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Definition: The act of a single individual or group of individuals having long-lasting policy ramifications for a whole population.
Background and derivation: Richard Reid, also known as the ‘shoe bomber,’ was a would-be assassin who was unable to light the fuse on his explosive-laden shoe on a transatlantic flight between Paris and Miami in October 2001. In 2003, he was convicted in U.S. Federal Court of having committed a terrorist act and is now serving a life sentence.
Since his conviction, passengers passing through security check points in airports must take off their shoes and have them x-rayed with their carry-on baggage. Had Reid been successful in destroying the aircraft midair, we all would be none the wiser and not be victims of the Richard Reid Effect.
Example: The alleged plot by British terrorists to blow up U.S.-bound jets with liquid explosives has led to another, Richard Reid Effect TSA policy limiting passengers to carrying only small bottles of liquids in airplane cabins.
by French Inhaler May 09, 2008

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