Syracuse airport (courtesy David Kenik)

Just traveled through Syracuse airport. Upon exiting the terminal, travelers face these round-up (as in “cattle corral”) doors [pics above and after the jump]. They open automatically. Upon opening, several people are supposed to corral themselves inside and the door will automatically close and another opens on the other side. I was so appalled with the fatal implications in an emergency that I stopped a passing airport police officer to discuss. He said that they were there to allow people to leave the terminal while keeping people from entering. The sole purpose was so TSA does not have to post an officer there. I asked “what happens in an emergency, when people stampede the doors?” . . .

He replied that they will open automatically when the alarm sounds.  I then asked what happens if there is an emergency that does not trigger an alarm such as a personal attack or shooting?  He said that “they are video monitored so they will be opened if the door is stampeded.”  “So they will have to wait for the doors to be opened while they are being crushed to death?”  “They can use other exits as well” he replied.

Syracuse Airport II (courtesy David Kenik)

All to prevent hiring one person. Don’t even get me started on those long, exit-less tunnels leading from place to place inside airports. Have you noticed that security measures in “gun-free” airports are turning them into death traps? [NB: the Syracuse airport death traps were mentioned in Matt in FL’s Daily Digest on November 17]

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102 Responses to Question of the Day: Are Airports Death Traps?

        • Not sure of the cost of a CCW in Orange County. You must go through the OC Sheriff. All of CA is “may issue” (which is bullsh!t), but the OC Sheriff has approved all of my friends. As an LEO, I’m under HR118 and some other conditions, so I couldn’t tell you exactly. A call to the local sheriff’s office should shed some light on the required forms, documentation, fingerprinting, and BG check.

        • Yeah, Sheriff Mike made some great decisions with giving his golf and karate buddies permits.

    • #2. There Is Literally No Intelligence

      We knew that from the beginning.

      Amyway, I’ve got a flash for you – THIS ISN’T ISRAEL! There are NO Hezbollah “operatives” behind every tree waiting anxiously to blow up an airport. There is no earthly reason that a rational mind can conceive of that requires Syracuse Airport to mimic Attica. Got it?

      • You miss the point. We don’t want US airports to mimic Israeli airports. Rabbi is highlighting the stupidity of not allowing the carry of weapons beyond security. They implement these measures to make us safer, only to make things worse. All while saying legally armed citizens are too inept to carry firearms once they go in through the door.

    • Darn, you beat me to it, but it is a great article. With the lineups for the security checks you are creating a target-rich-environment. See point 3. “Security” Happens in One Place.

      But this quote sums up the TSA: …where “airport security officer” isn’t a synonym for “failed Walmart cashier.”

      Security is only as strong as the weakest point, and the weakest point is the minimum wage ex-burger flippers with a very large chip on their shoulders.

      • “Security is only as strong as the weakest point, and the weakest point is the minimum wage ex-burger flipping pervert with a very large chip on their shoulders.”

        Fixed that for you. How many of you knew that TSA has been hiring de-frocked priests?

        • Who else would they get to frisk 6 year old boys?

          As a secondary benefit they can also spend their time praying that no actual terrorist passes their security checkpoint.

  1. It would be more of a problem if they put these things at high traffic airports like O’Hare, Atlanta or Dallas-Fort Worth. How much traffic is there at Syracuse International?

      • It’s a matter of scale. It might work at a small airport and be a total flop at a high volume airport independent of an attack or fire. A place like O’Hare could have multiple wide bodies landing about the same time. Chaos will reign as the “transporters” back up.

        • They are essentially “air locks” and as such are not a good idea for congested areas, IMO. I would suggest selling these instead to convenience stores so that the clerk can screen customers before allowing them inside.

          As for airports, etc., if you really think this is an idea worth pursuing then you need to make these devices MCH larger. I suggest making that whole room a “lock.” People exiting fill up the room, the doors close behind them and the doors in front open. You could rapidly process maybe 100 folks at a time. You could also put an emergency break-away on the doors because if 100 people are pushing to get out in an emergency at some point (before the people in front are crushed or suffocated) the exits should snap open and trigger an alarm, but NOT trap the people inside. What you never want to do is rely on some guard watching a monitor two states away to decide whether or not to release the exits.

        • “if you really think this is an idea worth pursuing then you need to make these devices MCH larger.”

          These should be eliminated at all costs, NOT made bigger.

  2. The result may be a death trap, but that is not the reason for them. The general level of tyranny is being ratcheted up in certain specific ways, gradually, to try and get the public to accept ever-increasing levels of the police state.

