Sunday, March 4, 2012

Is it a Bomb or a Geocache?

Is it a Bomb or a Geocache?


Let me tell you what happened today then I tell you about Geocache and how this high-tech game caused this scare.

This morning Disneyland Resort closed its gates and would not let anybody in or out of the parks. A Cast Member found something suspicious in a tree in the esplanade between Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. I’m going to assume this item was small, most likely the size or a mint tin or smaller. It may have been attached to a tree or put in the decorative plants around the tree.

When you find out what it was that was left you may think Disney is over reacting. Especially you are told this has happened before in the Downtown Disney area about six months ago. My opinion is they did the right thing. In an abundance of caution they but the safety of guests above the financial loss they faced with closed gates and offending the guests that were trying to get in. What many people do not understand is terrorists, by definition wish to cause terror or massive fear in the persons or community they are attacking. If they were to hit the House of the Mouse (any Disney Park or facility) where would we feel safe? They would really be able to cause a change how we live our lives. I refuse to stop going to Disney just because it is a good target for small segment of people who wish to cause fear.

The area this item was found in is within the “safe zone”. People have gone through security checks to get in this area. Still people can sneak things into this area. You can always put something dangerous inside something that looks safe. Disney does its best to check but they are balancing between looking into every nook and cranny and being intrusive and keeping the security check friendly and fast. I know there are people seen and unseen besides the people actually looking in the bags watching for people that are “acting suspicious.” Disney does not want to scare people coming into the park or make it so difficult to get in people will not come.

Disney has policies in place to deal with finding unattended and/or strangely placed items. If they find a backpack, purse, bag or diaper bag left in a rest room they will react one way. The response will be totally different to a bag stuffed under or behind something or a container (no matter the size) attached, buried or tucked inside of something. The first example could easily be a tired or excited person accidently leaving it behind. The second scenario could be a deliberate attempt to hide the item. If it is deliberate, why? With a deliberately placed item it could either be someone trying to leave something for someone else to pick up or so they can return and get it later or someone trying to cause harm.

I’ve been in the park when they have found unattended backpacks and other items. They clear out the area without raising panic. They bring in police dogs to check out the package and usually it does not take long for them to find out it is safe. Then they get back to normal activities as quickly as possible.

When they find something hidden they have to proceed more carefully. They move slower and clear out more space. If that area that needs to be cleared happens to be at the gates of the park then they will do as they did today and close off the area and not allow anybody in or out. Safety First is the motto they work on.

Now, What did they find today? They found a Geocache! Geocaching is a game that people play on line and off. The players have GPS devices. Some players hide items at various locations around the world. They then post clues as to the location as what to look for. Inside the item there is a piece of paper with a code for the player than found it to write down so they can post it later and get credit for the find. It may also have a piece of paper for the player to sign and date. This being said the item can be very small. On the other hand the geocache may also have little trinkets in it. It may have Geocache related items, a toy or just about anything. Usually if there is something in it you replace it with something of like value.

Yes I do Geocache! I would NEVER have done what this player did. Most players would not do this. The majority of players I've met are very responsible people just out to have some fun.

The main rules of Geocaching are:

1.    You are NOT to place a geocache on property you do not have permission to do so. (Disney would never give permission so this person broke the rule.)

2.    Do not put any dangerous item in a Geocache. (I have no idea what was inside.)

3.    Do not put a geocache where it may cause a problem. (I think this person broke that rule as well.)

If you Geocache PLEASE do not place a geocache in a Disney Park or any other place where it may cause a scare. Be respectful of others and consider the fear you cause by breaking these rules.

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