Bruce Schneier talks a lot of sense. In a great blog post he shoots down the hysterical reactions by the authorities to reports of supposed "terrorist" attacks.
From the post:
"The problem is that ordinary citizens don't know what a real terrorist threat looks like. They can't tell the difference between a bomb and a tape dispenser, electronic name badge, CD player, bat detector, or a trash sculpture; or the difference between terrorist plotters and imams, musicians, or architects. All they know is that something makes them uneasy, usually based on fear, media hype, or just something being different.
Even worse: after someone reports a "terrorist threat," the whole system is biased towards escalation and CYA [cover your ass security] instead of a more realistic threat assessment."
I agree with him completely on this. Supposed counter-terrorist measures at airports, for example, are there so if there is an incident the airport authorities will have looked like they had tried to prevent it, rather than actually being effective. Yes, you need to be scanned, but having to take your shoes off and make sure you're not carrying any water? Crazy.