Bad, Bad Idea: The Anti-Hijacking Safety Bracelet
By Dave Demerjian
This is the worst air travel security idea I’ve heard of in a long time.
A Canadian company called Lamperd Less Lethal is promoting the EMD Safety Bracelet. It’s equipped with electro muscular disruption technology, which effectively short-circuits the central nervous system. Zap someone and they’ll be completely immobile for several minutes.
The technology isn’t new — cops and security guards have been using it for years in tasers. What’s new is the marketing approach. Lamperd is hawking the EMD bracelet as the ideal tool for fighting terrorists intent on taking over an airplane.
And they’re doing so with a blatantly exploitive promotional video.
Airline Security – EMD Safety Bracelet
You can watch the five minute video, which has gotten more than 33,000 hits at YouTube, but I’ll spare you the trouble by recapping its most egregious claims.
• The video starts with unnecessary footage of 9/11, mugshots of terrorists and a deep-voiced, somber narrator explaining that current airport security equipment doesn’t work. Why? Because it’s operated by TSA employees who make minimum wage — and you know what that means.
• The narrator goes on to say that the next line of defense, armed Federal Air Marshals, also is no good because their aim is so bad that they’ll blow a hole in the fuselage before they actually hit a hijacker.
• That leaves no choice but to equip pilots and cabin crew with EMD safety bracelets, which passengers would have to put on before boarding. When threatened by a highjacker, a flight attendant would transmit an EMD pulse at the terrorist, reducing him to a trembling mass of Jello. The terrorist gets tied up, the plane lands safely and the world is a better place.
Beyond preying on people’s fears and insulting our intelligence, Lamperd is selling a product that’s a horrible idea in the first place. Do you really want those bracelets on your flight? If hijackers get their hands the transmitter, they’ll zap anyone standing in their way. Who’s to say that in the chaos of an emergency a crew member will have time to identify the threat, activate the correct bracelet and fire the EMD pulse before the terrorist has control of the plane?
And then there’s the possibility of random craziness. What if a flight attendant loses her cookies and zaps a passenger who wants to keep the whole can of CranApple juice? What about drunk passengers? Do you want the lush in 36D getting his hands on what is essentially a bracelet-mounted stun gun?
Lamperd claims on their website that the company is doing brisk business, so brisk that they’ll hire back all their laid-off employees. But I don’t think it’s the safety bracelet that’s flying off the shelves — the airlines I spoke to claim to have never heard of the product, and Ann Davis of the TSA says the agency has no plans to deploy the bracelets. The company’s CEO Barry Lamperd didn’t want to talk the first time I called and wasn’t available the second time.
Lamperd Less Lethal’s tagline is “Keeping the Situation Under Control.” I think “Exploiting People’s Fear and Making a Bad Situation Worse” might be more appropriate.