A lovely blogger friend asks why people attempting to blow up planes don't realize that they are going to be taken down and thoroughly pummeled by their fellow passengers before being handed over to the penal system. Good question...
I haven't really thought about that, although certainly she has a point. I've always supposed that the point for them lays more in scaring people and adding to the annoying layers of bureaucracy that clog up the system and slow things down and generally keep people's stress and fear levels optimized. They want us to feel vulnerable and small and weak. Most of all, they want us to think about them, which we mostly wouldn't do if we weren't afraid that they were going to murder us while we were going about our business-as-usual. If that is your goal, it doesn't matter that much whether your Representative (whether he truly was sent by you or not) succeeds in blowing himself up, or whether he merely gets thoroughly roughed up and sent to prison. The goal is met either way.
I have a different question - one directed in our direction, rather than theirs. I'd like to know why our airports have been effectively frozen at Threat Level Orange for nine years, even at times when they have known that attack plans were being made, or when an incident like the recent one occurs. What is the point of having 'levels' if we never go from one to the other? It's not a Warning if it stays so steady and familiar that it becomes mere wallpaper. If we never have low-threat periods during which we can aim our travel plans, if we only go to red once a nuclear attack has been actually launched - which is evidently the only thing that could knock the system from its current level - doesn't that sort of negate the purpose?
"Warning, we already blew up, and you are currently a cloud of radioactive dust blowing past this sign. Thank you for your attention, have a nice day."