How secure is secure?

The wife of a September 11th United Flight 175 Captain Saracini is campaigning for a second barrier to the cockpit and reportedly is gaining some traction with congress.

I think this is security theater.  Since the September 11th tragedies, there seems to be this belief that we must be safe at all costs.  Particularly in an airliner.  I couldn’t disagree more.

The reality is that there is no such thing as 100% safe from hijackings and there never will be.  Safety comes from vigilance and proper screening.  If a hijacker has gained entry to the aircraft and has a weapon good enough to penetrate the cockpit door in flight, you’re security has already utterly failed.  More barriers aren’t going to stop that attack or effectively slow it.

I think the 2nd barrier idea looks great as an issue and I’m sure that everyone is attracted to it because at the end of the day, it scores points against airline management.

But airline management is the one who is right on this issue.

It’s not lost on me that this all surrounds United Airlines and appears to be related to both United Airlines pilots’ union maneuverings.  I feel the union is maneuvering the captain’s wife in this effort to jab at United Airlines for not doing enough.  It’s a way to gain the public eye, discredit management and seemingly get the upper hand.

But what upper hand is really gained?  Scoring points on this subject is silly.  It’s not a poltiical issue and, frankly, the more security is turned into a political issue, the more it will certainly be deficient.

I would ask the question:  Do you want to be secure or do you want to enjoy the illusion of security?

The former means you’ve got to listen to security professionals and properly evaluate your risks and mitigate against them.

The latter means that the wife of a lost pilot from a tragedy that occured 12 years ago and which will be highly unlikely to happen in that manner ever again drives the perception of security.

This isn’t disrespect for the feelings of this wife.  She deserves sympathy and empathy for her losses.  She also is not a security expert and has no business advocating for security on an airliner against those really do know better.  More importantly, the issue here is not “safe at all costs”.  It’s an unrealistic requirement in which the only answer is to never leave your home.


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