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Punishment as a deterent: Security through legislation and prosecution?

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  • Punishment as a deterent: Security through legislation and prosecution?

    "How an 82-year-old exposed security lapses at nuclear facilities"
    [By R. Jeffrey Smith, @3:00am Pacific Time, September 12, 2012]

    Originally posted by URL1
    The hammering on the wall of America’s premier storage vault for nuclear-weapons grade uranium in pitch-darkness six weeks ago was loud enough to be heard by security guards. But they assumed incorrectly that workmen were making an after-hours repair, and blithely ignored it.
    The casual and relatively swift penetration of the site’s defenses on July 28 by the activists has provoked their felony indictment on federal charges.
    The United States may be riding a short-bus when it comes to understanding security, and how penalties can be used to discourage people from committing crimes. Pushing for a harsh penalty as a tool toward, "setting an example," will not be effective against certain people. This is worse than, "Security Theater."

    Though penalties may convince many people that committing a crime is not worth a penalty, there are always people that think they can get away with committing a crime, or rationalize the penalty multiplied by the risk of getting caught as being less than the chance of success multiplied by the possible gain. After the September 11th attack, you would think Americans would understand that it is impossible to prosecute people that have successfully completed a suicide attack, as they are dead.

    Threats of law, and punishment as a deterrent are only useful against those that value self-preservation over conviction of beliefs, those that believe the risk in getting caught is too high, and those that have whatever kind of ethics or morality that effectively discourage them from becoming criminals.

    Extremists willing to spend their life as part of their cause are unlikely to be swayed to rethink their actions, such as breaking into such a facility.

    If you controlled nuclear weapon stockpiles, and you were going to find a way to decrease risks of trespassing like the ones claimed in this article, and other more nefarious goals by less than compassionate people which were also described in this article, what would you do?

    How would you improve physical security at such a location? Is your suggestion cost-effective? How would you make sure it is followed? Would your policies address risks associated with people that are willing to sacrifice their own life for their cause, or goal?