This Is Why I Avoid Malls Around This Time of Year
Nothing gets my blood boiling faster than a traffic jam in a parking garage.
As I grow older, that feeling of rage, coupled with a cold sweat and the urge to just floor it and let my bumper do the talking, has gradually evolved into heart palpitations, hyperventilation, and God knows what else on a cardiovascular level.
So yes, I try to avoid these situations.
Unfortunately, the day before yesterday, I got myself stuck in just such a bear trap, with no means of escape.
The place was Aventura Mall in North Miami, an upscale shopping mecca that boasts valet parking, its own lavish gym, and overpriced shops to satisfy all of your consumerist needs and desires.
I went there to see a movie, Darkest Hour — a historical drama documenting the first weeks of Winston Churchill's tenure as British PM.
Competing with the likes of Star Wars and a slew of other millennial-targeted offerings, I figured something dry and downright stodgy like this would draw a small crowd, making the experience relatively relaxing.
What Do You Do When Everyone Around You Is a Potential Threat?
I could not have been more wrong.
Not only was the line for general admission a mile long, but the theater itself was packed, making it nearly impossible to find two adjacent seats for anyone who didn't show up 15 minutes early.
As I stood in line, however, waiting for my ticket to get ripped in two, a feeling of inner terror began to set in.
Maybe it was all of the toxins absorbed over the course of the previous week finally taking a toll on my body and mind...
Maybe it was my profound, inborn distaste for crowds in general...
Or maybe it was the influence of the media, which has never missed an opportunity to sensationalize the horror of what can happen in tight places containing thousands of people, with little room to maneuver.
Most likely, it was a combination of the three. What I can say was that while standing in line, pressed between people like a human sardine, a feeling of dread filled my chest.
What if the unthinkable happened right then and there? What if what I'd only seen on the news and believed would never happen to me transpired?
Just a year earlier, on my previous New Year’s trip down to Florida, I'd just barely missed experiencing a mass shooting firsthand when a man decided to open fire on a crowd at the baggage claim of Fort Lauderdale International Airport just one day before I was to depart from that same airport.
Are You Betting on Public Sanity to Keep You Safe?
What if this year, my luck ran out?
The scene was a mass killer's dream. People everywhere. No place to run. Few places to hide.
I immediately started scanning my surroundings for suspicious characters. Lone men with blank looks on their faces, bags in their hands, baggy jackets hanging off their shoulders.
Within seconds, I'd identified at least a dozen individuals who would have fit the profile — individuals whose faces would have looked natural displayed in a still shot beside a news anchor, tagged with a colorfully worded headline in big, bold, red lettering.
One guy in particular I made sure to keep my eyes on was just a few spots ahead of me in line. Alone, baseball cap pulled low over his eyes, camo backpack in his hands.
It wasn't anger coursing through my bloodstream now, as it had been when I was fighting for a parking spot minutes earlier, but sheer terror.
I watched him as he handed over his ticket and proceeded, to my growing horror, right into Theater 8 — the very same destination stamped on my ticket.
For the next two hours, I felt my blood pressure ebb and flow as I watched him, sitting by himself, in the last seat of the row immediately ahead of my own.
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Can Terror Be Made Obsolete?
I went so far as to plan my escape if and when he decided to stand up and reach into that backpack of his.
If this man or any other individual in that theater had made the fateful decision to become famous that evening, it would have taken just minutes, and nobody in the theater would have been able to do a thing about it.
It was the definition of helplessness, albeit one completely conjured up by my imagination.
Thankfully, my fears were not realized — the fact that I'm writing this today is a testament to that.
But that is not to say they could not, or will not, be in the future, and the sort of target-rich environment that the mall presented exists in thousands of locations around the country.
The danger associated with psychopaths entering crowded places with the intent to do harm is not news to any of us.
For those of you with similarly active imaginations, the last few months have added plenty of material to work with.
Now, while plenty are perfectly capable of putting these risks into the backs of their minds and convincing themselves that it will never happen to them or anybody they know, some of us are simply not able to shut down this misfiring survival instinct.
Which begs the question: is this how society will be from now on? Is mass violence of this variety something we'll just have to get accustomed to the same way we get accustomed to colder weather during the winter months?
Up until last year, I would have probably said yes.
Politicians Live to Get Re-elected, Not to Solve Problems
Banning weapons will never guarantee security, as evidenced by the bombing of the Boston Marathon, where an improvised explosive was able to wreak havoc of the same magnitude as a piece of military hardware.
Sanity, sadly, doesn't seem to be on the rise, either, removing any prospect of eradicating this problem by natural means.
So whatever solution there is to be had must come from an external source.
Not legislation. Not cancellation or curtailment of citizens' rights. But through a determined, active pursuit of technological safeguards.
That said, living in a world of metal detectors and police searches at every corner is no solution, either, as it would decay the fabric of our free, permissive society just as profoundly as the underlying threat itself.
So what are we to do then?
Well, the one solution I've found, which has the potential to do what nothing else that has come before it could, is a new technology known as cognitive microwave radar.
Cognitive meaning, in plain terms, "smart" is a term applied only to the most cutting-edge technological solutions these days.
And this particular solution is about as smart as smart gets.
From Science Fiction to Commercial Reality
Just imagine a computer that has taught itself, through the magic of artificial intelligence, to tell the difference between innocuous objects like jewelry, watches, or even pockets full of coins and potentially deadly items like guns, bombs, or even knives.
Imagine a scanner that can cover large areas simultaneously, scanning hundreds, even thousands of subjects in single sweeps and picking up only those carrying objects that fit tightly defined parameters.
No metal detector gates. No armed, uniformed guards with magnetic wands telling you to raise your arms or submit to physical searches.
This technology could protect not just malls but all heavily trafficked public places, from museums to airports to government buildings, and do so without alerting anybody that any security measures are being taken.
As I stood in line, wiping the sweat off my brow, I wished that the company that owns the patent to this technology had already installed its devices in every mall from coast to coast.
I wished that the CMR units — about the size of two iPads — were in every wall of the theater lobby, buried under the floorboards of every entrance, scanning away as thousands of shoppers came and went.
My wish, ladies and gentlemen, is not a dream. It's a reality, and it will come true in the very near future.
The FCC has already approved this device, and the company that owns it, a young tech firm based just outside of Toronto, is getting ready to spread it across North America.
Some of the first installations are going into Las Vegas hotels and casinos — installations that could have stopped the Vegas Harvest Festival shooting if only the timing had been right.
Eventually, this invisible, self-improving solution will find its way into tens of thousands of buildings and facilities across the U.S. and Canada and around the world.
For me as an investor, it's the sort of product that keeps me from sleeping at night in excitement.
For me as a human, however, it's the sort of product that just may allow me, and all of us, to sleep a little bit better.
I've been working on a video presentation detailing the company and its revolutionary new product.
I'm making that presentation available to the public, for the first time ever, right now.
Fortune favors the bold,
Coming to us from an already impressive career as an independent trader and private investor, Alex's specialty is in the often misunderstood but highly profitable development-stage microcap sector. Focusing on young, aggressive, innovative biotech and technology firms from the U.S. and Canada, Alex has built a track record most Wall Street hedge funders would envy. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Alex, click here.
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