This is even more incomprehensible to me because I have always considered American citizens to be more attached to civil liberties and individual freedom than most Europens.
Perhaps, but still... it's complicated. Ask an Irish-American in the 1800s, a black American in 1840 or 1930, or a Japanese-American in 1944:
From the earliest days of the USA, it has taken a lot of fighting to keep the ideals alive in practice as well as on paper.
I've watched several highly-educated friends try to get green cards, jumping through hoops all the way.
The fact that emigrating to the USA has been deliberately engineered to be very difficult is a relatively polite, bureaucratic, impersonal form of anti-immigrant sentiment, but it is definitely real.
But that skill was developed through practice.
From civil liberties to software patents, maybe Europe isn't what Rush Limbaugh says it is. Wonder of wonders.
Can you give an example of something the British police can do that the American counterparts can't ?
What happened? How did we become a nation of wimps??
That doesn't sound like living in terror, that sounds like good sense. IIRC dogs are pretty reliable (false alarms are rare) and one terminal isn't the whole airport.
Puppy breeders don't make million $ campaign contributions or hire TSA officials as 'advisers'
By contrast the police here got German Sheppards to sniff for drugs on suspects on the street. It turns out the police didn't actually buy trained sniffer dogs - they just wanted something big and fierce looking to 'encourage' people to cooperate.
Not that the TSA would consider any such thing.
We are seeing the hybrid of the Nanny State and the Police State, the kindergarten teacher and the prison warden, with everything all soft and fuzzy and nice, but manacles and truncheons for those who step out of line. The rising cost of this state metastasis will fall squarely on the shoulders of the dwindling few suckers who choose to live responsibly.
You are correct- there are a bunch of policies and people etc that can help mitigate all that- but I think this explains why there is less focus and/or use of our bomb-sniffing pals.
If we were terrorized, we would not fly by the millions... every day!
I won't get into the civil liberties topic. There are trade-offs we will all never agree on. One of those is security v. liberties. So everyone just tug their way and we'll see where we end up.
My view of it is that humans routinely miscalculate risk and behave quite irrationally from a risk-minimization perspective. At the same time, a public that is largely apathetic about politics in general is easily moved by fear-mongering, us-vs-them rhetoric, etc. -- like any fad, terrorism simply captures the imagination of some people.
Attempts to stop the overreaction suffer from the typical challenge: the majority who don't care about terrorism care about the issue less than the vocal minority for whom it's a very big (as in scary or as in profitable) deal.
Also, due to the government's habit of paying for terrorism prevention, the typical corruption/overspending problems happen far more easily than they would in a decentralized system. And, due to the political nature of terrorism prevention, our leaders work to minimize the extent to which they would likely be blamed for an attack rather than working to make us feel/be safer.
But I edited my post because statistically the majority of us are not afraid. We care, and definitely vote for leaders who refuse to terrorize us a la Cheney, but we know we have to adapt our way of life to minimize the risks--which can be confused with fear, but is actually the rational thing to do, since we're dealing with irrational people.
I was too succinct, but yes the majority needs to do a better job of controlling the message we send to terrorists--that I should have conceded.
Yes, the terrorists would have failed. Then they would exploit our continued lack of vigilance and try again and again until we were scared and started to crack down. These arguments that we should not respond to terrorism are a bunch of lovey dove hopeful hogwash. Terrorists aren't going to give up because we ignored their destructive acts. They will keep blowing more shit up until they are dead or get the attention they seek.
At least read the next paragraph, dude.