

    As a sort of effect-inverse corollary to the Streisand Effect, I hope there is a Vance Gilbert Effect.

    I also hope he gets an apology at the very least.

    And I don’t care if he was reading a book about the exact model plane on which he was to be a passenger. The Reading While Black/ Flying While Black cause for suspicion is ridiculous.

  43. 43
    Waydude

    ok, more from an airline employee…

    I fly for a regional airline as a first officer, similar to this airline and the aircraft. From reading the passengers tail of events I find it really difficult to explain what happened. Actually I can’t, because not enough details.
    But here’s is what I can add, flight attendants, even from the regionals, are there for your safety number one. Everything else is secondary. I have no idea of what the real interaction was between the flight attendant and the passenger.
    Here’s what I can add; From having witnessed numerous events and the follow up with the police, the passenger ALWAYS tells their story as if they were the most polite, cooperative person in the world. The flight attendant was rude, or they picked on them and no one else, or even, yes, racist. They weren’t doing anything!
    Here’s the thing, flight attendants go through a rigorous training process. I have seen it, it’s tough, i probably wouldn’t make it, especially compared to the responsibility they bear versus the pay they receive.
    They get a lot of grief from people when they constantly have to ask them to hang up the phone, turn off the computer, put their seats and trays up, bags beneath the seat in front of you only, not behind your feet. These are all safety items and there are reasons you don’t know about no matter how silly people might think it is.
    For many of these things, they are also FAA regulations and the FAs have to enforce them.
    So, could it be a stupid racist idiot who can’t tell the difference between a history book and a technical manual? Sure, of course.
    Could everything have happened according to the passengers point of view? Again, yes.
    The flight attendant, until I hear something more, could also have been acting in what she thought was in the best interests of ALL the passengers and crew in that plane. She evidently did what she thought for whatever reason(that we don’t know) to err on the side of caution. She had to have talked to the captain and explained the situation to have the plan return to the gate and summon the police. He or she also must have felt that it warranted a return based on the explanation given.
    And “black guy reading an airplane” wouldn’t have qualified.
    So that’s all I got, if she’s a racist bastard, then yes, she’s got to go. But until there is more information, please cooperate with the FAs, they are not trying to harass you, just trying to keep you safe.

  44. 44
    scenario

    At least the cop wasn’t an idiot. He did what he had to do, realized that the airlines were wasting everyone’s time for no good reason and apologized. Someone acted reasonably professionally.

  45. 45
    Roy Hilbinger

    Imagine my surprise when I clicked the link and came face to face with Vance Gilbert, a musician I’ve followed for years now, since first hearing him at the 2002 Newport Folk Festival. This is insane! I can’t imagine a more harmless guy, except with his words, which are sure to shake the complacency of any KKK and Tea Party members.

  46. 46
    Aquaria

    How stupid can people be? Forget the racism and the profiling for a minute and just think how stupid these flight attendants were. First, they failed to recognize that the book on planes being read was a book on planes from 60+ years ago. Then, they failed to consider that most terrorists would probably read up on how to bring down a plane PRIOR to boarding the targeted plane.

    I had to do a few double-takes when I saw that this didn’t happen in Texas, or even the “South”.

    Then I saw “Boston” and I had my explanation.

  47. 47
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    Waydude, as a qualified enough person to tell us what didn’t happen, what do you think did happen to justify bringing a plane on the runway back to the gate, take a passenger off of the plane and then let him back on the plane?

  48. 48
    Tabitha

    Of course, we must protect the pilot and crew from paper cuts! Seriously fuck the TSA and the airline.

  49. 49
    Aquaria

    I fly for a regional airline as a first officer, similar to this airline and the aircraft. From reading the passengers tail of events I find it really difficult to explain what happened. Actually I can’t, because not enough details.

    But here’s is what I can add, flight attendants, even from the regionals, are there for your safety number one. Everything else is secondary. I have no idea of what the real interaction was between the flight attendant and the passenger.

    http://archives.citypaper.net/articles/101801/news.godfrey.shtml

    Fuck you.

  50. 50
    Inaji

    waydude:

    And “black guy reading an airplane” wouldn’t have qualified.

    That’s unqualified bullshit. For someone who is responsible for flying planes, you’re remarkably blind.

  51. 51
    Waydude

    @Randide

    I thought I made this point clear, from the information available no one really knows what happened, we only have one point of view of the events.

    Here is how things go down though, hopefully this will help.

    The FAs have some issues, whether it be the pax or the plane. They talk it through with each other, then the senior flight attendant, usually, will call the flight deck and explain the situation to the captain. The cap will then make the decision to return to the gate if warranted. usually in a situation like this we rely on the judgement of the FAs as we cannot open the flight deck door to assess the situation ourselves, until we are back at the gate with the engines shut down.

    So, in my opinion, the reason the captain decided to return is that the FA informed the flight deck that they had a suspicious individual. Usually this is also qualified with any items or actions or behavior that the person may possess. These can be incorrectly identified by the FA, as well as behaviors.

    Yes, she may have had a racial bias against the individual and that led to an incorrect threat assessment. In fact, I lean in this direction strongly. OTOH, from experience, albeit anecdotal, I find it very difficult to swallow the story as written in his letter. You would not believe the crap the FAs have to put with just to get someone to stow their bag properly.

    so, to clarify, to return to the gate would require a threat warning from the FA to the captain. The captain would then ask for the police to meet at the gate to assess the threat. That is what happened, the captain did his job right, as well as the police officer. It remains to be seen as whether this was warranted, or if the FAs were just stupid, racist, or whatever.

  52. 52
    Waydue

    @aquaria ok, why? why fuck you? I have no idea what happened in that situation, or the one you linked to. And neither do you, so explain.

    @Caine What? Why? If the flight attendant called me up and said, “i got a black guy back here reading a book about airplanes and he is making me nervous” we wouldn’t just say “ok, back to the gate” we would need something a little more reasonable. That is my point, there are no details to this story beyond the passengers letter. We don’t know what happened. I can’t believe on PZ’s site there are so many people willing to accept this story on face value. Where is the evidence?
    So, why is it bullshit, and how does that make me blind?

  53. 53
    PaulG

    Seems reasonable to me. Himself created man in His own image which, obviously, was a smartly turned-out white guy. Probably dressed in beige slacks and a polo shirt.

    When this idiot turned up on one of our airplanes wearing dark skin and a fannypack, it is only right that security-conscious flying bartenders alerted their heroic male pilot to the danger aboard.

    May they be blessed by Cod. Peas be upon him.

  54. 54
    PZ Myers

    Because, from the perspective of us passengers, TSA puts us through a whole parade of petty, trivial, stupid exercises that do nothing to enhance our security. They perform security theater.

    When someone tells us that they are certain it’s all very reasonable and in our best interest, we know he’s just reciting the party line.

    For christ’s sake, they’ve completely undermined all pretense to authority with this charade of making us take our shoes off to get on the plane. Look at all the people in line: we’re sheep. I’m a sheep. We go through the motions, terrified to do anything but act casual, make no sudden moves, don’t say anything, because we know the power those clowns have — they can pull us over at a whim, subject us to public humiliation, make us miss a flight.

    There was no excuse — none — for what Vance Gilbert went through, and there you go, trying to make excuses for it. In a rational, reasonable world where aircraft personnel were actually concerned about real safety, a stewardess would have made polite conversation, asked him what he was reading, and when they saw he was just reading an antiquarian book about oldtimey airplanes made of pine and canvas, would have laughed and cleared the plane to go.

