It is strange how a rare terrorist act can concentrate our thoughts and efforts into one area. Suddenly we're talking about profiling travellers for potential terrorists and full body scans for all flyers.
But we're all happy to bowl along the motorway, some at speeds near the ton, not wondering whether the driver of that tatty old Ford Escort next to us has just had a lunchtime skin-full or injected himself with a cocktail of drugs. When at home we don't worry about the last time our next door neighbours had their gas boiler serviced and the risk it might explode.
It seems we get a little more worried when outside our normal comfortable surroundings. When we're stuck in a relatively unfamiliar metal tube hurtling to a new destination.
Every air-borne terrorist incident leads to the ratchet of security clicking that one notch tighter. Why not just go straight for the inevitable result? We could learn a thing or two here from PoW camps and an establishment not a million miles from Cuba.
When travelling you should arrive at the airport in old clothes you no longer need. On arrival at the airport check-in desk you are relieved of all luggage which, after x-raying, will go into the aircraft hold. You then move on to a pre-flight prep area where you strip in a communal area under the watchful eyes of armed guards and put your old clothes into an incinerator bag for disposal. The only things you are allowed to keep are your flight ticket, passport, credit/debit cards and cash. You are then showered and de-loused, at least then everyone will be sure they won't get the smelly one in the seat next to them on the flight.
You then get issued with one of those tasteful Guantanamo Bay Orange 'Travel Suits' before being processed through the full body scanner. This process will include full X-Ray and body cavity searches for the 'dodgy looking' characters. This could actually be touted as a free health check if you get the marketers onto it.
Then on to the departure lounge and the duty free zone where you can buy those in-flight essentials like tissues, drink, reading materials, make-up and insulin.
In the plane you'll feel nice and safe as you barrel along shadowed by the F-16 fighter plane that will shoot down anything that encroaches on your airspace.
Once at the other end you're re-united with your luggage and into nice new clothes.
All a bit over the top I think you'd agree. I am no expert in airport security, but we seem to be slowly going towards that sort of destination. But the terrorists always seem to find a way. Next they'll be targeting the arrival and departure lounges, remember the Glasgow airport attack using a Jeep? The security net would have to gradually be widened. Where does it stop? The airport car park?
But how about all those terrorists that fly without bombs? The ones that fly around the world looking and acting like businessmen and holiday-makers? The ones that are on airport and airline operator reconnaissance missions for their terrorist masters. Taking notes on lax airport security procedures. Checking for last minute changes that may affect a potential bombing. Identifying new targets and new ways of bypassing security. I cannot believe that these plots are hatched and conducted without some sort of pre-event intelligence gathering. Do we ever identify and catch these people? No amount of body scanners, X-Ray machines, armed guards or cavity searches will help here. But that non-PC of procedure of profiling might.