September 30, 2001
First, I am going to try something in a completely different vein and I would ask that you please bear with me.
After that, I will explain an idea I have that is very cheap and could render future hijackings almost impossible.
Returning to my first subject, I need your help!
I have been trying, since the collapse of the World Trade Centers, to write of important aspects that I thought were being ignored, misreported, or overlooked in the media coverage and statements by the public figures involved. I believe that much of where we are today is the result of lopsided and incomplete presentation of the facts to the public, which has resulted in numerous and expensive poor decisions having become law or the defacto rules of American society. What is truly shameful is that this has led to the average person having lost their senses of pride, family, responsibility, duty, and honor; distrusting and fearing the law.
Unless we begin to truly consider the facts, issues, and costs in every matter of public concern, we will continue to make serious mistakes that will ultimately, I believe, doom us as a society, possibly as a race.
What I need your help with is in telling me what it is I am doing wrong that has seemingly caused my efforts to simply vanish into an abyss. Here is a brief list of ideas I have sent since the attacks:
9/11 The war on terrorism needs to be led by an international organization. America has been very heavy handed and fickle in it's international politics and has a bad reputation in many parts of the world. We, in fact, made bin Laden what he is and then double crossed him.
9/14 The terrorist attack on the WTC must not be declared an act of war! The losses to the victim's families in accidental death benefits alone could excede 10 Billion Dollars. The loss to businesses would be, at least, triple that.
9/14 We need to get the airlines back in the air today. If it takes putting an armed soldier on every commercial flight, then do it, but every day's delay is outrageously expensive. There was absolutely no way to stop the terrorists without having known about it beforehand and people need to know that, too. More cops and no curbside checkin are a waste of time and money that doesn't help at all.
9/17 We need a public campaign to find the evidence of bin Ladens guilt, or innocence. Somebody, somewhere, actually has the key bit of information that links the terrorists to their leader and having real proof is a key to disarming an Islamic holy war. A massive, international and public campaign to find the links would help the cause greatly, unify many nations and peoples, and send a scary message to terrorists.
9/21 Islamic religious and political leaders need to denounce the terrorist cause. We, the world, need to do everything in our power to strip the terrorists of their support. Lots of good people are being fed the terrorist's propaganda and nobody is disabusing them, that they will listen to. Publicized statements by American groups might help end the petty terrorism here and statements of Islamic world leaders are the only way to reach Muslims in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Philipines, etcetera. Speaking in support of America is nowhere near as useful as speaking against the terrorists.
9/24 Let's get lots of cheap radios to the remote regions and start broadcasting Islamic opinion. A repeat of the above; but with the addition of a method to get the word to the millions in the region that have no other mode of communication. There is still a real danger that an American military action into Afghanistan could spark a holy war that engulfs the middle east. We, headed by the Muslim's, need to convince those that might ally themselves with the terrorists that they should not; particularly, up to 50,000 trained fighting men in the remote regions of Pakistan that believe bin Laden currently.
9/29 Very Possible Headline: 50 Planes at 50 Airports Shot Down by Terrorists! Any idiot with a bazooka could pick off an airplane and get away. An organized group could create a disaster that would totally poison the airlines and bring America to it's knees. Let's hire some people that know security and reward them for making our airlines actually be as secure as possible.
OK, there's a rundown and I just don't understand why none of them have surfaced as newsworthy items. I think all of them are important and the public needs to know some of them and ought to be involved in some of the others. I think that the media's involvement could make some of these ideas into major progress towards conquering the foe (terrorists, I hope) and would stimulate public involvement, worldwide!
So, what happened? Did I send 5,000 emails to the wrong people, does everybody think I'm a crackpot, did I write them wrong, or what?
If everything I have said makes no sense to you, then tell me and I will cease; even that would teach me something. But, if even one of my ideas seems valid or important to you, then I need your help in promoting it; in making it happen. Tell me how to rewrite it, where to send it, what I need to do. Better yet, show me; help me to make it a reality with your skills; rewrite it for me, forward it to the right person; help and teach me, again.
What I am trying to do is to help the world and I need your help to do it.
Enough of that. It is time to speak of the technology I mentioned at the begining. Again; though, I think this is a brilliant idea that can be acomplished in a matter of weeks or months, is cheap as snot ('scuse my French), and will work to do just what I said at the beginning:
A plan to make airliners virtually hijack proof using a laptop
Using nothing but standard, mail order computer items and off the shelf software, I can integrate a laptop so that it uses facial and voice recognition capabilities that would automatically transmit an alarm, video, and audio to the ground within seconds of a stranger entering the cockpit. The facial recognition, in particular, cannot be fooled by a picture and is extremely reliable.
Loud sounds, gunshots, decompression noises, authorized crewmember's saying a key phrase or pushing a button on a wireless remote are other possibilities that could easily be added.
Til this point, I don't even need a programmer's help to build the system and the hardest part is securing it in the airplane. A camera the size of a matchbox is pretty easy to secure and it's tiny wire can be protected; but finding a sturdy place big enough for a laptop is something I don't know about.
With but a few more resources and a little help from the plane's manufacturers, this system could also defeat the hijacker's ability to cut off the autopilot, leaving the plane stuck on cruise control at 30,000 feet and the authorities with lots of time.
Each plane's crew would have to go through a one minute recognition routine whenever the crew changed and somebody on the ground would need to be listening.
So, in a nutshell, if a stranger so much as sticks his head in the cockpit, alarms the crew, or makes the wrong loud noises, the plane starts sending audio, video, and whatever else we want it to to whomever is supposed to be listening. With a simple connection to the flight systems, it would also put the plane on cruise control and I think it would be fairly easy to tell the plane to fly to the nearest military base.
Yes, I have thought of how to deal with false triggers and a decent visual basic programmer would allow me to make it a completely automatic system that was easy to use. I would like to be able to pan and zoom the camera which might raise the price a little; but we are still only talking about a few thousand dollars per plane.
I think it would greatly help the public's confidence level, be very difficult to outsmart, and I guarantee that I can make it work.
All I need is a little bit of money and some support to get it in place. Should the government pursue this or the manufacturers? Tell me, please, what do you think?