Why is Osama bin Laden still running our airports?

And why is Willy Horton still running our prisons?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

One thought on “Anachronisms”

  1. What’s the upside for any politician in doing the “rational” thing, minimizing the intrusiveness of the TSA and releasing 50+ year-old prisoners serving life sentences for crimes 30 years back?

    The human cost to us of 9/11 is largely self-inflicted — vast sums spent on wars, an expanded military, more intrusive “homeland security”, all of which could have been devoted to many other things that would have indirectly prevented far more human suffering here and probably elsewhere. The 3000+ killed in the act itself are almost a blip on the scale of every thing else that’s happened in the 11 years since. (Including, of course, tens of thousands of gun-related homicides each year that we seem perfectly content to tolerate.)

    But woe to the governor, congressman, senator or president who advocates & votes to scale back the fear-driven responses. There is no upside for any of them. Only downside when something bad happens and somehow it gets twisted by political opponents and the media into a direct causal link.

    I once flew into LAX only to find that all vehicle traffic in & out of the airport was shut down and thousands of travelers were having to walk a couple of miles in blazing September heat out Century Blvd. to find rides. Why? Because some old Japanese man had a flashlight with corroded batteries in his hand luggage, and the thing burst during the security inspection, getting some of the chemicals on an agent. Somehow this resulted in a Code Red, with snipers taking up positions on terminal roofs. And this was by design… Needless to say, there was no downside for anyone in charge of the overreaction.

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