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Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

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  • Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

    A current item in the news, is that US has plans to put up walls to separate two competing groups from each other in Iraq. How effective are walls at protecting people?

    The Great Wall of China was fairly effective for a long time. Its effectiveness likely came as a result of the creators of the wall choosing to build, fortify, guard and maintain it.

    The Berlin was was moderately effective, but to a smaller degree, possible because there were people on both sides that wanted to encourage escape from one side to another.

    Isreal is building a wall, but we won't know how effective it will be until time passes.

    What about the US decision to add a wall to partition different groups from each other in Iraq?

    From my view, this will quickly fail, while both sides are interested in bypassing it to kill each other. Externally imposed defensive system attacked by both sides would seem to have a short life-span.

    What do you think? Do you think other kinds of physical security would be more effective?

    (Please, no politics. No need to flame leader's or make claims about who is right or wrong. I've got no problem /dev/nulling a topic I start if it goes political.)
    Last edited by TheCotMan; April 21, 2007, 21:16.

  • #2
    Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

    Depending on how secure the wall appears usually depends on it's success.

    If I see a prison wall when driving, and see the large security it's trying to enforce I, personally speaking, stay clear not wanting to endure what people may be or object may be supporting the secure wall.

    Though, if I just see a very tall mortor wall, I'm almost interested in what may be on the other side that someone does not want me seeing. (grass is greener and all that).

    Perhaps, IMHO, if they build a scary looking wall, not so much a 'wall', it may be more successful.
    "Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups"

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    • #3
      Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

      Originally posted by hackajar View Post
      Depending on how secure the wall appears usually depends on it's success.

      If I see a prison wall when driving, and see the large security it's trying to enforce I, personally speaking, stay clear not wanting to endure what people may be or object may be supporting the secure wall.
      Prisons are a good example of physical security meant to contain people, while sharing this purpose with people outside of the wall. (Most people outside the wall, don't want to see the wall fail, even if a majority of those living inside the wall would like to see it fail.)

      With Iraq, you have people on both sides of the wall that want to destroy each other. (The most obvious value in this, is in replacing *human* walls (US Soldiers and Iraqi Soldiers) to avoid loss of human life to the partitioning of groups of people with members wanting to kill members of their opposition.)

      Though, if I just see a very tall mortor wall, I'm almost interested in what may be on the other side that someone does not want me seeing. (grass is greener and all that).

      Perhaps, IMHO, if they build a scary looking wall, not so much a 'wall', it may be more successful.
      That is an interesting thought-- perception of security leading to fewer incidents. (Kind of like Terminal Security at airports? :-)

      Intimidation does play a role, but how much of a role?

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      • #4
        Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people



        You don't want people getting this impression!
        "Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups"

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        • #5
          Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

          Walls by themselves are a poor security device. Show me a 10 ft wall and I'll show you a 12ft ladder is a common border patrol phrase.

          However, like most security, it's part of a layered approach. The wall is an initial barrier but supplanted with armed guard towers, guard dogs, landmines, quicksand, alligators, etc. Like most physical security it's based around delaying infiltration until another layer intersects. i,e. a wall w/ barded wire that will delay scaling until a guard sees this and raises the alarm (or gun) i.e Berlin Wall

          Walls are tricky though when they are equal on both sides. As noted, 2 groups wanting to kill each other are going to be crafty and you'll find your wall being attacked from both sides, so there's no easily defensible position. As well, if your trying to 'do it for thier own good' you can't exactly just shoot anyone approaching the wall.

          Another issue is that most walls are porous. You usually have some gates/checkpoints/guard house for ingress/egress from both sides, so you now have to worry about people sneaking through, i.e. checkpoint charlie human smuggling.

          It's not the greatest solution as people will always find a way to circumvent such a thing. You'll probobly find that people on both sides work together in order to circumvent such barriers so that they can get back to killing each other.
          Never drink anything larger than your head!





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          • #6
            Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

            Originally posted by renderman View Post
            The wall is an initial barrier but supplanted with armed guard towers, guard dogs, landmines, quicksand, alligators, etc.
            You forgot sharks with lasers.
            "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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            • #7
              Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

              Originally posted by theprez98 View Post
              You forgot sharks with lasers.
              ahem, sharks with *freakin* laser beams.
              "Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups"

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              • #8
                Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

                A more standard approach is to use a pre existing natural barrier such as a river.
                Then the Sharks with Freaking Lazer beams would be a lot more effective.


                But seriously, soft seperation using natural terrain can be reasonably effective at reducing the overall population spread and attacks without being seen as a challenge to overcome, in the same way a wall would be.
                Most countries tend to have borders defined by naturally impassable or hard to pass terrain.

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                • #9
                  Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

                  Actually you may have a point here! Look at America at night. The mississippi river seems to create this odd "natural border" and we are not even at odds with ourselfs!
                  "Never Underestimate the Power of Stupid People in Large Groups"

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                  • #10
                    Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

                    Natural barriers or inconveniences tend to discourage people from crossing, but do not stop the the determined. In cases where zealots, extremists, or people fearing they have little or nothing to lose (or everything to gain) will make a determined effort to cross natural barriers or inconveniences.

                    We even have examples of adrenaline junkies or frontiersmen in history that have crossed many barriers, such as the desolation of the north or south pole, climbed to the tops of everest, or crossed the grand canyon.

                    People risked death to get to California during the gold rush and even resorted to eating other dead people when things got really tough. (Doner Party) During the "dustbowl" in Oaklahoma, people crossed death valley to get to California.

                    Heck, even the French tried to build a wall to defend themselves from invading Germans, but as history shows, a lack of people to guard such walls at every point of possible failure makes the wall only a slight delay to reaching the other side by a determined overwhelming force.

                    The US has natural barriers and man-made ones which separate us from Mexico, but people looking to escape a poor life, and gain access to a richer life have enough motivation to risk their lives and bypass both.

                    The only way a wall will work as an adequate defense against a determined force is when there are sufficient people to guard the wall, willing to kill to defend the wall and engineers to make repairs to the wall faster than portions of the wall are destroyed.

                    Additionally, in modern times, walls do not prevent attacks. Now, we have missiles, bombs, mortars, and high explosives. Even castle walls could be attacked with trebuchet several centuries ago.

                    The point I'm trying to make? It does not take much motivation for humans to cross barriers- man made or not.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

                      The University of Colorado had a problem with students gathering on one of the fields on 4/20 to publicly smoke marijuana.

                      After the police tried posting students pictures online the year before and offering a $50 bounty for identifying them, and receiving a lot of negative attention, they pursued a different strategy this year: build a wall around the field.

                      The students tried a different strategy too: they moved to a different field. According to the news (I wasn't there) police presence was minimal.

                      Moral of the story: if you're going to try to solve a problem with a wall, make sure the problem you're trying to solve can't be easily circumvented.
                      45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B0
                      45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B1
                      [ redacted ]

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                      • #12
                        Re: Physical Security: Using walls to separate people

                        Originally posted by bascule View Post
                        Moral of the story: if you're going to try to solve a problem with a wall, make sure the problem you're trying to solve can't be easily circumvented.
                        heh, reminds me of the Futurama episode "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz" where the space-hippies protest the huge dark-matter space tanker by holding hands and making a "peace ring" around it.

                        "When you were planning this peace ring didn't you realize that spaceships can move in three dimensions?"

                        "No, i did not"
                        "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                        - Trent Reznor

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