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Old August 23rd, 2012, 03:23 PM   #2301
hkskyline
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[QUOTE=Geography;94431342]Anything *could* happen, but policy-makers have to make judgements on what is more or less likely to happen. The fact that China hasn't had a bus or metro bombing is telling when there are infinite opportunities for such an attack. Proactive security is infiltrating terrorist groups and running sting operations to catch them trying to recruit members or buy weapons. Setting up security checkpoints in metro stations is an inefficient and ineffective way to save lives.[/size]
Why can't both infiltration and checkpoints take place at the same time? They're not mutually exclusive. Intelligence has limitations. We see how the CIA failed to prevent 9/11. Intelligence alone cannot be the solution. It has to be combined with other preventive measures. A series of bus bombs had taken place in Kunming in 2008.

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Do you know how much it would cost in time and money to screen every passenger? Think about Harbin where it's very cold most of the year and everyone wears a heavy jacket that *could* be used to conceal a bomb. If your goal is to prevent or deter a suicide bomber in Harbin, then you would have to screen every person.
Subways are easy targets since the trains get crowded and it is very easy to kill a lot of people. We saw from the London Underground bombings that the destructive waves amplified as it bounced off the small confined space. The compromise from a time-consuming full security check is what Shanghai is doing - only large bags need to be screened. This is meant to be a deterrent.

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Moreover, policy-makers have scarce resources. Is screening random passengers the best use of scarce resources in order to save lives? As I stated, drunk drivers pose a far, far greater threat to life and health than Al Qaeda or any Xinjiang separatist group. The money that could be used slowing down passengers in the metro and not saving any lives could be used to better enforce anti-drunk driving laws and actually do something.
If the central government can devote billions in stimulus money to build infrastructure, including new subway lines, they should not have a problem funding a few staff per station and a screening machine. We have not heard of any reports that Shanghai's subway system is having financial difficulties as a result of these added security checks. Also, money saved from getting rid of these checks does not necessarily go to the next big killer, such as heart disease.

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Policy-makers should always use a cost-benefit analysis, even if it's a very rough estimate. The rhetoric of "This program is a success if it saves even one life" sounds good but it's a poor tool for deciding which programs are more efficient at savings lives and health than others. Cost-benefit analysis doesn't mean spending money only on the single greatest cause of death. Cost-benefit analysis means looking at the marginal cost and marginal benefit on one more dollar into a certain program.
Theory vs. reality. You are advocating that these security checks be dropped because there are other bigger killers out there that needs the money. A society should not just go after the big killers and forgo everything else. By that logic, murderers won't be caught since there are far more killed on the roads each year than homicide.

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You cite 9/11 and that's a textbook example of overreaction to terrorism. After 9/11 there were soldiers patrolling the airport, bridges, power plants, a water treatment facilities. Police were arresting people for taking pictures of those buildings. It was a colossal waste of resources that quickly scaled back once people got their heads screwed on straight. I'm proud that I personally did not fall for the panicky over-reaction in 2001-2002.
Amidst the overreaction, there is some truth to preventing a major terrorist attack by having screening on major transport modes, including airplanes and subways. I won't conclude it's a waste of resources as prevented attacks cannot be measured anyway for a cost-benefit or marginal benefit analysis. Theory doesn't necessarily work in practice.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 03:40 PM   #2302
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Time lost is minimal. I've gone through these in Shanghai before. It's a quick scan of large bags through the machine - not like the full airport suite of checks.
You feel that time lost is minimal only because everyone else is sticking two fingers at the system and just going through in droves. If everyone had to queue in a single file in front of 12 gates and presented themselves to proper checks then expect to get out of bed an hour early. That alone renders the system completely unworkable and pointless.

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This thing is similar to the random bag check the NYPD put into place for the New York subway. It's not meant to be 100% fail-proof, but the prospect of being randomly searched is enough of a deterrent for the terrorist to think twice before trying to do something funny.
Oh really, when they are about to blow themselves into pieces they'd think twice just because some dubious searches? Have 5 people trying it in the peaks and the chance of at least 4 going through is pretty close to 100%. Even considering China's low labour cost there still is no economic case for it whatsoever - the BCR is literally next to zero.

