Security vs the Appearance of

Reading the news about airline security is getting alarming to me because people are getting increasingly complacent about the appearance of improved security rather than actual security measures being put in place.

The worse part is the high level of acceptance of loss of privacy and civil rights in exchange for that appearance of security – largely owing to the bizarre “I have nothing to hide, therefore am okay with being delayed and searched and prodded and poked.”

It’s not about you not having something to hide, it’s about authority not having the right to arbitrarily search you in the first place.

A big something guaranteed in sections 7 through 9 of the Canadian Charter of Rights –

Being a traveler does not make you suspect and therefore subject to cavity searches.

Privacy and other Rights have to be balanced against actual security gains, not diminished for the appearance of security improvements. Security is not a feel good exercise.

Security is about threat/risk management and detection. Prevention is a secondary consideration because it’s impossible to prevent all security breaches, but it is possible to ensure that breaches are detected – which allows for criminal investigations and improving risk assessment and actual security.

Prevention is also about minimizing loss in the event of breach, not eliminating it.

Security should improve actual security – not be about making the public feel like something is being done and so accept further travel delays, costs, and diminishing rights.

What would be some actual security measures?

– Make airplanes unhijackable with the cockpit not accessible from the passenger area – a separate entrance and dedicated flight attendant for the cockpit crew. And if there is a hijacker with a bomb on board, then at least damage/loss can be minimized to the plane and occupants, rather than the plane plus collateral damage in densely populated areas.

– Courier packages or anything being shipped are not on passenger planes and luggage travels on the same plane as the traveler. Granted that a suicide bomber isn’t concerned about traveling with the bomb, but this measure would have prevented the Air India bombing at least. Even if we can’t prevent the terrorist, we can take steps to make it harder for them.

– Security screened, trained and paid appropriately employees at airports who are supported by the best technology scanners available – many airports charge a Airport Improvement Fee, so offset the cost implementation with a $10 Security Fee charge – which you rather – pay extra to ensure that there’s metal/chemical scanners that everyone walks through or a cavity search? And, I do mean everyone who enters the airport – put the first round of scanners at the entrance doors.

Many security aspects are already done by airports – the design of the building and nesting of physical security zones – and yes, they have scanners and security people – but often they are not well paid or screened.

And, not only the security people, but everyone from the baggage handlers to the cleaners should be screened to a higher personnel level.

The reality is that we cannot eliminate risks, but we should not be willing to accept the appearance of security or even actual security at the cost of our rights and freedoms.

Last Thoughts

We have a legal obligation to obey the law and a moral obligation to question it.

We are not defending our way of life by eroding it.

longest running tv shows

I was reading about long lasting tv shows – with the Simpson’s 20th anniversary and it beating out Gunsmoke for longest tv show.

But then I realized, this isn’t at all true.

Daytime soaps have had runs of 35, 40 + years. And, at 5 shows a week, often have produced in excess of 10,000 episodes – something a weekly show will never achieve.

I can see not wanting to compare talk shows to tv scripted programs – but what is this prejudice against the daytime soaps?

Because it’s mostly women who watch them?

Because the perception that the acting is somehow subpar? A lot of movie and evening tv actors got their start on the daytime soaps.

Because the plots aren’t sophisticated? Again, not true, soaps often deal with topics that evening shows won’t or don’t deal with or they do them years before – everything from abortion, addiction, to gay/lesbian themes – okay sure, there’s the endless divorces and remarriages, children who are suddenly teenagers in the same episode, and crazy plots to control global weather, get satanically possessed amid the hospital administration or cut throat cosmetic corporate histronics.

Or is it just because they can’t really be put on DVD and sold because of the overwhelming number of episodes?

Elvis the new religion

Elvis the basis for future religion.

I think that we are seeing a new religion emerging. Elvisism, Elvites, Presletarianism – something based around Elvis Presley.

The reason that I believe this is the many religious aspects of the Elvis story.

