Media

Cops to Flashy Things: Stay Out of Boston!

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Henry Jenkins offers a balanced assessment of last month's Star Simpson incident, in which police arrested an MIT student at Boston's Logan Airport for wearing an alleged "hoax bomb." (It was a name badge with an LED display.) An excerpt:

One of the things that struck me in the news coverage of the incident was the frequency with which reporters described the security force as "taking no chances" in their response to Star….In this case, the police "took no chances" if you assume that Star was either wearing a bomb or trying to trick someone into believing she was armed.

But if we consider that police pulled machine guns on an unarmed 19 year old in a public place, then we might think that they took a fair number of chances.

neverforget

"I don't know for sure what happened that day at Logan Airport," Jenkins concludes. "There are some nagging details that don't quite add up no matter how I look at the story. But it is pretty clear that there was a significant misunderstanding involved here, that the news media didn't consider alternative framings of the incident and that they were more invested in frightening the public than in finding out what actually occurred."

More on the story here and here. Boston's battle with lite brites recounted here.

NEXT: Nothing to See, Here

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  1. How about this angle: airport security is so bad at identifying bombs that they thought a blinking computer chip was a security threat.

  2. “But if we consider that police pulled machine guns on an unarmed 19 year old in a public place, then we might think that they took a fair number of chances.”

    Of course if you consider the unbelievable stupidity of bringing a fake bomb into the airport, it is hard to have much sympathy for her. Should they have pulled machine guns? Probably not. But, only an elite college student in this day and age would be dumb enough to pull that stunt. We love to make fun of hillbillies and lower middle class people in this day and age, but the dumbest redneck hillbilly I have ever met would be smart enough not to pull that stunt.

    “But it is pretty clear that there was a significant misunderstanding involved here, that the news media didn’t consider alternative framings of the incident and that they were more invested in frightening the public than in finding out what actually occurred.”

    What alternative frameworks? How did this story frighten anyone. I thought the whole point of the coverage was to show that MIT has apparently waived intelligence as an entrance requirement. It is not like the media played it up as a real bomb threat. The story I always saw was “moron shows up with fake bomb at Logan Airport.”

  3. bringing a fake bomb into the airport

    It wasn’t a “fake bomb.”

  4. What alternative frameworks?

    The one where a name tag that lights up is not a “fake bomb.”

  5. When I read something like this I am fascinated by the way the story becomes how the story is told and nobody just remarks on how sad it is that everyone seems so scared of each other nowadays and how this is clouding their judgments and making life a misery for themselves and the people around them.

  6. John,

    Of course if you consider the unbelievable stupidity of bringing a fake bomb into the airport…

    See, the deal is that it wasn’t a fake bomb. Apparnetly she got up in the morning, threw the clothing on and went to the airport to pick up a friend. Then (as I understand it) she was asked by the reference desk what the object was – she told them it was art.

  7. Art can be pretty scary in the wrong hands

  8. Fake Bomb! Fake Bomb!

    It coulda caused a mushroom cloud!

    It was a blinking computer chip, Jack Ryan.

  9. Look at the actual photo of the device. Consider the context. In the most charitable assessment possible she’s guilty of stupidity.

  10. “See, the deal is that it wasn’t a fake bomb. Apparnetly she got up in the morning, threw the clothing on and went to the airport to pick up a friend. Then (as I understand it) she was asked by the reference desk what the object was – she told them it was art.”

    But it doesn’t take much common sense to realize that it would be taken for a fake bomb. I don’t care what she called it; anyone with an IQ above 40 should have known security would freak out about it. I suppose I could care a soap bar into the shape of a pistol and call it “art” not a “fake gun” but I don’t see how I would have much of a reason to complain when they arrested me at the airport.

    Jesse,

    That is not an alternative framework. The story always was some idiot brought what security considered a fake bomb to the airport. No one was ever scared by this story. It was on level of a Darwin Award story not a terrorism story.

  11. John, your displeasure with the student would be well-placed if said student was actually trying to “punk” the system by bring a fake bomb to the airport.

    However, further investigation reveals that this was an art piece that the student wore on a regular basis. This incident was roughly equivalent to the time I accidentally tried to take a pocket knife in my brief case through security in Heathrow. Seven years ago, that was a minor incident. I imagine I would have been thrown to the ground and hand-cuffed if it had happend after 9/11.

  12. The real story isn’t about flashing nametags or “fake bombs”. The real story is about how LESS SECURE you are in any given airport due to “heightened security measures”.

  13. It’s enough to make Jack Bauer hit the bottle and then hit the streets.

  14. I thought the whole point of the coverage was to show that MIT has apparently waived intelligence as an entrance requirement.

    If you redefine “intelligence” as “don’t do anything which might possibly make a paranoid and not-too-bright cop think you might theoretically perhaps be some sort of a threat.”

  15. There was a lot of talk on my fraternity listserv about this. some people knew her. Apparently, she wore the same thing to a career fair the previous day. I guess one could ask what kind of person would wear a fake bomb to a career fair. Or you could ask why would people pull guns on a girl with a lit nametag.

    What’s funny is when I talk to my friends here about the incident and describe it as a nametag that lights up and the fact that she wore it to a career fair, their sympathy for her goes up. Besides, as brilliant as MIT students are they’re not known for social intelligence and common sense. Especially, since they assume reasonable intelligence by people, like the fact that a breadboard does not equal a bomb.

