Perceived Risk vs. Actual Risk

Good essay on perceived vs. actual risk. The hook is Mayor Daley of Chicago demanding a no-fly-zone over Chicago in the wake of the New York City airplane crash.

Other politicians (with the spectacular and notable exception of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg) and self-appointed "experts" are jumping on the tragic accident -- repeat, accident -- in New York to sound off again about the "danger" of light aircraft, and how they must be regulated, restricted, banned.

OK, for all of those ranting about "threats" from GA aircraft, we'll believe that you're really serious about controlling "threats" when you call for:

  • Banning all vans within cities. A small panel van was used in the first World Trade Center attack. The bomb, which weighed 1,500 pounds, killed six and injured 1,042.

  • Banning all box trucks from cities. Timothy McVeigh's rented Ryder truck carried a 5,000-pound bomb that killed 168 in Oklahoma City.

  • Banning all semi-trailer trucks. They can carry bombs weighing more than 50,000 pounds.

  • Banning newspapers on subways. That's how the terrorists hid packages of sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subway system. They killed 12.

  • Banning backpacks on all buses and subways. That's how the terrorists got the bombs into the London subway system. They killed 52.

  • Banning all cell phones on trains. That's how they detonated the bombs in backpacks placed on commuter trains in Madrid. They killed 191.

  • Banning all small pleasure boats on public waterways. That's how terrorists attacked the USS Cole, killing 17.

  • Banning all heavy or bulky clothing in all public places. That's how suicide bombers hide their murderous charges. Thousands killed.

Number of people killed by a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? Zero.

Number of people injured by a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? Zero.

Property damage from a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? None.

So Mr. Mayor (and Mr. Governor, Ms. Senator, Mr. Congressman, and Mr. "Expert"), if you're truly serious about "protecting" the public, advocate all of the bans I've listed above. Using the "logic" you apply to general aviation aircraft, you're forced to conclude that newspapers, winter coats, cell phones, backpacks, trucks, and boats all pose much greater risks to the public.

So be consistent in your logic. If you are dead set on restricting a personal transportation system that carries more passengers than any single airline, reaches more American cities than all the airlines combined, provides employment for 1.3 million American citizens and $160 billion in business "to protect the public," then restrict or control every other transportation system that the terrorists have demonstrated they can use to kill.

And, on the same topic, why it doesn't make sense to ban small aircraft from cities as a terrorism defense.

Posted on October 23, 2006 at 10:01 AM • 66 Comments

Comments

J.D. AbolinsOctober 23, 2006 10:27 AM

An additional "modest proposal": Banning all people from the cities. 100% of all terrorist attacks so far have involved people. No people allowed in the cities, no terrorists get in, and, if they manged to get in, no human victims *in* the cities.

X the UnknownOctober 23, 2006 10:35 AM

Similarly, 100% of all cancer patients have been addicted to Oxygen. This highly reactive chemical is so addictive that withdrawal symptoms are always fatal.

KeithOctober 23, 2006 10:42 AM

Not to mention that oxygen is generally required for incendiary explosions. All those people walking around with explosive oxygen in their blood...

CJOctober 23, 2006 10:46 AM

Before the carry-on restrictions, I would have laughed at this. Now, it doesn't seem quite so far fetched to suggest that we're just giving them ideas...

DavidOctober 23, 2006 11:08 AM

Terrorists can subvert anything and everything to their cause because they have no concerns about lives, property, law or themselves.

Iraq had a couple of bicycle bombs recently. Unfortunately, this is truly the case that planes don't kill, people do.

And you'll just create more terrorists if you make more laws against good people.

ChicagogrrlOctober 23, 2006 11:28 AM

@Andre LePlume:

"Hizzoner is here to *preserve* disorder!"

You do know that THAT mayor has been dead for decades, don't you?

royOctober 23, 2006 11:32 AM

It is always important to appear to be doing something, no matter how lunatic it is.

