This, from pilot and respected American aviation blogger Patrick Smith, is both sensible and inspirational:
There’s talk from supposed security experts asking if perhaps terminals need to be closed off to everybody except ticketed passengers and employees, with security checkpoints moved literally onto the sidewalk...As, if by moving the fences, they can’t get us. The only thing moving security curbside would actually do, of course, is shift the perimeter — and the busy choke point of passengers — to a new location. This means nothing to an attacker, whose so-called “soft target” has simply been relocated from one spot to another, no less convenient one. But it would mean immense amounts of hassle for everybody else.
Thus, it’s precisely the wrong line of thinking. It’s reactionary in the purest sense, and it plays directly into the terrorist’s strategy — a strategy that encourages a response that is based on fear instead of reason, and that is ultimately self-defeating.
The reality is, we can never make our airports, or any other crowded places, impervious to attack. And while maybe you wouldn’t mind living in a society in which every terminal, shopping mall, sports venue and subway station has been militarized and strung with surveillance equipment, count me among those who would.
Remember that bikie-gang brawl at Sydney airport in 2009? There were Chicken Littles at the time who warned that it could have been a terrorist attack, and that we would have been powerless to stop it. But as I pointed out then, terrorists have an almost endless list of crowded, high-profile targets to choose from. Granted, terrorists seem to disproportionately target aviation, but that's hardly an exclusive thing. As the Brussels, Madrid and London attacks amply demonstrate, other forms of mass transport are on the target list too, as are all sorts of other iconic buildings and venues.
The proper response here is not to amplify the threat through our rhetoric and our security measures, but to adopt a low-key stoicism that says we won't be cowed into eroding our own freedoms. And in our security measures at airports and other important venues, let's focus a little less on security theatre and strike a balance between prevention and resilience. We cannot protect every target and prevent every attack, but we can make sure that, if an attack does happen, we show the terrorists through words and actions that we will bounce back.
Prime Minister Turnbull's National Security Statement in November 2015 suggested he is broadly sympathetic to this approach. No doubt he will address the terrorist threat again in his Lowy Lecture tonight; we will see if he maintains that tone.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user danjo paluska