  16. “We of the FBI have no sense of humor that we are aware of”

    BTW – Several airports do have signs warning against this sort of joke, whether intentional or not.

  17. A soap bar in the shape of the pistol would have the virtue of actually resembling something dangerous.

    A pocket knife would have the virtue of being able, at least in theory, of doing harm to somebody.

    This was neither.

    I looked at the actual photo, ed. Maybe it deserves a “What’s that?” and a closer look.

    The other problem here, as with the London police who executed that Brazilian, is that the security people seem to have two speeds – they go directly from “Have a good day, ma’am,” to “Rambo.”

  18. “If you redefine “intelligence” as “don’t do anything which might possibly make a paranoid and not-too-bright cop think you might theoretically perhaps be some sort of a threat.”

    Yeah Jennifer, it takes a lot of intelligence to realize that the cops at the airport are nuts. I am not saying that it is right. I am just saying that if you haven’t figured out that they are paranoid and crazy at the airport, you have either been living in a cave for the last six years or you are certified moron. Yes, the lions at the zoo are pretty fucking unreasonable. They will eat you for no reason. But, their unreasonableness doesn’t make the people who climb into the cages any smarter.

  19. How many bombs involve LEDs arranged in the shape of a star and worn on a shirt?

    She could have been expected to realize that security might freak out if the device had-you know-looked like a bomb.

    John-I’m not going to bother and neither should anyone else. Either you are trolling, or your prior commitments to, well, whatever you believe, cloud your judgement to the point where conversing with you is a waste of time.

  20. But, only an elite college student in this day and age would be dumb enough to pull that stunt. We love to make fun of hillbillies and lower middle class people in this day and age, but the dumbest redneck hillbilly I have ever met would be smart enough not to pull that stunt.

    Men with guns and government authority.

    One of those smarties at an elite university.

    I’ll bet she voted for Kerry, and doesn’t even understand that brave men stand on the wall yadda yadda yadda.

  21. If I see a guy with a bulky backpack on campus, there’s the possibility that he might have guns in it. Should I call the campus police? Or should I roll the dice on the 99.999999% probability that he’s carrying books and gym clothes?

    In the wake of Virginia Tech we can never be too careful. Right?

  22. People are afraid of what they do not understand. Much like modern medicine can be thought of as witchery in primitive cultures, light brights are inevitably bombs in modern cultures.

    Since the terrorists have already won, I’m going to stop worrying and learn to embrace the fear…aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (runs away screaming)

  23. Number 6,

    So you really have no clue about what to bring to the airport? You really think that you can take anything regardless of what it looks like and no worries? If you think this woman was anything but a moron, you are trolling. Understand, that is a separate question from whether the airport people overreacted. Yes, they overreacted. But that fact doesn’t make her any brighter or less worthy of ridicule.

  24. OMG!OMG!OMG!

    look out! it’s the “elite college student”

    how about some fumunda cheese to go with your jealous whine…

  25. As a society, we have two choices when men with guns start making demands on us, John: appeasement, or resistance.

    Hey, if you aren’t wearing something slightly out of the ordinary, you have nothing to worry about. And that’s only a little imposition, to have security.

  26. “Of course if you consider the unbelievable stupidity of bringing a fake bomb into the airport, it is hard to have much sympathy for her.”

    That’s the problem. It wasn’t a fake bomb. The cops may have thought it was a hoax bomb, but that pretty much means anything shiny is a hoax bomb. Hell, a pendant on a necklace could be a hoax box cutter, and an umbrella could be a fake shotgun. I have a button with LEDs on it, and I shutter to think that the cops would pull machine guns on me for it.

  27. Is there anyway to train personnel so that they will be able to differentiate between something that looks like a real bomb and something that doesn’t?

  28. “In the wake of Virginia Tech we can never be too careful. Right?”

    I agree with Thoreau, I would just start shooting.

  29. “So you really have no clue about what to bring to the airport?”

    Knowing what you bring to the airport is different than knowing what some uneducated copper is going to think is a bomb.

  30. I have never said that the airport didn’t overreact. Of course it did. The point is that if who doesn’t know that airport cops are nuts? There is nothing illegal about carrying around a bad of rosemary and rolling it into cigarettes. Of course if I do so in front of a cop, I probably will have swat team at my house. Does that mean that the cops are unreasonable when it comes to drugs? Yes. But I am still an idiot for thinking I could do that with no problem. Yes, only a moron in this day and age would take anything anywhere near an airport that looks anything like an improvised electronic device of any kind. Is that fair? No. But anyone who claims not to know that fact is lying.

  31. “Is there anyway to train personnel so that they will be able to differentiate between something that looks like a real bomb and something that doesn’t?”

    Perhaps differentiation isn’t the key. I think it’s how you respond to it. Pulling machine guns: not so intelligent in an airport.

  32. John, the point is that while it may be understandable for the cops to be paranoid we still need some sort of guidelines so that innocent people don’t get guns pointed at them for wearing innocuous things that a REASONABLE person wouldn’t mistake for a bomb.

  33. “Knowing what you bring to the airport is different than knowing what some uneducated copper is going to think is a bomb.”

    I am thinking that something that has a bunch of wires sticking out of it and appears to be homemade and electronic, is a pretty good guess. I didn’t know libertarians loved the stupid so much.

  34. John: hindsight is 20/20.

  35. Number 6,

    So you really have no clue about what to bring to the airport? You really think that you can take anything regardless of what it looks like and no worries?

    I didn’t say that or anything like it, and you know it.