Actually, this isn't utterly lunatic. The ban would not apply to corporate jets, of course, only to unimportant private pilots.

bobOctober 23, 2006 11:47 AM

I wish every (anti-US) terrorist on earth would come to the US, buy a brand-new american made single engine piston plane (Cessna, Cirrus, Mooney, Piper, etc) and crash it into a nuclear plant, Hoover Dam, the Pentagon, Mount Rushmore or Mayor Daley. The benefit to the economy would FAAAAAR exceed any damage which might occur.

ACOctober 23, 2006 11:49 AM

@roy

Of course what the lunatics don't understand is that all those corporate jet pilots and airline pilots started out as private (actually student) pilots. Even those who had their initial training in the military have to get their civilian ratings before they fly corporate and commercial aircraft.

C GomezOctober 23, 2006 11:53 AM

Really, the only thing these politicians are trying to ban is some fear and horror that went through the citizens when they heard a massive explosion and though another attack was taking place.

The ridiculous quotes from harried New Yorkers that it was all too eerily familiar would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic. This was an accident no greater than a car accident in scope.

In fact, how much less would it have been covered if the story wasn't made bigger by the fact a semi-recognizable major league baseball player name was attached to it. Then the story had extra legs as being about whether he was flying, and would it cost his family if he was?

I honestly don't think this is some power play to reduce freedom. I think it's political pressure applied by New Yorkers that just don't want to ever see any plane flying overhead again, ever. Understandably, they don't want to think about the horrors of that day, but it's not logical thinking. It's purely emotional.

And Chicago is more about a politician trying to be proactive and make his citizens feel good about him and Chicago.

Look at us, we're a big city, too. "We need the same thing."

In the end, it's stupid. It does reduce freedom for no other purpose than to feel better.

AnonymousOctober 23, 2006 12:04 PM

People just don't realize how tiny the cargo carrying capacity of typical light aircraft is, as illustrated both by the fear of using them to deliver bombs, as well as people who actually lie about their weight before getting on.

Really, the pilot isn't asking in order to embarrass you, but because that 20 pounds actually might make a significant difference.

For example, the Cessna 172 is a four-seater, but it can't take off with four 200 lb people occupying those seats, because there is no allowance left for fuel. It's not discrimination, it's physics.

MSKOctober 23, 2006 12:31 PM

Kudos to Phil Boyer.

The references to oxygen addiction reminded me of the Penn & Teller experiment of offering people a chance to sign a petition banning dihydrogen monoxide at an Earth Day rally. They collected scores of names.

Fear is the mind-killer.

VOctober 23, 2006 12:38 PM

Your average voter sees the hijacked wide-bodies flying into WTC, and he then sees a cessna 172p crashing into a building, and thinks "airplane flying into building"==terrorist attack. AFAIK, the main reason WTC collapsed was burning kerosene, not the airplanes colliding. (notice the terrorists chose international flights to ensure that the planes would be full of fuel). What most people fail to understand is the *true* risk. In banning GA traffic around big cities, and complying to fear, uncertainty, and doubt(FUD), we are actually helping the terrorists. The terrorist's main weapon is not a gun, a bullet, or ANFO. It is *TERROR*! See http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0609.html#1 for more information.

Dom De VittoOctober 23, 2006 12:43 PM

Also, do you have any idea how many people have died within 24 hours of eating bread?

"Coincidence" you say? - How many coincidences will it take to convince you?

Did you ever see airiated flour used as explosive? If you did, that should be enough for you to treat all forms of bread with extreme care.

And what about The Great Fire of London??? Where did that start? Right: a bakery, and in 'Pudding Lane' for gawd sake!

Coincidence? Pah.

Ed T.October 23, 2006 12:59 PM

Interesting - I thought Hizzoner would have had his terrorism issues solved when he shut down Meigs Field, in the dead of night, stranding a bunch of GA birds when his crews demolished the runways they needed to take off. Then, when the FAA gave the pilots the OK to take off using one of the taxiways, he told them they couldn't take off facing the city.

