Announcing: Second Annual Movie-Plot Threat Contest
The first Movie-Plot Threat Contest asked you to invent a horrific and completely ridiculous, but plausible, terrorist plot. All the entrants were worth reading, but Tom Grant won with his idea to crash an explosive-filled plane into the Grand Coulee Dam.
This year the contest is a little different. We all know that a good plot to blow up an airplane will cause the banning, or at least screening, of something innocuous. If you stop and think about it, it’s a stupid response. We screened for guns and bombs, so the terrorists used box cutters. We took away box cutters and small knives, so they hid explosives in their shoes. We started screening shoes, so they planned to use liquids. We now confiscate liquids (even though experts agree the plot was implausible)…and they’re going to do something else. We can’t win this game, so why are we playing?
Well, we are playing. And now you can, too. Your goal: invent a terrorist plot to hijack or blow up an airplane with a commonly carried item as a key component. The component should be so critical to the plot that the TSA will have no choice but to ban the item once the plot is uncovered. I want to see a plot horrific and ridiculous, but just plausible enough to take seriously.
Make the TSA ban wristwatches. Or laptop computers. Or polyester. Or zippers over three inches long. You get the idea.
Your entry will be judged on the common item that the TSA has no choice but to ban, as well as the cleverness of the plot. It has to be realistic; no science fiction, please. And the write-up is critical; last year the best entries were the most entertaining to read.
As before, assume an attacker profile on the order of 9/11: 20 to 30 unskilled people, and about $500,000 with which to buy skills, equipment, etc.
Post your movie plots here on this blog.
Judging will be by me, swayed by popular acclaim in the blog comments section. The prize will be an autographed copy of Beyond Fear (in both English and Japanese) and the adulation of your peers. And, if I can swing it—I couldn’t last year—a phone call with a real live movie producer.
Entries close at the end of the month—April 30—so Crypto-Gram readers can also play.
This is not an April Fool’s joke, although it’s in the spirit of the season. The purpose of this contest is absurd humor, but I hope it also makes a point. Terrorism is a real threat, but we’re not any safer through security measures that require us to correctly guess what the terrorists are going to do next.
EDITED TO ADD (6/15): Winner here.