  36. John,
    What “looks” like a bomb? A breadboard? A shoe (ala Richard Reid)? A bottle of liquid? A laptop? A suitcase (ala Cold War nukes supposedly made by the Russians)? Notice that all of the things above are innocuous objects that can be turned into bombs, but we don’t tell people to come to airports bare foot and without luggage, that’s why we screen items people bring into the airport.

  37. Ban wires. Seems reasonable.

  38. LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! OMG!OMG!OMG!

    I’M NOT PARANOID. IT’S THE LIBURAL ELITE COLLEGES THAT MAKE PEOPLE DUMM. I KNOW THE TRUTH.

    I’M AFRAID. MOMMIE!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!!lolz

    (KEEP A CYBER EYE OUT THERE, D00D, I MIGHT BE FOLLOWING YOU AROUND ON THIS HERE BOARD, LAUGHING AT YOU)

  39. “John, the point is that while it may be understandable for the cops to be paranoid we still need some sort of guidelines so that innocent people don’t get guns pointed at them for wearing innocuous things that a REASONABLE person wouldn’t mistake for a bomb.”

    What would those guidelines look like? Further, once you had the guidelines, how does that not become a blue print for a real bomb maker to know how to disguise his bombs? The point is that you can’t legislate common sense. The cops should have stopped her, looked at it, talked to her, realized what it was and who she was and told her that it probably wasn’t a good idea to bring it to the airport. They should have never reacted the way they did. The solution is to have cops with a sense of proportion and common sense. Good luck in accomplishing that. But, no amount of guidelines or regulations is going to work.

  40. So was there a can of Play-doh or not?
    If there was, what if she had been carring some red cardboard tubes or a length of tape-wrapped pipe?

    A home-made electronic device, battery , AND material that looks just like an explosive, in an airport, seems like a very good reason to point guns and make an arrest.

  41. We’ve all learned a valuable lesson here, today: It’s not just the street cops in Boston who are retarded, it’s everybody with a badge.

  42. MIT student ==> gadget equals so cool
    Undertrained TSA Agent ==> gadget equals bomb

    I don’t understand why the entire population of the US needs to be trained to meet the expectations of the TSA.

  43. Let’s try thinking for a moment.

    People who want to get bombs in airports do everything they can to ensure that the bomb is not detected until it goes off. We know this to be true because their goal-blowing something up-requires that they think that way.

    Therefore, it makes sense to presume that someone with a bomb will do their best to hide it.

    Therefore, it makes sense to say that someone with a bomb will not do something to draw attention to it.

    Therefore, it makes sense to presume that the bright, attention-getting flashing object that does not resemble a bomb is not a bomb.

    Now-people who bring hoax bombs into an airport can reasonably be expected to use a device that resembles a bomb in some way.

    Bombs do not have bright, flashing LEDs that are worn prominently on clothing. (See above)

    Therefore, the object that the student was wearing did not resemble a bomb, and was almost certainly not intended to.

    Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the student was not involved in a bomb hoax.

    Most folks can perform that mental calculus in about 1/2 a second, without verbalizing a bunch of very simple premises and conclusions.

  44. OK, I teach at a university with a very large engineering school. Suppose that the campus police see an ill-groomed guy dressed all in black, a bit twitchy, walking across campus with a metal box that has wires sticking out. Is this an engineering student with too much caffeine carrying his class project? Or is it a psycho with a homemade bomb?

    What should they do? Should they point guns?

  45. SIV,

    That was the reflective paint on her shirt, right?

  46. John,

    Let’s say you’re a MIT nerd, its 7 am (you usually wake up at noon), you live and breathe technology, so much so that you have then integrated into your clothes. You throw on your sweater that’s been on your floor for days and you blearily get some coffee and get in the car to meet your friend at the airport. You walk into the terminal, ask a desk clerk about a flight arrival and then head back to the car to wait. The clerk asks you about the thing on your shirt and maybe you hear and answer “art” or maybe you’re just tired about people asking you about your light bright and walk away. You get outside, where you’re suddenly held at gunpoint and forced to the ground with no clue why and taken off to jail, only then discovering that people thought your light brite was a bomb. You can’t understand why, having been around people that wear the same type of thing all day and now you’re in trouble for it.

    This girl wasn’t stupid, she’s probably going to be a brilliant computer geek, but she does live in a bubble where people don’t walk around afraid of every piece of technology they see.

  47. Something that someone mistakes for a bomb ? fake bomb.

    A fake bomb is a something that is _intended_ to look like a bomb, but is, in fact, not a bomb.

    Lite-brite name-badges are not intended to look like bombs. They are intended to look like lite-brite name-badges.

    I bet my iPod looks like a bomb to old people, yet iPods ? fake bombs. All technology with blinking lights and buzzers and knobs and dials and buttons ? fake bombs.

    We are in the 21st century now. We can not let old people who do not know what things are define what “fake bomb” means, especially when they are unable to use a universal remote control or a blackberry or whatever, or distinguish these from fake bombs.

  48. SIV and John keep making the same assumption, that being a bomb has certain visually identifiable characteristics. A bomb has properties that are not limited to how it looks. The ability to blow up is independent of physical form. You can make a bomb look like ANYTHING. If you only monitor the things that look like a “bomb” you ignore the fact that there are hundreds of things that can actually BE a bomb.

  49. When I read stories about police beating up and arresting a black kid for walking in a white neighborhood, I don’t criticize the black kid. I criticize the cops.