Ask 7/7 survivors and relatives whether they'd like to see the Shanghai system emulated on London Underground and they'd give you a resounding no.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 04:33 PM   #2303
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You feel that time lost is minimal only because everyone else is sticking two fingers at the system and just going through in droves. If everyone had to queue in a single file in front of 12 gates and presented themselves to proper checks then expect to get out of bed an hour early. That alone renders the system completely unworkable and pointless.
That's why they can only do a large bag X-ray check like they're doing now. If it's a full airport-style pad-down, the whole thing will fall apart.

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Oh really, when they are about to blow themselves into pieces they'd think twice just because some dubious searches? Have 5 people trying it in the peaks and the chance of at least 4 going through is pretty close to 100%. Even considering China's low labour cost there still is no economic case for it whatsoever - the BCR is literally next to zero.

Ask 7/7 survivors and relatives whether they'd like to see the Shanghai system emulated on London Underground and they'd give you a resounding no.
Of course, just like drunk drivers will think twice because they may encounter a road block somewhere and end up in jail for impaired driving. It's a deterrent. I think they just need to have better enforcers and have the staff do their job in order to make the deterrent real.

It's the same with flying. People have gotten past the security checks and tried to ignite a bomb on board recently. That doesn't mean we should break down all barriers and not subject them to any checks because some percentage will slip through the cracks.

The average commuter may not see the value of this until something bad happens, then they will start pointing fingers at why wasn't X, Y, and Z done before?
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 05:14 PM   #2304
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I've lived in Shanghai and had to use the Metro to commute daily. No offense to them, but the metro security workers didn't seem to take their jobs seriously, or at least as seriously as airport security workers.

If there were bombings and shootings every week like in Israel, then that would be a reason to have real security staff (as opposed to the pretend ones they have now). But none of that is happening now, and even in Mumbai and Moscow, where the metro have been repeatedly bombed and attacked, there are no security checks. And besides, can't a determined terrorist bomb a crowded security line all the same?

Nope, it's quite obvious. The ubiquitous security checks in China are meant to enrich the family of Hu Jintao, and nothing more.
Lot of countries have learnt from their past experiences with terrorism and have increased security at many vulnerable places. Mumbai suburban railway might not have upgraded its security because it run by Indian railways which is not an efficient organisation. But other installations in the country have upgraded their security systems partly because of Mumbai rail bombings.

In Delhi metro, one cannot enter the system without passing through door frame metal detector, followed by manual frisking and scanning of even the smallest piece of luggage through X ray machines. Each stations has dozens of CCTV cameras and all new trains have 4 CCTV cameras in each car. All this when no terrorist attack has happened in Delhi metro in past. Since the perceived risk of terrorism in India is anyways higher than China they became even more conscious for security after Mumbai attacks. Same happened with other installations too.

Here we are comparing loss of life because of terrorism with road accidents but I would like to add that though the no. of lives lost in terrorism is far lower than accidents or diseases but there are several other implications such as loss of business, tourism, etc. Who would like to conduct business in Baghdad?
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 09:33 PM   #2305
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That's why they can only do a large bag X-ray check like they're doing now. If it's a full airport-style pad-down, the whole thing will fall apart.

Of course, just like drunk drivers will think twice because they may encounter a road block somewhere and end up in jail for impaired driving. It's a deterrent. I think they just need to have better enforcers and have the staff do their job in order to make the deterrent real.
Most drunk drivers don't set out to kill themselves. Do you honest think someone who's about to blow themselves into 1000 pieces cares about some mild deterrents? Better enforcers is irrelevant, as the only way to prevent any attack (with this approach) is 100% airport-style pat-down. The fact that nowhere else does this nonsense should tell you something. Anyway you can easily walk onto a bus, into some office building in the morning rush or People's Square just wearing an unsuspecting jacket and go BANG, causing potentially more damage than in a Metro Train, so do you introduce checks at those places too? Or people's own flats in a tower block? Just where does it stop?