    Seriously. HOW DO YOU TURN READING A HISTORY BOOK INTO A THREAT TO A PLANE? My question in this article is genuine. What kind of tortured logic does it take to turn anything this guy could have been doing with a book and a fanny pack into a danger?

  55. 55
    'Tis Himself

    Waydue,

    Obviously the flight attendant was able to convince the pilot to return to the terminal. Who knows what the flight attendant said to the pilot. It could have been hysterical lies for all we know. I suspect that’s more likely than “there’s a black guy with a fanny pack and reading a book about airplanes.”

    Anyway, your concern about flight attendants is noted.

  56. 56
    nmcvaugh

    Some of our FAs couldn’t manage a one cow cattle drive, let alone be responsible to evaluate properly the security threat of particular individual. In addition to low cognitive function, some of our employees also lack any sort of class, and some are straight up racist. This goes both ways (I have worked with blacks that hate whites and vice versa).

    Maybe they were education majors? Fits right in with PZ’s taxonomy of academics.

  57. 57
    bybelknap

    Waydude, on what evidence did the FA get the plane returned to the gate? It’s assholes like you that have us in this bullshit mess of fake security. Fuck you and your authoritarian assholery.

  58. 58
    'Tis Himself

    I see PZ made a much better response to Waydue than I did.

  59. 59
    rad_pumpkin

    Urgh, this was either a stunt by Mr. Gilbert to get attention (unlikely, but still possible), or yet another demonstration of how our need for security around aviation is royally fucked up. I’m not even sure what could have possibly be suspicious about the whole thing, although I only have Vance’s account to rely on. A book on aviation? Frivolous to say the least. His fanny pack *snickers* and his reluctance to relinquish said? Stupid, but dammnit those things are ridiculous. Yeah, my money’s on whoever decided to kick him off the plane being an idiot, and a racist one at that.

    I’m also convinced that my 20-something white and scrawny self would not have had the same problem, even if I had been reading a book on ineffable quantum things instead. While wearing my labcoat…and one of those bloody fanny packs.

  60. 60
    joed

    Can someone help me with this?!
    When I get on to Pharyngula site I see blue tabs near the top of the page. When I open FTB I end up on some god awful military assissin site of some kind.
    The old Pharyngula ScienceBlog site didnt have this kill people stuff, at least I didnt see it there.
    Is FTB stand for FREE THOUGHT BLOGS and if so why is the glorification of killing, violent death and domination of brown people the first “free thought” I find there?
    Or am I doing something wrong?!
    I am sincerely concerned and confused here.

  61. 61
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    The Flight Attendants are there for our security and our safety? They spend five minutes telling me how to buckle my damn seatbeat. I was siting next to a for or five year old and when I asked her if she needed help with hers (Mom was across the aisle with her other two kids) she adamantly let me know that she was big enough to buckle her own seatbelt.

    As for “all safety items and there are reasons you don’t know about no matter how silly people might think it is,” that is such authoritarian bullshit that I don’t even know where to start. If the public had been made aware of the impending terror threat with the same briefing that Bush refused to read, 9/11 would have been a lot less tragic than it was.

  62. 62
    magistramarla

    OK guys,
    Stop making fun of those of us who wear a fanny pack.
    I stopped carrying a purse and now carry only my essentials in a fanny pack due to my disability. I rely heavily on a cane, and I can’t carry anything that puts me off balance or I fall. A purse or any sort of bag tilts me over – the fanny pack doesn’t. I may look like a dorky tourist, but I’m safer.

    I’ll be flying with the service dog that I’m going to pick up in a month. It should be an interesting experience. I’ve been told that Southwest is the best for this, and that he will be able to fly in the bulkhead seat, lying at my feet. It should be interesting to see how the TSA responds to a hundred pound German Shepherd!

  63. 63
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    When I open FTB I end up on some god awful military assissin site of some kind.

    If you’re talking about Assassin Actual, he’s a blogger here. He’s a secular humanist who happens to be in the military. I haven’t looked much at what his blog says, but I get the impression from what you’re saying that you really haven’t either.

  64. 64
    F

    Waydude, why do you have such trouble with the story? The airline has had plenty of time to investigate and comment, and since it hasn’t, it smacks of taking time to make up a story, or at least to find a way around apologizing.

    Black people are discriminated against on a regular basis, full stop.

    Security theater has been rampant, with a lot of added inconvenience, plenty of abuse, and little or no addes security.

    Books are not dangerous.

    If the attendant had a problem, why didn’t she say that the fanny pack really did need to go into the overhead, and in which case, why not the backpack? If he had been belligerent, this is what they would have gone back to the gate for. law enforcement would have boarded the plane – he wouldn’t have been asked to walk out. The officer would not have asked to see the book. His possessions would have been searched. Or he would have been to that his attitude was a problem. Pre-flight security theater didn’t seem to have any problem with Gilbert’s possessions.

    I understand the semi-skeptical nature with which you approach this, only having one side of the story, but again, we’d have both by now if the airline had anything. You seem to miss all sorts of indicators of the general climate in the U.S. today. You also seem to think more highly of the rational-actor status of airline employees than warranted. And as if they are all so highly trained. Plenty are. Plenty are not. You can’t imagine that they would make a bad decision excepting if it were caused by racism, it couldn’t be because the decisions was a result of poor thinking skills or paranoia in general, or in addition to racism.

    What people then perceive is that you are going far out of the way to give the airline and its employees the benefit of the doubt. And since it was pointed out that both being black is a cause for suspicion, and that books are a cause for suspicion – thinks that you should know or which are easily found out, yet deny, some people might feel a small amount of hostility against your position. Being told to fuck off is not an unusual thing here, it is what happens when you don’t stop digging. I don’t know what you normally read for news, etc., but this sort of thing is all too common, and always assuming authority is correct until proven otherwise (which could be forever if the authorities involved decline to comment) is an indefensible position to take. Either bring evidence that the victim isn’t the victim, but the aggressor, or stop defending airline/crew here. Otherwise, expect arguments against your position, and more colorful language.

    Plus, have you been here before? Do you know how this forum community operates? Or did you just stop by to defend your industry because you found a link somewhere? I don’t know – I don’t recognize your name, and a lot of people likely don’t recognize mine, but I lurk here and wouldn’t be surprised to be told to fuck off for something I said without thinking, whether it was a more friendly or a more hostile “fuck off”. When it starts involving badgers and porcupines and such, you’ll know it is truly hostile.

  65. 65
    PZ Myers

    If the airlines are going to start kicking people off their planes for reading terrorist books, I want them to start with the Bible and the Quran.

  66. 66
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    magistramarla,

    Most, or at least a lot of the snickering at “fanny pack” is due to the non-USAnian meaning of that phrase. Specifics will be left to you and Google, if interested.

  67. 67
    F

    nmcvaugh, what the fuck is your deal? Are you a shitty teacher who has been offended or what? Perhaps you haven’t read enough of PZ’s posts on education and educators, or maybe you don’t realize PZ is an educator himself. But please provide something more than you fucking stupid off-topic single-subject and uninformative posts in every blog you read at FtB.

  68. 68
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    If the airlines are going to start kicking people off their planes for reading terrorist books, I want them to start with the Bible and the Quran.

    And I want them to wait until the plane has reached cruising altitude to start.

