- People spend on average less time in line.
- Terrorists get caught more often.
Suicide bombers who are older — in their late 20’s and early 30’s — and better educated are less likely to be caught on their missions and are more likely to kill large numbers of people at bigger, more difficult targets than younger and more poorly educated bombers.The solution is simple. Passports could be linked to electronic education records and every year of education could increase the expected length of screening by an extra 12%. Liberals will whine about unfair treatment, but winning the war on terror is about being effective, not pleasing a few politically-influential constituencies.
... Whereas typical bombers were younger than 21 and about 18 percent of them had at least some college education, the average age of the most successful bombers was almost 26 and 60 percent of them were college educated.
Experience and education also affect the chances of being caught. Every additional year of age reduces the chance by 12 percent. Having more than a high school education cuts the chance by more than half.
There are many examples where young or uneducated terrorists made stupid mistakes that foiled them. Professor Benmelech recounts the case last April of a teenager from Nablus apprehended by Israeli soldiers before carrying out his bombing because he was wearing an overcoat on a 95-degree day. Mr. Reid, the failed shoe bomber, had only a high school degree. Would an older terrorist with more education have tried to light a match on his shoe (as Mr. Reid did) in plain view of the flight attendant and other passengers who proceeded to thwart his plan? Would a better-educated terrorist have been more discreet? We will never know.
The research suggests, however, that there may be a reason that the average age of the 9/11 hijackers (at least the ones for whom we have a birth date) was close to 26 and that the supposed leader, Mohammed Atta, was 33 with a graduate degree.