By: Charles G. Slepian
World History is replete with the heinous acts of despotic world leaders spreading from Biblical times to today. The spread of world violence in the past has usually been geographically contained. Western Europe and the United States versus Eastern Europe, Japan against China. The instigators of past calamities usually had identities, they were known by names and nations or the national groupings they led. In the two world wars in which America was a participant, we identified our foes by their nation states such as Germany and Japan or Italy and Austria. Perhaps more importantly we could focus our ire on evil world leaders: Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo and for a while Stalin. When your country is at war, it is useful to know whom to hate. It can be liberating to defile photographs of evil leaders and to prosecute treacherous military leaders when hostilities are bought to an end; and equally important, to honor those who fought and died on the country’s behalf.
For many years the federal government left the job of securing domestic aviation to an FAA that perceived a conflict of interest in their role of supporting commercial aviation with their duty to secure it. They viewed having to restrict the movements of their client airlines and their passengers too difficult a balancing act for it to manage. To solve the problem, the FAA passed along the security responsibility to the nation’s airport authorities and operators who similarly found it to be an onerous burden they were unwilling to accept. The airport operators in their role of property managers and landlords did what landlords are wont to do with responsibilities that are too burdensome; they passed the security role on to their tenant airlines as a condition of their leases. The tenant airlines wanting nothing to do with a duty that was sure to interfere with their need to quickly board passengers, load baggage and take-off on time, sought and found the least expensive and least intrusive way to fulfill their security duty under their leases, they contracted the responsibility to the lowest bidder. 9/11 brought this charade to an end when the federal government that created it suddenly insisted that it would accept its responsibility for security over an industry that it had regulated in the first place.
The Regulations To Support Anti-Terrorism By Fostering Effective Technologies (the SAFETY Act) was passed as part of the Homeland Security Act to encourage potential manufacturers or sellers of anti-terrorism technologies (ATTs) to develop and sell technologies that could reduce the risk or mitigate the effects of large-scale terrorist events by limiting legal liabilities that might otherwise be faced by such developers and sellers for injuries and losses sustained in an act of terrorism. The Act creates certain liability limitations for “claims arising out of, relating to, or resulting from an act of terrorism” where qualified ATTs have been deployed. The Act does not limit liability for harms caused by ATTs when no act of terrorism has occurred.
In the first week of December, 2004, the media focused on the problem of missing security personnel uniforms and badges reported in Canada. Just how our friends to the north learned of the loss of over 1100 uniforms and badges is not clear, but it was reported that at least one uniform was offered for sale on E-bay — hopefully, that was not how the problem came to the attention of Canadian authorities.