This article in the Sydney Morning Herald points out the absolute hopelessness of current airport security gates. I find them annoying and obviously worthless. I wonder if the people who work at airports carrying out security checks feel just at worthless?
Airport security is a charade - miming a thing without actually doing the thing. It assumes that bad people only use obvious weapons, such as knives, nail clippers, small bottles of perfume, machine guns and brass knuckles. It also assumes that they obey lots of rules while preparing for mass murder, like sitting down when told, or not using the bathroom in the last hour of flight.
Obviously [sarcasm warning] a potential killer won't do bad things like ripping hard plastic shrouds off the windows and using the splintered brittle plastic as a stabbing implement. They won't use any of the dozens or possibly hundreds of other things found on an aircraft that can equally be used for mayhem.
The article mentioned is correct in that a better approach is to consider the passenger - not his or her goods. Taking nail clippers off an Australian couple with two kids flying from Sydney to Melbourne in the school holidays is only going to make them angry and reinforce the farce that is airport security at Sydney airport.
Our security agencies spend a lot of taxpayer money identifying threats - both individual and general types. It's about time that they used this profiling information to carefully identify those who may threaten security, whether at the airport or anywhere else. In fact, it seems that it's only at the airport that we don't use the sort of intelligence that ASIO and other bodies gather.