i’ve met the shoe bomber, and son, you’re no shoe bomber
July 30, 2008
The French have been around a long long time. They almost seem bored with the world, a bit weary. Even when they suspect there’s a bomb in the airport.
About 5 years ago, on one of our hut-to-hut ski tour trips, we had a layover in Paris, not sure if it was Charles De Gaulle or Orly. But we were wandering around the shops and cafes of the airport, when several commando types in camouflage bearing automatic weapons appeared, and put some of that yellow police tape across the hallway. Some of us were in shops on the wrong side of the tape, and a nice female commando walked through those shops and asked us to kindly step out and to the other side of the yellow tape. Which of course we did.
None of us really knew what was happening, so for the next 30 minutes we alternated between browsing the shops on the good side of our new Maginot line and standing next to the yellow tape, trying to see what was happening. Which was nothing.
Finally two guys in heavy work suits and helmets appeared dragging heavy equipment. The commandos pointed to an abandoned bag on the floor, maybe 50 yards from our protective, um, yellow police tape, and the new guys brought out their equipment, which seemed a lot like an upside down wheel barrow. They put it over the bag. Someone blew a loud whistle, and the commandos all plugged their ears. So, naturally, we ALL plugged our ears.
The guys in suits opened the upside down wheelbarrow, and carted off whatever remained of what was inside, the yellow tape came down, and we all went back to browsing and wandering on BOTH sides of the yellow tape line.
Now, answer me this–what would have happened in Chicago? In San Francisco? No, I’LL answer the question–They would have shut down the airport. They would have evacuated the entire terminal. I mean, what if it WAS a bomb? What if it was a DIRTY bomb? What if it was a vial of ANTHRAX?
But in Paris, well, they’ve been around for a long long long time. Remember Charlemagne? French. Joan of Arc? French. In France, bombs are boring. Shopping and browsing? Not very exciting either, but more exciting than bombs, I guess.