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[Draft] Liquidity Problems

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Verdant Haven
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[Draft] Liquidity Problems

Postby Verdant Haven » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:56 am

Hey all! I've been away from issue writing for a while, but I'm very excited to get back on the horse.

This is an issue regarding airport security, targeting authoritarian nations that have intense security regimens in place. It is very much based on my very real experience working in airport security a number of years ago, with pretty much all the speakers being representations of people and perspectives I interacted with on a regular basis.

3rd Draft
[TITLE]
Liquidity Problems

[DESCRIPTION]
After one of your senior government ministers missed a speaking engagement at an important conference, due to delays caused by having a small bottle of water tucked in a carry-on bag at the airport, a horde of soi-disant policy wonks has intercepted you as you step off a plane, shouting their proposals to overhaul the complicated system of checks and restrictions in your airport security.

[VALIDITY]
Allows aircraft
High authoritarianism

[CHOICE 1]
"The problem, @@LEADER@@, is that we're stuck being reactionary" sighs security manager @@RANDOMNAME@@, after filling out the paperwork for @@HIS@@ 74th water bottle seizure of the day. "We're always adding new policies after a threat has been discovered, but we never get rid of policies when they're no longer needed. Why are we still banning liquids? That's old news! Trim out the old stuff and let us base our restrictions on future threat assessments. That will keep those lines moving!
[EFFECT 1]
terrorists are back up to their old tricks

[CHOICE 2]
"If we reduce restrictions, the terrorists win!" bellows hawkish legislator @@RANDOMNAME@@, grabbing the water bottle and eyeing it suspiciously. "Terrorism thrives on fear, not actual effects! How does John Q. Public know what's in this? How does Susie Homemaker feel if we let unknown items on planes? Things like our liquid ban ensure citizens feel safe, and that is what beats the bad guys. As a matter of fact, I think another couple restrictions might help us show the public how much we care!"
[EFFECT 2]
@@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ breathe a sigh of relief at the sight of long security lines

[CHOICE 3]
"It's not a liquid, it's water!" retorts your brother, ignoring confused looks and taking a sip to make his point. "You should declare that water isn't a prohibited item, and security doesn't need to worry about it. If a passenger says it's just water, have them take a drink to show it's harmless and let them be on their way. Oh, that case from the duty-free store? Don't worry, that's all just water. Here, I'll prove it!"
[EFFECT 3]
a surprising number of travelers carry their water in vodka bottles

[CHOICE 4] (ban all carry-ons)
"Seems to me that the real problem is all these carry-on bags" offers flight attendant @@RANDOMNAME@@, shuddering as a passenger trundles past with a large rollaboard. "Security lines would be a breeze if you just prohibited passengers from carrying all these unsafe items like suitcases, laptops, and purses. If they need a drink while on the plane, we'll be happy to sell them water at a reasonable mark-up, all government-screened and taxed, of course!"
[EFFECT 4]
airlines are reporting record profits from their new 'bread and water' service



2nd Draft

[TITLE]
Liquidity Problems

[DESCRIPTION]
After one of your senior government ministers missed a speaking engagement at an important conference, due to delays caused by having a small bottle of water tucked in a carry-on bag at the airport, a horde of soi-disant policy wonks has intercepted you as you step off a plane, shouting their proposals to overhaul the complicated system of checks and restrictions in your airport security.

[VALIDITY]
Allows aircraft
High authoritarianism

[CHOICE 1]
"The problem, @@LEADER@@, is that we're being reactionary" sighs security manager @@RANDOMNAME@@, after filling out the paperwork for @@HIS@@ 74th water bottle seizure of the day. "We're always adding new policies after a threat has been discovered, but we never get rid of policies when they're no longer needed. Why are we still banning liquids? That's old news! Trim out the old stuff and let us base our restrictions on future threat assessments. That will keep those lines moving!
[EFFECT 1]
terrorists are back up to their old tricks

[CHOICE 2]
"If we reduce restrictions, the terrorists win!" bellows hawkish legislator @@RANDOMNAME@@, grabbing the water bottle and eyeing it suspiciously. "How do you know what's in this? You don't! We need every one of our policies in place to make sure @@NAME@@ stays safe! Anybody who questions our liquid ban must be a terrorist sympathizer, and should be arrested as such. True @@DEMONYMPLURAL@@ will support this with a smile!"
[EFFECT 2]
longer lines mean bigger smiles when the government is watching