  69. 69
    joed

    @63 classical cipher

    thank you for the reply.
    yes, I did not look closely at the sight. I only realized it was dealing with those drones that the u s military are killing so many brown skin people with.
    this is very sick and i dont think a concerned thoughtful critical thinker could kill other humans.
    I am concerned that Professor Myers isn’t aware of the assissin within FTB.
    It is said the difference between bush2 and obama is that bush captured and tortured people but obama simply assassinates people.
    This is probably the wrong site to be bringing this up but it is prominent part of Pharyngula blog.
    thank you

  70. 70
    Waydue

    @PZ I was only trying to explain the process for understanding and not for defense of the flight crews actions although I admit bias and I totally get it. I will make no defense of the TSA. I fly the freakin plane and I also have to go through security and take my shoes off and have even had them confiscate my sewing kit scissors which are little tiny half inch blunt things.

    My point was only that the flight crews actions are not represented in this instance. It could certainly turn out to be exactly what everyone is assuming, or it could be total bullshit because the passenger felt slighted. I was only throwing in a flight crews position because for every ridiculous thing that happens to someone, as maybe in this instance, I see other stupid things that are outright lies.

    So, to answer your question, I don’t know how reading a history book turned into a threat. I seriously cannot imagine how this went down according to his version of events. Except of course, an amazingly stupid and racist flight attendant, which I have already conceded as a possibility.

    There is no excuse for this if it happened in the way that the gentleman explained it. I only sought to include another point of view for the purpose of discussion, but it seems only name calling has surfaced.

    @bybelknap The flight only has to inform us that she has a passenger that is making her uncomfortable for _____ reason. We have to rely on their judgement. We ask questions of them because we want to know the situation, if it is reasonable we will return. I have returned to the gate for a drunken belligerent passenger who was shouting at everyone and the FA. When the police escorted him off, he was yelling “I DIDN”T DO ANYTHING!” Thats a good reason, but I don’t know what the FAs told the captain in this case.

    So good luck getting through TSA, we can’t stand them either. But know this, for everyone of you assholes telling me to fuck off, if I ever catch you on my plane, you should know that i will do everything within my power and my skills that I constantly maintain to stay at the top of my game, to keep you absolutely safe. I will get you from A to B in the safest, most comfortable and fastest way possible. I thank you for your trust, and enabling me to live out my dreams. I love flying, and I always stand at the door at the end of every flight to thank the passengers. That’s not for the company, fuck the company, that’s for me.

  71. 71
    joed

    Good reason to snigger, perhaps:

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=fanny&searchmode=none
    fanny
    “buttocks,” 1920, Amer.Eng., from earlier British meaning “vulva” (1879), perhaps from the name of John Cleland’s heroine in the scandalous novel “Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure” (1748). The fem. proper name is a dim. of Frances. The genital sense is still the primary one outside U.S., but is not current in Amer.Eng., a difference which can have consequences when U.S. TV programs and movies air in Britain.

  72. 72
    Nom de Plume

    @#49 Aquaria:

    http://archives.citypaper.net/articles/101801/news.godfrey.shtml

    Fuck you.

    That’s all very well, but the story you linked to had nothing to do with flight attendants and how they interact with passengers, which was the topic at hand. The guy in that story never even got on the plane. If you’re going to be rude and dismissive, contribute a relevant link next time.

    Waydue, for the record, I for one never perceived your posts as “defending” what happened in this story, which is good, since there’s no defense. You’re evidently a knowledgeable individual on this topic, and I see your contribution as explaining the various technical details involved.

  73. 73
    Waydude

    hmm, my last diatribe went missing for some reason. Well not going to type all that again.

    briefly then,

    @PZ I have no defense for the TSA we can’t stand then either. I cannot imagine how this went down according to the gentleman’s version. So, I cannot defend the flight crews actions, I was only attempting to explain the process.

    @Randide yes, for your safety. it something bad happens and the plane is on fire and you need to evacuate, it’s the flight attendant who is going to get you out and you’ll be fucking happy that the tray table and the seat back is not blocking your way out you moron. Oh look! you didn’t trip over your bag on the way out either.

    @Fsays yes, I was taking the devils advocate, but only for explanation of process and not for defending the action. I have been to this site, I even helped PZ out once to check on his flight that was delayed in SLC. I don’t care about the tone or swearing, but the lack of coherency in responses. Your assessment of my thinking is severely flawed. I do indeed think and am aware of these things you tell me I’m not. The training at my airline is great, it is tough and demanding, but we are also human. Mistakes will be made, and racist idiots will make it through as well. You however, seem to be making many factual claims of which I suspect you have no qualification to make, they seem to be anecdotal in nature and assumed.

    Sorry about the TSA. I fly the plane and they once took my sewing kit scissors. also, make me take off my shoes too.

  74. 74
    Waydude

    oops. slow posting then.

  75. 75
    bybelknap

    Apologies, Waydude. These stories get my dander up. I’m sure you are a stand up guy, and do your damndest to fly safely. It is the TSA and security theater that I despise, not the people actually flying the planes.

  76. 76
    nmcvaugh

    F,

    Are you a shitty teacher who has been offended or what?

    No, still a grad student, trying to finish dissertation.

    Perhaps you haven’t read enough of PZ’s posts on education and educators, or maybe you don’t realize PZ is an educator himself.

    Again no. I’ve read them, and most of the time PZ has been supportive of education. That’s why his promotion of the idea that “education majors have the lowest high school grades and standardized test scores of all college students” and that “Students who take education classes at universities receive significantly higher grades than students who take classes in every other academic discipline.” really pisses me off. If he wants to make a case for changing practice in education, weeding out poor students and improving standards, that’s fine by me – I’d support him. But he isn’t doing that. While he admits that we need teachers, he has no problem disparaging the entire profession based on a half-assed study by the AEI.

    You want to improve the education? Don’t start by accusing the entire field of being academically incompetent.

    please provide something more than you fucking stupid off-topic single-subject and uninformative posts in every blog you read at FtB

    Already have done – short response to PZ’s post here and a longer one here.

    All I’d like is the same level of skepticism applied to the anti-educator articles that PZ applies to everything else. PZ’s happy to critique other publications for inaccuracies, but when it comes to condemning education, he’s silent.

    Now I admit, I’m sensitive on this matter. Both my parents were teachers, my wife works in public education, and I work in higher education. Our governor is running on an anti-education platform, and just killed 10,000 education jobs in Texas. I’ve spent the last ten years working to prop up science education standards in Texas. The US educational system has been hammered by Bush’s standardized testing requirements that do nothing but teach students to memorize and regurgitate factiods instead of doing real teaching.

    So, “what the fuck is my deal?” I’m sick of working to try and improve the system, and having every student, parent, politician and prayer-monger shit on me. When PZ decides to pile in by buying into AEI bullshit I’ve reached my breaking point. I’d like to hear PZ explain just what the hell he intended to say by posting – without comment – an AEI blurb that claims that all educators are academically incompetent and unqualified. I’d like some fucking respect for educators. I used to think that PZ had that. Now? Who the hell knows.

  77. 77
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    I only realized it was dealing with those drones that the u s military are killing so many brown skin people with.

    If you’re talking about the post about UAVs, it is hardly a glorification of them. I really don’t think you have any idea what you’re talking about.

    this is very sick and i dont think a concerned thoughtful critical thinker could kill other humans.

    Or, like, talk in a fairly dispassionate (non-positive) way about drones being used by drug cartels? Anyway, are you assuming that just because someone’s in the military, they can’t be a thoughtful, concerned critical thinker? That’s pretty ignorant of you.