I would say that Hizzoner has "issues" with GA aircraft and pilots - maybe this should be extended to *all* aircraft, and the FAA should institute a "no-fly" zone surrounding the Chicago area, which would include *all* aircraft - including commercial air transport and military aircraft and helicopters like Life Flight.

~EdT.

Paul LOctober 23, 2006 1:10 PM

Rather than ban small aircraft a better idea would be to require X hours of flight time before a pilot is allowed to file a flight plan that includes flight in a air corridor that includes a major population center.

MackOctober 23, 2006 1:15 PM

Daley's wife wanted Miegs Field closed from the first they moved into their South Loop abode.
The noisy planes annoyed her and she though it would be nice to have a park out there.

MackOctober 23, 2006 1:20 PM

Oh, and not to neglect local politics.
A signifigant number of those inconvenienced by the closing were downstate politicians, a large majority of whom are Republican.
How often do you geet carte blanche to piss off your rivals and please your wife with one fell swoop.

Matti KinnunenOctober 23, 2006 1:38 PM

What about banning private cars? They kill some 40000 people in the USA annually.

Or, what about banning hand guns. Last time I heard, some 10000 people get shot annually in the USA.

Not that the politicians really care about whether their subjects get killed or now. If they did care, they would do something else than script writing.

RealistOctober 23, 2006 1:39 PM

For all those concerned about oxygen and its potential hazards, just wait until the "experts" get word of dihydrogen monoxide and its abilities as a "universal solvent"...

DaveOctober 23, 2006 1:47 PM

I'm a pilot and flight instructor of 20 years. Requiring radio contact for flights around Manhattan increases the likelihood of accidents because (1) it increases the workload on ATC and (2) it increases in-cockpit workload on pilots at exactly the time that they need to be concentrating on looking outside the cockpit.

The unintended consequense of this "security" regulation is decreased security and decreased safety.

bobOctober 23, 2006 1:59 PM

@Dave: Plus, I would point out that the "security" measures they have now implemented puts light planes under the same control measures that prevented the 9/11 airliners from doing any damage...

Joel SaxOctober 23, 2006 2:42 PM

Hmmm. They should ban those Ryder trucks. It's hell to navigate around them in crowded streets. And most of the drivers don't know how to handle them. Errorism is rampant!

EnforceThisOctober 23, 2006 2:43 PM

I'd like to see a detailed plan of how they expect to enforce this.

"No GA aircraft allowed inside this perimeter."

If someone wants to fly a plane into the perimeter, they will. What will the enforcement of a violation be?

ATC: GA, you are not authorized to fly in this airspace. Change heading to 180 immediately.

GA: Okay.. I'm lost. Navigational instruments are malfunctioning.

ATC: Repeat, GA, you are not authorized to fly in this airspace. Change heading to 180 immediately.

GA: Controls are sluggish. Give me a few minutes please.

And so on.

So what can be done?

1. Scramble jets. That takes time, unless, of course, the taxpayers float the cost of two fighters over the sky of every major city in the US. But what constitutes "major" ??? You get the idea.

2. Shoot down the plane. Great. Small planes can travel over 200mph. By the time they make the commitment and have authorization to fire, the plane is deeper into city airspace. Then what? An exploding fireball decends towards buildings, people, etc. Either that or the plane actually does reach its target.


Terrorists are winning, and they will continue to win until this country stops living in fear. Unfortunately that's how are politicians are elected, and they (as well as the media) thrive on fear. Our politicians and our media are the terrorists' greatest allies.

I love this country, but it is $%^ed up in many ways.

KevinOctober 23, 2006 3:01 PM

This restriction is great - now the news can publish more scare stories like:

"unknown aricraft flies into city perimeter - details forthcoming"

Whereas before it was a common occurence. Hooray for more things to scare people!

AnonymousOctober 23, 2006 3:09 PM

There was supposed to be a link in that last post to a definition of general aviation craft. I'll stop now.