[CHOICE 3]
"It's not a liquid, it's water!" retorts your brother, ignoring confused looks and taking a sip to make his point. "Just make it clear that water isn't a prohibited item, so security doesn't need to worry about it. That will reduce their workload, and the travelers will be happier too! I'm sure the time they save will translate into increased productivity or something, right? Oh, by the way, that case from the duty-free store? Don't worry, that's all just water."
[EFFECT 3]
water takes on many appearances at @@DEMONYM@@ airports

[CHOICE 4] (ban all carry-ons)
"Seems to me that the real problem is all these carry-on bags" offers flight attendant @@RANDOMNAME@@, shuddering as a passenger trundles past with a large rollaboard. "Security lines would be a breeze if you just prohibited passengers from carrying all these unsafe items like suitcases, laptops, and purses. If they need a drink while on the plane, we'll be happy to sell them water at a reasonable mark-up, all government-screened and taxed, of course!"
[EFFECT 4]
airlines are reporting record profits from their new 'bread and water' service



1st Draft

[TITLE]
Water’s Not a Liquid!

[DESCRIPTION]
After one of your senior government ministers arrived hours late for an important conference due to the ever-more-complex security regulations and screening policies in place at the airport, a horde of government functionaries have stormed your office waving hurriedly-drafted proposals for new overhauls of security laws.

[VALIDITY]
Allows aircraft
High authoritarianism

[CHOICE 1]
"The problem, @@LEADER@@, is that we're stuck being reactionary" suggests security manager @@RANDOMNAME@@, taking a bottle of water from your fridge. "We're always adding new policies after a threat has been discovered, but we never get rid of old policies when they're no longer needed, so now we're looking for ten times what we used to! Let us adjust restrictions in real time based on whatever current threat assessments are, and we'll keep those lines moving!

[EFFECT 1]
terrorists are back up to their old tricks

[CHOICE 2]
"If we reduce restrictions, the terrorists win!" bellows hawkish legislator @@RANDOMNAME@@, seizing the bottle of water. "How do you know what's in this? You don't! We need whole body imagers, bomb dogs at every checkpoint, and severe restrictions on carry-on luggage. No more suitcases, no more laptops, and no more liquids like this! I have connections in the security industry that can make sure @@NAME@@ stays safe!"

[EFFECT 2]
'you can't take it with you' has a whole new meaning

[CHOICE 3]
"It's not a liquid, it's water!" retorts your brother, grabbing the bottle and taking a sip to make his point. "I'm expected to arrive at the airport two hours early as it is because of security lines. That's time I could be working on my tan! Oh, and I'm sure there's some wasted productivity or something, probably? I don't know. Anyway, get rid of all this security theater, and let passengers decide for themselves if the risks are worth it!"

[EFFECT 3]
tourist season is swiftly becoming known as hijacking season

[CHOICE 4]
"Seems to me that the real problem is these big inviting targets called airplanes" grumbles an aged official from the railways office, tossing the bottle aside. "You know what runs on time? The trains! If you don't want planes being turned into weapons, just get rid of them! A train isn't going to come crashing through your office window, hijackers or no. Transfer all that funding over to the rail service, and people will forget about those sky-hogs right quick.

[EFFECT 4]
security lines at train stations can reach the next stop
Last edited by Verdant Haven on Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:49 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:30 pm

Can someone explain to me why anyone ever thought it was a good idea to ban "liquids"?

I mean, sure, liquids can be explosives. So can solids. Liquids aren't particularly more likely to be explosives than solids. You don't see airlines banning solids.

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Verdant Haven
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Postby Verdant Haven » Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:15 pm

Trotterdam wrote:Can someone explain to me why anyone ever thought it was a good idea to ban "liquids"?

I mean, sure, liquids can be explosives. So can solids. Liquids aren't particularly more likely to be explosives than solids. You don't see airlines banning solids.


So, yes, I can explain why somebody thought it was a good idea. Bear in mind that I do not agree with all of this logic by any means, but it is a logical conclusion from a certain point of view, such as that shared by the second speaker in the draft...

Background: A plot was broken up in 2006 that revolved around plans to bomb transatlantic aircraft using liquid bombs placed in beverage containers. This wasn't a new thing, but it had been a while since it happened (last occurrences I'm aware of were in the 80s), so it felt like a new thing. More importantly, it got a lot of attention from the media and from a legislators that were still very on edge what with the recency of 9/11, the "war on terror," etc. They demanded a way to stop liquid bombs.