  78. 78
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    Actually, I am smart enough to find the door and not trip over my feet on my own. So was the five year old.

    None of that changes the fact that you said,

    all safety items and there are reasons you don’t know about no matter how silly people might think it is

    You specifically said they knew things they don’t share with us and then claimed that said knowledge was the only thing keeping us from tripping over our bags and not hitting our heads on that pinhole air vent, you dishonest asshole.

  79. 79
    nmcvaugh

    F,

    please provide something more than you fucking stupid off-topic single-subject and uninformative posts in every blog you read at FtB

    By the way, did you happen to catch my fucking stupid, off-topic single-subject and uninformative posts in Dispatches from the culture wars, This week in Christian nationalism, Zingularity, Digital cuttlefish and so on? No? Strange. Guess they’re not part of the blogs at FtB. Or I read but didn’t post to them because they’re not PZ’s blog. Or Pharyngula isn’t the only blog at FtB. Take your pick.

  80. 80
    docsarvis

    I met Vance Gilbert a few times at the Kerrville Folk Festival. He is about as nice and harmless as people get. This is a travesty. I fear for our freedoms.

  81. 81
    Classical Cipher, Murmur Muris, OM

    Yeah, nmcvaugh, we get it. It’s all about you and your wounded feelings. This post about an incident at the intersection of racial bias and security theater? Way less important than nmcvaugh’s disagreement with PZ on a totally unrelated matter. Everyone, stop what you’re doing and attend to nmcvaugh. *yawn*

  82. 82
    'Tis Himself

    I have no defense for the TSA we can’t stand then either. I cannot imagine how this went down according to the gentleman’s version. So, I cannot defend the flight crews actions, I was only attempting to explain the process.

    I can easily see it happening the way Gilbert described. Some flight attendant had a wild hair up their ass, quite likely lied said ass off, and a whole bunch of folks got inconvenienced while Gilbert got humiliated. I’ve been on enough flights to know that some flight attendants, particularly on smaller airlines, are not the most customer-oriented people around.

  83. 83
    nmcvaugh

    Everyone, stop what you’re doing and attend to nmcvaugh.

    You might want to stop reinforcing my behavior – could lead to repetition.

  84. 84
    Waydude

    @Randide

    That’s great, you are smart enough to find the exit. So I guess those not as smart as you can die then, hmmm?

    Now try to find the exit when the plane is on fire.

    When it’s filled with smoke and you can’t see shit.

    When you’re panicked.

    When the person next to you is not so smart and you crawl over the seat in a desperate attempt to get out.

    When there are no lights.

    When it is filling with water and you on purpose or accidentally inflate your life vest before you exit the plane and get stuck to the ceiling.

    these have all happened. For every one of these “authoritarian” rules you despise there is a load of dead bodies.

    When I say ‘there are reasons you don’t know about’, it is not to be insulting, or a dick, or that is is things that are unshared. It was only to be brief.

    Accidents happened. People died. People figured out what happened and implemented measures to hopefully not have it happen again.

    Also, you seem to be responding not to what I say, but to what you think I say. I advise you to go back and read my posts a little more carefully.

  85. 85
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    Also, you seem to be responding not to what I say, but to what you think I say. I advise you to go back and read my posts a little more carefully.

    The posts that I am quoting verbatim and you are constantly changing the meaning of? Naah. You refuse to argue fairly. You may go now.

  86. 86
    Waydude

    @tis Himself

    Quite possible. I take exception to your characterization of flight attendants at small airlines, but I am biased in that regard.

    When I say I can’t imagine… its just that there will be repercussions for the crews actions. If it turns out she lied, she will be gone. If the captain didn’t adequately assess the situation, he will be in for some action, retraining, etc..

    You have no idea of the fine line that our job hangs by, one mistake and we are out. But that is how it has to be, peoples lives are at stake and there is no place for FAs that can’t deal with a black guy reading a history book or pilots that can’t deal with a flight attendant, ask good questions and get the whole story.

    Ok, I’m done. time to drink and watch a movie.

    BTW, know why pilots are all drunks? Cuz we can’t smoke weed!

    leave em laughing, oy…

  87. 87
    Waydude

    Yeah, go back and read it again. You can’t tell the difference between direct response and conjecture? How am I not arguing fairly? Oh, by being right. How humiliating for you. I see ad hominems fall into place for a solid position. I thank you for leave and I take it.

  88. 88
    TxSkeptic

    Another question is what story will the evangelical flight attendant make up when they spot a passenger reading The God Delusion, or The Atheist’s Bible, etc? Us heathen atheists are all obviously working for Satan, right?

    Ok, I’m not too worried about this right now, but what if one of the serious clown circus performers in the GOP race were to win…

  89. 89
    Remo

    My heart goes out to Mr. Vaughn.

    Notwithstanding, the second half of your column makes no sense. Your bud from the twin cities is statistically illiterate.

    Given the credible estimate that we’ve spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security (this does not include our many foreign wars), that’s $62.5 billion per life saved. Is there any other risk that we are even remotely as crazy about?

    The statistic he calculates is money spent per life lost, not life saved. Kind’a defeats the whole rant

  90. 90
    JJR

    Sign of the times, but Public Relations Industry professionals do follow popular social media/blogs/etc and will post vigorous defenses of their industry whenever there is any criticism raised, no matter how absurd they come off in so doing. They don’t care. They’re going to bat for their client.

    They’re like lawyers, only scuzzier. I heard at the latest TAM that some speakers were wanting the Skeptic movement to be more activist in orientation. The PR industry and its machinations would be a very worthy target of skeptical activism, IMHO.

  91. 91
    Remo

    Oops, my dyslexia kicked in. My heart goes out to Mr. Vance Gilbert. Crummy thing.

  92. 92
    IslandBrewer

    The most egregious example of racism that affected me was this:

    A few years (3 or 4) ago, my close friend waltzed through security at MSP and boarded a domestic flight to Denver without a driver’s license or passport. Just a school ID, library card, blond hair, blue eyes, and a nice teutonic name.

    I know, I know, … sometimes the privilege highlights the racism better than anything else for me.

  93. 93
    Zorku

    Don’t mean to be sour but Bruce Schneier’s math is a bit flawed here. is not 60 billion-ish per life (14) saved but rather that many dollars for life taken by terror, and it’s granted that the money is sort of meant to reduce local casualties from this sort of thing you should get an inverse proportion to begin with.

    Obviously we would only want to push it down to perhaps the number of yearly deaths caused by lightening strikes or even be more lax than that but I don’t think you can fine tune war investment quite like that. Fewer wars would be a nice start but you can’t change the past so *shrug*

  94. 94
    IslandBrewer

    … most egregious example with the TSA, I meant to say.

  95. 95
    abeo

    Ugh. You know that if he was a white guy he would have just been passed over as a nerd with unfortunate taste in man-bag.

  96. 96
    Graves

    Just a quick comment on the shared post by Bruce Schneier. I love how he is Mr. Fair and Balanced with his ‘I think it’s reasonable’ bit. Unfortunately, his reasoning is pure hogwash. No idea why he’s dividing a billion by the number of lives LOST to come up with a price per life SAVED. Regardless of this nonsense, this is a classic example of the prosecutor’s fallacy. He has NO IDEA what would have happened without this investment in defense against terrorism. You have to have priors to even think about this problem. He doesn’t address this issue–it’s fine to think we’ve overreached, but one must make the argument explicit that one believes there would not be a substantial uptick in terrorist events without the increased security. It’s conceivable (although improbable to say the least) that the upgraded security has saved thousands, or tens of thousands, of lives.