    But that’s just me.

  50. Frequent flyer –

    it has to be that way, because some people, you can see who they are, are just way too fucking stoopid.

    (points and giggles at yooo-know-hoo)

  51. Look at the picture in the link. It is a rectangular piece of play dough with a bunch of wires coming out of it attached to a battery. I don’t what planet you people live on, but in this day and age, no way would anyone have thought that was a good idea to take to the airport. She is an idiot. Actually, I think she is a publicity hound. I think she knew bringing it there would get her in trouble and she wanted to stage a stunt. I just don’t see how anyone could be that dumb. She knew what would happen. So we spend resources that should be going to legitimate threats to deal with this clown. Great.

  52. Thoreau,

    The situation you described is obviously a campus “doomdayer” bringing his box of salvation to the campus square to “save” students from eternal hellfire.

  53. That was the reflective paint on her shirt, right?

    That is what I thought based on the WIRED
    story but the link at the top from the guy at MIT
    says she was playing with a wad of play-doh while wearing her electronic device.

  54. John, I filter your inane douchebaggery, but go fuck yourself you bedwetting moron.

  55. …and I’m not terribly swayed by arguments about what the cops think a mugger looks like, or how the kid should have known that the cops are crazy.

  56. John, there is no playdough on that star witha battery hooked up to it.

    And I haven’t seen or heard anymore about this “alleged” dough substance she was playing with. hell, they probably found out it was one of those stress balls and don’t want to even discuss that anymore.

  57. Look at the picture in the link. It is a rectangular piece of play dough with a bunch of wires coming out of it attached to a battery. I don’t what planet you people live on, but in this day and age, no way would anyone have thought that was a good idea to take to the airport. She is an idiot. Actually, I think she is a publicity hound. I think she knew bringing it there would get her in trouble and she wanted to stage a stunt. I just don’t see how anyone could be that dumb. She knew what would happen. So we spend resources that should be going to legitimate threats to deal with this clown. Great.

    So why did she wear the exact same thing the previous day to a career fair? To scare the people there into thinking she’s wearing a bomb? Or maybe she knew it was harmless, didn’t think that the breadboard looked like a bomb and didn’t realize that the TSA is full of morons (ahh to be young and naive).

    Geez, even when people do go low tech with their bombs and strap explosives to their chest they generally wear it UNDER their clother, not on top.

  58. You might not want to get through security; you might just want to blow the place up. Further, you people assume that every terrorist is some kind of genius. Some of them are dumb. Also, people put bombs in jackets and blow themselves up in crowded places quite frequently in Israel. It has never happened here, but that doesn’t mean it won’t. The police were absolutely right to stop her and find out what the hell she had. Should they have arrested her? It is a crime to take a fake bomb into an airport. Is the object in the picture a fake bomb? It certainly could be considered one. Remember they don’t need proof beyond a reasonable doubt, just probable cause to arrest. They shouldn’t have pointed guns, but I am not sure this is a per say unlawful arrest. You people say, it is not a fake bomb now because you know the story. Had you been there at the time and not known who this woman was or what she was doing, it wouldn’t have been so easy.

  59. Of course bombs have flashing LED’s on them. They do in all the movies, at least. And countdown timers, too.

  60. It is a rectangular piece of play dough with a bunch of wires coming out of it attached to a battery.

    This is factually wrong. It is obviously a bread-board. A laywer wouldn’t know that, but any engineering/science student would.

  61. Further, you people assume that every terrorist is some kind of genius. Some of them are dumb.

    Wait, they’re a bunch of idiots but a dire existential threat nonetheless?

  62. You can make a bomb look like ANYTHING.
    In this case she made ANYTHING look lik a bomb.
    By Mo’s logic the cops should ignore a grenade looking object because it could be a novelty take-a-number paperweight while a laptop could be a real bomb.

  63. “So why did she wear the exact same thing the previous day to a career fair? To scare the people there into thinking she’s wearing a bomb? Or maybe she knew it was harmless, didn’t think that the breadboard looked like a bomb and didn’t realize that the TSA is full of morons (ahh to be young and naive).”

    The career fair is a fair point. Perhaps she is just that stupid. Libertarians apparently love the stupid.

  64. John,

    You have outdone yourself on this thread. Nothing but incorrect assertions of fact and things you “think.” Congratulations.

  65. Libertarians apparently love the stupid.

    Hey, we let you and Dan T. post here!

  66. I recently went through airport security. I had forgotten that I had a bottle of Diet Pepsi in my bag. Security found it. They casually tossed my bomb into the nearest garbage can.

    Frankly, I think she was asking for it. While a homemade blinking nametag alone should probably elicit a question of “What is that?” rather than a SWAT team, what’s up with the PlayDoh? It’s really not that far a stretch to think that PlayDoh could be mistaken for Semtex, especially by the $11/hour airport security.

  67. Lamar | October 2, 2007, 10:35am | #

    Ban wires. Seems reasonable.

    Better yet, strew some wires around the airport. When someone picks them up, shoot them!

  68. “Wait, they’re a bunch of idiots but a dire existential threat nonetheless?”

    It only takes a few smart ones. Certainly, Richard Reed wasn’t very bright and he damn near brought down an airliner. You don’t have to be smart you just have to be lucky. The dumb ones are not an existential threat, but they still can kill people and it if you are dead, who really cares what kind of a threat they are, you are just as dead either way. Seriously, your standard of security can’t be, “we won’t check into this because no one would be dumb enough to do that.”

