Can you spot a terrorist?
You’ve probably already tried it. Standing at an airport gate, looking at the people around you, sizing them up. Or maybe you’ve gone through a metal detector or a pat-down and thought, “This is ridiculous. I could easily hide a bomb and get through this without being caught.”
OK, you’re just an amateur bomb spotter. But could you do worse than the Transportation Security Administration? Don’t you think that in the eight years since Sept. 11, 2001, you could have thought up something—a database plan, a surveillance technique, a screening procedure—that would have stopped Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab?
We bet you already have some ideas.
The government is always telling you, through public address systems at airports and train stations, to keep an eye out for suspicious people and packages. But you can do better than that. You can contribute ideas. You can help us devise better ways to screen passengers.
Some of you have already posted ideas in the Fray: bomb-sniffing dogs, behavioral profiling, smaller planes, and shifting traffic from planes to trains and telecommunication. Frankly, some of your ideas sound pretty crazy. But every once in a while, a crazy idea turns out to be brilliant.
So let’s hear from the rest of you. Uncle Sam needs you. Heck, President Obama can’t even get his nominee for TSA administrator through the Senate. So why don’t you step in? We need somebody to tell us how to stop the next bombing attempt. Slate hereby nominates you.
Use the form below to submit your idea for making airport security more effective, more efficient, or more pleasant. The space limit is 150 words, and the deadline is Friday, Jan. 8, at 2 p.m. ET. We will publish the best submissions and forward them to TSA, Congress, and the White House.
Submissions for this reader contest are now closed. Results will be published soon.