Challenge: Airport x-ray screening works by visually representing the densities of different materials that pass through, and usually adding color that corresponds to those densities in such a way that a trained screener can readily tell what they're looking at.

For example, take a look at this picture I just found on Google Images of a carry-on x-ray:

Image


I can tell that that bag contains a hair brush, hard-sided glasses case, what looks to be a makeup palette, a clothes hanger, a manicure kit, some toiletries, and a few small electronics. I don't know exactly what the small electronics are from this image (real ones are much bigger and higher resolution), but that's ok, because airport security isn't about knowing exactly what you have. It's about knowing what you don't have. It's been a long time since I was involved in this stuff, but I'm pretty confident this person doesn't have a gun, a knife, or a bomb, so it doesn't matter if I know their makeup brand preference.

Solid explosives - C4, PETN, TATP and the like, have a benefit for this type of system - they are very dense, and have a distinctive appearance that stands out - especially when they're where they shouldn't be. Take a look at this image, for example:

Image


This is a suitcase containing a camera, some shoes, and a portable radio. The radio has a little surprise however, conveniently outlined in red - an explosive packed inside. That dense block of organic mass doesn't belong there, and any screener worth their salt would immediately cue on that as a likely explosive device. The density of these explosives is so consistent, we can literally program machines to recognize it and automatically flag suspicious bags for review - this is what is done for checked baggage. The reason that isn't used for carry-ons is that there are far more things you can't carry in carry-on than in checked luggage, and they don't all have that density.

When the explosives in question are no longer solid, we run in to a problem. The liquid explosives in question do not have the characteristic density that either a machine or a human can immediately recognize. On an x-ray image, they look a lot like any other liquid, such as water. Take a look at the following:

Image


Ignore the expensive camera, the battery packs, and the other electronic devices for a moment. Instead, look at those three big orange bottles. Those are bottles of... liquid. They could be water, they could be soda, they could be methyl nitrate, a highly sensitive liquid explosive that is more powerful than nitroglycerin.

Basically, we don't have a visual means of identifying a liquid. They can't just stick chemical test strips in to peoples' drinks, and they can't force a person to use or consume them to prove they're harmless (nor would a suicide bomber be unwilling to drink poison to fake their way through anyway). Short of performing chemical analysis, they don't know what they're dealing with. While they don't care what it is specifically, they do care what it isn't, and without some means of identification, they don't know that a liquid isn'ta bomb. Due to their policy approach, that means they cannot clear it on to a plane.

This leaves us with first the liquid ban, and then the limited quantity situation based on their belief that it would take more than a certain amount of the known liquid explosives to probably bring down a plane. We all know the numerous holes in some of this logic, but that's where it's coming from.

TL;DR: Unlike with solid explosives, which are very distinctive under non-invasive examination, liquid explosives cannot be readily distinguished from mundane liquids, so airport security cannot be sure your water isn't a bomb.

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Noahs Second Country
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Postby Noahs Second Country » Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:08 pm

One thing to keep in mind is #248. The premise of "ban liquids on planes" and "ban guns on planes" can easily turn into the same issue. In general #3 and #4 in this issue do the same thing as #4 and #5 in that issue.

This is an interesting debate topic though and definitely a good idea.
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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:10 pm

Verdant Haven wrote:Background: A plot was broken up in 2006 that revolved around plans to bomb transatlantic aircraft using liquid bombs placed in beverage containers.
So, like, they didn't even succeed? And that still drove people to be scared of bottled water? Wow.

Verdant Haven wrote:Solid explosives - C4, PETN, TATP and the like, have a benefit for this type of system - they are very dense,
For a rather generous interpretation of "very dense". According to a quick check, RDX is 1.858 g/cm3, PETN is 1.77 g/cm3, ammonium nitrate is 1.725 g/cm3, and TNT is 1.654 g/cm3, which is more than water or most woods or common plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene, but less than aluminium or glass. The density of nitrocellulose isn't on Wikipedia, but a quick DuckDuckGo search suggests answers ranging from "even less than water" to "about the same as normal cotton" (which supposedly has a density of 1.55 g/cm3), so do we ban cotton now, too?

