Having just experienced another round of air travel, this is just too good and (unfortunately) too true not to highlight. From the always entertaining James Fallows comes a look at what New York might look like if it was under the control of the Transportation Safety Administration in the wake of last Saturday's attempted bombing...
- All vans or SUVs headed into Midtown Manhattan would have to stop and have their contents inspected. If any vehicle seemed for any reason to have escaped inspection, Midtown in its entirety would be evacuated;
- A whole new uniformed force - the Times Square Security Administration, or TsSA - would be formed for this purpose;
- The restrictions would never be lifted and the TsSA would have permanent life, because the political incentives here work only one way. A politician who supports more open-ended, more thorough, more intrusive, more expensive inspections can never be proven "wrong." The absence of attacks shows that his measures have "worked"; and a new attack shows that inspections must go further still. A politician who wants to limit the inspections can never be proven "right." An absence of attacks means that nothing has gone wrong -- yet. Any future attack would always and forever be that politician's "fault." Given that asymmetry of risks, what public figure will ever be able to talk about paring back the TSA? (emphasis added)
The whole thing is well worth a read, but I will say that I agree with his conclusion that New York did the right thing by not letting this attempt at terror actually terrorize them. Awesome,