    I think the US has overreacted enormously, so I am no ally of the stupid policies or the TSA, but those comments of his are just such bullshit.

  97. 97
    Art

    Black people scare a lot of white folks. One of the main objections to Obama, one seldom owned up to, is the view that he is a ‘uppity’, both articulate and ambitious, black man. Clearly one that doesn’t know his place.

    Conservatives, before the 1800s, understood that keeping black people uneducated was a good way to limit their power. A literate, articulate black man, particularly a large one scares certain people.

    There is also the jealousy. In a lot of white neighborhoods it is hard to find an articulate, literate, white person who not only can, but enjoys, a good read. If you’re white and have a son who avoids books and shows no interest in reading, a black man reading a history book might seem vaguely threatening.

    The calender says 21st century but parts of America are struggling to advance into the 19th.

    On the up side, being Boston, the local authorities were forced by procedure to follow through but they clearly saw it was a silly call and did as little as they could. Had this been the deep south it might have involved his being gang-tackled, cuffed, verbally abused, and a cavity search. With an option for a royal beat down if he was anything but immediately compliant and gratuitously docile. There would have been no circumspection or quasi-humorous commentary about the book being about ‘Snoopy’.

  98. 98
    StevoR

    No Islamic extremist has been able to successfully detonate a bomb in the U.S. in the past ten years, not even a Molotov cocktail.

    Hmm .. doesn’t that kinda indicate that these measures – as paranoid and objectionable and vastly erring on the side of caution as they may be – are, y’know, kinda working?

    Which is NOT to say that I agree at all with how Vance Gilbert was treated which was pretty appalling assuming his account is fully accurate.

    Still, I think it’d be better to have an overly alert, overly suspicious security check on a plane – even one that’s as waa-ay Over The Top as this rather than an overly slack, too niave and unsuspecting approach that lets a bomber or terrorist on a plane – again.

    A lot of lives were inconvenienced – and one man suffered the indignity of being falsely suspected and then rightly cleared (& yeah, I know, missing his connecting flight too) – in this case.

    A lot of lives – hundreds of individuals – could have been lost and thousands of familiies left grieving and had their lives altered permanently if it *had* been a real terrorist aboard though.

    We know – and in retrospect its obvious – that Vance Gilbert wasn’t a terrorist but I don’t think it was so easy to be in the flight crews shoes – how are the flight crew to know at the time necessarily?

    Isn’t it better they err on the side of caution than not?

    Sadly, we do live in an age of Jihadist Terrorism – there really are nutcases out there who will blow up planes or fly them into skyscrapers full of innocent people given the chance.

    This shouldn’t ever be forgotten.

    Anger aimed at the aircrew being suspicious (in this specific case excessively so) is misplaced – the anger here should be directed at Al Quaida and the Jihadist death cult that has made such paranoia and security necessary. :-(

  99. 99
    caudex

    “Fanny” means “vagina” in the UK as well as Australia. I don’t know about the Australians, but in the UK we call a fanny pack a “bum bag”.

  100. 100
    Jett Perrobone

    john_s @#2:

    This makes me wonder if this would happen here (Australia).
    I can’t see that it would.
    I don’t think we’re paranoid enough. Yet.

    There was the “BOB” incident in a flight from Sydney to the US in 2004, where the letters written on an air-sickness bag were misinterpreted by cabin crew as standing for “Bomb On Board”. Nothing was found after they grounded the plane, but something makes me think that they didn’t learn anything from it.

  101. 101
    Caek Noms

    “Here’s what we know: the passenger was black”

    Looks like reasonable suspicion has been confirmed eh?

  102. 102
    Caek Noms

    Hmm .. doesn’t that kinda indicate that these measures – as paranoid and objectionable and vastly erring on the side of caution as they may be – are, y’know, kinda working?

    Of course by that logic, if you attend crystal healing sessions designed to stop you from contracting colon cancer, and indeed your colon is cancer-free, then clearly the crystal healing sessions are working.

    …the anger here should be directed at Al Quaida and the Jihadist death cult that has made such paranoia and security necessary. :-(

    I’m not so sure about “necessary” – maybe “prevalent”.

  103. 103
    captainchaos

    I think Vance Gilbert may see a pretty sharp spike in sales because of this. Not that that makes it alright of course.

    There’s a pretty funny parody / put down of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You” on his homepage. :-)

  104. 104
    PigDiesel

    As a semi-recent former passenger screener (Australia), I cannot fathom how the flight crew came to this conclusion. The bum bag would have gone through x ray and possible trace screening. Is there a high level of mistrust between the TSA and airline staff? I have a feeling that the gentlemans skin color is the likely reason for this particular bit of stupid.

  105. 105
    madtom1999

    Fanny! Pecker! Vajazzle! Burglarized? The US has hijacked the English language and flown it into a kindergarten.
    The only offensive word they have left is atheist!

  106. 106
    Shibujiro

    PZ, your ideology is showing. I’m “on your side,” as it were, but goofs like this are unacceptable for thinking people.

    Did you even read the “statistics” you reposted? Or did you assumed they must be accurate because they fit your hysteria narrative? You couldn’t even get a mistake like that past a Fox News panel, but here it is on the most popular of science blogs. Wonderful.

    About two deaths per year from Islamic terrorism since 9/11 has two potential explanations (not mutually exclusive):
    1. Our hysterical response is actually working; or
    2. The bad guys have stopped trying.

    I don’t know where the balance is between these two, but I do know your friend’s research hasn’t convinced me that it’s all 2 and none of 1.

  107. 107
    Djahn

    “Fanny” means “vagina” in the UK as well as Australia. I don’t know about the Australians, but in the UK we call a fanny pack a “bum bag”.

    Then I guess that in the UK or OZ, my schlong would be called a fanny pack?

  108. 108
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    StevoR,

    If any aspiring terrorists had been caught due to all those new security measures, that would be a sign they are working.

  109. 109
    maureen.brian

    Waydude,

    You appear to me to have sold out – to groupthink and to mindless authoritarianism. Yes, I know that’s rude: you’ve no need to point it out to me.

    If Mr Gilbert was being rude in any way then he would have been arrested. If there was even a suspicion of terrorism he’d probably still be in jail. Yet you disbelieve him perhaps because his story makes you uncomfortable or more likely because you don’t want him to be an authority figure? Not even an authority on his own life and experience?

    Aren’t you supposed to be an airline pilot – one of those guys who trains for years to make split-second and totally rational decisions and is retested at regular intervals to ensure the decision-making is not compromised or slowed in any way? When did you do your last retest?

    When I visit the US I now know what else to bring, besides that letter from my doctor explaining why I have metal strips and any number of screws in my leg – books without pictures! A volume each of Machiavelli and Kropotkin, perhaps? Or maybe I should get their names changed before I set off.

  110. 110
    Alistair Wall

    This list shows five successful bomb attacks in the UK in 2010, and one in 2011. There was one other attack in August 2001 that falls just outside the “last ten years”.

    None of the attacks were Islamic.

  111. 111
    Steve LaBonne

    To all of the apologists for mindless authoritarianism in the name of “caution” on this thread: FUCK YOU. That is all.

  112. 112
    Therrin

    Isn’t it better they err on the side of caution than not?

    No?