I see what you mean about most of those being in a loosely-comparable density range, though. I tried to find one that's in the range of normal plastics but was surprised to find I couldn't.

Verdant Haven wrote:Those are bottles of... liquid. They could be water, they could be soda, they could be methyl nitrate, a highly sensitive liquid explosive that is more powerful than nitroglycerin.
Methyl nitrate is 1.203 g/cm3, which is less than the solid explosives above, but still about 20% denser than any liquid that is likely to be safe to drink.

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Postby Honeydewistania » Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:17 pm

The titles a little confusing since you only first mention liquids in option two
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Postby Verdant Haven » Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:03 am

Noahs Second Country wrote:One thing to keep in mind is #248. The premise of "ban liquids on planes" and "ban guns on planes" can easily turn into the same issue. In general #3 and #4 in this issue do the same thing as #4 and #5 in that issue.

This is an interesting debate topic though and definitely a good idea.


I wrote this with a copy of 248 open on one of my other monitors, to try and avoid too much overlap. The basic premise is of course coming from the opposite direction - 248 is an issue about increasing insufficient security, while this is about decreasing excessive security. As you say though, because they are touching on some of the same topics, there is overlap in the kinds of arguments one expects to hear. The way I'd original written is was very much a total overlap, and I re-wrote it when I realized what I'd done - I may end up doing a pretty major overhaul of the premise, still.

The origin of the issue was in a discussion on my regional RMB about some of the topics that came up in my response to Trotterdam, above, explaining the rationales (good or bad) behind the policies (good or bad) that exist in airport security. It's an extremely reactionary field - everything is done in reaction to things after the fact, rather than in anticipation of potential future techniques - and that is largely at the feet of politics rather than practicality. The first two respondents are very much more firmly addressing that aspect of the security world, but yeah - the latter two are somewhat more off-topic. The third speaker is a voice that comes up every single time no matter what, and the debate doesn't really feel complete without them. The fourth speaker (ban planes guy) I could ditch, or utterly replace with a different angle. The main thing is that I want to keep this about reducing security, so it only makes sense to have one person in the camp of taking active or additional measures. It's a bit frustrating, because I feel like 248 simply wouldn't pass muster as an issue these days - option 2 is a dismiss button, and options 3 and 4 are the basically same result. Neither option 2 nor 4 actually addresses the issue being presented by 248 (and 4 in particular makes no sense being there), but they do cause overlaps making it hard to write a better issue on the topic. Not a criticism of those involved in writing it - issues just are done differently these days, as I'm sure you know better than most! (/rant)

Anyway, I'm going to keep working at this to try and turn it into something more unquestionably unique.

Trotterdam wrote:So, like, they didn't even succeed? And that still drove people to be scared of bottled water? Wow.


Welcome to the wonderful world of airplane security. Taking shoes off is also based on a failed attack. So is the use of the whole body imagers (the thing where you stand with your hands over your head and it spins around). So is a lot of stuff, to be honest. One of the only specific restrictions based on an actually-successful attack is short knifes. Used to be you could carry a blade up to 3.5 inches. After 9/11, when they used box cutters, short blades were also prohibited. Ironically, such a blade would be useless to a terrorist now - passengers have demonstrated repeatedly that they will beat the crap out of anybody causing trouble with such a small weapon. The only reason it was successful on 9/11 was because the expected "script" up to that point was that hijackers land planes, make demands, and free the passengers in exchange for concessions, so you play along to avoid unnecessary injuries. As soon as it was understood that hijackings might mean death, nobody played along anymore, and air marshals have actually had to save unruly passengers from lynching by other passengers who believe they are defending themselves against a threat.

Honeydewistania wrote:The titles a little confusing since you only first mention liquids in option two


A valid point. I used the title because it is a ridiculously facepalm-inducing thing that none-the-less got shouted multiple times a day by angry passengers, but I realize that it probably won't survive the drafting process intact. Consider it a working title only!

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Verdant Haven
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Postby Verdant Haven » Tue Sep 29, 2020 9:13 am

Ok, draft 2 is up, and it's a pretty major overhaul.

- Largely refocused it to emphasize the specific issue of streamlining security due to excessive complication (and to avoid overlap with 248)
- The first speaker's position has been clarified and focused.
- The second speaker's position has been made more specifically issue-focused.
- The third speaker's position has been overhauled to address the issue better and remove overlap with 248
- The fourth speaker has been completely replaced, and their position has too, in order to address the issue better and remove overlap with 248

This should make it much more distinct in terms of what the issue at hand is, and should remove the problem of partially mirroring an extant issue.

