The Latest Terrorist Threat

Photo: xlibber

The best strategy I have found for reducing the aggravation of security screening is to pretend I am a terrorist and think about where the weaknesses are in security, and how I might slip through. I think I figured out a way to get a gun or explosives into the White House during the George W. Bush administration. I only got invited to the White House once, however, so I never got a chance to test my theory for real on a return visit.

Traveling to Ireland recently, I learned of the latest anti-terror prevention method that the Irish have put into place. In addition to taking laptops out of your carry-on bag and putting them in separate bins, security personnel in the Dublin airport also demand that you take another item out of your carry-on for more careful scrutiny: umbrellas. For the life of me, I cannot think of what evil I would do with an umbrella, or even more to the point, what evil I could do with an umbrella that would be prevented by having me take it out of my carry-on and put it directly on the conveyor belt. I asked the screener why umbrellas go directly on the belt, but her accent was quite thick so I couldn’t understand her answer. I thought I heard the word “poking” in there somewhere.

Learning about the possible dangers posed by umbrellas has dramatically reduced my utility. Now, every time I fly on a domestic U.S. flight, where the treatment of umbrellas in security is far more cavalier, I will spend the entire flight in fear that a rogue umbrella has made its way onto the plane.

One thing is for sure: if I ever see a passenger pull an umbrella out of her carry-on while a flight is airborne, I will tackle her first and ask questions later!

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  1. Rob R. says:

    Apparently you have never seen the Penguin’s antics in the old Batman comics!

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  2. Stephen B. says:

    You realize, don’t you, that these so-called security measures are designed not to increase security but to increase the non-terrorist traveler’s belief in security.

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  3. Joshua says:

    If you didn’t think “ricin coated pellet shot out of modified umbrella-airgun” you fail at life.

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  4. Phil D. says:

    Georgi Markov, 1978.

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  5. Fritz Mills says:

    This comment is not on topic, and not for posting. This is the only way I can communicate with you. Your new Web site is completely broken. The home page only comes up once in about seven refreshes. This story took at least 15 refreshes before I got anything other than a blank page or a “timed out” message. The “about” page, which presumably has a contact link, has yet to load. It’s probably on the 20th refresh attempt.

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  6. tudza says:

    Perhaps they are worried about this type of umbrella?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bO8G5zsQohg

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  7. Barry W. says:

    Apparently you’re not old enough to recall the Umbrella Assassin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgi_Markov#Murder

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