  113. 113
    ImaginesABeach

    Flying from Hilo, Hawaii to Honolulu this summer, my 10 year old son was randomly selected for a full pat down. I can’t imagine anyone felt safer on that airplane knowing that it was the 10 year old who got felt up and not the adults.

    I suspect the TSA agent felt the same way – the pat down was so quick, I didn’t have a chance to grab my camera to take a picture for the scrapbook.

  114. 114
    joed

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=fanny&searchmode=none

    fanny
    “buttocks,” 1920, Amer.Eng., from earlier British meaning “vulva” (1879), perhaps from the name of John Cleland’s heroine in the scandalous novel “Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure” (1748). The fem. proper name is a dim. of Frances. The genital sense is still the primary one outside U.S., but is not current in Amer.Eng., a difference which can have consequences when U.S. TV programs and movies air in Britain.

  115. 115
    Jafafa Hots

    Both fanny pack and bum bag are stupid names for it unless you’re wearing it backwards.

  116. 116
    PigDiesel

    Crotch sack maybe? I prefer waist pouch myself.

  117. 117
    Dianne

    Hmm .. doesn’t that kinda indicate that these measures – as paranoid and objectionable and vastly erring on the side of caution as they may be – are, y’know, kinda working?

    Only if we have any evidence that there were attempts that were blocked by these measures, which I don’t think we do. However, analyzing the known incidents, one commonality I note is the use of guns in every case. Wouldn’t it make sense to drastically restrict the ownership of guns? If we had done that, the 16 people killed by Islamic extremists in the last 10 years might well be alive. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of others killed by guns by people other than Islamic terrorists.

    Also to note: the security measures implemented have almost certainly also cost lives. The restriction on liquids has encouraged people to fly dehydrated (how can you help it if you can’t bring liquids on the plane after all?) and probably led to an increase in the incidence of venous thromboembolism and potentially other conditions over the past decade. All acts have risks and benefits and I’m not at all sure the restriction on fluids comes down on the benefit side overall. Sure, the thought of a plane blowing up is scarier than the thought of 1000 people dying individually of blood clots and strokes, but the latter adds up to more deaths in the end.

  118. 118
    Dianne

    I can’t imagine anyone felt safer on that airplane knowing that it was the 10 year old who got felt up and not the adults.

    Actually, I kind of feel better, if not necessarily safer, knowing that the searches are truly random, not supposedly random but somehow always landing on the “suspicious” characters.

    I’ve been patted down twice. Once because I refused to go through the naked picture scanner which has not had its radiation level verified by any outside agency (at O’Hare) and once at Heathrow in a random search. The US agent spent a lot of time explaining what she was doing and why she wasn’t being creepy-so much so that it felt pretty creepy. The Brit simply copped a quick feel and went about her business, which actually felt much less creepy, perhaps because she didn’t make a big deal of it. I suspect neither of them of getting their jollies that way.

  119. 119
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    I haven’t read the above thread yet, but I wanted to mention this utterly asinine Globe editorial claiming that Gilbert was “wronged, but not right.” It is, sad to say, very typical of the sort of smug “centrist” rationalization our current mass media specializes in.

  120. 120
    Waydude

    @Maureen.brian

    How have I sold out? You appear to have no qualms about pontificating about things of which you have little understanding.

    I have not defended nor demonized the actions of the flight for the reason, and this includes you and PZ and every other person on this thread that has jumped on the bandwagon of accusation, that we don’t have the full story and have no idea of what really happened beyond the gentlemans side of the story.

    Posting this article is just as irresponsible as when the media reports a story on biology or science and totally misrepresents it. I see nothign more than a bunch of hypocrites acting like creationists and drawing conclusions that are not warranted based on the facts available.

  121. 121
    Matt Penfold

    Posting this article is just as irresponsible as when the media reports a story on biology or science and totally misrepresents it. I see nothign more than a bunch of hypocrites acting like creationists and drawing conclusions that are not warranted based on the facts available.

    Fuck you sanctimonious arsehole.

  122. 122
    Nullifidian

    maureen.brian:
    “A volume each of Machiavelli and Kropotkin, perhaps?”

    Sadly, there would probably be no difficulty because nobody in a position of authority at the TSA would recognize their names.

    PeeZed:
    “For christ’s sake, they’ve completely undermined all pretense to authority with this charade of making us take our shoes off to get on the plane.”

    Absolutely.

    This security theater tactic is made doubly absurd by the fact that even the original shoe-bomber failed. So apparently the TSA thinks that the terrorists out there are all of a mind with General Melchett, who proposes to Blackadder that they revisit the plan of leaving the trenches and walking very slowly towards the enemy forces, even though this plan has been tried and failed on eighteen separate occasions. Yes, let’s not let the complete failure of the shoe-bomb plot deter us from doing precisely the same thing year after year!

    And how many shoe-bombers besides Richard Reid has this system of x-raying shoes netted? None! So clearly it must be keeping us safe!

    I was targeted for extra security measures once simply because of my t-shirt. I was wearing my red “¡Viva la evolución!” parody t-shirt with a bereted Cornelius instead of Che. I have no idea if the TSA official was a creationist or a right-winger who didn’t get the joke, but he subjected me to a pat-down and a swipe of my luggage for bomb residue. It was stupid, but luckily no more than mildly inconvenient.

  123. 123
    maureen.brian

    Evidence, man, evidence!

    How many terrorist plots have been foiled by the sort of behaviour described? How many by the use of intelligence? And how many in let’s say the last decade have been missed entirely?

    For credibility ’round these parts you need an actual reason to disbelieve Mr Gilbert. What is it?

  124. 124
    Daz

    and drawing conclusions that are not warranted based on the facts available.

    Actually, the ‘facts available’ are that the chap is black, kicked up no appreciable fuss about the placement of his luggage, was reading a book on antique aircraft and, when local law enforcement was called in, it was the book they were primarily interested in—indicating that it was the matter of the book which had been stressed to them when they were contacted.

    Your objections to this version, on the other hand, are based on nothing but conjecture.

  125. 125
    Dianne

    Another conclusion to draw from this: Continental/United is going straight down the toilet (United was already there and it’s pulling Continental in). Use another airline. We still have one or two competitors, even in the current monopolistic era.

  126. 126
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Aquaria, #46:

    Then I saw “Boston” and I had my explanation.

    This. Welcome to Mississippi on the Charles.

    Also, I’d like to extend an additional “fuck you” to the airline personnel here trying to convince us that random harassment and security theatre are for “our own good.” Please. Except for wingnuts and other stupid people, nobody outside your professional bubble believes that.

  127. 127
    Some Blooke or Another

    @ 98 StevoR

    A lot of lives – hundreds of individuals – could have been lost and thousands of familiies left grieving and had their lives altered permanently if it *had* been a real terrorist aboard though.

    A trillion dollars, though. The US budget isn’t infinite. How many lives do you think could have been saved by pouring a trillion into road safety? healthcare? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

    there really are nutcases out there who will blow up planes or fly them into skyscrapers full of innocent people given the chance.

    There’s thousands of more real threats than scary brown plane-exploders. I haven’t chacked the statistics, but I’m willing to bet that more people die in the US from accidents involving ladders than Qur’an-wielding madmen.

  128. 128
    Synfandel

    Given the credible estimate that we’ve spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security (this does not include our many foreign wars), that’s $62.5 billion per life saved.

    Um… isn’t that $62.5 billion per life lost? We have no figures on the number of lives saved.