  69. I just looked at the picture of the “device.” There is no way in hell that thing looks like a bomb. It’s connected to a freakin’ 9 volt battery. I’m embarrassed for those cops. How could they not pull her aside quietly?

    Nevertheless, John, your story has changed from “no sympathy because she had a fake bomb” to “she was stupid not to know that Boston mustaches would overreact.”

    Fair enough.

  70. Better yet, strew some wires around the airport. When someone picks them up, shoot them!

    Or we could strew play-doh around the airport and shoot any kid who picks it up. That way you get the terrorists while they’re still young.

  71. John: it’s not a rectangular piece of play-doh; it’s a protoboard. According to the write-up in The Tech she was holding some play-doh in her hand that she had shaped into a rose to give her boyfriend (the guy she was meeting at the airport).

  72. You people just hear what you want to hear. I never said that the airport cops were reasonalbe, only that perhaps the arrest was not per say illegal. Further, if what this woman did was so harmless and smart, why don’t all of you put together a similiar device and wonder around the nearest airport in it. If she can’t be expected to know, how can you? None of you would do that in a million years, because you know how stupid this woman was even if you won’t admit it.

  73. To be honest, I feel more secure in Boston when the Boston PD is not around than when they are.

    I’ve head a couple of experiences where one cop was yelling at me to do A another was yelling at me to do B, where A & B were mutually exclusive actions. Furthermore, since both instances involved me riding my bike on some bike-legal road or path and coming up on construction sites or detours that the PD was manning, the fact that they were behaving as if they were in combat while they were merely facing ordinary people doing ordinary things was kind of freaky. They didn’t have any weapons out, but I got the feeling that one wrong word, and I would be getting several thousand volts’ worth of compliance training.

  74. Somewhere along the line, people got the idea that wires == bomb. Why? It is a mystery.

    Oh, and joe, your city is dumb. And y’all talk funny. And fuck Bill Belichek.

  75. I think what it comes down to is that the girl was not stupid (naive maybe, but not stupid) and the authorities, obviously not trained in identification, overreacted. Then, when the media blew the whole thing out of proportion, Massachussets reacted by protecting itself, saying that it was a fake bomb.

    I was reading on that MIT site that the great moonnite caper ended up with no criminal charges and just some misdemeanor charges for vandalization which resulted in a small fine and community service.

    The moral of this story is that it really is the media who is the worst perpetrator of fraud and they can get off with no penalty for reporting things with no evidence, causing chain reactions which incite everybody on all sides.

    I hope that the legal group in Boston calms down again and let’s Ms. Sampson go on her way with no charges and thinks seriously about how well people at their airports are trained to handle these sort of situations and how to respond when the media decides to cry the sky is falling.

  76. “Nevertheless, John, your story has changed from “no sympathy because she had a fake bomb” to “she was stupid not to know that Boston mustaches would overreact.”

    Fair enough.”

    Lamar, that was my entire point. This woman is a moron. Yes, we need the cops at airports to be smarter. But, I have not one whit of sympathy for her.

  77. I’m kind of with John on this one – while it’s obvious in retrospect that Simpson’s device was not a fake bomb, I would hope that an airport security guard would not just think to himself, “Hmm…there’s someone with a black hooded sweatshirt with a battery, wires, and some sort of plastic material sticking out. Nothing to worry about with that one!”

  78. from the link above….
    Police have also found it suspicious that Simpson was playing with Playdough in the airport.
    A wad of putty like material + circuit board,chip,wires and battery looks like a bomb.
    Oh but she was wearing this now who would wear a bomb?

  79. black hooded sweatshirt

    Wait, those are bad? I love mine.

  80. The only difference between this story and the one involving the ATHF is that the City has yet to shakedown MIT for a couple million dollars.

    Yet.

  81. I for one love the stupid.

    Perfect for BATIN.

    Hay “John” why don’t you go and like do something else, there, man. Yeah.

    Instead of adding you to the “Pity List”, you’re straight on the “I’m gonna make a line of naughty farm supplies in your likeness” list.

    Hier’s what we know about him:

    deathly afraid of “elites” and intellectualism
    afraid of things he does not understand (see above)
    wants to force the world into his boundaries of understanding
    wants to eliminate those aspects of the world that are outside of his safe zone
    to accomplish this, he would demand some degree of conformity.

    dunno. sounds like this twaddlenock is a stoogie for north korea or suchlike.

    agreed, Warty!

  82. John,

    Per se. It’s fucking per se.

  83. So it was a hoax. Its still a warning sign and the cops did the right thing. Remember Columbine? Remember Virginia Tech? There were warning signs about the shooters that went ignored. Yet people want to say it was obviously not a bomb. This isn’t about fascist police, its about a sociopath trying to grab some attention. She deserves to be punished. I’d probably have her kicked out of school, too. If she’s willing to put herself and othersat risk to grab a headline, she’s capable doing a whole lot more.

  84. If she can’t be expected to know, how can you? None of you would do that in a million years, because you know how stupid this woman was even if you won’t admit it.

    She is not stupid John. I imagine in 10 years or so she will be making double what you do.

    She is the classic tech/nerd stereotype. Unfathomable by regular people, like yourself.

    The villians here are the TSA. Airport security has gotten progressively stupider over the last ten years. I fear flying now much more than before 9/11. And it isn’t the terrorists that I fear.

