Rational Security, Episode #76: The “It Was 29 Pages All Along” Edition

A terrorist in Nice, France, kills more than 80 people celebrating Bastille Day. Turkey’s president hangs onto power following an attempted coup. And the congress releases 29 previously classified pages from an inquiry into the 9/11 attacks.

Shane is applauding the Emmys.


Ryan brought us something else to hold our scotch.


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One thought on “Rational Security, Episode #76: The “It Was 29 Pages All Along” Edition

  1. Hi, Rational Sercurinauts:

    I was a bit taken aback by Ben’s enthusiastic support on the last podcast for the robot used by the Dallas police. I did, though, absolutely love Shane’s Drone Crawford name for his rumba. I will suggest that, in the policing context, we should be looking for Broderick Crawford jokes instead of Joan.

    The following items stuck in my mind as I thought further about the Dallas robot. These items are interrelated.

    1. You folks spoke very little about the physical location and circumstances in Dallas. Was the shooter completely isolated and could the police be assured that he could not get away? This seems like a very important factor. Was there potential that the shooter could inflict additional harm or could the police safely say that this probability was extremely small? Moving to killing the perp under one circumstance seems quite different than the other.

    2. Last time I checked, we have a tradition in this country of a trial by a judge and jury. Isn’t there a case to be made that we should always be a bit nervous and more inquisitive when the police short-circuit all that and move to being judge, jury, and executioner themselves when they kill the perp?

    3. How do the ethics of killing the shooter play out when you factor in the chance of mental illness? Should we be making it easier to kill a perp before we know whether he/she may be suffering with mental illness?

    4. Should we be troubled that the police are comfortable using robots that only have the option of blowing up and killing the perp? Should we be building robots that can deploy non-lethal options (flash-bangs and/or gas) and have the video and other capacities to determine whether these non-lethal options were effective?

    5. Where was the option of just waiting out the shooter in all this? After time, the perp would have become sleepy, hungry, bored, or changed in some other way. Is waiting a preferable option to moving ahead to killing the guy? See #1 above.

    6. Modern police forces must include multiple factors in making decisions. These would include cost and public access. Are we comfortable with police moving to robots delivered lethal force when factors in deciding to use them may include bringing an incident to resolution in order to save cost (lots of man-power) and opening up areas of a downtown for public access? See #5 above.

    7. There is significant value in being able to interrogate a shooter in a circumstance like this. There is so much that could be learned that is lost when the police kill the perp.

    It seems as though there are many reasons to be more than a bit apprehensive when it becomes easier for police to kill perps.

    I remain a great fan of the podcast. Please keep up the good work.

    Randy Neprash


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