I have terror on the brain again after this week's subway explosion in New York. An ISIS-inspired man strapped a pipe bomb to himself, and it went off during rush hour.
Luckily, no one died, but one of the first tweets I saw responding to Monday's attack belittled it, noting 58 people died in October's attack in Las Vegas. Activist and writer Shaun King denounced Republicans for doing nothing after the Las Vegas mass shooting.
Whether his tweet is factual, one thing is for sure: The many hotels in Las Vegas sure did something after October's attack. Bloomberg reported that guests at the Wynn resort faced scanning by metal-detector wands, and all MGM Resorts beefed up security. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Mandalay Bay will now have security at the elevator banks 24 hours a day, and anyone getting on the elevators must show their room key first.
But that's not all. Now, an amazing high-tech device that can discreetly scan guests for potential weapons could really set a lot of people's minds at ease. On the other hand, it might just give you the privacy heebie-jeebies.
Wired reported the Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino is trying out the Patscan Cognitive Microwave Radar device. Security officers can place the device anywhere within 6 feet of its target. Put it under a desk, in a hallway or even behind a wall, and it can detect everything from a handgun to a knife to an explosive vest concealed on a person walking by.
Martin Cronin, CEO of the device creator, Patriot One Technologies, told Fox Business that people go to Vegas for a good time; they want to move freely, not line up for a security check. He said the Patscan CMR is an unobtrusive way to check for concealed weapons, but he added it should only be a piece of a hotel's security puzzle.
Patriot One said it trains the device to use its radio wave emissions to identify the shapes of hidden weapons, and it gets smarter with each detection. It will eventually have a database of thousands of weapons' shapes. Patriot One said there is no privacy concern because it doesn't generate an image of the person, instead just showing an outline of the weapon itself.
A company wouldn't even need a human to monitor the device, but it could simply notify someone (via alert, email or text) if it detects a weapon. It uses similar technology to what your car uses to let you know if something is in the way when you're backing up, but the company said the Patscan CMR can differentiate between weapons and other innocent objects you may have tucked in your back pocket. The device is about the size of a large cookie sheet, but the company can miniaturize it, which means most people will never even know the device is scanning them.
Would that make you feel safer walking into a Vegas casino? Or violated?
Some gun owners and privacy advocates will no doubt bristle at the thought of covert weapons scanning for all hotel and casino guests. But Patriot One is calling the device "a new standard in weapons detection."
After October's attack, Las Vegas is getting serious about security. If you plan to be one of the expected 320,000 visitors to Las Vegas for its big New Year's Eve celebrations, it will be different from any year before.
KTNV reported 358 Nevada National Guard troops will be on hand to keep things safe after state lawmakers tripled the security funding for Dec. 31 in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Strip will ban backpacks, coolers, large purses and strollers and will have added 800 steel posts to protect pedestrians.
Will these covert scanners be lining the street as well? You'll never know.