Here we go again
I think you covered the issues well, Larry. Seems we've learned nothing since 9/11. Instead of just locking the cockpit door, which would have prevented takeover of those planes, we spent billions on TSA and made the flying experience absolutely miserable for everyone. And planes are still coming down.
The political response to these situations makes no sense. Instead of realizing that the bad guys are every bit as smart as the good guys, and will continually adapt to whatever is thrown at them, they throw away money and freedom for what is essentially propaganda aimed at stupid people.
Let's get real. If someone so committed to their idealism is willing to embark on a suicide mission to slaughter you at Applebees in Fargo ND, how could possible stop that? Especially in America where the NRA makes sure everyone can easily get a gun, much less make an explosive out of ordinary over the counter products. No amount of intelligience, encryption be damned, can stop that.
If you want 100% guarantee of being safe from terrorism, I suggest you get a farm in middle of nowhere and grow your own food, never going to a population center. Then your odds are good because a terrorist won't want to kill you if no one knows about it, what's the point? But otherwise, you better start looking at life like driving a car: there is a possiblility you may not come back.
My favorite response now is this task force in NYC. Now what would terrify average people more: an attack at crowded Times Square which kills 100 or an attack in Boulder Colorado at Hooters that kills 30? Most people in US will never set foot in Times Square in their lives. But if terrorists show no small community is ever safe, that impacts everyone. But NYC keeps those tourism dollars rolling in.
Anyone think even a complete police state, where everyone gets a tracking chip implanted at birth and all communications are monitored by government can stop a suicide attacker? Especially in a country where guns are as easy to get as chocolate bars? I'm sure I'll get reply saying if all are carrying guns, we can just shoot these guys after they kill 5 people instead of 25. In the big picture, does that really change anything? They have the element of surprise, they aren't going to say "draw stranger!" like the old west. Your gun will never clear it's holster before you are dead. These guys are planning on dying, your gun isn't deterent.
Unless real Muslims can kill this idea these terrorists have that God wants them to kill in the name of religion, there is no winning this war. TSA, encryption, meaningless in that fight. Yet I never read anything about this core issue.