Recently, a 25-year old woman was in the news. She had been arrested for creating panic during a flight, and for causing massive losses to the airline. Quite as it should be, you say??
Well, here’s more. The lady in question had heard a few men around her discussing something that they planned to ‘do’, and she felt somehow that a terrorist strike was being planned. She sms-ed her fears to her father, from where the airline was contacted, and which led to the plane being called up as a precaution. It turned out that in fact there was no terrorist threat on the flight, and the lady was arrested and put behind bars after obtaining a report from the airline.
All this procedure is fine, but what message does this put out? A lady is suspicious of her surroundings, is sharp enough to alert the authorities (albeit, via someone), and what happens when it proves to be a false alarm??
And then, what of all the messages and signboards everywhere, that says that any unidentified bags should not be touched, and the authorities should be alerted? What if I spot such a bag, alert the cops, and it turns out that the owner of the bag was only visiting the washroom?? Will I be arrested too?
What of all the warnings in all major modes of travel asking people to report suspicious looking or behaving individuals? This lady did exactly that, and all she got was an arrest, and an impending court case.
If I am faced with a similar situation, will my first thought be to alert the police?