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Next up… The Booby Bomber

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February 15, 2010 Travel News 4 Comments

Be wary of the Booby Bomber… Ok. A weak attempt at wit, but it is where we seem to be heading.

Here is the bomber history. A story is being built.

First, we had the shoe bomber. Succeeded in burning his feet.

Then we had the knicker bomber. Spent 20 minutes in the toilet only to come out and set his genitals alight.

And with the articles now circling in the press (eg: Telegraph UK Article) the next logical step will be the Booby Bomber. Females with large (we must assume) bras loaded with explosives.

A recent article in the Travel Section of the NYT was very helpful to us all. (NYT Article). This article educates us on how we can assist with the checks that must be performed in order to ensure our safety. Article printed in the NYT but does appear to simply be a govt press release.

Rome Fiumicino Terminal 300x196 Next up... The Booby Bomber

Fiumicino Airport entrance hall

We all want security. And we all view it differently. That is why some of us buy insurance, some don’t, some sky dive, some don’t, some drink alcohol or smoke, some don’t etc.

But when Governments look after our security, they need to work not on emotion, but on real probability. Otherwise security measures end up being correct for the most insecure persons in society, while normal people suffer. And they are expected to suffer silently due to “better to be safe than sorry”. This is a childish argument. With half the security we could be 3-5% more at risk. But you are still 100 times more likely to die on your way to the airport, than from the airport to destination back to airport. There is simply no such thing as 100% safe.

But, I have a few questions about this.

  1. Why do the governments conclude that 2 failed attempts at bombings on a total of 250,000,000 flights in the last ten years, require us to go through all this security.
  2. The “bombers” didn’t have bombs! If they were working for Al Qaeda, who one would assume are somewhat knowledgeable, they wouldn’t have ended up with just burnt bits. Inflammable material is not explosive unless under pressure (or in a state for very high burn rate, such as semi gas or plastic explosive, in which a semi explosion is achievable without pressure).
  3. Neither of these bombers were girls under 14, young boys, older ladies, or your “average” joe. So why do they think it is a good idea to scan these people? Profiling is extensive (no scanners at metros, none on boats, only passengers on planes, and only in certain countries – that is already extensive profiling) – so why not use it. I don’t mean only muslims, or people wearing a burkah, but at least not grannies, and children – really, I will take the risk.
  4. If this is so important, then we need the best people doing the job. The people who currently do the job at the airport are that? Are they are not private company employees with limited training and almost zero security checks and no checks on previous sexual offenses? (Apparently the UK govt feels it necessary to police check up to 12 million people who might drive kids to school and back, but not the actual people who are photographing your children).

The terrorists have done their job. Their idea is to change the way we think and act (making a huge assumption that there are “motives or reason” behind terrorism). Our govts are obliging. Not only, they are doing the main work for them.

Conspiracy? Not at all. That would assume competence, and this has not been noted from either side of the equation. This is just simple politics – scare people then make them feel safe – makes them important. Insurance salesmen have been doing it for decades.

(It is fast turning into the storyline for a porn movie – you know the one about the student who wants better grades, or the nurse and the patient (no, I have never seen it either, I too have just heard about it). The next story line will be about the terrorist and the security guard….

Check out what some German protesters think of it all…

Or a contrarian view, just found, to give some balance.

His point is absolutely correct that these are not “photographs”. But there are many different resolution pictures being talked about and if someone is sick enough to be sexually interested in a minor or whatever, they are probably sick enough to be interested in “suggestive” photos. This is not paranoia of films/pictures of kids on the internet. I put my own family beach films on the net of my two young ones. But that is me making my choice with my family. It is the difference in me absolutely trusting my neighbour and his ethics with baby sitting my children, from the govt sending me “their” choice of who they say I should trust.

This is a problem with discussion on the resolution of the photos. Either they are not very detailed, in which case they would not have spotted the knicker bomber anyway, or they are.

And Reuters’ view…

Not much discussed but the obvious solution – no human interface. Match that with no storage of the images or digital connection between image and identity, and it will all be fine. But these must be guaranteed.

Dogs, who are 100 times more capable at detecting explosives, would perform a much better service than the scanners, just wandering around the airport. But, that assumes that people have not had all the explosive material “implanted” – that is the next step. (Although this has been documented Afghanistan with fairly humourous results. A large volume of explosive was put in the gentleman’s rectum before he met with a dignitary, only for him to blow his backside off, with little damage to his target.)

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. reginadiroma says:

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    I think I was mistaken for a booby bomber just recently. Actually several times now I have been felt up by airport staff before leaving Colombia. There, they normally feel you up, have the dogs sniff you, AND put you through the machines. Seems they are more stringent when looking for drugs than bombs?
    Great article!

    • Keith says:

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      Good analogy. Variations on the “security” theme are interesting – my synopsis was really targeting European/N.American travel. But you show that outside of that it all becomes a little open to interpretation as to what is important. Recently I went through security in Morocco – all the bags went through the scanner but there was no-one checking the screen. The lady was chatting to a colleague 5 metres away. The flight was from Islamic Africa to Central Europe – one would think some risk. But if they don’t even do that check…

  2. Eli says:

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    Hmm. I agree that the security at airports is a bit much, but I also believe it is really difficult for the average traveler to assess the risk of terrorism. The extensive security at airports may perhaps serve to scare some terrorists off. But then again, as said in the article, they would probably simply go for other targets if that was the case.

    I guess that airplanes are a spectacular target for any terrorist. So my opinion is that I don’t mind going through some security if it means that it really makes flying more secure. (Which may not always, or even usually be the case according to Keith’s comment!) I do get irritated though when the security gets ridiculous (looking for bombs in my lipstick? Give me a break!).

  3. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    [...] An article recently published by us presented an in-depth discussion on the raging debate over the planned use of airport body scanners, which leave passengers virtually naked when going through security (Next Up… The Booby Bomber). [...]

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