A few months back, Steven Levitt had blogged about an idea for terrorism, and people blasted him for it, saying that he is abetting terrorism. Anyways, here is another.
The motivation for this comes from Diwali celebrations yesterday at my cousin’s place. I was lighting a “rocket”, and had placed it inside a bottle. And instead of going straight up, as it is supposed to, it quickly hit the ground and started going along the ground. I got worried for a moment when it went along the ground in the direction of one small girl who was watching (my cousin’s neighbor). And in a moment, I got more worried as the rocket suddenly changed track and headed straight for me!
Thankfully I timed my jump properly and my foot was saved! That whole packet was like that, with a high degree of randomness. The next one went straight for my cousin’s house, and narrowly missed a first floor window. Another went under a car parked nearby, and yet another hit a neighbor’s house.
And I’m confident that the initial positioning of these rockets was ok in all cases, that i’d taken care to ensure that it was placed so that it would go straight up. Just that for some reason the degree of randomness was way too much, causing much tension.
Now, what if terrorists started making fireworks? What if they started slipping in doctored fireworks in the midst of many boxes of good fireworks? It’s like this. Given that testing of fireworks is destructive, only around say 3/4 boxes in a thousand are actually tested for quality. So what I, as a terrorist, would do, is to doctor the fireworks at an undetectable rate. Remember that even if one box in a hundred thousand kills, it could create panic. And I’m sure at this rate of doctoring, randomized destructive tests won’t be able to detect it.
So I would make faulty rockets. “real” bombs. And slip them in in one in a ten thousand boxes or soemthing. And these would LOOK the same as real fireworks. Would be enough to create enough mishaps around the country on a Diwali, and create enough fear in people (which is what Levitt says is the objective of terrorism).
I just hope the terrorists aren’t doign this yet. And do you have any ideas as to how to combat this kind of terrorism? apart from not bursting crackers of course??