The issue has been renamed to be less of an inside joke and reflect what is going on.

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:33 pm

Verdant Haven wrote:It's an extremely reactionary field - everything is done in reaction to things after the fact, rather than in anticipation of potential future techniques - and that is largely at the feet of politics rather than practicality.
I get the feeling that airport security has a mentality where being seen to do something is more important than actually doing something. They're not really trying to prevent bombings, they're just trying to make it look like they're preventing bombings so paying customers passengers won't lose faith in their safety.

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Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:19 am

Trotterdam wrote:
Verdant Haven wrote:It's an extremely reactionary field - everything is done in reaction to things after the fact, rather than in anticipation of potential future techniques - and that is largely at the feet of politics rather than practicality.
I get the feeling that airport security has a mentality where being seen to do something is more important than actually doing something. They're not really trying to prevent bombings, they're just trying to make it look like they're preventing bombings so paying customers passengers won't lose faith in their safety.


That's honestly quite a good point to make in favour of keeping the checks up, and the second speaker should approach from that angle, in my opinion.

"Look, the most important thing is that passengers feel confident in their safety..."

etc.
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Verdant Haven
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Postby Verdant Haven » Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:49 am

Trotterdam wrote:I get the feeling that airport security has a mentality where being seen to do something is more important than actually doing something. They're not really trying to prevent bombings, they're just trying to make it look like they're preventing bombings so paying customers passengers won't lose faith in their safety.


While that would be an extremely unfair assessment of the security officers themselves, it absolutely is what the politicians who control the purse strings and write the policy are focused on. To their mind, if their constituents aren't barking, the job is being done, regardless of how effective or ineffective it is. Most of the officers I knew went out of their way to try and keep things safe, and would only begrudgingly carry out the "theater" policies, but the latter must always be followed or you'll find yourself unemployed literally on the spot. Do not pass go, do not finish your shift, do not come back.

As I pretty much always tell people who I talk with about it, the general public disgust with the TSA (and its equivalent organizations internationally) is well earned, but most people point their wrath in the wrong directions. The front-line officers themselves generally agree with the public about policies that are absurd or pointless, usually from a far more informed perspective at that, but their hands are tied by the fact that policy is made on a national level and promulgated on an approximately "do this or we fire your ass" basis.


Candlewhisper Archive wrote:That's honestly quite a good point to make in favour of keeping the checks up, and the second speaker should approach from that angle, in my opinion.

"Look, the most important thing is that passengers feel confident in their safety..."

etc.


I can certainly approach it from that angle. I'll see what I can work up.
Last edited by Verdant Haven on Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Verdant Haven
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Postby Verdant Haven » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:58 pm

Alright, I've replaced Choice/Effect 2 with one based off of public "feeling" and perception of safety, versus actual safety. The argument made therein on the subject of how terrorism works is a real one, and for all its cynicism, is not entirely inaccurate.

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:01 am

Verdant Haven wrote:"The problem, @@LEADER@@, is that we're being reactionary" sighs security manager @@RANDOMNAME@@, after filling out the paperwork for @@HIS@@ 74th water bottle seizure of the day. "We're always adding new policies after a threat has been discovered, but we never get rid of policies when they're no longer needed. Why are we still banning liquids? That's old news! Trim out the old stuff and let us base our restrictions on future threat assessments. That will keep those lines moving!
The way this option is worded suggests that it is reasonable to implement such reactionary measures temporarily, just not permanently. I don't think that "keep banning whatever the last three terrorists tried to use, and only that" is a particularly sensible approach.

Verdant Haven wrote:[CHOICE 3]
"It's not a liquid, it's water!" retorts your brother, ignoring confused looks and taking a sip to make his point. "Just make it clear that water isn't a prohibited item, so security doesn't need to worry about it. That will reduce their workload, and the travelers will be happier too! I'm sure the time they save will translate into increased productivity or something, right? Oh, by the way, that case from the duty-free store? Don't worry, that's all just water."
[EFFECT 3]
water takes on many appearances at @@DEMONYM@@ airports
So this option even pokes fun how it's is basically unenforcable. Simply taking passengers' word for it that what they're carrying is something harmless like water is about as good as not banning liquids at all. I guess you could just ban colored liquids and assume transparent liquids are water, but any chemist knows that lots of liquids are transparent.