  85. John, the cops being unreasonable is the point of the story. They brandished machine guns in a public place. Moreover, an airport is already a high stress environment. By “not taking any chances” with a 9 volt battery, they put the lives of hundreds of people in danger while protecting no one.

    The stupidity of a smart girl doesn’t excuse the brandishing of deadly weapons over a harmless item. It’s poor training and it puts people in danger. Given the idiocy of it all, I have little faith that Boston cops have the ability to stop anything.

  86. Rectangular breadboard = play dough?

    John, have you considered a job with the Boston PD? Sounds like you’re qualified.

  87. The general meat-headedness of security personnel needs to be accounted for by limiting their rules of engagement when dealing with the public, not by expecting the public to scamper around and foresee how their meat-headedness will express itself.

  88. “Ed”:

    I’ve diagnosed you, too. hier.

    fuckin’ twaddlenock.

  89. John is so willing to call this girl stupid and moronic, but has he never done something inadvertantly that could cause an overreaction by the authorities?

    Hell, I had a cop threaten me with violence after he pulled me over for speeding and reached and unclipped the holster for his gun when I reached for my wallet to hand him my drivers license. He was so pumped up and adrenaline going 90 to nothing that he he really thought a guy going over the speed limit in a small sports car was a threat to life and limb. I understand that shit can happen and if they let their guard down to the wrong person they could get shot, but are we so afraid of each other now that civility and calmness is a luxury we cannot afford? What does that say about society and the path we’ve come down.

  90. For people who love the second amendment so much, you folks sure are horrified by the “brandishing of machine guns in a public place”.

  91. John,

    I’ve seen the device. Only a stupid moron of the highest order would think it looked like a bomb. She wore it alot. I can’t think of anyone who wears home-made blinking name tags during the course of their normal business. however, plenty of people carry nail-clippers, guns, water bottles and lighters with them during the normal course of their business. And guess what? Every day, thousands of people show up at airports with these contraband items which get confiscated and then go to fill up warehouses.

    So to recap, she like thousands of ordinary Americans, normally carried around something that was ‘contraband’ according to airport security. And, like thousands of ordinary Americans, she forgot to ditch the contraband before walking into the airport. The only thing that differentiates her from Jennifer, the nail-clipper wielding passenger, is that her bit of contraband had blinky lights.

    If a fad of wearing homemade blinking name tags broke out across the U.S., I’ll bet you’d see tens of incidents just like this one every day.

  92. According to the reports she had a lump of Play-Doh in addition to the home-made electronic device. The combination is quite provacative especially in the context of an airport.

    from wiki

    Plastic explosive (or the obsolete term plastique) is a specialised form of explosive material. It is soft and hand malleable and may have the added benefit of being usable over a wider temperature range than pure explosive. Plastic explosives are especially suited for explosive demolition as they can be easily formed into the best shapes for cutting structural members, and have a high enough velocity of detonation and density for metal cutting work.

  93. Warty,

    I don’t live in Boston, but in Lowell. Lowell is not dumb.

    And you, my frind, ah wicked queeah.

  94. When big brother has machine guns and I have been disarmed, yes, I’m horrified.

  95. I for one am more terrified by quibbledix like “Ed” and “John” diagnosing or trying to suppress any activities or behaviors that they don’t understand, feel a threat from (ugh. structure), or don’t like. Then they would seek to ban such activities.

    Damn. You know, those guyz are so stoopid, they deserve to be arrested. You know. Such rank stupidity is a warning sign. And we cannot ignore them.

    The agents are on their way.

  96. A quick glance at the thing shows a block of something with wires sticking out of it. WTF was she thinking? Airport security are not engineers and scientists, they’re looking for any possible threat. I hate to side with those idiots, but in this case…

  97. Bruce Schneier wrote everything that needs to be said about this in February.

    clicky clicky

    Highlight:
    “It had a very sinister appearance,” [Massachusetts Attorney General Martha] Coakley told reporters. “It had a battery behind it, and wires.”

    For heavens sake, don’t let her inside a Radio Shack.

  98. Dan T | October 2, 2007, 11:12am | #

    For people who love the second amendment so much, you folks sure are horrified by the “brandishing of machine guns in a public place”.

    I don’t think it’s the “brandishing” that scares us. It’s the trigger-happy John McClanes / Rambos / Jack Bauers that scare us.

  99. For people who love the second amendment so much, you folks sure are horrified by the “brandishing of machine guns in a public place”.

    Dan, speaking for myself I feel comfortable in an environment where many people are armed.

    I don’t feel comfortable in an environment where only members of a particular gang are armed, especially when that gang has a penchant for brandishing those weapons at people who are not doing anything wrong, and on occasion even shooting them.

  100. Woah.

    I’m gonna back peddle now. I just found out what “John” looks like: hier

    *wets self, laments fact that rubber innerwear is in the wash…*

  101. Tangentially, it’s interesting how the pro-profiling people don’t let their reasoning work the other way when an “elitist” from an “elite university” finds herself in their gunsights.

  102. for pete’s sake, she had a lump of playdoh in her hand, and a “device” with exposed wiring, circuit board, and a battery attached to her sweatshirt.

    she is galactically stupid.

    assuming they had reasonable suspicion, she was a walking IED, the pulling of the rifles was exactly how they should have handled it. of course, if she had a deadman’s switch, they woulda been porked, but they did what they could. they gave instructions, she complied.

    the desk guy prolly rang up the cops and said she had what appeared to be a bomb (given, that’s a stretch but…) and the cops responded.

    improper response would be to calmly walk up to her, gun holstered, and inquire.

