Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ceremonial Protection Against Terrorism

Amtrak announced that it will begin random inspection of passenger baggage. This does not make me feel safer. Why do officials think that future acts of terrorism will take the same form as in the past--namely related to transportation? There are innumerable places where terrorists can place explosives,and even an army could not cover them all. Let us admit that since the invention of the gun, we are all conditionally safe, and we all exist on the good will of our fellows. We should invest in creating good will rather than putting all of our resources into surveillance. Much of so-called Homeland Security is just ceremonialism and no more effective than any other fetish.

1 comment:

brady said...


I'm not a defending homeland security. However, I do think that transportation is a consistent target of terrorists. Indeed, after 911 we have seen attacks on transportation in Spain & England.

Transportation is a potential weak link in the modern/global economy; an economy which is partly "..built on trade over increasing distance with increasingly unfamiliar people." (I think Douglas North said something to that effect and for this reason I've included quotations. But, I'm not so sure who that point should be attributed to.) Transportation is central to facilitating that exchange. Hence, because it is both vulnerable and important, I think it will continue to be a target.