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Stupid scanners or personnel?

12:03 AM November 16, 2015

TO THE ordinary person, a bullet is a cartridge, or a shell or casing, or a slug or metallic projectile (either lead or bronze) containing gunpowder, which can be fired from a rifle or a handgun.

An anting-anting or amulet in the form of a bullet is a cartridge or a shell of a bullet that has no slug and gunpowder. Without a slug or gunpowder an amulet does not a bullet make. In fact, the anting-anting bullet may contain an oracion, or a prayer written on a small piece of paper inserted inside. It may contain some other things an albularyo or witch doctor puts inside. Or it may contain the ashes of the remains of a relative. The so-called anting-anting is totally harmless. It is just a shell of a bullet. And this is easy to determine with just the naked eye.

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In her Nov. 7 column titled “2 scared ladies and their ‘anting-anting’ bullets,” Solita Monsod noted how airport personnel—from the low-ranked employees to the highest officials, including a lawyer—could not decide on the anting-anting of the two women. Like Monsod, I would have thought that the situation was quite simple and easy. Clearly, their “bullets” were just an anting-anting.

The matter did not have to reach the highest official. It did not even have to be consulted with a lawyer. Even a layman with plain common sense would think so. The solution would have been simple: to let them go free. It was as simple as that.

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But no, these officials have to detain and question them for several hours. And perhaps, imprison them under Republic Act No. 10591 which these officials

religiously invoke in such cases. The two ladies were clearly harmless; they were not even

passengers. They were not a threat to anyone. They came to the airport to meet or send off a relative.

How stupid can officials really get? As someone said, the government should have a Department of Common Sense, staffed with professionals with common sense. Take the case of Lane Michael White. It was only on his baggage’s seventh pass on an X-ray scanner that he was found to have a bullet.

The first X-ray scanners must have been stupid.

—ROBERT CINCO, [email protected]

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