The nine-person TV crew who attempted to smuggle a fake explosive device through a Newark International Airport checkpoint on Thursday are lucky they weren't shot.

After all, as the photo from the Transportation Security Administration shows, the TV crew's fake improvised explosive device looks very realistic.

It seems that the crew designed the IED to appear to have a complex multiple-redundant power source, an advanced detonator, and a large explosive package. The fact that the fake bomb also seems to have been based on a hair dryer or another standard electronics device would also have been a concern to TSA screeners.

That's because Islamic State and al Qaeda bomb makers now frequently attempt to hide IEDs in common items. One example is ISIS' recent near success in downing an Australian departing airliner.

All of this means that, had a police officer been nearby, he or she might well have shot the TV crew standing next to the bag in question.

Indeed, it might even have been standard operating procedure to fire on the suspects. In the U.K., for example, armed police officers at airports are trained to use super-escalatory deadly force in face of major terrorist threats. Put explicitly, officers are authorized to shoot-to-kill terrorist bombers before they can detonate a device. Even if the Newark TV crew had been standing back from their device, a police officer might well have shot them to prevent the use of any possible remote detonator.

As I say, the TV crew are lucky that they're only facing criminal charges, instead of having their families visit the morgue to identify their bodies.