      • I’ll have to disagree. Between initial cost, maintenance, and passenger time wasted…these will cost more than a guy standing at the entrance. Look around at the restriction of travel, warrantless searches, and legislation attempts at silencing those not sanctioned as press (not to mention 2a infringements). We are in the midst of a full on assault against liberty. If you aren’t pissed off, you aren’t paying attention.

        • The government doesn’t care if they waste your time. Now explain to me why this particular gate system is an assault on liberty? Private companies use these to control access. They have them at the Pentagon where he Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has to use one to get to the PAC. (That’s the gym for those who don’t know.)

        • You mentioned cost savings. I laid out the costs that will be greater, including the value of the passenger’s time. It is an affront to liberty due to restricting my movement and potentially putting my life at risk when a stampede, fire, or explosion hits while I am trapped behind these POS.

        • I have seen airports (and similar places) where they have a live (?) guard watching the exits, unarmed, untrained, and probably reading People magazine. Their total ability to control traffic is to yell at people who try to enter and tell them to go back. This is security?

          Presuming I am stuck with being unarmed and unprotected in this area I would hope for some sort of effective one-way barrier other than an unarmed minimum wage government employee. I’m not sure these are the answer, but I see it as at least an admission that they have created a problem that needs to be addressed.

        • If you watch the video I had in the Daily Digest a month ago, they list one of the primary reasons for installing these things as long-term cost savings. That single guard on a stool yelling at people costs more. Whether or not this is more secure is arguable. The fact that it’s cheaper long-term is not.

        • I wonder how long it takes one of them to read an issue of PEOPLE Magazine? Plus an issue of US?

          I can read an issue of HIGH TIMES in 35 minutes, and there’s ten times more detail. Those things are all pictures, for the most part….

  3. Yes! just read a critique this week of American airport “security” by the former head of security for El-AL. He noted the collecting of masses of people at various stop points as perfect targets for bombers. These are people lining up to be screened, so a suicide bomber wouldn’t have been searched yet. He also noted the large, glass partitions that would create huge amounts of shrapnel if a bomb went off.
    Finally, he criticized our search for weapons instead of attitudes. He said the Israelis do it all by questioning at various points and watching for non-verbal clues. Our security is set up to make the ignorant (including congress) feel better, but it doesn’t make us more secure.

    • From the reports I saw, the suicide bomb at the Russian train station was set off at the crowd waiting to go through a metal detector….

        • It’s not al-Qaeda, it’s Caucasian (as in, guys who live on Caucasus – Chechens, Dagestani etc) jihadists. Which are strongly connected to al-Qaeda these days, but they have their own separate structure, “Caucasian Emirate”.

          And they don’t want Russia to cancel the Winter Olympics. Why, Olympics is a perfect opportunity for them to blow up even more people in one go, and with so many cameras pointed at it.

      • This was the point I was trying to make a few weeks ago about security at sports stadiums and such events. Why in the world would someone try to defeat their security systems when those systems themselves serve to bunch up hundreds of distracted and obviously unarmed people into compact killing zones? One person with a bomb, and AK, or even a Chevy Silverado could do a whole bunch of hurt.

      • Security at some UK airports was reworked and upped, leading to large queues and big crowds awaiting screening… until someone gently pointed out that packing targets into places with no real protection wasn’t necessarily helping, if someone in the middle of that mass of people mutters “there is no god but God and Mohammed is his prophet!” before pulling the lanyard on a suitcase bomb.

        There’s no easy answer to determined attackers, but it was at least a good reason to push the airports into shortening the queues (and getting rid of some of the knee-jerk security measures intended to reassure rather than actually protect)

    • It’s interesting to note that shortly after 9/11, but just before the police militarization began, the Israeli cops and associated “consultants” were offering “training” for the US police in “crowd control,” often at HUGELY discounted cost. Those EXACT TTPs were subsequently demonstrated by the NYC, Chicago, Toronto, and Oakland PDs during the Occupy foolishness.

      And now we have a reprise of “Your airports suck because they aren’t being run like prisons. Let us show you how. And we have ‘preferred vendors’ for the equipment you’ll need.” Somehow I’m not buying the need here, but I certainly recognize a sales pitch when I see it.

      Stupid Alpha sheep in DC and various airport authorities will FLOCK to buy the stuff, I’ll wager.

  4. The TSA is about security theatre, not actual security.

    Any infantryman would look at this cattle chute setup and think “One or two frags, and the number of casualties is so high no one else could exit.”

    It’s pretty obvious that the TSA and airport security aren’t about security. It has been from the get-go.

  5. Not entirely. They are also money traps . . . and bacteria farms . . . and plantations for the cultivation of government jobs and union dues.

