How to Stay Alive in a Terrorized Hotel

Posted by : Rob Stevens | Monday, December 15, 2008 | Published in

I've just been reading this months Crypto-Gram, and came across this article about how to survive a hotel in the event of a terrorist attack. I thought it was pretty interesting and reminded me of the measures that were taken at the Riyadh Sheraton when I went to Saudi earlier this year. To get near that place in a car you first had to be checked with mirrors for bombs, then make your way through a maze of thinly disguised concrete blocks to get to the front entrance. Once you'd made it that far there was still hotel security and a baggage x-ray machine to contend with before you made it to the lobby. Before we went we all had to sign waivers promising not to sue anyone in the event of us getting blown up or kidnapped, and while we were there we spent a fair amount of time riding around in an armoured car.

It was all very interesting, but at the same time pretty scary. I really enjoy travelling, but I wish it wasn't necessary to have to think about such things as much as it is these days. Both the current issue of Crypto-Gram and the article itself mention the recent incident in Mumbai, which wasn't mounted using cars or anything, but armed men. This would have rendered most of the security steps that I mentioned above pretty much useless. This means that places feeling particularly threatened are going to tighten up even more which, while done to increase peoples safety, makes more of an impact on the way people go about their lives, in turn meaning that the terrorism has succeeded in having a negative impact - people living in fear. The line between keeping people safe, and not succumbing to terrorists is, I would imagine, a difficult one to draw. It's not a responsibility I would want I must admit.
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