is that your luggage ticking?
by Peary Perry
on the Internet is a web site called “The Darwin Awards”. As I recall these are
examples of some of the stupid things that humans do in the course of our lives.
I don’t have time to recite some of their examples, but trust me, if you ever
look them up or run across them, you’ll wonder if people can really be this dumb.|
I am here to tell you that, yes they can be.
Take for example this latest
piece of news from France. It seems the airport police at the Charles De Gaulle
airport wanted to test their security systems using their sniffer dogs. The exercise
was to plant a small amount of real explosive material in a piece of luggage and
then have the dogs search for it and hopefully find it. This sounds reasonable
and certainly worthwhile, doesn’t it?
However this is where the plan goes
somewhat off kilter. The police officers place the real explosives in the bag
of some unsuspecting tourist without making a note of who owned the bag or where
the bag was headed. I suspect by now, you are beginning to see what is going to
Yes, friends, in the words of Mr. Zenon Murphy…”Anything that
can go wrong…will go wrong.” Or something to that effect…perhaps said by Murphy
in his famous “Murphy’s Law”.
Anyway, so the French airport police put
a package of explosives inside of some unsuspecting tourist’s luggage, send it
down the belt to see if the bomb sniffing dogs can find it, and when the dogs
overlook it, the bag gets sent out to a plane headed… for where? They have no
As I said they didn’t make a note of who owned the bag or where
the bag might be going. Airport officials admit that there were over 100 flights
leaving during this time frame and the bag could have been placed on any of these.
“Not to worry,” said one of the officials…since “There wasn’t anyway for the explosives
to go off since there wasn’t a detonator of any sort attached.”
comforting? Gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling doesn’t it?
of the explosives going off isn’t a real threat as far as I’m concerned. What
would scare the dickens out of me and should be of some concern to all involved
is the possibility of some little old lady from Pasadena owning the piece of luggage
and then going through another airport somewhere in the world where the dogs might
be a little bit more experienced. Imagine what is going to happen to her when
the dogs sniff out a bomb in her luggage lying in between her Depends, Ben Gay
and Fix-O-Dent. It boggles the mind, doesn’t it? I think we can all see what can
happen in this situation. Some little old lady being led out of the airport in
handcuffs, being photographed and labeled as a terrorist threat to our country.
Television reporters go wild trying to dig up everything on her from the time
she was born until the present. Everything about her past would be subject to
intense scrutiny. That wild tennis instructor from Des Moines that she dated one
summer at the lake would be interviewed on Larry King and asked if he could see
any indication of terrorist behavior back in 1918. It would make a great movie.
is a lawsuit waiting to happen. A plaintiff’s law firm’s dream. This would be
the el primo case for some lucky firm and their partners.
what is my solution? Glad you asked.
Perhaps this is a little bit simplistic,
but considering the fact that we believe dogs are colorblind, why not use a big
red bag with super large letters on it saying something like…”Police…Do Not Touch”?
I mean the last I heard, dogs can’t read, so what would be the harm? It’s not
like some obvious color or some wording would tip the dogs off that they were
being tested, would it? I mean, if dogs can’t tell which bag is real and which
one is a test, it isn’t likely that they will point to the bag and talk (or bark)
among themselves, is it?
If this wasn’t an option then how about something
as simple as writing down the name of the person whose bag they were using as
well as their flight number? How difficult is this?
Did I mention that
this happened in France?
Comments go to firstname.lastname@example.org
From North America - December
15 , 2004 column
for International Travel
- Documents, Security, Health...