Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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I think this would be a great thing to not do.

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Terrorist Competition

something always has to happen for something to happen
  (+10, -6)
(+10, -6)
  [vote for,

Airport security people seem like a very unimaginative bunch. Instead of thinking pre-emptively, they leave it to creative terrorists to discover holes in their system, and only after the terrorist has exploited the hole, do they plug it.

Almost any measure employed by airports (eg. ban on liquids and sharp items, shoe screening) is a response to something that has already happened. But what about things that *could* happen? We all know that the main weapon of terrorists is the element of surprise - they never use the same tactic twice.

Since security people are obviously incapable of stepping in terrorist's shoes, why not leave it to the public?

Airports should initiate a competition: Anyone who manages to smuggle a certain amount of a substance on board wins $10,000. The substance would be something harmless like baking soda. But security people would be trained to search for that substance just as vehemently as explosives.

Obvious loopholes in the security system would be discovered in a matter of weeks and be fixed before terrorists have a chance to exploit them.

By making everyone think like a terrorist, passengers themselves would be better at spotting them, and security guards would be more alert.

kinemojo, Oct 21 2007

Or you could just use real explosives... http://www.cnn.com/...plosives/index.html
...and not tell the passengers about it... [imaginality, Jan 13 2010]


       You need to stop everyone carrying it just in case it wasn't found...
...sell 'terrorism tickets' at about a tenner each (GBP10, USD23.30). Only those who have purchased a ticket and had it logged at check-in are eligible to win a prize for smuggling baking soda undetected.

       Otherwise, you'd have students with baking soda coming out of every orifice and packed into every part of their luggage doing a 'brute force' attack on the system.   

       But otherwise, I really like that idea [+]
vincevincevince, Oct 21 2007

       I like and dislike this idea.   

       I think the thoughts of cavity searches and flight delays would keep most people from trying to beat the system so I agree with [vinceCubed] about the student onslaught because they have less to lose and more of a desire to prove something, but this would allow terrorists to try plan new avenues of attack with impunity and possibly getting funded to do it.   

       Couldn't a real terrorist use this as a alibi (I was trying to win the Terrorist Competition. It's fake explosive, I swear.)?
Shadow Phoenix, Oct 21 2007

       [Big Bird Shade] that's all well and good apart from the fact that it's not baking soda and it is explosive... I can see the alibi being found out.   

       Perhaps this could be replaced by a random smuggling invitation. Random passengers are informed when they purchase a ticket that they are invited to smuggle baking soda on board; if they manage it then they get USD10,000 (GBP4034.40 at today's rate), if they don't want to try or fail then there's no loss to them.
vincevincevince, Oct 22 2007

       "Really, Officer! The chances of any aircraft having a bomb on it are very small, and the chances of any aircraft having two different bombs on it are almost nil. So I'm just smuggling this one onboard to make it impossible for there to be another one. I promise to not set it off."
baconbrain, Oct 22 2007

       Perfect - another way to keep everyone all riled up about 'terrorism' so the gubbamint can keep using it as an excuse for world domination. [-]
nuclear hobo, Oct 22 2007

       Um...read that again.   

       I could be wrong but the way I read the statement implied that the terrorism threat, (although real) is just another in a long string of reasons to keep the US military coffers lined and world citizens, (including their own), under the US thumb so to speak.   

       The Middle East is just the latest crisis, not the whole world.   

       Again, I freely admit I may have misinterpreted the statement we both read.   

       As for domination; military force is but one pressure which can be applied. To discount political or economic leverage is to voluntarily wear blinders while viewing the larger picture.   

       I would also, (though not an advocate of terrorism by any means) question the motives of those driven to such lengths to make themselves heard.   

       Are they the actions of conquerors, or actions of the oppressed?   