  129. 129
    Matt Penfold

    A lot of lives – hundreds of individuals – could have been lost and thousands of familiies left grieving and had their lives altered permanently if it *had* been a real terrorist aboard though.

    There was no reason to ever suppose there was a real terrorist on board.

  130. 130
    Anteprepro

    Well, I don’t know about ladder falls, but in 2007, there were apparently 22,000 American deaths due to people falling in general. And 0 due to terrorism. Got this by playing around here: http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html

    But maybe the 0 deaths due to terrorism is entirely because of racial profiling, waterboarding, and wire-tapping! Our tiger-repelling rocks work damn well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdBn5G7Y2RA

  131. 131
    Adam

    At least take solace that if the guy lost money on his transfer, that the airline lost a lot more from screwing up their flight schedule and in bad publicity.

  132. 132
    Matt

    @Synfandel
    I was about to say the same thing. Serious math error.

  133. 133
    Worldtraveller

    Thing is, there are probably thousands of people in the US who are aircraft engineers who actually have enough knowledge of aircraft to do real damage with things that are allowed or can be easily brought onto airplanes.

    I’m one of them. =)

    So the TSA should really just relax a bit, look for the obvious stuff, and with the existing security we have on the aircraft side of things, be happy.

    I don’t get the reasoning (if it can be called that) behind the crazy security they install at airports, compared to similar damage/casualties that could be caused by other public transportation like trains/subways.

  134. 134
    The Pint

    I don’t get the reasoning (if it can be called that) behind the crazy security they install at airports

    As someone else said upthread: political theater. It makes the TSA look like they’re “doing something” when in fact all the really important work is being done behind the scenes and out of sight of the public. Any plots are nipped before they actually get anywhere near the airport. You’d think this would dawn on most people but nope – apparently we’d rather be herded like sheep without nary a bleat about infringements on civil liberties or racial profiling in regards to mostly useless procedure because at least we can “see” the TSA “doing something.”

  135. 135
    freemage

    Waydude: One reason for the hostility you’re encountering is an unstated assumption in your posts–that the authorities are not in any way accountable for their actions. That is, the airline has issued no statement about “their side”, instead leaving a gaping maw of no comment.

    That, in and of itself is and should be viewed as condemnable by those of us who are on the receiving end of that authority. As others have noted, the silence speaks volumes, given that even a relatively unsubstantiated claim of misconduct on the part of the passenger would immediately result in a backlash from that segment of the public that believes in the “one percent” formulation of security (even though it doesn’t actually work that way).

  136. 136
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    Waydude,

    The reason you as a pilot have to go through security with everyone else is that otherwise we’re betting that the TSA staff can reliably identify a fake pilot’s ID and uniform. The moment _any_ category of people is allowed to avoid security, the bad guys will try to disguise themselves as members of that group. It might be okay for the NY police department to say “Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t need to go through the metal detectors, we know him,” because they do know him [1]; a policy that extended that to mayors of any large city would be a bad idea, because the average NY cop isn’t going to know what the mayor of San Antonio or Seattle looks like.

    [1] Or not. It also assumes that nobody else can sneak a gun into Bloomberg’s bag when he’s not looking. They changed that policy after a city council member got an armed constituent into City Hall without inspection. The council member didn’t know the guy was armed.

  137. 137
    kahoona

    TSA Kabuki theatre, mentally challenged F/A’s & over zealous, kool-aid drinking colleagues are all high on my ever growing list of things that make me cringe with embarrassment, face-palm myself into a migraine & despite all the odds….place a few bucks on the powerball in a pathetic attempt to escape the insane asylum we have somehow managed to turn air travel into.

    My day (& night) job is in the front office of a 747 and while I take safety very seriously, I find this incident just one more bit of evidence entered into the docket that we have all woken up in Bizarro World. It is totally indefensible, mind-numbingly stupid, outrageously authoritarian & yes, almost certainly racist (kind of like the average Tea Party rally but without all the misspelled signs). Personally, I would have recommended drug tests all around for the crew here as that would be the only way to narrow the seemingly obvious choices down between that or some type of undiagnosed collective brain damage (or possibly some bad psychotic reaction triggered by the subliminally coded messages & the spinning pinwheels that are Steve Ducie’s eyes on Fox & Friends).

    Waydude can try to defend it all he wants (although I am thinking: “Col. Custer, maybe you should reconsider the battle plan”)…while he is busy taking off his shoes (not while in uniform I hope) & while I agree somewhat lamely with the whole he said/she said issues inherent in these arguments I have also witnessed flight attendants go straight to Defcon 1 at the drop of a hat/fannypack on more than a few occasions. It is sad when we are somehow grateful that an over zealous Barney Fife didn’t offer up a final insult by dragging him off & tasing him too (indeed thankful that the officer wasn’t afraid to call BS on this ‘crime of the century’).

    Anyway we have all seen this movie before & this is getting to be like a news story of the latest stridently anti-gay Republican politician caught in the airport bathroom stalls/hotel rooms, etc…the names keep changing but it’s not hard to guess what happens next. It is still a fucking travesty & an embarrassment – but sadly, no longer a real surprise.

    I’m afraid that if Wilbur & Orville could somehow time travel into today’s TSA conga line they would never even make it to the gate. They would turn around in depression, confusion & despair, find the nearest bridge and jump off it.

  138. 138
    Dianne

    The moment _any_ category of people is allowed to avoid security, the bad guys will try to disguise themselves as members of that group.

    That makes some sort of sense and explains something that used to puzzle me. I used to work at a hospital that required everyone to go through a metal detector on the way in. Including employees. Employees who, once in the hospital, had access to razor sharp scalpels (actually, they’re far sharper than your average razor), radioactives of various sorts, chemicals that could take out half the city, and enough biohazards to kill the whole eastern seaboard if handled improperly, muchless misused. They should have checked us on the way out! But your point is valid.

  139. 139
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Matt Penfold:

    There was no reason to ever suppose there was a real terrorist on board.

    Well, except for the fact there were people aboard.

    And one of them was reading. Tell me that wasn’t suspicious? And, he was reading something that wasn’t horrible fiction!

    Now you’re starting to see why they were so concerned, right?

    Here was a man demonstrating curiosity about the world. He was attempting to learn something. To expand knowledge for the pure joy of slaking curiosity.

    Highly suspicious.

    Highly suspicious indeed.

  140. 140
    davem

    The taking the shoe off thing is just stupid. You go to the Mediterranean from the UK, get your shes off, and on the way back, what happens? Nothing; you just walk through. Any terrorist who’d done any research would just board the plane the other end. I reckon that the reason any terrorists succeed is just that they’re brighter than the idiots ‘fighting the last war’ on terror.

    There is a sign at Gatwick airport, with a picture of nail scissors on it, saying something like ’250,000 confiscated so far’. I keep having to resist the urge to add ’250,000 passengers robbed, zero terrorists stopped’.

    If the airlines were really concerned for their passengers’ safety, they’d put the damned seats facing backwards, so we might have a chance of actually surviving a crash. Being tall, it always pisses me off that they suggest I put my head down on my lap (What, in order to break my neck quickly)?

  141. 141
    'Tis Himself

    Some years ago a technogeek installed some security software in my company’s computers. He gave a bunch of us a briefing on the software. When he started to explain some of the holes in the software a VP yelled* “why are there holes in your software?” The technogeek replied “I can plug each of the holes. But then your computers couldn’t do anything but run my software.”

