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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Washington Post on Airport Security

This morning's Washington Post contains a very provocative op-ed, entitled "Airport Security's Grand Illusion", written by Anne Applebaum. She offers a cost-benefit analysis of airport security and generally argues that the government's largely inefficient security measures would not save many lives but still (ironically) provides the American public with a sense of security and comfort:
By even the crudest cost-benefit risk analysis, bulletproof cockpit doors, which nobody notices, have the potential to save far more lives, at a far lower cost per life, than the screeners who open your child's backpack and your grandmother's purse while you stand around in your socks waiting for them to finish....

Which is why I conclude that we don't actually want value for money. No, we want every passenger to have the chance to recite that I-packed-these-bags-myself mantra to a uniformed official before boarding an airplane. Magic words, it seems, are what make Americans feel really safe.
[Thanks to the Volokh Conspiracy]

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