RvnPhnxOctober 23, 2006 4:00 PM

Any comments on GA from Japan? Last time I was aware private pilots had a very difficult time there and ultralights were virtually verboten.
Do we really think that their aviation situation has made them any safer?
(Note, it had been that way for quite a long time.....like the last 40 years.)

X the UnknownOctober 23, 2006 4:40 PM

@Kevin

And when those headlines get old, we just notice that "Unknown Aircraft" = "Unidentified Flying Object", so we can have lots of UFO siting reports.

Dave AronsonOctober 23, 2006 5:51 PM

@Chicagogrrl: Yes, but I bet he still votes! (Know the difference between Latin America and Chicago? In Latin America, if you vote, you're dead.)

Dean HardingOctober 23, 2006 6:25 PM

> Banning backpacks on all buses and subways.

I'd be up for that one, but only 'cause they're so annoying. At least when the bus is crowded..

Carlo GrazianiOctober 23, 2006 6:43 PM

@Mack

As a planeless peon, I have to say I like the lakefront park and museum campus much better than the airport it displaced. The downstate big cheeses can fly to O'Hare, just like everybody else.

Oh, and a technicality:

"Property damage from a terrorist attack using a GA aircraft? None."

Not really true, if you count that jackass who flew a small plane onto the White House lawn a few years back. Of course, Bill Clinton didn't feel the need to parlay that one nutter's action into an agenda of national hysteria...

Bob F.October 23, 2006 8:22 PM

Lets not forget the planes looking for pot plants! A few days ago I watched a plane doing a figure 8 over a house, in mid turn his plane "stalled" ... I ran inside to get my vidcam waiting for the crash, he did a few more 8's and then flew over my place now far below the 1k ft. rule. This happens every year spring/fall as the law looks for plants... these planes flying at treetop level (I can see the pilot's and spotters face/mustache) which is around 125ft over people's homes can't be safe.


But if it keeps pot away from the kids its OK.....

B-ConOctober 23, 2006 9:13 PM

>> "It is always important to appear to be doing something, no matter how lunatic it is."

No it most certainly is not. The proper thing, as a bloody *leader*, is to *lead* the public and show them the true risk trade-offs involved, help them think rationally about it, and teach by example.

People have this idea that public officials are in office to make everyone feel nice, warm, and fuzzy -- they're not. They're supposed to lead, and leading isn't the same thing as babying.

MarkOctober 23, 2006 9:52 PM

The airspace around downtown Chicago is restrictive enough as it is. O'Hare's Class Bravo airspace directly overhead downtown restricts already restricts direct overflight of downtown without an explicit clearance (without violating the law anyway), and planes have to stay at least 2000 feet laterally away from buildings legally as well.

The proximity of O'Hare and Midway to downtown Chicago would make a downtown flight restriction either expensive (huge diversion around the airports or clearance with ATC) or dangerous (diversion across Lake Michigan far away from shore).

MedusaOctober 24, 2006 12:37 AM

More and more I'm hearing about people leaving America, and I saw this on BoingBoing.net and just might check it out from a library and read it, I recommend others doing the same. I am not the author or publisher, notice I'm not telling you to buy it. It's funny, a lot of the asshole rednecks always say "if you don't like it here, leave!" When you'd think people would want to stay and work for change. It's becoming quite obvious that none of our voices matter anymore. The republicans and democrats are one big party which are whores to the corporations. We don't matter anymore. We are useless tits milked for money.

"Getting Out Your Guide To Leaving America"
http://processmediainc.com/press/mini_sites/getting_out/

"GETTING OUT
YOUR GUIDE TO LEAVING AMERICA
by Mark Ehrman
Many people are thinking about it.
This book shows how it’s done.

