Sunday, September 19, 2004

Broken Suitcases

According to Chuang Tzu
To guard yourself against thieves who slash open suitcases, rifle through bags and smash open boxes, one should strap the bags and lock them. The world at large knows that this shows wisdom. However, when a master thief comes, he simply picks up the suitcase, lifts the bag, carries off the box and runs away with them, his only concern being whether the straps and locks will hold! In such an instance, what seemed like wisdom on the part of the owner surely turns out to have been of use only to the master thief!
The post-2001 world is supposed to be characterized by heightened security. In our daily lives (for example when boarding an aeroplane or opening a bank account) we are faced with an array of security measures: causing indignity, inconvenience and delay to many, and possibly intimidating a few minor miscreants. However, the notion that these measures will cause any trouble for organized criminals or terrorists is a sick joke.

The wrong security measures are not just useless - they actually make things easier for the master thief. So whose purpose do they serve?

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