  6. My initial answer to stuff like this is that I just avoid areas like this or put myself into position somewhere where I have an out. We should all be concerned about things like this. Schools are the same thing, glass house, unrestricted gun free zones. When something happens rather than looking at the lack of physical security or training of security the focus immediately goes to the weapon used. The public needs to be more vocal about how asinine places like airports, mall and schools handle things like this. The way things are going you’re really going to need to show ID when buying pressure cookers…

  7. They’ve had cheap non-electronic revolving versions of this at swimming pools for decades. The only problem those might present is getting through with bulky luggage, but they’re definitely less of a waste of money than these things. Have they cut down the TSA staff since getting these or is one more guy just on break at any given time?

  8. Operates like the sally ports at the prison I worked at. Instead of grey metal you have shiny stainless and clean glass. Same functions.

  9. This should help serve as a wake-up call for everyone. Big Brother is steadily moving to regulate everything. The (un)Affordable Care Act was Big Brother’s major play to get their claws in deep into our health care. The joke that we know as the TSA has seized control of airports and air travel. And now the TSA is moving steadily toward seizing control of trains and even just plain old highway travel. (The TSA has crews that rove around the highways and stop semi tractor trailers … for the moment.)

    And I should not fail to mention our beloved Environmental Protection Agency which is able to shut down just about any industry … such as lead smelting or even petroleum mining. (When is the last time Big Brother approved a new permit to build an oil pipeline or to drill in the Gulf of Mexico?)

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want industries wrecking our environment. I also don’t want regulations to be stringent that no business is able to operate … or even worse regulations that the regulators manipulate to guarantee success for their “preferred” businesses.

    • “When is the last time Big Brother approved a new permit to build an oil pipeline or to drill in the Gulf of Mexico?”

      Close to “as soon as the heat dies down” as they can get. C Suite SESers need their highly-paid revolving door Industry jobs when they bail from their highly-paid do-nothing Government jobs.

  10. “I’ve got to get to the airport.”
    “The airport? What is it?”
    “It’s a big place where planes take off and land but nevermind that now, I’ve got to get to the airport.”

  11. By the way … this plus the recent terrorist attacks in Russia highlight a fatal security flaw that I posted recently about football stadiums (both college and NFL). If a spree killer or terrorist wants to kill a lot of people, they don’t have to go in a stadium or train to do it. They can simply attack at security choke check points where a mob of people is guaranteed to be.

    About the best security measure we can implement is eliminating dense mobs of people or enclosing mobs of people spaces with almost no exits.

    • You are exactly right. Why exactly would a killer care whether he detonated a bomb inside the stadium or outside the stadium if it carries the same life toll? Our entire approach to combat so-called terrorism is so idiotic it is hard to fathom how so many people find comfort from walking through metal detectors before they are allowed to watch a ball game.

      There are often crowds just as dense as airports in Wally World and other shopping centers…how long until we have to get scanned before buying our milk and eggs?

      These measures are just plain silly.

    • The best security we could provide would be:

      1) Eliminating security choke points where people bunch up into compact target groups, and
      2) Eliminate security checkpoints attempting to enforce “Gun free zones” so that terrorists and other BGs look elsewhere for targets.

      A steady stream of people is not as viable a target as a mob. A mob of people any of whom may be armed and able to shoot back is not a low-risk target. Not a fool-proof solution to suicide bombers, but certainly a deterrent to active shooters.

  12. I am seeing a lot of posts in Alex Jones territory. If you see the “police state” in every action taken by bureaucracy then you are going to miss real threats to your liberty. I bet few of the people ranting about this have ever actually ever been to a Police State. They don’t need to put up funny gates to exercise coercive authority. Often just a look does it. TSA inspires ridicule and not fear. Do you think anybody in China ridicules the NSS beyond black humor as the whistle past the graveyard?

  13. Do any of us know anywhere we can go and be completely safe? I can guarantee you bottle necked anywhere is a death trap, in more ways than one.

    • Someone once asked me to spec a computer that couldn’t be hacked. 100% positively, bet-the-farm sure. I told them to build a heavily-passworded and firewalled machine with no keyboard, and then seal it in a grounded fireproof box with no external connections or any way in or out.

      That’s also the only place I can think of where you’ll be perfectly safe. Until you die of asphyxiation. Everywhere else, you run some risk of injury, however small. It comes with breathing.

  14. It is definitely a choke point, and has all of the tactical pitfls of the same. I’m flying from Milwaukee to Houston to LAX. LAX is already a nightmare. I usually avoid that airport like the plague, but flying 5 people and luggage o’er the holiday ain’t cheap. At least I’m taking 555 rounds of .22 LR copper plated HP with me. Always look on the bright side of life…

  15. The sign says: “Please enter more than one person at a time (6 max)”. What grade did the writer get in English class?

