When it comes to killing people using airplanes, terrorism isn't doing all that well. Nate Silver gave us a nice little ten-year evaluation of The Odds of Airborne Terror, and Gizmodo did it up as a colourful chart.
Sad to say, it appears I'll be flying to the United States twice this year, and while I've never been a huge fan of air travel, I'm especially not looking forward to what will no doubt be my most uncomfortable and pointlessly time-wasting experiences yet, given the recent successful terrorism incident.
Oh, what's that? It wasn't successful, you say? As I mention in a comment on Cockpit Conversation, I thought so too.
My initial thought upon hearing about this incident was that it should be counted as a success in counter-terrorism. The passenger screening appeared to be good enough that the perpetrator couldn't manage to bring an effective bomb aboard the aircraft, passengers stepped up to stop him when they discovered what he was doing, and the aircraft landed safely.
Bravo! One attempt at terrorism has little to no effect.
Until the TSA steps in, of course, and decides to make it a lot more successful. Now we have yet more secret rules, an elevated climate of fear, and a greatly elevated level of passenger annoyance and inconvenience, including losing the right to read a book (or was that never a right in the U.S.?) for an hour of one's life.
It makes me wonder if TSA really stands for "Terrorist Support Agency." Terrorists wouldn't get nearly as far disrupting our lives without the TSA to assist them in this way.