Most of what we go through in airports is fucking stupid. Metal detectors, sure, okay, and dogs and let’s make sure nobody’s bringing a warhead on. But as others have pointed out, the shoe thing and the underwear thing and the liquid thing and all the rest of it is just trying to prevent somebody attacking in the same way an attack has already failed once. I know most terrorists aren’t the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree, given how many of them seem to get caught with stuff in their shoes and panties, but COME ON.
An airport’s the dumbest thing to hit right now. The truly dangerous and unsecured sites in America are where anybody gathers in large numbers to do things we think of as ordinary. Suburban shopping malls are more worried about teenage shoplifters than about terrorism, but tell me that isn’t your nightmare scenario. Nobody would ever leave their houses again. There’s no X-ray, metal detector, pat-down process at an NFL or MLB game. Community centers, most city buildings, a clipboard and a confident wave will get you way farther than you ought to go. Lest anyone think I’m giving terrorists ideas, this is just the stuff pulled from last night’s crime procedurals on cable.
We’re scared of flying because it’s what happened last time. We should be scared of what’s going to happen next time.