December 28, 2009, 2:51 PM — Terrorist groups commit acts of terror not to kill people, but to create unreasonable fear. That's why they call it terror.
The fear is unreasonable because your chances of dying from a terrorist attack essentially rounds to zero. According to Bureau of Transportation Statistics, your chances of being victimized by a "terrorist incident" when you board an airplane are about 1 in 10,408,947. The risk of death from a car accident during the drive to the airport, the airplane meal and the exposure to pathogens in the cabin are all far higher than the risk of dying from a terrorist attack.
Unless you've been hiding from terrorists under a rock, you'll know that a Nigerian dipwad named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab succeeded in lighting his pants on fire while attempting an act of "terrorism" on Christmas Day. Allegedly.
Abdulmutallab apparently used neither TV nor Wi-Fi while committing this act. As a result, authorities are cracking down on in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi. Wait, what?
According to a new TSA security directive distributed to airlines on Saturday, airlines are to "disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight." Also: all passenger access to carry-on luggage, getting up from seats and having anything on laps is banned one hour before all landings.
The only result from this idiotic policy directive will be to increase passenger fear. Essentially, one hour before your flight lands, cabin crews will communicate that you are now at a heightened risk of being killed by some sociopathic maniac. The terrorists themselves will know that the detonation of lap-bombs should take place one hour and fifteen minutes before landing.
There. Feel safer now?
Abdulmutallab almost detonated a bomb because of multiple failures by the TSA. Passengers, on the other hand, did everything right, and prevented the attack. So let's punish passengers!
The TSA sometimes acts like it's taking direct orders from Bin Laden. All this fear and inconvenience is exactly what terrorists are aiming for. Why do we oblige them? After all, without fear there can be no terrorism. Why does the government work so hard to keep us scared over such a minuscule risk?
Anyway, I have a better idea. Let's ban all clothing from all flights. Both the shoe bomber and Abdulmutallab used clothing -- not Wi-Fi and not live TV -- to make their failed attempts.