Osama bin Laden is dead, and I've been thinking about the last ten years - the escalating lunacy of security theater and foreign wars - and I wonder if now we might finally snap out of this 21st century Red Scare.
The final months of 2001 brought some quite sensible reforms in aviation security, like locks on cockpit doors. But then security was institutionalized in the form of the TSA, and bureaucracies exist to perpetuate themselves. Fear, plenty of it whipped up by the institution itself, fueled a cycle of dehumanizing regulations.
What began as security quickly became security theater. The thing about theater is that it attracts the dramatic. There was the guy with his shoes full of gunpowder. And the one with the explosive underwear. Are these guys credible threats to justify the existence of a system that frisks nine-year-old girls? No, they're the same kinds of guys that put on costumes and turn themselves in to the police every time there's a serial killer on the loose in a big city. These loonies are created by the attention the system creates in order to perpetuate itself.
At some point America had had enough of McCarthy's cancerous fearmongering. Are we done with the TSA yet? Can we go back to making laws like "don't drive drunk"?