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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Cellphone Guns

Let's face it - airport security has gotten out of hand. And you don't need to be a hilarious stand-up comedian to realize it. The horrific lines to go through a metal detector, the fact that most now require you to remove your shoes to do so, and the random searches of luggage and person to ensure utmost safety when going into and airport and/or onto a plane. So why go through all this trouble, and keep up this charade, and what's the next level of insanity we'll see?

Cellphones that are actually guns.

I caught wind up it in the most unseemly of places - an article about spy equipment. I got a laugh and giggle at very tiny cameras, and pens that scan documents, and a nifty telephone with a motion sensor that will call you and let you listen in when someone trips it. And then I saw the #1 item in their Top Ten of gadgetry: The cellphone gun.

The cellphone gun, or Cell Gunphone, has a mechanism that you can twist and the top half slides over so you can load up to 4 .22-calibur bullets into it. You slide the half back over, and it resumes looking exactly like a regular cellphone. Well, I shouldn't say "regular", as most cellphones I encounter are full of their own gadgetry and sleek designs not capable of holding 4 regular-sized bullets - but the fact remains that it looks like an "outdated" cellphone by size and structure.

While it doesn't actually make calls, pushing one of four buttons will obviously fire one of its four bullets. Which truly bumps up the deadly capabilities of what seems like a harmless phone to onlookers. But it's not the innocent bystanders who need to be aware of the phone's capabilities - it's the law enforcement and security personnel. While it's normally been policy at many airports to demand that cellphones be turned on at security to verify the fact that it is a phone and not for SMUGGLING - now additional measures may need to be taken to ensure it also won't shoot the personnel.

While an argument can be made that these devices were first discovered in Amsterdam and no cases have yet been reported of them in the US - authorities say it's "only a matter of time". If you build it, Americans will abuse it. (Especially if it starts in Amsterdam.) One can really only hope that newer models aren't made to look like more high-tech phones. The last thing you want is a cameraphone lens that's more of a targeting device than a memory-maker. So US authorities are already on the lookout, and just as overly freaked as ever.

So what's the bottom line?

Expect an increase in police shootings. America is already well-known for its police officers that can mistake reaching for a cellphone the same thing as reaching for a gun. Now combine that with the fact that HOLDING A CELLPHONE could be confused with the possibility of HOLDING A GUN. Instant recipe for disaster.

My advice: When near the police, just let the fucking voicemail get it!


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