Close the Washington Monument

Bruce Schneier is an “internationally renowned security technologist and author.”  I started reading him because of his work in cryptography and computer security, but he also has a lot to say about security in general, and about airport security and the TSA in specific.  He may have coined the term “security theater.”

This recent piece is really thought provoking.  I agree 100% about the toll terrorism is causing us to inflict on ourselves and the complicity of our leaders.

Schneier on Security: Close the Washington Monument
Securing the Washington Monument from terrorism has turned out to be a surprisingly difficult job. The concrete fence around the building protects it from attacking vehicles, but there’s no visually appealing way to house the airport-level security mechanisms the National Park Service has decided are a must for visitors. It is considering several options, but I think we should close the monument entirely. Let it stand, empty and inaccessible, as a monument to our fears.

An empty Washington Monument would serve as a constant reminder to those on Capitol Hill that they are afraid of the terrorists and what they could do. They’re afraid that by speaking honestly about the impossibility of attaining absolute security or the inevitability of terrorism — or that some American ideals are worth maintaining even in the face of adversity — they will be branded as “soft on terror.” And they’re afraid that Americans would vote them out of office if another attack occurred. Perhaps they’re right, but what has happened to leaders who aren’t afraid? What has happened to “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”?

An empty Washington Monument would symbolize our lawmakers’ inability to take that kind of stand — and their inability to truly lead.

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Go read the whole article.  Then fish around for some other interesting articles in his archives.


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