  16. The most dangerous part of flying in the US commercially is waiting to be frisked or irradiated at the TSA checkpoint- a closely packed and very inviting target for a backpack IED, hand grenades or automatic weapons fire. I’m very surprised terrorists haven’t gotten around to this yet. Probably just a matter of time.

    • More likely “terrorists” are mainly a boogeyman they use to scare the sheeple into submission to all the unconstitutional abuses Our Glorious Beloved Infallible Commissar is inflicting on his flock plus the rest of us.

        • And not only that, but the cult of antismokerism is responsible for the obesity epidemic. Instead of pausing half-way through your meal for a smoke, the only thing you’re allowed to stick in your mouth any more is more food.

        • That’s an interesting theory, and I’ve never heard that before. Actually, the obesity epidemic is has reasons, some not yet understood. But the best explanation I’ve come across is that the soil is more than 95% depleted of its original nutrients, and people are eating more because their bodies are demanding more nutrition – and still not getting it.

          Best advice: take vitamins, the good quality shit actually made from FOOD.

        • Why would you pause halfway through a meal for a smoke? Might as well just throw the other half away and lick the sidewalk while you’re outside. It’ll end up tasting about the same.

          And yes, I used to smoke, so I know what I’m talking about. I’m not a “devout like a convert” antismoking cultist, you can do what you want. But I am speaking from experience on this point. Anything you eat within about 20 minutes of having a cigarette, unless the food is very strongly flavored, just tastes like the cigarette.

        • “Why would you pause halfway through a meal for a smoke?”

          Well, I do because I like to smoke. And it gives my food a chance to settle in my stomach, and may actually stimulate digestive enzymes and stuff.. I dunno about anyone else, but I do know that when I was a bus boy in the late1960’s, a put-out cigarette in a plate of food was very common.

          Matt, you sound almost like you’re trying to justify your choice not to smoke. I’m a smoker, but I say, if you don’t want to smoke, don’t smoke. I only have a problem with people who get all in my face about it and try crazy crap like tell me I can’t smoke in my own car and stuff because they’re oh so concerned about my health an’ shit.

          I had to quit alcohol because it was tearing up my body, but if I ever turn non-drinking into some kind of religion, I hope somebody shoots me in the head.

        • No, Rich. Almost unbelievably, you have turned SMOKING into a religion. Would you like a final cigarette?

        • Burke, you sure can act like a shithead sometimes.

          My “religion” is Liberty. and the Constitution is my Bible.

          Freedom is my Worship Word.

          God’s Will is Free Will.

          Life is Movement, stasis is death.

          Hope this helps!

        • “Shithead”. This from the guy who called me a communist!

          In 2013, I’ve been called “gay-basher”; “right-wing extremist”; “misogynist”, and, by you, communist.

          Jesus Aitch Kee-RIST!!

        • That’s what he must have meant: you stop eating halfway through, smoke a cigarette. Then the food is cold and tastes like shit, and you throw it to the hogs. And smoke some more. It’s the smoke-chimney weight-loss plan!

          Or else maybe he only eats taco shells. With habanero sauce.

        • No, I eat real food, but not that chemical mace that Mexicans seem to love so much. Pain is Mother Nature’s way of saying, “Don’t do that.”

        • NO; pain is Nature’s way of saying, “send some more groovy endorphins, pronto!” Gringo.

  17. “All to prevent hiring one person.”

    REPUBLICONS (purposely misspelled for truth) have cut every nickle and dime from the federal budget so that rich people can keep their corporate welfare, so where is the extra money that you complain about gonna come from? Typical CONservative BS.

    • Put more specifically, Democrats want to take all your money and give it to the poor, without worrying that you are already poor. Republicans want to take it and give it to their rich patronage.

  18. I dunno about death traps. Dehumanizing is what I’d call it.

    This isn’t a prison where the violent and untrustworthy are sequestered as punishment for their crimes. It’s an airport. This is EVERYBODY being shuffled through automatic one-way gates like so much toxic material.

  19. I actually am going to say “no”. The automatic exits that I have seen are all in areas of the airport that require you to have:

    1) Gone through security at another airport
    2) Boarded plane
    3) Flown on plane
    4) Disembarked
    5) Got luggage
    6) Made your way to exit in new town far away from where you started

    The odds that somebody at the end of their journey is going to start shooting is ridiculous.

  20. All I know is each biz trip I take I have to stand in that line and disrobe and each time I feel ready to put my own gun to my own head. So, in that sense, yeah, they’re death traps.

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