Re: TERRORISM: looking for solutions

From: Mike Linksvayer (
Date: Tue Sep 11 2001 - 21:21:27 MDT

On Tue, Sep 11, 2001 at 09:07:07AM -0700, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:
> So, in memory of today's sad events I would like to challenge the
> members of the Extropian community to think long and hard about
> what ways might be used to create innovative solutions to
> terrorism that would increase trustability and personal security
> without imposing restrictions on freedoms (in other words, please,
> please lets not make it a debate about guns).

I don't know that there's anything particularly innovative about
these two ideas (and one involves guns, sort of), but anyway:

* Arm and train all flight crew in antiterrorism measures. If the
  entire crew has handguns, you'll need a large number of terrorists
  to hijack a flight. The political hurdles facing this policy
  should be relatively low, as we're not talking about arming
  private individuals, rather airline employees, who would only be
  armed while on duty.
* Make the cockpit, and perhaps the entire plane transparent to
  the outside world in realtime: audio and perhaps other feeds
  would be continuously be sent to the ground. Any abnormality
  detected would immediately alert human monitors, who could take
  appropriate action, from negotiation to shooting the plane down.
  In the worst case, where the terrorists still succeded in some
  fashion, we'd at least have a wealth of information about what
  happended and who did it, much more than we have now from a few
  chance cell calls. I'm not generally a fan of surveilance,
  but I think privacy issues are of less concern on a plane since
  you're already identified and subject to search, and if applied
  only to the cockpit, only the privacy of airline employees would
  be compromised, not that of private individuals/passengers.

Note: although I fly somewhat regularly, I'm completely ignorant
of airline operations, so I suspect the above ideas are unworkable
for reasons I'm unaware of.

I've also barley followed the transparency and gun debates here,
but the above made a "solution" to both pop into my head: Everyone
has a choice between being armed and privacy. Anyone may be armed
(broadly speaking -- include guns, weapons of mass destruction)
but while armed, they must be completely transparent/monitorable
in realtime. I don't advocate this policy and see many obvious
problems, but it could make an interesting story.

  Mike Linksvayer

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