I think most anti-security-theater people would argue for either (A) erring on the side of freedom and not trying to ban this stuff, because liquid explosives are pretty hard to make and use, and most terrorists probably aren't smart enough to do it anyway, or (B) installing better scanning equipment at airports so security officers can perform the necessary chemical analyses to distinguish liquid explosives from water. The latter would be expensive, but that's kinda overused as an issue option downside and doesn't tend to deter players, so perhaps instead emphasize how it'll slow down airport security lines as every piece of baggage has to be passed through multiple complicated scanners before being cleared.

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Verdant Haven
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Postby Verdant Haven » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:32 am

Trotterdam wrote:The way this option is worded suggests that it is reasonable to implement such reactionary measures temporarily, just not permanently. I don't think that "keep banning whatever the last three terrorists tried to use, and only that" is a particularly sensible approach.


It doesn't say to just keep the most recent ones - it says to base off of future threat assessments - IE, what the intelligence community is saying to expect coming up next. This is very much one of the more popular real positions that gets argued, since once something has been done, people are on the look-out for it and it gets much more difficult to pull off. The issue with being reactionary is that it's always responding to the threat that has already happened, instead of anticipating what comes next (much like how the military always fighting 'the last war' - leading to stuff like WW1 soldiers charging entrenched machine guns, instead of developing new strategies for the actual threat being faced). The obvious consequence, of course, is what is listed in the effect line - just wait long enough and then do the same thing as before.

So this option even pokes fun how it's is basically unenforcable. Simply taking passengers' word for it that what they're carrying is something harmless like water is about as good as not banning liquids at all. I guess you could just ban colored liquids and assume transparent liquids are water, but any chemist knows that lots of liquids are transparent.


Quite right, and yet this is still one of the most common things we heard. "Just make an exception for water!" "How do we know it's water?" "Well, just ask..."

I think most anti-security-theater people would argue for either (A) erring on the side of freedom and not trying to ban this stuff, because liquid explosives are pretty hard to make and use, and most terrorists probably aren't smart enough to do it anyway, or (B) installing better scanning equipment at airports so security officers can perform the necessary chemical analyses to distinguish liquid explosives from water. The latter would be expensive, but that's kinda overused as an issue option downside and doesn't tend to deter players, so perhaps instead emphasize how it'll slow down airport security lines as every piece of baggage has to be passed through multiple complicated scanners before being cleared.


With regard to the first portion, there's definitely always the "get rid of security!" people, but that was so much an overlap with 248 that I didn't want to even touch it. Hence the "exception for water" option that is a slightly more reasonable sounding (though not easily manageable) proposal. Option 2 already covers the "add more!" part, including the extended lines.

I know a lot of these options and arguments seem borderline absurd or unmanageable, and that's because they absolutely are. Having spent years in that career first as a screening officer and later as an operations supervisor at a major airport, these are the actual arguments people make, and they are just as absurd and unmanageable as you are thinking! I literally had "water's not a liquid!" shouted at me on a daily basis, when people weren't busy claiming x-rays didn't exist and our machines had dwarves in them who would go through bags to steal stuff, or that Jesus paid for their ticket and we had no right to ask for a paper one (all real things that happened as well).
Last edited by Verdant Haven on Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Australian rePublic » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:24 am

True story- there used to be a TV show called "The Embassy" which showed the Australian embassy in Thailand helping Aistralians who got in trouble, and one of the persons on the show was there because he was dragged off a plane in Thailand because he sang his favourite song, Tom Jones' "Sex bomb" a little too loudly. See if you can incorporate that into your issue
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Postby Baggieland » Thu Oct 08, 2020 6:37 pm

I really like this issue as a couple of years ago I nearly missed my flight to Paris just because my wife had put a bottle of tomato sauce in our carry on luggage! We had to wait in line to get it screened, then remove the 'offending' sauce, then wait in line again to have the bag re-screened! We were so late to the gate that they put on a special van to take us to the plane. All for my love of tomato sauce!

Anyway, is there room for; security forces passengers to consume the liquid in order to prove that the liquid is what they claim it is?
Keep the faith, keep on boinging!

