Model rockets as terrorist threat

Educational Flying Model Rockets Ruled Terrorist Threat. Model rocketry is educational, it’s cool, it’s safe, and it’s fun. It’s launched everything from science fair projects to the careers of NASA engineers and astronauts as well as that of at least one SFT writer. Too bad the already-passed and signed Homeland Security Bill is going to kill this great constructive hobby for kids and adults. On May 24, every employee of any shipping entity who could possibly touch a package of in-transit model rocket engines on their way to a kid’s mailbox or store has to be explosives-handling certified, fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check. UPS, some trucking and railroad firms have stopped shipping the motors; Fed Ex employees have indicated to some model rocket flyers they likely will follow suit in the coming weeks. “It is the heart of the problem we face. Because if manufacturers like Estes can’t get rocket motors delivered to stores, the hobby is completely dead,” according to Tim Van Milligan, president of Apogee Rockets in Colorado Springs, Colo. Jay Apt saw his first model rocket catalog at age 13 in 1962. and went on to fly four shuttle missions that included two spacewalks and a mission to the International Space Station. “If we are to keep challenging our technology-inclined young people, we need to keep the benefits of model rocketry in mind when we pursue a tendency, natural in troubled times, to restrict anything which might be abused,” Apt said. “It makes no more sense to restrict aerospace modeling than it would have to ban rental trucks after they were misused in Oklahoma and New York.” U.S. Senator Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., intends to introduce legislation as early as this week to make what’s being called a “technical correction” to the 1970 Safe Explosives Act so that the material used inside the small motors is removed from the “explosives list.” Perhaps you might like to send a copy of this SFT story to your Representative or Senator along with your thoughts? [Sci-Fi Today]

Why is it that reason and thought are such unpopular activities? It seems to be some deparate desire to “do something” that disconnects reason from action. I guess I’m showing my age, but “think before you act” still seems like better advice than “ready. fire, aim.”

In business settings, we rightly fear “analysis paralysis” and celebrate action. But the record shows that the problem is about paralysis not analysis.