I'm starting to get tired of the warnings about everyday things that Homeland Security is claiming terrorists will use in future attacks. First it was laser pointers. I find it exceptionally hard to believe that the one-in-a-billion shot required to temporarily blind a pilot is something we need to be worried about. While it's true that a recent Slate article made mention of high-powered lasers and their potential to blind pilots, it seems that those scenarios are equally unlikely. And wouldn't the problem be easily solved by placing polarized or otherwise filtered glass in airplane cockpits? Instead, Homeland Security has chosen the alarmist path once again, trying to make everyone paranoid that there are terrorists sitting at the end of runways trying to blind pilots upon take off or landing. The most recent bullshit concerns cheap watches. Some of these watches have hidden cigarette lighters in them. Others have altimeters. There are a few things that bug me about the recent alarm concerning these watches.
First of all, aren't cigarette lighters routinely allowed on planes? I've traveled many times since 9/11, and I've never had a problem with cigarette lighters on planes. No one has ever even mentioned anything about them to me at airport security. If Homeland Security is concerned about cigarette lighters, shouldn't they first move to confiscate cigarette lighters that aren't hidden in watches?
The other thing that bugs me is the singling out of a particular watch brand - Casio.
"Casio watches have been extensively used by al-Qaida and associated organizations as timers for improvised explosive devices. The Casio brand is likely chosen due to its worldwide availability and inexpensive price."
Am I to believe that Casios are particularly dangerous? It's not like there aren't other brands of cheap watches out there. Why single out Casio? I'm sure it wouldn't be terribly difficult for a terrorist to invest in some other brand of inexpensive watch, but Homeland Security wants us to be on the lookout for Casio. I can almost see the corporate folks at Casio freaking out because of the brand damage they're likely to suffer because some fool at Homeland Security decided they needed to be singled out.
Needless to say, this is all bullshit. To what end it's been disseminated to the public, I can't say for sure. Perhaps it's to convince the public that Homeland Security is actually doing something about terrorism and not sitting on its ass. Maybe it's a distraction thing. Who knows?