Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

That can't be right

So, there are in the range of thirty-five thousand commercial flights in the United States daily - thirteen-and-a-half million in 2008. That's one hundred and eight million flights in eight years. In that time, two whack-jobs - one with a theoretically-exploding shoe, the other with theoretically-exploding gaunch - have tried and failed to blow holes in two planes. I'm going to say maybe eight hundred passengers between them. To keep another approximately one hundred people a year alive from being bothered with foiling the incompetent plots of underpants-burning idiots for the next eight years, we're going to walk through strip-search machines, take even less carry-on luggage, and sit still without so much as a magazine like so many (twelve billion over eight years) misbehaving elementary school children during the last stretch of our flights.

Going by my estimate of four hundred people per flight, a plane would have to blow up every four days to approach the death toll by automobile on US roads. If the point is to save lives, it seems to me you could have much more positive effect by slowing down the top speeds on roads than you can by going through a greater inquisition at the gate. And meanwhile, my estimate assumes someone actually manages to ignite their hat or shirt or what-have-you, which, going by the first two attempts, really isn't that easy to do. Right now, the death toll by exploding clothing on planes is zero. Zero!

I suppose what I'm suggesting is that we could stand to not overreact. But governments love to overreact - it deflects accusations of failure.