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Amish Metal Detector

Security Without Electricity
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Listening to a conversation about today's tragic events in Pennsylvania, I overheard a woman lament that there weren't any metal detectors at the school where the shooting occurred.

A male companion informed her that it took place at a one-room schoolhouse, and besides, "they're Amish. They don't use electricity."

While I'm not so sure that the Amish lifestyle is that austere, I did begin to think about how people who didn't use electricity (extreme Luddites, orthodox Jews on the Sabbath, and questionably, the Amish) might look to their security within the confines of their cultures and traditions.

What I came up with was the Amish Metal Detector.

It consists of two thin wooden paddles, stacked one on top of the other. One paddle, which is the face of the metal detector, has a grid of 1-cm pits drilled partially through it, spaced about 2-cm apart. At the center of the bottom of each pit is a 1-mm hole which penetrates the paddle.

Each of the pits then has a 25-cm piece of string threaded through it, with one end tied to the second paddle, which forms the metal detector's back.

To the free end of each string is tied a small neodymium magnet, painted fluorescent yellow or orange for high visibility.

When the paddles are pulled apart, the strings pull the magnets back into their respective pits in the facing board. There is enough space separating the two paddles that the string can move freely, should a magnet be pulled out of its pit.

The metal detector, in use, is simply run across the body of the person being searched. Any ferrous material then attracts one or more magnets, which stick to the object through the clothing.

Security personnel should both see the magnet, and feel a tug on the paddle as it reaches the end of its magnetic tether. The area where the magnet is sticking can then be manually frisked or exposed to reveal if the item of interest is a weapon.

While the limitations of this metal detector do not enable it to find non-ferrous weapons (such as knives made of ceramic, titanium or polymer), all commercially manufactured guns contain enough magnetic steel to be detected.

(jutta-This doesn't really fit under Air Security, but I didn't see an appropriate category. If there's a better one, you may move it).

Guncrazy, Oct 02 2006

Milk Driver Kills 3 At Amish Schoolhouse http://www.cbsnews....mainD8KGOQJ00.shtml
While I originally thought the premise of this idea was merely a macabre fabrication of the author to setup his invention, here is a report of the actual event from today's news. [jurist, Oct 03 2006]

Arm everyone? http://www.ktvb.com...enleaf.84b1934.html
[Shz, Oct 05 2006]

For those who think that disarming the general population might prevent school massacres http://en.wikipedia...i/Dunblane_Massacre
[DrCurry, Oct 06 2006]

Violent gun crimes increasing in Australia, Canada, decreasing in US http://www.fraserin....asp?sNav=nr&id=570
[DrCurry, Oct 06 2006]

Assault and rape twice as high in Australia as the US http://www.chronwat...isplay.asp?aid=8073
The article suggests because women are not allowed firearms for defense. Although maybe it's because all the headfucked gun nuts had their guns taken away and now they're *really* pissed. [DrCurry, Oct 06 2006]


       Product: Weapon: Countermeasure
DrCurry, Oct 03 2006

       Magnetic phenomena are just another manifestation of Electricity. So the Amish might (should) not use magnets, too.
neelandan, Oct 03 2006

       Do you really think a person with criminal intent would stand there in this device long enough to be detected and paddled?
MoreCowbell, Oct 03 2006

       The Amish do not use new technology (post 1850, I think). This would be new technology. Basically the phrase "Amish Invention" is an oxymoron. It is not a matter of materials, or power source, it is the innovation that is anathema.
Galbinus_Caeli, Oct 03 2006

       Like metal detectors are going to do any good without a guard to operate them and to grapple with the gunman. No wonder the Amish want to avoid the modern world.   

       The idea seems needlessly complex. Use one big magnet, and feel it tug at the gun. It would also wipe out credit cards, but the Amish wouldn't care about that.
baconbrain, Oct 04 2006

       // if this sparks a ... battle//   

       it has.
neelandan, Oct 05 2006

       Wouldn't work. Far better would be to have trained dogs that can sniff fear, aggression and tension in a potential perp. Not a conflict with Amish beliefs, as dogs have been around for centuries.
esperance, Oct 05 2006

       Do you really think they didn't realize this guy wasn't supposed to be there? They live in a tiny community where everyone knows everyone else. The last thing in the world the Amish need is a metal detector.   

       And when they did realize he was hostile, what could they do? They have sworn off violence. It may seem anathema to you or me, but they would rather allow something like this to happen than kill the gunman.   

       Seems crazy, until you think that we have school shootings and war and hate crimes, whereas they do not unless we visit it upon them.   

       And there is no temporal cutoff for amish technology use, they simply evaluate each new innovation (very) carefully before adopting it, to decide if there will be a positive or negative effect on the community.
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 05 2006

       I would just like to point out that the Amish mourners I saw on the TV news last night were wearing wristwatches and using microphones and folding metal chairs. Not quite the reactionary stereotypes we appear to be promulgating here.
DrCurry, Oct 05 2006

       I'm with [UB]. The only motivation to carry a gun as a member of the general public is because you're afraid of other people with guns or that you like the perceived power that gun ownership confers. Neither of these reasons serves the greater good in the long run, as confirmed by tragedies like this.

Whilst the constitutional right of the U.S. general public (which must include loons and killers as well as good old [norm]) to bear firearms continues to trump the right of the U.S. general public not to get gunned down whilst going about their daily business things like this will happen again and again. This isn't the last of it and it will get worse.
DocBrown, Oct 05 2006

       normzone: I agree I would not have had the nerve either. Don't forget, however, that a person who is driven to walk into a room full of people and push them off this mortal coil before taking his own fateful leap is ill. Murderers are socially sick people who have, in their twisted view of reality, made the best possible choice for themselves, just as any of us would, and do, do every single day. I'm not condoning the assailant's actions, but forgiveness and treatment is paramount.   

       Also: I agree. Removing guns from the possession of the general public (in whichever country they are in) is likely the most beneficial choice.
LED Prism, Oct 06 2006

       Ah, but you have to be able to trust your government, to do that.
DrCurry, Oct 06 2006

       //Penis substitutes//   

       That'll explain the saying "lead in your pencil"
skinflaps, Oct 06 2006

       In all fairness to GunCrazy, the ranting and bigotry all seems to be in the comments on this one, not the idea itself.   

       I am still puzzling over UB's suggestion that the way to stop random school killings is to go round shooting people. Or that a peace-loving sect with old-fashioned ideals is in any way comparable to a violently nihilist terrorist group. An interesting take on life, to say the least.
DrCurry, Oct 06 2006

       So the, um, headfucked gun nuts will simply join the police, the army, and/or registered gun clubs, or else just hide the guns in the first place. Sorry to doubt you on this, but I'm not seeing an advantage.   

       P.S. A quick Internet search suggests that, far from working, the gun laws have led to an *increase* in violent gun crimes. I'll post some links.
DrCurry, Oct 06 2006

       I think this is a decent idea. Having a non-electronic metal detector could be useful in many places. This one is a bit complex though. I think a large magnet might be better, as it would clamp onto the weapon, making it harder to use. Of course, various matters of hilarity might also ensue, depending on the size of the magnet, and belt buckles and such.   

       This gun rant seems particularly unenlightening. A suicidal maniac bent on hurting a lot of other people may use a gun out of convenience, but really now, if he doesn't have a gun, would it be so hard for him to whip up a decent bomb? I mean in a society so reliant on petroleum products as we are...
ye_river_xiv, Oct 06 2006


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