That is a truism. The U.S. is on alert for a 9/11-type disaster 24 hours a day even on airplanes that barely can make it off the runway. No Muslim terrorist--in fact, no terrorist, at all--is likely to try to smuggle some disabling spray aboard a flight going anywhere. That doesn't mean that the hassle at the airport is useless. It is probable what keeps our flying safe.
Gideon Rachman has written a smart column for the FT--you see, I don't dislike the FT (just its truly vicious views on Israel)-- and it is about the next scenario for mass terror extravaganzas. Well, not exactly the next. We've already seen the blood ballet in Mumbai and in other world capitals where Islam has a grievance. But the Indian demonstration of what a small group of trained incendiaries can accomplish in the traffic of death must have been inspiring to other spiritual killers on the loose.
The fact is, as Rachman points out, that hotels and big hotels, especially, are obvious targets for those who seek paradise quickly. That Tata, the owner of one of the Mumbai targets, had taken virtually no precautions to protect life and property (or property and life, whichever is most important to management) despite numerous assaults on tourist facilities, should be shocking. But it isn't. This is the 21st century version of the Triangle Fire, an act not perpetrated by anyone but a view of human life nonetheless.
So what do we do? Not check into the Waldorf or the New York Hilton? There are thousands of these equally unprotected hostelries all over.
And while we're contemplating venues for mass murder, think of airports, with thousands of passengers before they go through security. Or a concert hall and a museum. Be sure some imam is planning an atrocity somewhere.