Whether you find the government oppressive, the economy on a devastating course, or if you simply want adventure, you’re not alone. Over 300,000 Americans emigrate each year.
Getting Out walks you through the world of the expat: the reasons, the rules, the resources, the tricks of the trade, along with compelling stories and expertise from expatriate Americans on every continent.
Getting Out shows you where you can most easily gain residence and citizenship, where can you live for a fraction of the cost of where you’re living now, and what countries would be most compatible with your lifestyle, gender, age, or political beliefs.
Chapters Included:
Visas, Residency, and Work Permits
Foreign Citizenship and How to Get It
Work and Study Options Abroad
Choosing a Country: How Do They Stack Up?
The Top 50 Expat Meccas
Doing It: How to Begin, What’s Involved, and Where to Turn
Web Resources
Mark Ehrman is a frequent traveler and freelance writer whose work regularly appears in the Los Angeles Times, Playboy, Travel and Leisure, and numerous travel magazines and city guidebooks. By the time you read this, he will be living in Berlin."

Now that I've said this and mentioned the above book, let me say that I love this nation and I for one am staying here to work for change. One day it won't be about something as petty as whether or not a woman will be President, it will be a reality of a true third, fourth, and fifth party being allowed at the debates, people who are not members of parties or millionaire clubs being able to run for President, etc. I will work for change. Will you?

Gaius ObviousOctober 24, 2006 1:25 AM

>The references to oxygen addiction reminded me of the Penn & Teller experiment of offering people a chance to sign a petition banning dihydrogen monoxide at an Earth Day rally. <

I preferred the one on the Man Show where Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel set up a petition at a leftist political rally to introduce a bill in Congress to "end the suffrage of women." Plenty of people signed that one as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrSs1ClzU4w

PaeniteoOctober 24, 2006 3:04 AM

@bob: "The benefit to the economy would FAAAAAR exceed any damage which might occur."

Think a bit about the "broken window fallacy".

MiyukiOctober 24, 2006 4:50 AM

The common risk factor in modern terrorism is not related to the use of a particular technology.

The common risk factor is Muslim people.

bobOctober 24, 2006 7:23 AM

@Paeniteo: The broken window fallacy assumes a closed system. Before a hypothetical crash a town had 1 window and $100 to spend. After crash and repair town has 1 window and $0 to spend.

However if some "outsider" came to town and paid $500 for a piece of modern art to throw through the window, afterwards the town has a window and $500 to spend. [ and most modern art could be repaired, if desired, for $5 ;-) ]

Lets say 1,000 terrorists answer my ad (and have the money). They each buy GA planes at $250,000 (on the low side for new 4-seat airplanes these days - thanks insurance companies and illiterate juries). Thats a QUARTER of a BILLION DOLLARS from outside the US brought into the system (although it probably originated here to buy oil in the first place, the point is it left already and wasnt coming back). Yes, it will probably take $25,000 to pay for any damage to the Pentagon (which turns out is a very tough nut to crack, unless you're into CT) for each terrorist who chose that target. As far as the other targets I mention, there will only be a stain from a brief fire (just like NYC last week); leave it there as a warning to future terrorists or let rain wash it away over time. And any aluminum that falls intact to the ground below - can be recycled.

Now just hope that these same terrorists dont buy Ford Excursions instead, with a trailering package (so the rear doesnt sag suspiciously), load 3000# of explosive in and attack the same target (well, Hoover Dam or nuclear containment building - knock yourself out - just warn me first so I can be there with a camcorder) it will break far more windows. Especially since you can get 5x as many Excursions (Excursia?) for the same money. AND Excursia dont show up on radar OR have a (relatively few) places where they can be loaded surreptitously.

Oops; they stopped making Excursia, substitute Suburbans or Hummers. Or just rent Ryder trucks (and multiply the attacking quantity by 10x again and payload by 5x as well).

bobOctober 24, 2006 7:27 AM

@Matti Kinnunen: Dont say 'ban handguns', someone might hear you; its just an another variation on security theater.

Most of the people shot by handguns in the US are either bad guys shot by good guys (which seems like a GOOD thing to me) or bad guys shooting each other.

koenOctober 24, 2006 8:32 AM

Unfortunately another example on what security measures do if sense is taken away.
But the silly thing is that we find in a lot of cases more people in favor than against it.
If we are going to regulate everything and apply the rules as shown in this case I wonder what the difference between prison and freedom might be.

