“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

June 2, 2010

If you ever shop anywhere, you should watch this

I've seen some odd things at airports and other public places and, like most of the people simulated in this video, my first instinct was to report something suspicious to local security, but almost always, I've just suppressed it and said nothing. Twice that I can think of, however, I was bothered enough that I sheepishly followed through and sought out security to see if what bothered me should be checked out.

One time, I noticed two suspicious-acting young men waiting to board a flight. I suggested to the security folks that they give the pair a closer look, but they rather blandly declined to do anything. Nothing bad happened.

Another time, as I was washing my hands in the men's room and I noticed a 30-ish man dressed in a coat (it was summer and quite warm that day) holding a black canvas gym bag. He had been loitering awhile (not in a Larry Craig kind of way, I should add), and that too stuck out as unusual. Practically everyone in an airport carries some kind of bag, so that in itself was not what caught my eye. Rather, it was the strange, grim look on his face that's hard to describe. In any case, once again, I sheepishly approached a nearby security guard out in the terminal to explain what I had seen.

To my surprise, he said something like, "Yeah, another person reported that guy too, and we're going to go take a look." A minute or two later, three armed policemen and a couple of TSA-types walked into the restroom and questioned him. Whatever it was that they found was problematic enough that they arrested him and led him away in hand-cuffs. I have no idea what happened after that. This video reminded me of those incidents, and I wanted to share it with you.

So . . . .

Commentary below from Joe Larocca:
On Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security held a conference call asking the private sector to heighten its level of awareness and report anything suspicious to law enforcement immediately. Since theattempted bombing in Times Square earlier this month, there has been a flurry of alerts sent out from DHS regarding terrorist tactics and threats.

CNN published a story quoting one document saying that “the number and pace of attempted attacks against the United States over the past nine months have surpassed the number of attempts during any other previous one-year period.

According to DHS, businesses have to operate under the premise that other operatives are in the country and could advance plotting with little or no warning.” They also said U.S. officials “lack insights in specific details, timing and intended targets,” but trends indicate terrorists are looking for “smaller, more achievable attacks against easily accessible targets.”

Officials have repeatedly said that terrorists use explosive devices as one of their most common weapons. Unfortunately, criminals don’t have to look far to find out how to make explosive devices: the information is readily available in books and other information sources and the materials needed for an explosive device can be found in many places including variety, hardware and auto supply stores. Explosive devices are highly portable using vehicles and humans as a means of transport. They are easily detonated from remote locations or by suicide bombers.

Conventional bombs have been used to damage and destroy financial, political, social and religious institutions. Attacks have occurred in public places and on city streets with thousands of people around the world injured and killed.

During the call with business leaders, Homeland Security officials requested private sector companies to consider the following points:

  • Institute aggressive awareness campaigns.

  • Identify entrance areas where crowds will collect and common traffic choke points exist.

  • Pre-identify primary and secondary evacuation routes.

  • Look at how you asses unattended vehicles in your area.

  • Vary security patrol and surveillance routines.

  • Rely on the people working in your buildings and stores every day. These folks will be more aware of things out of place in their normal environment.

  • Remain alert for potential secondary devices. (In one case, small devices were used to force an evacuation, then larger devices were triggered to kill people.)