Aviation safety, Ebola and the business with fear

Ridiculously strict security checks at airports achieve all but protecting citizens from harm. Why is then that they exist and whom are they made for in the first hand?

Regardless of whether one is rather the type to follow orders as they emerge or if they question policies and regulations before supporting them, first Ebola infections in the US and in Spain have brought one question into focus that already gained attention earlier this year: how useful are aviation safety routines? According to Daily Mail they are not of any use at all, a fact I can confirm from a similar and likewise disturbing experience I made only a few weeks ago: undergoing a second[1] security check while transferring in Istanbul, I carried an entire 1.5l bottle of water through the screening as if it had simply been a pair of socks while a group of Chinese tourists had to even take of their high heels to make sure that everything was fine[2]. At the same time I have spent countless time and money buying new water, perfumes, sunscreens and pocket knives since introduction of these stupid security measures when in a rush at the airport, just like millions of passengers daily.

While certain forms of water can indeed be deadly, it’s generally rather the absence of it that causes misery and dead. Diseases like Ebola which have it comparatively easier to spread in societies without or with limited access to water make best examples and while we all know that resources are being overexploited, stupid aviation policies make matters worse. Have you ever thought what the footprint of aviation safety might be, apart from hurting your wallet?

Not that the measures would not justify the means were the results accordingly. However, while you and I spend hours of travels begging for a glass of water, planes either disappear or get shot from heaven. In India, women are raped without any world government seeming to care too much, not even those that count victims among their citizens.

Drinking water is a risk[3], not hordes of raping men or groups of paid terrorists. Therefore it is only good when bottled water is being disposed of safely. Nestle, Coca Cola and Pepsi must be happy with such measures, as are Novartis, Pfizer and Co with epidemic outbreaks such as Ebola. Fear pays off well. Influenza and the infamous H1N1 virus have resulted in a multi-billion dollar business as was already predicted in 2009. However, while the big corporations increase their revenues, safety policies fail to protect us from even the simplest hazards. As long as incompetent governmental bodies focus on providing policies that benefit the powerful by making money with wrong claims about potential risk while not having the capacity to protect their citizens from harm, taking away a water bottle in the hands of a flight passenger is comparable to eating chocolate with the aim to get more tan.

[1] I had the first in Zurich, Switzerland and was only in transfer

[2] It could also be that the macho type security agent entertains himself with watching bare feet rather than focussing on his real duty.

[3] Particularly when you can easily tell the difference to other liquids.


About blaubear

Born in 1973 in a small village in rural Switzerland and into a society largely dominated by cows (not only was the human population of one-hundred-and-forty outnumbered by them, but politics were driven by unreasonable subsidies for diary products) I was connected with nature from early age on. Observing nature on one hand and the deficiencies of a dysfunctional Swiss agricultural policy with farmers that had lost connection to the land that provided their income on the other, I soon started to question society and the meaning of life. Suffering also under a farcical public education I developed curiosity to discover on my own. That was how I soon learned that little of what I had been taught was true. Skepticism and interaction with people from for me new cultures fostered my interest for the world and eagerness to leave a life shaped by federalistic layman-ship. At the age of twenty-three I hit the road for the first time, an event that later translated into passion. Traveling between cultures has since become part of my life. At the age of thirty-three I finally realized my dream and did a degree in Environmental Engineering from which I graduated in 2009, only to leave Switzerland once more for my "real home" Spain. Unfortunately, the stay was a short one: a couple of months later I was offered a job in Southeast Asia, where I worked and also lived (with some interruptions, e.g. I live in Melbourne since late 2012) ever since. Having worked for a Japanese company earlier in my life, I soon felt captured again by Asian culture and thinking which makes a lovely contrast to my European heritage. My journey through different countries and cultures has taught me that regardless of how different our thinking and values are, no matter what approaches we take, we all can learn from each other. And if we are open enough to see the common instead of pointing out the differences, then we have a chance to live in harmony and peace: Life is all about integration, not exclusion! It's an old wisdom that "knowledge is power", as such I never get tired of being around new people, having interesting talks, and reading lots of good books. I hope that my blog can contribute to the conversation.
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4 Responses to Aviation safety, Ebola and the business with fear

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