  • born in humble circumstances and poverty.
  • sole survivor of a twin birth that his father later claimed to recalling a strange light in the sky on the night of his birth
  • escaped death again at age 5 from a tornado that ripped through Tupelo.
  • He lived in Memphis along a mighty river and became known as The King, giving Pharaoh associations.
  • He recorded his first music on Sun Records – and most religions have sun gods, gods of light
  • He ushered in a great cultural change – broke racial barriers while heightening the generational gap and put overt sex at the cultural forefront
  • His personal image was one of racial tolerance, generosity/charity
  • The kisses, scarves and other items given out to the crowds during concerts is like having a blessing bestowed upon you
  • He was surrounded by a core group of disciples (Memphis Mafia) who have split into camps and written conflicting books after Elvis’ death
  • there are stories of him having visions, laying on hands healing,
  • there’s been after death sightings of him in person, or just his image appearing as people see Jesus, Virgin Mary,  and other religious figures in wood grain or mineral patterns, or on toasted bread products….
  • Elvis’ image is reproduced in religious type paintings
  • Impersonators or Tribute Artists are priests – even having special garments – Elvis’ stage wear and movie costumes.
  • people make pilgrimages to Graceland – especially for the winter holiday (Jan 8) and the end of summer (Aug 16) holidays – which is already a weeklong festival
  • The annual candlelight vigil are exhibiting a form of worship and ritual. As is the annual lighting of the Graceland holiday lights.
  • people have special areas in their homes of their Elvis collections, serving as altar areas or even rooms in their homes  which act as temples.

what other religious elements do you see in the Elvis story, that future generations will reinterpret?

Addition: April 24, 2010:

Using Elvis to disprove god

Addition: September 14, 2011:

Australia TV broadcasts Church of Elvis Documentary:

Imposing Morals

It’s a strange delusion that religious followers have that they are entitled to impost their morals on other people and that those other people don’t get to impose back on them – both at the same time!

And funnily enough that “those other people” despite being adults, are somehow unable to be moral if they don’t subscribe to the believer’s particular version of their religion.

I think it’s partly owing to their need to convert others – claiming someone’s immoral is the thin wedge part and of course, the fix to the immoral problem is the think wedge of conversion to their faith

The reality is, religion has zero to do with morality (and usually everything to do with immorality).

Gay marriage doesn’t impact anyone who’s not participating in one.

That I am a married lesbian, doesn’t lessen any marriage between straight people anywhere.

If marriage was really about religion,  why aren’t religious people insisting that straight atheists not be allowed to marry? Or at least demand the marriage realty shows be forced off air as blasphemy. Since their argument is so often that marriage is a religious ceremony and meaning, that they do not do these things shows that it’s not about religious or what they think is moral.

Morals are not divinely dropped in our heads – look honestly at any story of gods – their their demands of sacrifice, having children out of wedlock and never sending child support or calling. Often slaughtering whole populations or persecuting people over trifle offenses.

Morals come as part of our evolution.

People who were loners tended to not be able to gather the food, manage shelter, protect themselves from others and most of all, not able to pass their genes along.

So, people who cooperated, worked in groups and people who couldn’t work and play well with others were banished from groups.

But, it’s not entirely that simple – we’re between herd and pack animals – and these are social structures that are more complex than looking into a wolf or cow face suggest.

There’s alpha males and females, there’s ranking all down the line to the lowest.

Sometimes you move up when the older ones die, sometimes when you get strong enough to challenge them.

In the more complex social human structure, you have the added bonus of being able to create symbols, develop complex communication and more complex social rules.

Anyone breaking those rules faces death by banishment.

We as individuals benefit in the group standing by pulling the ones above us down below or out.

The idea of  “Girls you marry and girls you have fun with” has little to do with men – there’s simply no benefit for men to women you can’t have fun with.

That rule and convention benefits women by tarnishing others and reducing the pool of women deemed marriageable.

A young male gorilla challenging the eldest male to a fight to the death for leadership of the group is far simpler than any gang of teenage girls in your modern high school.

This is why the religious right fight so hard against gays, single mothers and anyone they deem morally unfit – they are frustrated that they can’t banish people to their doom – so the most they can settle for is blocking abortion where possible and blocking rights advances – they don’t accept they have lost the ability to control others.