Quote:
It's the same with flying. People have gotten past the security checks and tried to ignite a bomb on board recently. That doesn't mean we should break down all barriers and not subject them to any checks because some percentage will slip through the cracks.

The average commuter may not see the value of this until something bad happens, then they will start pointing fingers at why wasn't X, Y, and Z done before?
There will always be nutters who won't shut up until something is seen to be done whether or not that thing is effective. They can just carry on reading the Daily Mail or watching Fox News for all I care.

As for flying, politicians always think playing with their subjects is quite fun. Also airports are finding people are spending longer time in their shops. Go figure.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 09:52 PM   #2306
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I had some beer(glass bottles) in a bag with me on the metro once and I didn't know it was banned. I let the guy at the security check take a look, and he said no, some other guy where approaching and said it was okay.. Just for show and the explanation from urbanfan89 is something I can believe.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 09:21 AM   #2307
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Most drunk drivers don't set out to kill themselves. Do you honest think someone who's about to blow themselves into 1000 pieces cares about some mild deterrents? Better enforcers is irrelevant, as the only way to prevent any attack (with this approach) is 100% airport-style pat-down. The fact that nowhere else does this nonsense should tell you something. Anyway you can easily walk onto a bus, into some office building in the morning rush or People's Square just wearing an unsuspecting jacket and go BANG, causing potentially more damage than in a Metro Train, so do you introduce checks at those places too? Or people's own flats in a tower block? Just where does it stop?
Well, they wouldn't likely be able to bring a bomb onto the train to start if the security checks worked properly. Police can never prevent crime 100%, but the punishment is enough to deter some potential criminals from acting. It's the same concept here.

You kill less passengers by blowing up a bus than on a train. Security is a never-ending game. It's always a best efforts approach. Nobody strives for 100% security, and just because 100% cannot be achieved doesn't mean it should be 0%.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 02:04 PM   #2308
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Well, they wouldn't likely be able to bring a bomb onto the train to start if the security checks worked properly. Police can never prevent crime 100%, but the punishment is enough to deter some potential criminals from acting. It's the same concept here.

You kill less passengers by blowing up a bus than on a train. Security is a never-ending game. It's always a best efforts approach. Nobody strives for 100% security, and just because 100% cannot be achieved doesn't mean it should be 0%.
What punishment? Worse than blowing yourself into pieces? You'll never achieve even 20% coverage in peak hours, so the deterrent point is almost moot. And answer me this, if these checks were so effective (or even theoretically effective) why has no other country, especially those with substantial higher threat, adopted it?
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Old August 24th, 2012, 02:38 PM   #2309
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What punishment? Worse than blowing yourself into pieces? You'll never achieve even 20% coverage in peak hours, so the deterrent point is almost moot. And answer me this, if these checks were so effective (or even theoretically effective) why has no other country, especially those with substantial higher threat, adopted it?
They do such checks in Bangkok MRT (but not Skytrain which is identical except that it runs overground... rather odd). Although it's effectively useless because very often the guard would simply tell passengers to ignore the scanner and go ahead without being checked. It's just another method of keeping people employed.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 03:59 PM   #2310
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They do such checks in Bangkok MRT (but not Skytrain which is identical except that it runs overground... rather odd). Although it's effectively useless because very often the guard would simply tell passengers to ignore the scanner and go ahead without being checked. It's just another method of keeping people employed.
That.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 05:57 PM   #2311
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What punishment? Worse than blowing yourself into pieces? You'll never achieve even 20% coverage in peak hours, so the deterrent point is almost moot. And answer me this, if these checks were so effective (or even theoretically effective) why has no other country, especially those with substantial higher threat, adopted it?
Nobody bothered to think about liquid bombs on planes. Nobody checked them before 9/11 threw the whole security question upside down. Does that mean that kind of complacency could continue - just because nobody else bothered with it? Clearly the terrorists can get one step ahead and security needs to follow.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 10:04 PM   #2312
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Terrorism is just one aspect, they also act to prevent crazy people from venting their anger against society at innocent passengers. Most bus bombings (yes there were multiple occurrences dated all the way back to the early 90s) were carried out by people who's anger is fueled by mundane issues such as financial disputes (the Wuhan bus bombing came to mind). I do agree that the security guards are not very effective though, they are there for deterrence not to actually check everyone. If everyone has to pass the metal detector then horrible crimes such as the Nanjing Metro stabbing can be kept at a minimum.
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Old August 24th, 2012, 11:56 PM   #2313
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2 dead and nine injured in shooting near the Empire State Building in NY

Where's the security with all the debts and unemployment
in our countries?

