Bits ‘n Pieces for September 10, 2013 (Part II)

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary ┬╗

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  1. “TSA security screening has killed many more people than terrorist attacks have. We should shout this from the rooftops.”

    Reads to me to say TSA security screening has limited lethal terrorist attacks to zero. Good job, though I am surprised Gary is so enthusiastic as he usually seems to question TSA efficiency.

    Oh, wait-maybe the linked article doesn’t really make a meaningful comparison of anything and just gives us the author’s attitude. Sorry to inject some logic.

    Rant on.

  2. @Sam actually the linked article walks through the calculations of the number of lives lost as a result of TSA screening. And it draws on citations to academic work. But it’s much easier o be dismissive :)

  3. Gary-

    The article uses comparisons of moving data which may or may not have any relationship to each other.

    What’s easy is starting with the answer and backfilling logic, valid or otherwise. Any studies on the impact of cramped planes, mediocre service and flight delays? I would imagine all of these have contributed to folks choosing to drive. Then too there are the fees…..

  4. I’d guess that more people gave up flying and drove instead bc of terrorist fears then those who stopped flying bc of slightly longer security lines. By a magnitude.

    I don’t see where this study blames those car accidents on the terrorists

  5. Also, sorry to dbl post, but personal responsibility?! Those ppl calculated the risk vs convenience. It was their choice to drive. To say TSA killed them a bit over the top

  6. I’m not a fan of TSA but I’m very skeptical of the claim.

    Bruce Schneier is a cryptography expert, not an air travel / transportation expert. He seems to be referencing to one source only: Garrick Blalock and his team. I haven’t read Garrick’s research yet but Garrick is not an expert on transportation either. He is an economist at Cornell and this is the only published research he has done around transportation. The Business Week article also references back to Schneier and Garrick.

  7. Sadly bear the name Tom Bradley and how good could it be? Did I just see you on the Colbert Report? You sound more like a Fox guy.

  8. Yeah, as a native Angeleno, I don’t understand the jab at TBIT’s name either. What we should be offended by is the Villaraigosa Pavilion!

  9. @Pam I am a former resident of Los Angeles ­čśë But the comment was meant to be more amusing (or at least was to me) than anything else.

  10. OK, I accept that because of the extra time people must spend at the airport because of TSA screening some will drive instead. I would probably drive to Los Angeles, for example, instead of flying from San Francisco. But there is no way to calculate how many lives would be lost via terrorism if the TSA were to not do the screening. Are you suggesting that there be no screening at airports? How else would we prevent a repeat of 911? How many airplanes flown into buildings would it take for you to change your mind about the effectiveness of the TSA?

  11. If you inveigh against the TSA and thereby contribute to a reduction in security screening following which there is a terrorist attack in which people die, did you therefore “kill” those people?

  12. @Gary –

    “you would have to demonstrate that the reduction in security is the proximate cause of the success of the attack”

    Do you suggest we reduce security to test this? If the attack probably would have been prevented had the TSA reduction not been reduced, the test would be successful, at the cost of lives. I am pretty certain that terrorists are keeping a close eye on what the TSA is doing, and would seize on any opportunity that the TSA has stopped looking for.

  13. @Gary – No, all I have to do is aver that it is true, as the sound-bite (the author’s own description) used in the linked article does.

  14. @Gary Steiger – there are a lot of changes that i would make to security none of which I would characterize as reducing security. There are many changes that the TSA itself has sought because not only would they be less intrusive but they would make us more secure, but political processes will not permit it, favoring security theatre instead. Additional thoughts to follow.

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