Monday, 28 December 2009

My Idea

Over the past few days, I've read through the reports of the Detroit bomber and the potential disaster that could have occurred....had his bomb gone off. Basically, we are coming to a point where we need to ponder how to fix security...once and for all. So I've spent some time today...evaluating this...and am suggesting the following improvements.

First, you have to be at the airport....six hours prior to leaving. This six hour period is going to be utilized in a fashion....to make any terrorist regret taking the plane.

Second...as you enter the airport and go up to the baggage counter....they hand you a laxative (a pretty peppy and strong one). You have no choice....you sip it or you don't get to enter the gate.

Third....as you go through the passport and ID point...you disrobe....down to nothing. The TSA folks hand you a nice bag red towel (XXX-XL) and a pair of flip-flops. You hand your clothing and personal stuff over to a guy who puts it in a special tray and it gets hauled down to a x-ray machine and a special dog.

Fourth....you proceed to walk the 1.5 miles on a specially designed track like those ride entries at Six Flags. No cutting the circle...you just keep walking....letting that laxative work.

Fifth...we get up to a machine that takes you up three hundred feet....while sitting...and literally drop you in three seconds. If the laxative hasn't worked up until then....it'll surely work after that drastic drop.

Sixth....we bring you up to your bags....and you open everything for the folks to view. If you pass....we give you your clothing back and put the bags on the plane.

I admit this is fairly drastic and some folks will voice a problem with a six-hour arrival time, and the laxative....but frankly, this kinda fixes any idiot who thinks he can cram something up his butt and get it via security. If he's got anything there....it's going to come out via the laxative...or his 1.5 mile walk will rub up the siding of any condom in a tight place...and start it to leaking in his bowls. And to be honest...I don't really care much to helping the guy...once the leaking starts to take place.

This Aquarium of Sorts

This has been an aquarium of sorts here in Germany for me over the past fifteen years. I look back now...with only a week left in country...and viewing this moment of entering back into a different job and a different land. Someone I work with...made the comment that I might feel like I've landed in Bombay...when I get to Arlington. I questioned the humorous suggestion...but I didn't readily deny it.

I had several great mentors in the nineties and it made me a more rounded individual. I learned the method to question authority but in a way that commanders could appreciate and at least listen to my suggestions. I learned to limit actions until you really knew the actual real and true plan. I learned to coach people through difficult events in the same fashion that a football coaches on the field. I learned to use humor as a sword and shield...to deflect a bad situation or a negative leader. I learned to read faces, verbal cues, and body language...then to reach out to a person in a very direct fashion.

This aquarium provided tests and challenges...but also kept me within some limits. I eventually reached a point...probably by 2005...where the aquarium was not working. I could not take a management role. I was a contractor...without authority. I could not stop stupid acts from occurring. I could not prevent a bad ethical decisions by the organization from occurring. The aquarium was stifling me. There was a negative feeling to this tank and it's limits.

Whatever I've been offered in DC...takes me out of this aquarium. I will in some sense...swim the deep sea and have to respond to situations with what tool's I've acquired.

My Socrates bit of questioning rhyme and reason will be required. My 'Andy Griffith' level of common sense and wisdom will be tested. My Doctor House-method of prescribing a creative fix for a drastic problem will be a necessity. Finally...my dad's gift to me of this Bama-method of pondering for a moment will be flexed and utilized as required.

My aquarium over the past fifteen years was a great place to swim and develop. This 'escape'...will be a phase of great expectations.

Observations of the Detroit Bomber

It's been a couple of days now since the landing episode occurred with the aircraft at Detroit. We can make a couple of observations now.

First, this guy mixed a bad explosive mix. Either via stupidity, rushing, or just lack of training...but it's this luck of the bad mix that prevents this from being a major catastrophic event.

Second, the Homeland Security crowd are arguing long and hard that things worked like they were supposed to...and that the name of this character just didn't make the forbidden list. So far, they haven't been proven right or wrong.

Third, this character brought the explosive on board...apparently by a condom...stuffed up a sensitive location of his body which we won't go into detail about. He removed the item from that location....strapped it on the leg....then punctured it....and waited for the chemical reaction to occur.

Fourth, this condom-carrying situation is going to make all of us miserable because either they X-ray every single one of us....meaning a fairly healthy dose of X-rays on a regular basis...or you get a cavity search. Neither of these are going to be appreciated by anyone.

Fifth, this new rule of no one getting up in the final hour of the flight....is going to make life miserable. Imagine getting fed on a Atlantic flight....an hour earlier...then they come and grab all the plates and cups...then make you sit there for an hour while you desperately need to go to the bathroom. You'd best skip every bit of food they serve and drink only water or beer for the entire flight.

Sixth, this suggestion of the idiot getting onboard the the flight without a passport continues to float. If this proves to be true...a number of Dutch security folks need to be fired.

Seventh, would a 72-hour ship ride make you feel safer at this point? If some company could offer a no-nonsense mini-cabin...eight feet by eight feet...from coast to coast...for $750 round-trip...would you start to be tempted to go by boat? My guess is that some folks are starting to think about this kind of situation.

Eighth, the Jihad guys are bound and determined to carry out their threats. So a change in government from Bush to Obama....has made ZERO difference. We still haven't brought the sense of urgency and absoluteness to the national government-level. Nothing has changed in eight years.

Ninth and final...the one thing that has changed is the dedication of passengers now to take action on their own...without waiting. This might be the one detail that the Jihad guys can't plan against or get around.

Meanwhile...next Tuesday, I'm scheduled to ride Northwest out of Frankfurt...to Detroit, and onto Ronald Reagan International. Yes, this kinda bothers me, but there are no choices unless I chose to ride cargo on a military flight. The funny thing is that I need to be at the airport four hours prior to the flight now...and waste almost three hours of that in lines waiting to clear baggage, check-in, customs, check-point #1, and check-point #2. Oh, and let's not forget the final ticket point where they finally let you board the stupid plane. If I went via military cargo....it's twenty-five minutes of walking the points....and the military guys are willing to shoot me if I act funny.