May be Urbanfan is living in a secret (western) "paradise" we don't even know yet... interesting..
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Old August 25th, 2012, 02:23 AM   #2314
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Nobody bothered to think about liquid bombs on planes. Nobody checked them before 9/11 threw the whole security question upside down. Does that mean that kind of complacency could continue - just because nobody else bothered with it? Clearly the terrorists can get one step ahead and security needs to follow.
You are missing the point. The deterrent argument is moot as bombers really would care about it. The current system is totally ineffective, and to become slightly effective it'd become completely unworkable. Even airport security is dubious at best.

Ah liquid bombs, well I suggest you read this thread.

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you can make liquid bombs apparently. you would need respirators to do so... the terrorists plans involved going into the toilets of a plane with these liquids and mixing them by hand. the mixer would have had to lock himself in the toilet for half an hour mixing it, having of course converted the toilet into a sterile lab first with breathing gear so he wouldn't have died from being poisoned by fumes. no other passengers would have had to notice the smell all the while this went on and the airline staff would have had not noticed the toilet in use for 30 mins either. the whole thing is absurd. you could also set up a factory on the plane to manufacture a gun to hijack the plane with. why isn't the government guarding us against manufacturing of firearms on aircraft? don't they care about the risk?

there are no die hard style binary liquid bombs around. that's why most other countries don't bother checking them.


And this kind of thing is alright is it?

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A woman boarding a flight I was on didn't want to sip milk from here babies bottle because it was her own breast milk. The security guard took the bottle away.

What sort of sick bastard wants to see a women drinking her own breast milk?

Meanwhile I was reading the other day that somebody bought a deactivated hand grenade through security by mistake (and could clearly see it on the scanner screen) and not a word was said
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012...ing-procedures

http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/t...-1226248024953

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending...164507761.html

And don't say they just need better training. This is the sort of culture that you get when you create a police state.
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Old August 25th, 2012, 03:08 PM   #2315
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You are missing the point. The deterrent argument is moot as bombers really would care about it. The current system is totally ineffective, and to become slightly effective it'd become completely unworkable. Even airport security is dubious at best.
How would an X-ray check be ineffective in preventing large bombs from getting onto trains?
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Old August 25th, 2012, 06:32 PM   #2316
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How would an X-ray check be ineffective in preventing large bombs from getting onto trains?
Because only 10-20% of people with bags put their bags through it? And half the time the staff sit there chatting amongst themselves? To have a semblance of effective you need to replace the whole workforce first. The fact that unemployables and thugs are employed for these checks should tell you the purpose for these checks isn't to prevent terror. It's not the first time anti-terror is used as a convenience excuse for dodgy government policies.
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Old August 25th, 2012, 11:34 PM   #2317
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Because only 10-20% of people with bags put their bags through it? And half the time the staff sit there chatting amongst themselves? To have a semblance of effective you need to replace the whole workforce first. The fact that unemployables and thugs are employed for these checks should tell you the purpose for these checks isn't to prevent terror. It's not the first time anti-terror is used as a convenience excuse for dodgy government policies.
It is true that such security checks are useless but the fact that those people are employed and do at least something that motivates them to work is a good thing. In Britain you would have those guys living on benefits, stealing from shops and getting into criminal activities. This is just another form of paying benefits to those who are unable to find a decent job. Singapore employs similar policy and it seems to be doing just fine. That applies to other 'professions' such as streetsweepers and other unqualified and low-paid jobs. The choice is simple: they either do nothing and still get paid or at least do something and get paid the same. They still have that job and can stay on the decent side of life as opposed to those who live on the street or live off state benefits (which is, imho, the worst possible scenario).
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Old August 26th, 2012, 09:48 AM   #2318
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Quote:
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Because only 10-20% of people with bags put their bags through it? And half the time the staff sit there chatting amongst themselves? To have a semblance of effective you need to replace the whole workforce first. The fact that unemployables and thugs are employed for these checks should tell you the purpose for these checks isn't to prevent terror. It's not the first time anti-terror is used as a convenience excuse for dodgy government policies.
They just need to do their job in order for the check to be effective. I did comment earlier the workers don't seem capable of doing the work right.

