Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


Nothing To Fear Except Fear Itself

malaga.jpgLast night, passengers on a Malaga-Manchester flight misbehaved until the airline took two “Asian” men off the flight. See “Mutiny as passengers refuse to fly until Asians are removed” in the Daily Mail.

For me, this raises a number of questions, in no particular order: Why weren’t the unruly passengers arrested? Who was forcing them to get on the plane? Who cares if they refuse to fly? Is this the future of security? Why do passengers feel this sort of fear, anyway? From the article:

“While we were waiting, everyone agreed the men looked dodgy. Some passengers were very panicky and in tears. There was a lot of talking about terrorists.”

Patrick Mercer, the Tory Homeland Security spokesman, said last night: “This is a victory for terrorists. These people on the flight have been terrorised into behaving irrationally.

This is true. So, Mr. Mercer, who’s been terrorizing them, if not your government? [Update: Roger politely pointed out in a comment that Mr. Mercer is part of the loyal opposition, not part of the Labour Party. Which makes this rhetoric a lot less interesting.] Who shot Jean-Charles Menendez in a bit of panic? Who trumpets the need to “make sacrifices” for our security? Who has utterly lost the trust of the public?

You’ve Labour has brought us here, in collaboration with the current American administration. When will Tony Blair stand up and make the case against racial profiling? Will you start to lead in a useful way, or continue beating the drums for panic?[I suppose that’s up to the voters in the UK, not Mr. Mercer.]

As an aside, one other question it raised, at least for me, was “where the heck is Maalaga, anyway?” Thus the map.

4 comments on "Nothing To Fear Except Fear Itself"

  • Rufus says:

    It’s fun to be afraid. It makes life more vivid and participatory. People are having a blast with this. Politicians are going to start promising ‘anthrax in every pot and a terrorist in every garage’.

  • Roger says:

    I agree with the general sentiment that this event was as much the result of the UK government raising the fear levels as anything else.
    However,in fairness to Mr. Mercer, the Tories are the opposition in the UK; Tony Blair is the Labour Prime Minister. So strictly speaking, its not Mercer’s government that has been terrorizing people.
    Not that the situation would be any better if the Tories were in power. Likewise, would things be different if there was a Democratic President in the US?

  • Hurray for profiling! says:

    I say, let them have flights of their own, “Asian” only, remote controlled (or better, Win95-controlled). Provide no security checks, make it a free-for-all,carry-what-you-want-aboard flight. If they want to explode it, hey, be my guest…

  • Personally, I would like American politicians to start spouting the rhetoric of Brian Jenkins, RAND’s terrorism guy:
    “We are not a nation of victims cowering under the kitchen table. We cannot expect protection against all risk. Too many Americans have died defending liberty for us to easily surrender it now to terror.”
    (Via Mark Kleiman)

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