Our government and the media are asking the wrong questions about how to make air travel safe.
It is amazing, the narrow box which elected officials, security officials, and the media are using to respond to the fact that a terrorist nearly blew up another airplane. It is mystifying that when such a big, dangerous, longstanding problem exists, they all still return to the most simple problem solving model: "Terrorists might get onto planes. So, how do we increase security on planes?"
It would be much wiser and more useful to see the problem in wider terms, with less pre-drawn conclusions. For instance: "When people are trying to travel from one place to another via airplane, they are experiencing random acts of violence. How can we be proactive in order to make this less likely to happen?"
Under that more meaningful frame, we might include: How can America rely less on air travel? How can people be encouraged/allowed to assemble in smaller and like-minded groups which are less likely to include terrorists who would do harm to that group? How do we reduce the injustices in the world that cause some people or groups to turn to terrorism?
I am just amazed that the terrorist - the person who was truly a threat, and truly tried to harm people - was on the Watch List, and the Watch List did no good. Many peaceful, good people -- especially political activists and progressives -- are on Watch Lists and No Fly lists, and their civil liberties are constantly violated, with the rationale that it will prevent terrorists from slipping through. Oh, well, that plan clearly doesn't work.
I think this incident proves it is time to scrap the whole Watch List system. Or, reform the Watch List from the inside out. Throw away the fake, "Who-are-our-political-competitors/enemies watch list?" from our status quo, Democratic-Party-and-Republican-Party-controlled-government and create a useful Watch List, based on good intelligence (instead of politics) now. Create a real list, which does what it means to do, before more people really do get blown up.
For now, here are some ideas about how individuals and governments can be proactive in causing less incidence of terrorism in the air.
How a person can avoid being on a plane with terrorists:
-Fly less. It will decrease your chances of encountering a terrorist on an airplane. Do not fly and travel about for pleasure and at whim. It harms the environment, anyway. Only travel when necessary.
-If you don't like all the new restrictions on air travel, travel by train or by sea. There are still some hazards, but you are not trapped thousands of miles above the earth with a potential terrorist.
-Realize that in all human relations, smaller is always better. When you travel, go in a smaller, cozier plane, train, boat, or bus.
-In addition, there is safety in numbers. Instead of using your energy finding the best deal, use your energy to find a group of family or friends who might travel with you. If you are surrounded by cousins and friends, at least you will know something about the people you are allowing into your personal space.
-And, a p.s.: A person could improve their chances of safety by working for justice in general. And, you might want to figure out what is making people in Nigeria upset and donate to a charity to help them.
How our US elected officials could respond more effectively and proactively to the threat of terrorists on airplanes:
-Stop the foreign wars that create enemies for the United States and its citizens. End the Afghanistan War. End the Iraq War. Start closing down US military bases overseas.
-Stop the use of US state-sponsored terrorism and war crimes, such as bombs and predator drones which kill civilians. Killing civilians creates very angry and righteous relatives who may turn to terrorism for revenge.
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