Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Air Cargo Humor

The local newspaper asked for comments and suggestions concerning the use of more instrusive pat downs at airport security checkpoints. Suggestions included sending all baggage by express courier or a new baggage only airline for more efficient and faster service, having the military take over security, boycotting the airlines and inviting the Israelis to design our systems. The one that caught my attention was a little extreme, but definitely innovative. Instead of a scanning device, the booth passengers step into would become a detonating device. If explosives were detected, they would be detonated within the confines of the booth. The next announcements broadcast over the PA system would be for cleanup in the security area and the availability of seat on Flight 123.

While a little extreme for use on human beings, perhaps it is not so farfetched for packages. What if all packages or even just those suspected of containing explosives or coming from high risk areas passed through a detonation booth. If the machine detected explosive materials in packages like the ones containing the ink cartridges, the package would be immediately detonated within the confines of the booth. If that process slowed the flow of packages, the suspect package could be removed from the flow and taken to the specially designated detonation booth. If we are going to 100% scanning of packages, would the chance of innocent packages being blown to bits outweigh the cost of the new technology and the increased success in thwarting terrorist attempts? Perhaps the new detonating booth is already on the drawing board and coming to an airport and/or cargo facility near you!

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