Sue YoungOctober 24, 2006 8:47 AM

I've worked in downtown Chicago for years and I'm glad Meigs is a park now. I wasn't really worried about terrorists, but I was worried about accidents. I live near Palwaukee Airport and there are a lot of accidents with private planes. Luckily there's enough open land that they don't tend to hit houses and the pilots usually survive.

I do love the idea of bulldozing an airport to make a park. Usually it's the other way around.

no one specialOctober 24, 2006 9:20 AM

I've worked in downtown Chicago for years and I'm very sad Meigs is a "park." I've never worried for a moment about accidents and enjoyed seeing the small planes. And at one time, you could pick up an "American Eagle" flight to Springfield from there, very fun to do.

Also, it was a great place for the Coast Guard heliocopters, which now have no where near the Loop to land.

As for making it into a park, maybe it would have been better to close the airport in compliance with the FAA regulations rather than what was done. THAT was, in my view, very dangerous and could have caused a terrible, fatal accident.

bobOctober 24, 2006 9:35 AM

@Carlo Graziani: You've missed the entire point. I am not a big cheese (although Dilbert would be proud of me typing into in a blog while at work) and I have (had) flown into Meigs twice. It was an airport for "normal people" as well as the occasional bizjet; it made Chicago accessible to "normal people". And I might add at $50 per landing (not parking overnight) it was one of the most expensive "small" airports in the country; yet always busy because it was such a nice airport. I (and my pax) walked to the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and caught a fairly close bus to MSI.

Now if I want to fly into chicago, I have to add my 90-mph approach speed airplane (rented, of course) into the already-at-capacity stream of 160mph airliners at Ohare or Midway thereby screwing up everybody involved.

@Sue Young: Flying into Meigs (from south or east), you went out over Lake Michigan around Gary IN, and stayed over the LAKE until landing. With Meigs gone, now I would be flying my single engine airplane over one of the crowdedest CITIES in the US with no safe place to put down in an emergency (which, I admit, doesnt happen often); instead of over Lake Michigan where I could not do any (intentional or otherwise) damage to any people or buildings.

And historically pilots (and pax) usually survive GA plane "crashes" for some of the same reasons they suck as terrorist weapons - low speed, not much fuel.

Also, Sue you apparently dont keep up with the news - airports are destroyed every week in the US (although usually to make way for high rises or shopping centers, not parks; I'll agree with you that if it had to go a park was one of the least undesirable options). I keep up with information about airports and I have yet to hear of a single park being replaced by a small airport (and thats not even what happened at Meigs; Daley wanted the airport out, then a park was stuffed in to try to make it palatable to the people).

Bear in mind that "large" airports and "airliners" are a completely different topic from General Aviation; kind of like commercial trucking is a totally different aspect of "automobiles" than your private car.

And as a side note; if you like parks in the lake, it was a man-made island in the first place - build one specifically for the park (which is Chicago's what, six hundred eighty-seventh city owned park?), then you could put it near the users and shape it exactly to need.

And of course the political and personal safety implications of a Mayor misappropriating federal funds to destroy a public asset, literally in the middle of the night without any warning, in conflict with his own written promises not to, which the federal government is going to make him pay back with penalties and interest (using your tax money)? A whole 'nother blog there.

markOctober 24, 2006 10:12 AM

While I was ambivalent about Meigs Field, the fact that Daley cited security as the reason why he had the runways torn up in the middle of the night pretty much lost any chance he had of me ever voting for him again. I don't know if it's true, but I'm told that once we had the city watched over by a radar tower tha was paid for entirely by the revenue from the field. Now without the manned radar station, goes the story, an incoming hostile aircraft would be far harder to detect.

bobOctober 24, 2006 10:44 AM

@mark: While I am obviously in the pro-Meigs/Anti-Daley camp, Meigs did not have a dedicated radar per se, it was served off the same radar emitters that support Ohare and Midway. However it DID have a CONTROL TOWER which "owned" the space around Meigs for ~4 miles from the ground (or lake) up to the bottom of Ohare's airspace which is above it (airport airspace is shaped like "an upside-down wedding cake" where the top stays flat but the bottom rises in cylindrical stages as distance from the airport increases).