  103. VM: Your diagnosis seems right on, Ed and John seem to suffer from really bad cases of representativeness bias coupled with the incurable onset of bedwetting douchenuttery.

  104. I’ve seen the device. Only a stupid moron of the highest order would think it looked like a bomb.

    Of course, you can’t truly judge that because you knew it was not a bomb when you saw it.

    Once again, if somebody’s walking around an airport in a sweatshirt that has wires and a battery and other material sticking out, then yes, that’s pretty suspicious.

  105. Hay Timothy:

    do you think they’d want to buy URKOBOLD brand rubber innerwear so they can, despite their bedwetting douchenuttery, function in, errrr, “normal” society?

    but check out (above) how tuff he really is!

  106. Once again, if somebody’s walking around an airport in a sweatshirt that has wires and a battery and other material sticking out, then yes, that’s pretty suspicious.

    Or, a pretty cool gadget…

    *hmmm…that’s neat! Hey, look, dipping dots!!

  107. I’ve seen the device. Only a stupid moron of the highest order would think it looked like a bomb.

    Of course, you can’t truly judge that because you knew it was not a bomb when you saw it.

    Dan T = threadwinner

  108. Dan T:

    you mean, if this guy were running around?

  109. HERE is a link for John, Ed, and a select few others here. You might find it quite useful.

  110. SIV,

    Don’t plastic explosives have to be hooked up to something to work?

  111. “that’s pretty suspicious.”

    True. Point machine guns in a public place and endanger hundreds of innocent people suspicious? No.

  112. Jimmydageek!

    brilliant!

    Was it bad that I sent a gross of penis-shaped pacifiers to them?

  113. Wait, while I’m not sure of the “status” of SIV…did a troll just declare another troll the threadwinner? We might have an internet first here! Call the people at Guinness World Records!!

  114. SIV:

    Simeon Immunodeficiency Virus – perfect for MONKEY TUESDAY!!!!

    yay!!!!!

  115. The stupid-it burns!

    Neither Columbine nor Virginia Tech have jack-squat to do with this situation.

    It was not a hoax. A hoax bomb is intended to be mistaken for a real bomb. The student’s nametag was not intended to be mistaken for a real or fake bomb.

    There is no evidence she is a sociopath, and there is no reason she should be a punished for a damned thing, as she did nothing wrong.

  116. Dan T | October 2, 2007, 11:12am | #
    For people who love the second amendment so much, you folks sure are horrified by the “brandishing of machine guns in a public place”.

    Actually, it is the one-way brandishing that bugs me. I think the cops would be a little more polite if they were outgunned.

  117. That girl is being punished because the cops fugged up. They have to justify their boneheaded response.

  118. Dangerman,

    They usually are. Most people are very polite when outgunned.

  119. Syloson,
    Yes, they actually (iirc) need a blasting cap too.

  120. John,

    You probably thought executing that poor Brazilian fellow by the British cops was a good idea too.

  121. anon,

    Only guilty people run. It’s just up to you what they’re guilty of…

  122. SoS

    Don’t plastic explosives have to be hooked up to something to work?

  123. She’s extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used,” Pare told The Associated Press. “And she’s lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue.”

    God Bless America

  124. Where did it go?

    SoS Yes they do.Something like an electric blasting cap and a source of current- picture…
    wires and a battery.

  125. We really meant the 2nd Amendment to read “a right to bear arms and playdough.” But we were tight for space and the playdough part was edited out.

  126. The device used Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) which are individual light sources running off electricity, not lite brites, which are plastic pegs with no light emitting qualities.
    I have seen devices like the one Star Simpson wore at science fiction conventions and art shows.

  127. But what if the device utilized LEDs (Light Emitting Dildoes)? Would the military move in as a response to the weapons of ass destruction?

  128. notlitebrite: Jenkins wrote that it was lite brites, but I’ve Googled around and it looks like you’re right. I’ve corrected the post.

  129. John, Siv and the rest.

    For those times when you are scared or frightened just get some of this and apply it liberally. The soothing begins almost instantly.

    ninnies

  130. Buck Futter,

    They got them special trucks that can drive over lite-brites now.

  131. Quick show of hands: how many people here are explosives experts?

    Come on, don’t be shy.

    Anyone?

  132. Quick show of hands: How many people here have threatened to shoot an undergrad because she was wearing a light-up nametag? Anyone? Ah, just John and Ed, as I suspected.

  133. I can assume that none of the bed-twits are.

  134. Dammit!! That was supposed to be ..bed-wetting twits….

  135. Timothy – can’t show my hands right now. Just gimme another few seconds…

    (am tryin a new batin technique, “the paraioid quibblefuq” – I use authoritarian techniques and fear of the unknown as lube)

  136. Regardless of whether this young woman did a very bright thing (obviously not), there is no way she should be facing criminal charges over it. She should be given a stern lecture on awareness of her surroundings and an apology from the gun-wielding morons.

  137. Way back in the day (high school), I went to a TSA (technology student association) conference in DC. I was young, 17ish? One day, my friends and I found a metal pipe leaning up against a building. We picked it up and proceeded to carry it around everywhere…along with various objects containing wires (we were tech students, after all). Back in the day, (pre-911), this received no attention in DC!! Now, the same scenario would get me shot in a POS place like Boston…and some morons here would see it as completely justified.

