Focus on the High Risk Scenarios, Not Scissors on Planes

Director of Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security says look at the bigger picture

Four years after 9/11, it is time for our public figures to help educate the public that our homeland security efforts are not being designed to eliminate risk, but rather to minimize and manage risk. Once the public starts accepting the risk of a terrorist attack as one of the many background risks that we face in our everyday lives, the government will be able to shape public policies that maximize our protection.

Until then, we may be stuck with policies that require airline screeners to spend their time searching for children's scissors deep in a carry-on bag while the man with the belt of plastic explosives slips right on by -- unnoticed.

About the author: David Schanzer is director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill.