Like everybody else, I receive a lot of chain emails. Some of these emails are a cheap and decidedly ineffective replacement for a missing sense of humor. Some are designed to elicit an emotional response from cute puppy “awws” to scantily-clad women “wows.” Occasionally I also receive emails designed to foster fear and paranoia, from secret conspiracies (exposed!) to lost freedoms (police state!). The latest fear-mongering electronic missive told of a cell phone that’s actually a 22- caliber weapon . . .
This concealed weapon could be used in another terrorist action by enthusiastically ambitious jihadists on their economy class airfare way to a virgin-plentiful afterlife. The email indicated that the cell phone gun might pass through security checkpoints at airports and provide a tool for the destruction of Americans.
My first reaction: flat-out skepticism that a cell phone could have a firearm app. So I consulted my old friends Snopes and Google under the heading “cell phone gun.”
It turns out there is such a thing as a cell phone gun. But the news about this weapon is about three or four years old. Which means it’s clearly not news to airport security or any other agencies that would be interested in a gun that could make them look like chumps.
The gun phone email is about as relevant in 2011 as a message to Abraham Lincoln to take a big pass on the play three years after the fact. But it did prove that email is sometimes slower than regular snail mail, and that the spirit of James Bond is alive and well and living in someone’s basement.