So NOW a person could legally approach Chicago low down over the lake and it would be nobody in particular's job to notice it. So to fix that he wants small planes banned from Chicago altogether.(because big planes have people with political power in them, small ones dont)

So if this were to come to pass, a "brief mention on the news" crash, like Lidle's NYC crash WOULD be prevented (0 innocent deaths) but a 9/11 style crash (~3,000 innocent deaths) would NOT be prevented cause it doesnt do squat about big heavy fast fuel-filled airliners.

The better joke is after he tried the "security" shoe on and it didnt fit, then he claimed he had to destroy the airport because it was "abandoned".

Can anybody be so "doublethink"ed to really believe people would leave $million+ bizjets and helicopters at an airport that was abandoned? Or that an airport within 4 miles of the center of Chicago even COULD be abandoned?

And since the airport had traffic the very evening of the destruction apparently the meaning of "abandoned", in Chicago at least, means about 5 hours without being used (and bear in mind Meigs was a "daylight-only" airport); if I was a property owner in Chicago that would make me very nervous.

X the UnknownOctober 24, 2006 11:19 AM

@bob
"Lets say 1,000 terrorists answer my ad (and have the money). They each buy GA planes at $250,000 (on the low side for new 4-seat airplanes these days - thanks insurance companies and illiterate juries)."

Of course, the more likely approach would be for the terrorists to rent the airplanes for a few hundred dollars...

X the UnknownOctober 24, 2006 11:23 AM

@Miyuki
"The common risk factor is Muslim people."

Actually, the common risk factor is people who perceive themselves as oppressed, and who are facing an overwhelming military opposition.

IRA, Tamil Tigers, Basque Seperatists, etc.

bobOctober 24, 2006 12:27 PM

@X the Unknown: True. And that will make the already outragously expensive used bugmasher market even worse. And the terrorists wont even achieve their goals, unless their goals are to piss off a tiny minority of people in the US.

It was just wishful thinking.

bobOctober 24, 2006 1:54 PM

@X the Unknown:

But organizations that rent aircraft are much more fussy about who their customers are than people who sell them are, so terrorists would need a more rigorous background/cover.

And of course most airports have less than 5 or 6 airplanes available to rent at any given time. And if 5 "arab-looking" people scheduled 2 months in advance (the typical time lead required to guarantee renting on a specific day) to rent the entire fleet all on the same day...? (granted they dont HAVE to look arab, just if they happened to; I always wondered if they might have a martyrs exchange student program with the chechens or some other group for a special mission)

You could PURCHASE a whole fleet slowly over a year or two and keep them doing innocuous things until 'der tag', but I believe you wouldnt be able to keep a rental fleet out of service long enough for a concerted attack without being detected; and by the time the ~20th rental plane crashed into something, somebody would have smelled a rat for sure.

Dean HardingOctober 24, 2006 7:02 PM

> Dont say 'ban handguns' ... its just an another variation on security theater.

No it's not. Handguns have NO USE other than to kill people (or kill THINGS anyway). All those other things associated with "security theatre" (banning cell phones, pens, paper clips, all that other weird stuff they do) they benefit EVERYBODY - not just people who want to kill things.

What use is a gun to somebody who is not planning on shooting anything?

Calo BobOctober 25, 2006 3:22 AM

The ridiculous quotes from harried New Yorkers that it was all too eerily familiar would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic. This was an accident no greater than a car accident in scope.

In fact, how much less would it have been covered if the story wasn't made bigger by the fact a semi-recognizable major league baseball player name was attached to it. Then the story had extra legs as being about whether he was flying, and would it cost his family if he was?