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Verdant Haven
Diplomat
 
Posts: 648
Founded: Feb 26, 2013
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Verdant Haven » Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:21 pm

Baggieland wrote:I really like this issue as a couple of years ago I nearly missed my flight to Paris just because my wife had put a bottle of tomato sauce in our carry on luggage! We had to wait in line to get it screened, then remove the 'offending' sauce, then wait in line again to have the bag re-screened! We were so late to the gate that they put on a special van to take us to the plane. All for my love of tomato sauce!

Anyway, is there room for; security forces passengers to consume the liquid in order to prove that the liquid is what they claim it is?


I think you are likely in good company with that story... and let's be honest, good tomato sauce is worth it! The day the liquid ban was first put into place, I happened to be on leave and at a conference. The front page of the hotel newspaper (USA Today, of course) was a giant photo of a guy in a business suit, standing at the head of a security line, chugging an entire bottle of high end champagne that he couldn't take with him. When I called in to the office to find out what the heck was going on, they tried telling me my leave was cancelled and I needed to be at work for my shift that night. I laughed and told them I was 2000 miles away, and would see them in 4 days. Thankfully I didn't have any offending items with me more significant than shampoo :-P

There have been suggestions of allowing people to drink something to "prove" it isn't dangerous, but that has always run in to two problems. The first is that many non-dangerous things aren't safe to drink (like the aforementioned shampoo, as well as cosmetics and medical supplies), and the second is that a suicide bomber isn't worried about making themselves sick in exchange for being allowed to carry a bomb. I could probably work that idea into Choice 3, which hints at it with the brother sipping the water - having glaring problems in every solution is definitely at the root of much of the game :-P

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Trotterdam
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Posts: 8953
Founded: Jan 12, 2012
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Trotterdam » Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:43 pm

Verdant Haven wrote:There have been suggestions of allowing people to drink something to "prove" it isn't dangerous, but that has always run in to two problems. The first is that many non-dangerous things aren't safe to drink (like the aforementioned shampoo, as well as cosmetics and medical supplies), and the second is that a suicide bomber isn't worried about making themselves sick in exchange for being allowed to carry a bomb. I could probably work that idea into Choice 3, which hints at it with the brother sipping the water - having glaring problems in every solution is definitely at the root of much of the game :-P
Are there any liquid explosives that are safe to drink? I mean, "explosive" and "poisonous" are in principle two separate hazards.

I know that nitroclycerin is used as a medicine, though medicines are generally harmful in larger quantities, so it probably isn't exactly "safe to drink".

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Verdant Haven
Diplomat
 
Posts: 648
Founded: Feb 26, 2013
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Verdant Haven » Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:31 am

Trotterdam wrote:Are there any liquid explosives that are safe to drink? I mean, "explosive" and "poisonous" are in principle two separate hazards.

I know that nitroclycerin is used as a medicine, though medicines are generally harmful in larger quantities, so it probably isn't exactly "safe to drink".


Safe to actually consume in the long term? I can't say as I'm aware of any. There are a number of dangerous things though (explosive or not) that a person could either sip a tiny amount of, or "drink" and hold in their mouth temporarily, which wouldn't incapacitate them to the point of being unable to fake it until they were inside security - especially if they took other preemptive steps to protect themselves. Fire-breathers, for example, routinely fill their mouths with a variety of fuels that are neither safely drinkable nor permissible on aircraft, and which can have long-term health hazards. The other side of this is that even if it is something that will make a person sick shortly thereafter, all the person needs to do is get it through security. Once it's inside, they can hand it off to an unafflicted co-conspirator who came in clean, and voila - it's on a plane. From a quick look at the SDS for Nitromethane, for example, it's likely to make you sick, but treatment for ingestion is literally just to dilute it by drinking lots of water. Something like that may indeed be able to be drunk in small quantities by a person willing to hurt themselves in the long term, because they don't plan on their long term mattering.

With regard to medical nitroglycerin specifically, that comes in a solid and very very dilute form mixed with inert powder - it would take thousands of pills, painstakingly refined, to get even a single gram of pure NG. The medication works due to the body metabolizing the miniscule amounts of solid NG into the muscle relaxant nitric oxide. Other liquid medications would however be a problem in this circumstance, since forcing a person to consume medication in a manner not reflected by the doctor's orders could itself be lethal.

I have modified Choice 3 to reflect this general concept, since it is another of the "real suggestions" that gets bandied about, and allows for some equally humorous/bad results.
Last edited by Verdant Haven on Fri Oct 09, 2020 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.


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