02 December 2010

A White Man in a Black Mask...

Perhaps the demand for ever better special effects and the rapidly improving skills of special effects practitioners will give rise to ever more frequent dilemmas for law enforcement, and perhaps the community as a whole. I recently wrote about a young Chinese man who donned a real life face mask that made him look like an old man as he boarded a flight to Canada. Another case of real life facial masks being used to perpetrate crimes has come to light in the USA.

Conrad Zdzierak is a white man. He robbed four banks, a credit union, and a pharmacy while wearing a mask. Not any ordinary mask, but the very real looking face mask of a black man. In fact the mask was so lifelike that the police initially arrested a black man for the crimes that Zdzierak committed while in disguise. The fact that a black man was arrested is not an indictment on police, rather it is testament to the quality of the mask that the company, SPFX Masks, produced. This is especially the case when one considers that the mother of the black man that the police initially arrested confirmed that it was her son when police showed her some CCTV footage of the crimes being committed.

However, being fortunate to have the mind that I do, one that allows me to come up with some outrageous possibilities, I came up with this scenario.

Obviously SPFX Masks have some real talent when it comes to creating masks. So, imagine that they create an Osama bin Laden mask. This mask is very lifelike. Someone buys the mask. Maybe for Halloween or just as a joke among friends. The US wants Osama bad, so bad in fact that they are happy to have the man "dead or alive". So, imagine this, our Osama bin Laden lookalike is walking down the road to his Halloween party. The police see him and recognise that they have a really big scoop on their hands. They ask Osama to stop, at which point Osama gives them the bird; the old one-finger salute, and then lifts up his robes to reveal some aluminium foil strapped to his body. The police shoot him dead.

Let's face it, no one seems to know where Osama is. So, he could conceivably be wandering the streets of middle America, right? Therefore, is it the fault of the lifelike mask wearing Halloween party-goer for being silly enough to wear the face of the most wanted man in the world?

The special effects technology is great for entertainment value, but it is also generating some serious headaches for law enforcement as they seek to maintain law and order, particularly with regard to national security and terrorism.

The other scenario that I thought of while I was writing about lifelike Osama bin Laden masks was, perhaps Saddam Hussein is not dead after all. Maybe it was just some unfortunate soul forced to wear a lifelike Saddam mask and take the plunge on his behalf. Maybe Saddam is currently enjoying life somewhere in the Caribbean or South America.

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