Thursday, August 10, 2006

Evil Even Dumber Than Good, Thank Goodness


Ask any cop. Most criminals are so stupid they more or less catch themselves. The latest terror arrests in London re-inforce that observation.

The plot centered on a plan to blow up American airliners traveling from the United Kingdom to the US. Too bad for the homicidal idiots, terror has been there and done that. Since 9/11 sickos have spread death and mayhem around the world with high explosives. Not one such attack against "Western" interests has happened on an airplane. Trying to do so is to terror what hiring a hit man to kill one's significant other is to murder-a surefire means to get busted by authorities working undercover. It's going back to rob the barn after the horse has left and the door's been locked.

Commercial airliners are a sealed system. As noted by the brilliant thriller writer Thomas Perry, the planes are narrow tubes that are part of a bigger tube that begins and ends at each airport. Law enforcement has total control over what it lets into and out of said tube. Yes, airports are busy places, and tens of thousands of folks fly each day, but many more tens of millions take subways, trains, and buses, and hundreds of millions drive cars.

Law enforcement didn't do well at that job one fine September day, and ever since, it's been on the alert. Innocent (or guilty) people with Arab surnames who make flight reservations on the internet or over the telephone have company. Wary eyes abound at every terminal. Speaking as someone who once traveled for a living, that's all good.

The bigger the crime, the more people needed to carry it out, which also means the more chances it'll never happen. Conspiracies prosper in inverse proportion to the number of participants. Eighteen persons have been arrested so far in the London plot. The odds are good one of them was either a stoolie, a blowhard, or a plain old fuckup- maybe all of the above.

Osama bin Laden envy one of the best weapons in the war against terror. These lunatics were seized by the desire to top 9/11. This murderous aim led them to attack the strong point of Western security rather than its vulnerabilities.

Those vulnerabilities are innumerable, and any American who walls around with their eyes open sees some every day. Terror exists in the mind, not in a body count. The DC snipers, two homicidal drifters with one rifle, did a far more effective job of paralyzing our nation's capital with fear than the hijackers who rammed a plane into the Pentagon.

Could terrorists pull off a spectacular mass murder using commerical aircraft. Sure. No security is ever perfect. Airport and airplane security, however, is easier to get close to perfect than almost any other kind. It makes flying an even more enormous pain in the ass, but it can be done. I'd rather have Osama wannabes spend their evil time and energy trying to solve that very difficult problem than have them notice all the easy ones lying around.


Post a Comment

<< Home