Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Terrorism And A Loaf Of Bread

I'm officially back from my vacation, and the blog will be updated regularly once again.

My wife and I went to Disneyland for our vacation, and had an interesting experience one day while leaving the park. Disneyland has a security checkpoint on your way into the courtyard used to enter California Adventures and/or Disneyland, and you are checked once again as you leave the courtyard from the theme parks. There is also a security check when leaving Downtown Disney. Both on your entering, and leaving, security has you open all of your bags so they may view the items you are carrying. I have no problem with this whatsoever. What I do have a problem with is that overzealous security officer who gets off on harassing people. You know the one.

On the first morning of our trip my wife and I went to Downtown Disney to kill some time before the parks opened. Upon leaving Downtown Disney to go ride some rides we had to go through security. No biggy, we've done it a hundred times already. This time was a little different.

The family in front of me was a young Mexican couple with their baby in a stroller, and they spoke little English. The wife and baby went through security just fine, and were not stopped. The husband had a backpack that he needed to open in order to display the contents of the bag. He was prepared and had the bag open as he got to the security screener (an old fat lady). As the screener peered into the backpack she stopped the man, and reached into his bag. She pulled out a loaf of wheat bread, and the interrogation began.

"What are you doing with this bread," she asked. He responded in barely understandable English that they were going make sandwiches with the bread. "You're going to make sandwiches huh? Where's the meat?" No joke, she asked him where the meat was for the sandwiches. He didn't seem to understand the question. They then began speaking in Spanish, and I couldn't understand what they were saying. However, she asked him if he was making sandwiches, and where the meat was about 10 times.

Keep in mind that this is all happening as the family is leaving Downtown Disney, and they were already allowed in through security when they entered Downtown Disney. Clearly the other screener didn't feel threatened by a loaf of bread, but this lady was different. I also never heard him refer to what type of sandwich he was going to make, and she never asked about peanut butter or anything else ... only meat.

As this is happening I was drawing on all of my training in explosives, terrorist tactics, and improvised weapons ... I could not recall a single piece of information regarding a loaf of bread that would apply here. The only thing that would have made sense was if they were hiding something in the bread ... which is reasonable, but the bread was sliced. All she had to do was separate the slices to see if anything had been hidden, and she never once attempted that. I was stumped.

Finally, after about 8 minutes (not an exaggeration) the wife came back to find out what was going on. She spoke much better English than her husband. She too was grilled about the lack of sandwich meat, but she wasn't having any of this lunacy. After arguing for about 2 minutes she finally pointed out the obvious that they were LEAVING Downtown Disney, and they had been allowed to enter without any problems. She finally asked if they were allowed to leave Disney with their loaf of bread, or throw it away. The screener then allowed them to leave with the loaf of bread, and never offered an explanation.

Now you can use bread in certain explosive devices, but we are talking Macgyver stuff here. There would also have to be other components that would be blatantly obvious to anyone that they were a threat. None of that was evident, and I've already covered the smuggling/theft inside the bread. I figured I forgot some way of using bread as a weapon, and checked it out online. I haven't been able to find anything else besides this, but a sandwich that lasts three years isn't what I'd call a reasonable security threat.

In case you didn't know ... Disney sells bread inside their parks, but it's special Disney bread. Perhaps that was the motivation for harassing this family ... I don't know. It's good to know that if terrorists ever figure out how to use a loaf of bread against us ... this woman is on the case. I just wish I had my 10 minutes back.


1 comments to "Terrorism And A Loaf Of Bread"

Anonymous said...
6:35 AM

Pardon me for saying so, but you're a moron. Disney does not screen people going in both directions; only one. And that's toward the Theme Parks. They could care less about Downtown Disney. It is an open thoroughfare. So right off the bat, your facts are just wrong. Second, if the Disney employee really did make a fuss about bread, then she's a moron too. I fear for the security of this country if you really do possess advanced security training, but your simple observation skills are so lacking.



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