I honestly don't think this is some power play to reduce freedom. I think it's political pressure applied by New Yorkers that just don't want to ever see any plane flying overhead again, ever. Understandably, they don't want to think about the horrors of that day, but it's not logical thinking. It's purely emotional.

And Chicago is more about a politician trying to be proactive and make his citizens feel good about him and Chicago.

MiyukiOctober 25, 2006 5:30 AM

@X the Unknown:
re: "@Miyuki "The common risk factor is Muslim people."

'Actually, the common risk factor is people who perceive themselves as oppressed, and who are facing an overwhelming military opposition.
IRA, Tamil Tigers, Basque Seperatists, etc."

-----------------------

It's more grim than that.

On different continents, Muslims are waging war against non-Muslims, for differently stated 'reasons'.

The non-Muslim opposition is different in each conflict, but the common factor remains - Muslim aggression against a non-Muslim community or government, in a push for territory to be governed by Islamic Koranic law (Sharia).

This is happening in Southern Russia, Kashmir, in the outer suburbs of Paris where 2 million Muslims concentrate, the Balkans, Southern provinces in Thailand, The Southern Phillipines, Western China, Central Asian nations, Indonesia, etc etc...

Muslim spokemen never, ever claim that they aren't 'being oppressed', somewhere, somehow.

The Muslim list of 'outrages' expands and changes. This is deliberate.

This tactic is to intimidate non-Muslims, and to gradually achieve the implementation of religious goals in line with Sharia (Koranic) law.

Just ask the Pope, a policeman in Paris, a Thai school teacher getting beheaded in Southern Thailand in front of her students for 'being a Buddhist', or a Danish cartoonist and his family forced into life-long fear and hiding in their own country of birth.

bobOctober 25, 2006 6:55 AM

@Dean Harding: I have worn out handguns; and have never killed any living thing with them (although I did draw one once and very glad to have had it with me).

Handguns are tools, just like all those other things you list. Banning them reduces their useful functions; NOT the harmful ones. EVERYONE* benefits from bad guys not knowing who is legally armed. Attempting to control the behaviors of people through regulating inanimate objects is always doomed to failure.

Tell you what, as soon as you successfully ban drugs ("war on drugs": 110 years so far, $345BN spent last year and more users than ever); which should be easier, since a crop takes acres of space and months of time to prepare; then I'll sign up for banning guns which can be made in a machine shop overnight. They cant even keep guns out of PRISONS; you seriously want stronger security than THAT throughout the entire US?

*OK, not counting criminals or people who's budgets go up with increases in crime and violence. Majority, then.

solinymOctober 25, 2006 6:54 PM

``AFAIK, the main reason WTC collapsed was burning kerosene, not the airplanes colliding.''

Not true. Kerosene (jet fuel) alone cannot weaken steel to the point of collapse; it burns far too cold. It apparently took the combined damage from the impact and the burning to bring down the WTC, if one discounts the more sinister suggestions.

Re: Dihydrogen Monoxide

Read more about this dangerous chemical here:
http://www.dhmo.org/

``Or, what about banning hand guns. Last time I heard, some 10000 people get shot annually in the USA.''

A child is 1000 times more likely to die in a swimming pool than by a handgun. Won't someone please think of the children?

``The common risk factor is Muslim people.''

Errr.... except for the Christians involved in the OKC bombing and the IRA.

Ni MiyukiOctober 25, 2006 7:29 PM

''Muslim spokemen never, ever claim that they aren't 'being oppressed', somewhere, somehow.''

You must have missed the announcement by Imam Ratib Python and Imam Idle Al-Monty just the other day for Eid. They said, and this is verbatim from the event, "For the record, we wish to proclaim that Muslims are not 'being oppressed' at this very moment. Thank you."

AdamNovember 26, 2012 1:57 PM

I know the post is a little older now, but it still made me stop and think. It's hard to know what to ban and what not to, because you either become paralyzed, or potentially vulnerable.

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