Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Salon's 'Ask the Pilot' puts a knife in the Laser Beam Terrorists

Salon.com Technology | Ask the pilot
Listen to Michael, an Airbus A320 pilot for a major U.S. airline (who asks to be kept otherwise anonymous): 'Here we have cleaners and caterers able to board and roam through aircraft with no security screening whatsoever, yet people are worried about laser beams? Our priorities are insane.'...

... Just how upended is the hierarchy of priorities? At most American airports now, passengers and their hand luggage receive only token screening for explosives. Fliers must surrender their metal sharps, yet aren't specifically searched for the most likely and dangerous terrorist weapon of all. Meanwhile, a pilot cannot bring a fork onto his own jet, yet caterers, cleaners and ground staff can step aboard free of scrutiny. It wasn't laser beams or knitting needles that downed two Russian airliners last August. Or Pan Am 103 for that matter, 16 long-forgotten years ago. We're expected to believe saboteurs would spend thousands of dollars on sophisticated lasers when a few cheap ounces of Semtex would be immeasurably more effective?

This Salon pilot/journalist works hard to keep his scorn under control. He utterly demolishes the whacky idea that terrorists are bothering with laser attacks on airplanes. If they wanted to take down airplanes, Semtex is vastly more effective.

The lasers are coming from the same people that drop rocks of overpasses and cut pages out of library books. In other words, from cowardly scum and brain-dead teenage boys.

Of course in the longer run we do have a problem. Now this bottom-fishing 0.001% of the population gets to play with lasers. What toys will they have in 30 years?

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