I also don't think this type of work needs to go to highly-skilled workers. It doesn't take a graduate degree to see something suspicious on an X-ray scan.
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Old August 26th, 2012, 02:02 PM   #2319
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Just to underscore my point about traffic accidents being a bigger threat to Chinese life and limb than terrorists:
Quote:
BEIJING (Reuters) - A bus collided with a methanol tanker in northwest China early on Sunday and burst into flames, killing 36 people, state media said, in the latest incident to highlight China's dangerous roads.

Three of the 39 bus passengers travelling around 2 a.m. on a highway near Yan'an, Shaanxi province, survived the crash and were being treated in hospital, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Traffic accidents are among the leading causes of death in China, according to public health officials, as new and often poorly trained drivers take to roadways in greater numbers.

State media reports citing police figures say about 100,000 people have been killed in traffic accidents annually over the past decade, with the figure dipping to 70,000 last year.
Reuters

One hundred thousand people killed in traffic accidents every year. That is more than Al Qaeda could kill in their wildest dreams. That is more than the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945 which killed 60-80,000 people. While I oppose security checkpoints on roads for civil liberties reasons, if you're going to spend money on security checkpoints in order to save lives it would be more efficiently spend trying to catch drunk and unlicensed drivers. Improving rural roads and highways by widening them and adding shoulders and medians to prevent head-on collisions would be a better use of money that is being spent on random checks on metros.

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In Britain you would have those guys living on benefits, stealing from shops and getting into criminal activities. This is just another form of paying benefits to those who are unable to find a decent job.
That's a good point and one I could probably support, but not for security checkpoints on metros because they slow people down and give them opportunity to harass or shake down people. It's this kind of "petty power" that is exploited by immature people. We do not want to be putting "unemployable people" in security positions. How about jobs like street cleaning, painting over graffiti, or cleaning the metro?

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Old August 26th, 2012, 02:03 PM   #2320
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It is true that such security checks are useless but the fact that those people are employed and do at least something that motivates them to work is a good thing. In Britain you would have those guys living on benefits, stealing from shops and getting into criminal activities. This is just another form of paying benefits to those who are unable to find a decent job. Singapore employs similar policy and it seems to be doing just fine. That applies to other 'professions' such as streetsweepers and other unqualified and low-paid jobs. The choice is simple: they either do nothing and still get paid or at least do something and get paid the same. They still have that job and can stay on the decent side of life as opposed to those who live on the street or live off state benefits (which is, imho, the worst possible scenario).
Daily Mail-esque much.

Yes these people should be helped into jobs and there are ways to do it properly. I actually support the idea of the state maintaining or managing certain sectors which help reskilling people, as long as the jobs create actual wealth and act as a stepping stone for people to go up the job ladder. These Metro security jobs do nothing of the sort - they don't foster any kind of responsibility and are the employees are prematurely given powers they don't deserve. They just cause stress and misery to the travelling public and bring no benefit to society whatsoever.

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They just need to do their job in order for the check to be effective. I did comment earlier the workers don't seem capable of doing the work right.

I also don't think this type of work needs to go to highly-skilled workers. It doesn't take a graduate degree to see something suspicious on an X-ray scan.
You don't get it, it's never really been about stopping terror. It's always about creating public-sector non-jobs and keeping checks on people. The government isn't interested in them being capable of doing the work right.

To 'do the job properly' you need people with the right attitude and the ability to make balanced judgments between identifying risks and not causing too much inconvenience. Even this is still beside the point as there's no way of achieving anything close to 100% coverage which is what's needed to actually prevent any bombing.
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