    Aircraft security is rapidly approaching this same situation.

    *Well, he exclaimed very loudly.

  142. 142
    JDC

    Vance Gilbert makes good music. I’ve enjoyed “Fugitives” for several years, it’s on my regular playlist. Go to his site and buy 100 albums. That’s what I think should be done about this situation, 100 percent of everyone should buy his music right now.

  143. 143
    Comradde PhysioProffe

    It appears that the epaulets on Waydude’s fancy pretend-military pilot costume have gone to his head.

  144. 144
    feralboy12

    Now try to find the exit when the plane is on fire.

    When it’s filled with smoke and you can’t see shit.

    When you’re panicked.

    When the person next to you is not so smart and you crawl over the seat in a desperate attempt to get out.

    When there are no lights.

    When it is filling with water and you on purpose or accidentally inflate your life vest before you exit the plane and get stuck to the ceiling.

    You forgot “while wearing flip-flops because security will make you take off your shoes.”

  145. 145
    twincats

    This, plus the fact that I’m fat are why I never fly anywhere. I’m very fortunate to have no need to fly; don’t need or want the security theatre or the potential expense/embarrassment of being asked to buy another seat.

    Now we find out that our choice of reading material and/or apparel can cause problems as well. Yeesh.

    Furthermore, count me in as someone else who cannot simply fling a bag over my shoulder and boogie; both shoulders are bad plus I have carpal tunnel, so hand-carrying is out, too. My personal solution is men’s cargo pants.

    Speaking of which, do they make women stow purses now? Last time I flew (1999) we could still have a purse in our lap. If that’s still the case, why discriminate against men who have a personal effects bag?

  146. 146
    margaret

    @Waydude–
    It is unclear to me why you feel that the FA’s side of the story needs to be told before you are able to accept Vance Gilbert’s story as complete and accurate.
    If he had been belligerent about moving the much maligned fanny pack, or if there were significantly more to the story than Vance has reported, why would United not have reported these facts?

    You say,”we don’t have the full story and have no idea of what really happened beyond the gentlemans side of the story.”

    To the best of my knowledge United’s only statement is, “The service Mr. Gilbert described does not reflect the experience we aim to deliver our customers. We are reaching out to Mr. Gilbert and to Shuttle America, the United Express carrier that operated the flight, to better understand what occurred and to ensure Mr. Gilbert knows we value his business.” In the nine days since Vance made the story public, there has been ample time to present additional information.

  147. 147
    P Smith

    re: Vance Gilbert

    His treatment is appalling and shocking. It brings new meaning to the disgusting phrase “white flight”. A book about outdated airplanes equates to “terrorism”? If I had that book (I’m white), I doubt I’d get the same reaction. The only post-9/11 plane crashes into buildings (or attempts) in the US were by white people – Cory Lidle who was unskilled, and the nutbag in Florida who “empathized” with the 9/11 hijackers.

    It makes me glad I’m not American and have never travelled in the US. None of the airports or countries I’ve ever been to (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, PRC, Thailand) have treated people that badly, not even Hong Kong’s airport which is inside a dictatorship.

    PZ Myers (#54):

    “Because, from the perspective of us passengers, TSA puts us through a whole parade of petty, trivial, stupid exercises that do nothing to enhance our security. They perform security theater.

    [...]

    Seriously. HOW DO YOU TURN READING A HISTORY BOOK INTO A THREAT TO A PLANE? My question in this article is genuine. What kind of tortured logic does it take to turn anything this guy could have been doing with a book and a fanny pack into a danger?”

    This sort of fascism is nothing new. The same thing happened during the Ronnie Raygun administration of the 1980s.

    The CIA were in England and took photos of protesters outside of military bases where there were US-owned nuclear weapons. Any people identified in the pictures as Americans would have their passports seized upon return, and prevented from travelling again, regardless of destination.

    So much for “free speech” or right of assembly. Or did fascists assume they forefeit that right outside of the US’s borders?

    PZ Myers (#1):

    “Australians: stop sniggering at “fanny pack”. I swear, everything anyone can say has been turned into a sexual euphemism in Oz.”

    I perfer the term belt pouch myself.

    I don’t know about Americans, but a lot of my fellow Canadians show infantile behaviour towards anyone who uses them, calling them “purses” or inferring that gay men use them (whether I am or not is irrelevant). They’re great for going to the gym or long distance cycling trips.

    Or as magistramarla (#62) points out, they are especially useful when your range of motion is limited. I had a broken collarbone once and felt the same way.

  148. 148
    Kagato

    105:

    Fanny! Pecker! Vajazzle! Burglarized?

    “Uh, it’s not got a beak!”

  149. 149
    TimKO,,.,,

    I’ve been profiled and taken off a flight. I was taken into a weird hidden room at the airport with no windows and was de-clothed and searched completely. (No shit, it’s true). I was told it was a random flag; computer-generated. I was moved to another flight and brought to the gate outside by a golf cart and they stayed with me in a lounge until I boarded via a non-general-public entrance from below.

    Apparently in this story the attendant convinced herself the guy was looking at plane blueprints and, sheesh, thinking he had gotten his pack through security with something dangerous on it. Way over the top and worth pursuing satisfaction for the guy. But where’s the indication, from the facts given here, that skin tone was the issue?

  150. 150
    Birger Johansson

    Technically, it should be possible to implant explosives into the abdomen. So, in addition to charging overweight people extra, the next step might be to require an ultrasound examination.

    Theoretically, we could all stick an old-fashioned dynamite cartridge up the rectum. To reach 100% safety, the TSA staff would have to irrigate the colons of all the passengers.

    BTW I always thought fuel-air explosions depend on scale to get going. Having a tiny flask with flammable liquid is hardly going to produce enough aerosol for a reliable explosive combustion.
    And liquid explosives (not to be confused with fuel-air mixtures) are inherently very unstable. If we could get more terrorists to rely on them, most of them would blow themselves up before getting into an aircraft.
    The funniest aspect is that many believe that “binary explosives” (like in Die Hard 2) actually exist in real life.

  151. 151
    defides

    The problem here is one that is particularly acute in the US. It comes about because there are such a large number of Americans who have never acquired context.

    They don’t go to the next town, they don’t go to the next county, they don’t go to the next state, and for sure most of them never leave the country. The world most Americans inhabit is regrettably self-contained and this is the only possible explanation why one of your countrymen or women could have been alarmed by someone looking at a book of early 20th century aeroplanes.

    The implied lack of higher brain function in such an individual does suggest that in-flight services with that airline might be – ability-challenged.

  152. 152
    melior

    Bruce Schneier is a very smart guy, but his characterization of the numbers is sketchy here. If we’ve spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security and still lost 16 lives, that’s $62.5 billion per life lost, not per life saved. Determining the number of counterfactual lives saved (i.e., lives not lost) would be be much more problematic.

  153. 153
    SportsGrip

    Hi-Ya. In most online sites, 90% of patrons are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of patrons account for around, all the action. Are you happy for people to make comments on your site? Kind Regards.

  154. 154
    wlan

    Undeniably consider that which you stated. Your favourite justification seemed to be at the web the simplest thing to take note of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed even as other people consider issues that they plainly do not recognize about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the entire thing with no need side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks

  155. 155
    Amparo Hapgood

    Highly good cheers, I’m sure your trusty visitors might want even more posts like that keep up the great hard work.

  156. 156
    Philippines

    114 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free WordPress

Comments have been disabled.