The task of isolating the data points that identify one dangerous individual among thousands is hard; there will be, under the best of conditions, an element of judgment involved, an ineradicable quantum of human frailty. Tragic mistakes will always be possible. And there will be little or no defense against a lunatic, unconnected with any group, who ignites kindling in his underpants.A bit florid, perhaps, but otherwise on the money. Odd, then, that it sits in the middle of an essay haranguing us about persistent, systemic failures in state security. If there is a lesson in the Christmas non-bombing, it is that you can't defend against every nut out there any more than you can prevent every highway smash-up or household accident. To live is to accept some modicum of risk. To live in an advaned, industrailized, technological, hegemonic, militaristic, imperial society in the twenty-first century is to accept with fair certainty that someone, somewhere, wants to blow you up, like, right now. This is, as they say, the cost of doing business, an inevitable outcome of the system in which we live, work, and pretend to thrive.
-Thomas Kean and John Farmer Jr.