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Find The Boots

Rantings from a few corporate types about life, technology, travel, guns, politics, and everything good in the world.

TSA Math

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I think it's no secret that I'm impatient with the, well, fools who complain and complain and complain about the TSA, screening in general, the shoe carnival, etc, etc.

I'm also a fan of profiling in general, but that is not what I want to talk about.

Guys, let's do a little math.

According to these guys at ATW, around 262, 000,000 people flew in the US last year.

So let's assume that there were 2.5 security screenings per passenger as people make multi-stop trips, etc, etc. So the TSA handled 655M people last year, or 1.8M people/day.

So the FlyerTalkers should put that in their pipe and ponder running that organization the next time they bash Kip and his minions of Satan (or "millions of Satin" as one clown put it.)

Anyway, let's assume that TSA is 99% effective at screening (they're not, but assume) - we now know that there are 6,500,000 people per year who *could* fly badly screened. (Remember the US Air Imam? There were six of them - care to take your chances there?)

Further shall we assume that 5% of passengers mis-pack their bags with forbidden materials and are not caught. We now have 32M passengers who are running around with jars of honey, accidental steak knives, etc, etc.

If Murphy is in charge of the world, all 32M of those passengers will meet the 6.5M open slots and merrily fly on. That is 18,500 per day, or a heck of a lot.

The actual number, according to the statisticians is, of course, 327K, which is the 5% of passengers meeting the 1% of open slots, but it ain't as interesting, and since these numbers are guesses, who knows.

But my point is that of course some stuff is gonna get through, it doesn't prove that security doesn't work, just that it behaves like every other system in the world.

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