Thursday, September 18, 2008

Identify the bomb from among the following pictures.

Wrong, it’s the one in the second picture. So tell me, if I had to smuggle both of them into my office, which one would more likely be retained at the security desk in the suspicious-looking-items tray?

You can safely say that these are the average security guards in an average office complex in India. Do you know what the problem is with these guys? They probably think a bomb is a cylindrical tube with red, blue and yellow wires sticking out of it, garnished with a huge beeping, Casio style countdown timer, or a clock.

Really, how prepared is he to deal with a possible terrorist attack? Can he identify and disarm a bomb if he sees one? I am sure not. That raises the question; if they cannot do a thorough job why even bother doing it? Whom are they kidding? They look like a bunch of pathetic movie extras from the 70s, and can stop a terror attack as effectively as a couple of ducks can stop a hurricane.

Terrorists are usually trained on the rugged slopes of the Hindukush Mountains in the science of weaponry. These guys can assemble and take apart the most advanced explosive devices blindfolded. These bombs would then have been smuggled carefully across the border and meticulously assembled in carefully chosen old sheds where central intelligence with their trained sniffer dogs could not locate them. If such a terrorist really made his way to one of the fancy IT buildings armed with the latest in detonative charge technology with the intention of setting it off, guess who is going to stop him? A couple of high school drop-outs loitering around in the lobby in a ridiculous costume, cradling ancient weapons from the sepoy mutiny, a bunch of clueless morons who cannot tell an alarm clock from an RDX explosive device. A couple of guys suffering from a mid-life crisis and heavy obesity while sipping tea from a styrofoam cup and gossiping about the latest Vijay movie. Just how on earth are they going to deter a terrorist mastermind? You might as well have a scarecrow and a sack of potatoes at the gate.

The security rules for entry into IT office buildings were written by singularly the dumbest bunch of blockheaded cows you can ever see. You cannot carry an empty CD past the desk without signing a dozen forms and declarations, but they would let a kangaroo through if it was wearing a badge, with its face as much as drawn on it.

I'm the first to acknowledge the ability of utter stupidity in stumbling upon things that have been overlooked by meticulous scientific examination. History is fraught with examples. The Archimedes principle, Gravitation, Pluto, Radioactivity, America – all discovered by bumbling idiots who weren’t looking for them...So, it would hardly be surprising if a security guard accidentally discovered an explosive device in a bag. But more importantly, what happens next? What can he do with it, apart from holding it like he was holding a baby which had soiled its diapers? He can only report the “find” to the chief security guard. But even the chief security guard would appear like a Neanderthal man gawking at a mobile phone. Now, the cold, professional terrorist is not going to be terribly pleased with this. So, he will now open his jacket to reveal that he is armed to the teeth and will, after careful consideration, select a weapon from the vast array on his person. Finding themselves in a completely new situation, the other security guards would freeze in their tracks, unsure of what to do next. They will then start running helter-skelter like headless chicken because it’s the most natural thing to do in the situation. Also because they have no weapons to defend themselves with, let alone protect anyone.

What is needed in a situation like this is not some half-hearted attempt at "security". What you really need are modern techniques of bomb detection and disposal. Electromagnetic digital mapping sensors and metal detectors, remote operated bomb disposal robots, trained sniffer Alsatians, electronic jamming systems, surveillance cameras, radio control units, radars and satellite links. Explosive Ordnance Disposal experts with flame and fragmentation resistant Kevlar suits and carbon-fibre helmets. Legions of black cat commandoes with AK-47 assault rifles prowling around in the campus with their semi-automatic M4 carbines, grenade launchers and sub-machine guns. Tactically placed military snipers with range-finders and night-vision goggles. Howitzers, anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns. Helicopter gunships with air-to-surface missiles, and fighter jets armed with thermonuclear warheads.

Either that or nothing. You cannot have a security team that is “reasonably” effective against terrorists. It’s like wearing a life jacket that can reasonably prevent you from drowning – it just doesn’t work that way.

Bet u a hundred bucks you cant carry this into your office... (its an alarm clock, check it out on e-bay)