       One thing that we cannot forget is that airline terrorism was a result of using items that were allowed on the plane. Nothing had to be smuggled. Even today after you ban liquids, toothpaste, hair gel, and nail clippers, a TRUE terrorist would just simply find something else to use as a weapon.
Jscotty, Oct 22 2007

       Disappointed with the idea. I thought it was going to be something along the lines of the archery competition that the cunning Sheriff of Nottingham devised in order to capture the terrorist outlaw, Robin Hood. Perhaps planting a wealthy enclave of western businessmen in the heart of Baghdad and declaring the area totally secure could achieve this objective. 'Terrorists' would be queuing up to attack it. You could call it something exciting and mysterious like...ooh I don't know...the Green Zone.
DrBob, Oct 23 2007

       "We all know that the main weapon of terrorists is the element of surprise - they never use the same tactic twice"   

Murdoch, Oct 23 2007

       there has only been one shoebomber, one liquid bomber, and one underpant bomber so far.
kinemojo, Jan 08 2010

       The terrorists will inevitably outsmart all of the screening processes, but they don't need to in the short term. You just have to accept an element of risk when you fly. American security is especially weak and chaotic, as recently proven, and it's only a matter of time before another major attack takes place somewhere, somehow.   

       In one recent "successful" suicide bomber attack, the explosives were actually contained inside the anus of the attacker. How will you screen for that? - Shoes off! Trousers down! Touch your toes!
xenzag, Jan 08 2010

       //explosives were actually contained inside the anus of the attacker//
Anyone done the rectum gag yet?
coprocephalous, Jan 08 2010

       //We all know that the main weapon of terrorists is the element of surprise - they never use the same tactic twice//
   If that were true, there'd still be half a world trade centre in New York!      
MikeOliver, Jan 13 2010

       Uh, seeing as hiring random people to test customer service in the retail/hospitality industry, hiring hackers to test security in the computer industry, and the prevalence of "war game" type simulations and exercises in the defence industry is basically industry standard, I'd be shocked if this wasn't being done already for airport security, albeit in a more organised fashion.   

       If the airport security organisations aren't already hiring "professionals" to attempt smuggling contraband through airports - I'd be very worried.
Custardguts, Jan 13 2010

       [that's a cracker of a first sentence isn't it? I put in lots of commas if that helps at all]   

       I think my literacy skills are eroding more and more the longer I'm an engineer....
Custardguts, Jan 13 2010

       //Are they the actions of conquerors, or actions of the oppressed?//   

       Neither of the above. The world does not divide neatly into villains and victims. Empathy is not always adequate; asking "what would drive *me* to do that?" is sometimes stupid, because sometimes people really are different - not just in a superficial "let's all celebrate difference" way, but intractably, impenetrably different.   

       Words and ideas also matter, and deconstruction is not the only thing that can be done with them.
pertinax, Jan 13 2010

       I like this because it will make security personnel work more effectively. A good example (I think this comes from Bruce Schneier) is of the people on the hand luggage screening machines. They're looking for knives and guns and dangerous objects but actually they rarely see these and so become accustomed to going through a whole shift without ever seeing anything. Asking passengers to take fake guns and knives in their luggage to test the security screeners makes them more alert (because they know they'll see two or three guns or knives per shift) and makes them better at spotting things.
hippo, Jan 13 2010

       Just do the El Al method, randomly put security personnel on the flights they just screened. That'll perk them up.
Germanicus, Jan 13 2010

       //I like this because it will make security personnel work more effectively//   

       Have you ever had to perform a training excersize while simultaneously dealing with a "real-world" issue? If my superiors asked me to be on the look out for Pepsi cans (just to keep me on my toes) while I was looking for IEDs, I would most likely tell him he was an idiot.   

       //Just do the El Al method//   

       Much more effective. That's how the good ol' U.S. military keeps it's parachute riggers in check.
MikeD, Jan 13 2010

       I worry about this because competitors might get killed by well meaning fellow passengers, security etc.
bungston, Jan 13 2010


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