Can security guards recognize a bomb?

By Aurelio A. Pena

DAVAO CITY, (PNA Features) — It’s getting tougher, it seems, to avoid being bombed in this city which is supposed to be one of the safest cities in the world (No. 4), even safer than Switzerland, the country everyone thinks is the world’s safest.

Whether we like it or not, this is becoming a grim reality here in Davao even amidst the reassurances of our multi-awarded cops and bomb squads who keep chasing false leads from suspicious-looking bags, boxes and packages left in sidewalks and side streets.

This time, the bomb squad found out that the two small improvised bombs which blew away a couple of seats at the cinemas of SM City Mall and Gaisano Mall recently, were made of explosive device placed inside a small water cannister.

Security guards, as we all know, are still so dumb and stupid, they couldn’t tell how an explosive device really looks like, while going into the motions of “inspecting” your bag or backpack.

Ask them–they’ll admit they can’t tell whether or not people carry a “bomb” in their bags or backpack. And believe me, it’s not their fault to be ignorant how a “bomb’ really look like these days, simply because a “bomb” can be anything–a can of softdrink, a bottle of perfume, a shoe, a laptop, a camera, a piece of lechon manok, a hamburger, a bottle of Coke–anything.

That’s why all those bomb detectors these security guards are using on your bag, on cars, on cakeboxes, etc are just for show and totally useless because they’re basically metal detectors, designed to detect grenades, mortar shells, guns, bullets, etc. You don’t expect bombers to carry them unless they’ve declared war on a city, like they just did in Zamboanga.

If you still remember way, way back, a guy in London was able to bring a bomb with him on a plane to New York, by putting the explosive device inside his shoe–but he was discovered simply because something went wrong with the device forcing him to take it off.

In the early 70’s, rebels were able to smuggle guns inside a plane in Zamboanga by placing them inside a birthday cake and using the guns to declare a hijack.

During the same period in Davao, a bomber simply grip a grenade in his hands, unseen by security guards, since his hands were in the big pockets of a big army jacket he was wearing.

He left the live grenade beneath the seat of a movie house along San Pedro street which exploded and killed or wounded scored of moviegoers.

And if you’ve seen the movie, “Eagle Eye”, a new type of powerful explosive was designed to look like a tiny piece of diamond worn as a necklace whose explosive impact is as large as a football field. It is detonated only by a high musical note from a trumpet blare joining an orchestral rendition of “Oh say can you see…”

What’s the whole point here? The point is–most security guards, if not all, are not well trained in detecting improvised bombs inside bags, backpacks, boxes, etc that people bring along with them daily when going to mall, the cinema, bus, LRT (light rail transit), etc.

It’s still so difficult to detect them until an improvised bomb is set off–and that would be too late.