Security Theater at the Constitution

While in Boston two weeks ago, I walked along the “Freedom Trail” and also visited the USS Constitution — a strange superposition of a commissioned warship, a national park, and a well-guarded national symbol. While Freedom Trail’s red trace runs…

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While in Boston two weeks ago, I walked along the “Freedom Trail” and also visited the USS Constitution — a strange superposition of a commissioned warship, a national park, and a well-guarded national symbol. While Freedom Trail’s red trace runs straight to the ship, visitors have to pass by blocks of concrete, an armed soldier standing by a camouflage colored Hummer, and finally through security screening: Empty all pockets, remove the belts, and have some Navy soldiers hand-search all bags — while here is a metal detector gate in place, no x-ray device is available.These hand-searches are, on the one hand, intimidating, and ineffective on the other hand: The soldier who searched my laptop bag (used for tourist equipment that day), for instance, would play around with my mobile phone — apparently, he hadn’t seen a Siemens SL55 before –, but would both miss the front compartment of the bag, and the Palm in the main compartment, which — in a consistent security control — should have warranted the same kind of inspection as the mobile phone.Ultimately, one has to wonder what the actual point of this kind of control is, and what kind of attack model is behind it. Terrorists hijacking the Constitution and using it to attack the Fleet Center?Looks a lot like security theater to me.