February 26, 2018

REALITY IS A STUBBORN TASKMASTER:

False Reports of Gunfire at J.F.K. Airport Offer a Real Case Study in Security (MICHAEL WILSON and JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN, AUG. 18, 2016, The New York Times)

As a human stampede tore its way through a terminal at Kennedy International Airport, a Transportation Security Administration agent running along was heard screaming, "There's a bomb!" Another agent yelled, "Someone's been shot!"

Some passengers found their way to the tarmac, scurrying underneath a parked jet toward a different, safe terminal -- only to be refused entry by a police officer. As other officers in the New York airport's police command center tried to determine what was going on, they were unable to gain immediate access to most of the video feeds from the terminal's security cameras, which are operated by American Airlines.

The chaos on Sunday night followed what appeared to be two false alarms of a gunman in the airport's terminals.

And yet, with no loss of life or serious injuries, the bizarre episode is being seen as something of a gift, giving officials a case study in airport security and the gaps within. The events of that night also offer a clinic in the human capacity for panic -- the stunning effect, on a population that has more information than ever at its fingertips, of essentially shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.

Posted by at February 26, 2018 8:08 PM

  

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