Monday, April 23, 2007

South American Gas Bag

Our 'friendly' dictator in Venezuela Hugo Chavez has not sat still while other events claimed our attention. He has pressed forward with his re-education of the country's citizenry while trying to bring law and order to Caracas.

Which brings us to the subject of this post. Hugo is trying to reign in rampant crime in the city of Caracas by deploying remote controlled blimps armed with cameras. The following statistics will probably hurt the feelings of the gun control freaks in the United States:
Venezuela has the world's highest death rate from guns, according to the United Nations with 34 deaths in every 100,000 caused by firearms. Brazil is second with 22 in every 100,000. Caracas itself has stopped issuing the statistics.

Naturally this deploying of the blimps is raising alarm bells among the few surviving civil libertarians on the loose in Venezuela, evoking shades of Big Brother.

I really do like the question of will the criminals shoot the blimps down. If the blimps do put a crimp in their operations I would expect them to remedy the situation. And Rossi does not understand the tool he is trying to use. These are remote-controlled blimps. Do not have to shoot them down, just destroy enough of the intrument gondola and mission accomplished. So a simple bolt-action rifle with a scope could probably ruin one blimp and there goes $465,000 drifting in the wind.

Now to nit-pick the writer. Zeppelin and blimp can not be used interchangeably. A Zeppelin, as in one from the famous Zeppelin Works of Germany, is a rigid airship. It has a metal frame that the gas bags are attached to. The US Navy airhips Macon and Shennadoah were rigid airships. A blimp lacks a metal frame, it is basically several lift bags wrapped in an outer covering that gives the blimp its shape. What Goodyear flies about is a blimp.

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