  138. Armchair quarterbacking is easy. I suspect the same snarkiness would be evident here if the incident had been a security test and some poor schlub of an agent had waived her through. Then libertarianism’s sharpest wits would be having a yuk-yuk fest at how incompetent the screeners are to have let through such a suspicious-looking character.

  139. For people who love the second amendment so much, you folks sure are horrified by the “brandishing of machine guns in a public place”.

    Dan, that’s because I’ve seen how your average cop shoots.

  140. well, ed, if she had been carrying a bomb to test the airport security and they had waved her through, then yes, there would be a different snarkfest. The TSA agents who had been forewarned by moles within the inspector crews would be receiving double scorn (remember that story? Maybe not).

    BUT

    Instead of waving a bomb through security, the TSA terrorized an MIT student with a hi-tech sweater, and implied that if she had been anything but co-operative she would be in a morgue. And apparently, that’s the book the TSA runs by.

  141. I suspect the same snarkiness would be evident here if the incident had been a security test and some poor schlub of an agent had waived her through.

    If I recall, she did not try to clear security — she was not a passenger so she can’t.

    She went to an information desk to get flight information. She was challenged and asked what was on the hoody. After the second time, she responded that it was art. She was then confronted with weapons draws as she went to her car to wait for her boyfriend.

    She was clearly clueless regarding the nature of her acts. The “highly-trained” personal — armed with automatic weapons — very clearly overreacted.

  142. “I suspect the same snarkiness would be evident here if the incident had been a security test and some poor schlub of an agent had waived her through.”

    Your probably right, but you make it sound like there are two alternatives: terrorize the public with machine guns or let anybody with a bomb on a plane. I would think a competent security team would get the woman away from crowds if she had a bomb, not provoke her in the middle of the airport.

  143. John-

    I’ve read all of your comments in this thread.

    After slogging through all of them, quite frankly, I’m shocked that you’re able to breath without mechanical assistance.

  144. Her 40 year-old boyfriend that is…..(she’s 19). Just a little flavor to the story.

  145. The Sons of Leviathan
    Robert Higgs identified the Leviathan as an opportunistic beast, using crises – real or manufactured – to expand its realm, to slither its tentacles into the remaining halls where large amounts of liberty are found. Any national or international event can be spun into the need for more government, more interventions, and more intrusions of its slimy appendages.

    Crises never seem to arise often enough for those wanting more power. Therefore, government will manufacture events, or spin the innocuous or unrelated incident into a crisis, whenever it desires more of the people’s liberty. What occurs at the national level also occurs at the local level as the sons of the Leviathan seek their own bits of power, the tidbits dropped from the mouth of the great beast

  146. We love to make fun of hillbillies and lower middle class people in this day and age, but the dumbest redneck hillbilly I have ever met would be smart enough not to pull that stunt.

    john, i think you’re right on this one. i’ve watched hundreds of hours of COPS and i don’t think any of those people can operate an on/off switch.

    speaking of COPS (the show) they had a special taser episode this past sunday iirc. long story short, they love tasers. love them tasers.

    sit down.

    why?

    zap! zap! zap!

  147. spare me the “terrorize” her rubbish. assuming they had RS that it was an IED, then that was the only reasonable way TO respond, based on any use of force continuum that makes sense.

    millions of people use airports every year. a truly infinitessimal fraction are so incredibly stupid as star was.

    nobody KNOWS what her intent is (although everybody here is a mindreader and assumes they do). it sounds likely that she had no nefarious intent. but it is hardly certain.

    im willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, that she is just an incredibly stupid person. and yes, you can be great in physics and still be colossally stupid and have no common sense. i knew a couple of caltech students that fit that bill perfectly.

    for people who say she shouldn’t be charged, do you even know the wording in the relevant statute. while i doubt she intended to create the perception she was an IED, many statutes criminalize “recklessly” creating an appearance etc. to the general public. those are usually of the misdemeanor variety.

  148. Her 40 year-old boyfriend that is…..(she’s 19). Just a little flavor to the story.

    So, you’re saying there’s hope for us old guys yet…

  149. for people who say she shouldn’t be charged, do you even know the wording in the relevant statute. while i doubt she intended to create the perception she was an IED, many statutes criminalize “recklessly” creating an appearance etc. to the general public. those are usually of the misdemeanor variety.

    I don’t care what the statute says. The prosecutor has discretion, and in this case used that discretion very poorly.

  150. tied between dhex and mediageek!

    hier is a pic of one of those mega intelligent rednecks “john” mentions. As confirmed by dhex.

  151. john, i think you’re right on this one. i’ve watched hundreds of hours of COPS and i don’t think any of those people can operate an on/off switch.

    Let’s face it. Operating a tshirt is outside the realm of your average COPS perp.

  152. ok, fine … that’s your opinion. imo, a charging with an agreement of deferred sentence (iirc, in Mass., the disposition would be “continued without a finding” ) which means if she stays out of trouble for a year, that the charge is wiped from her record would be appropriate.

  153. How about this angle: airport security is so bad at identifying bombs that they thought a blinking computer chip was a security threat.

    Joe, isn’t that true on its face? Why would this be…”another angle”?

  154. assuming they had RS that it was an IED, then that was the only reasonable way TO respond, based on any use of force continuum that makes sense.

    They didn’t have reasonable suspicion that it was an IED. They had reasonable suspicion that it was an unknown object.

    The question is, should the government allow security personnel to act as if they suspect someone is carrying a bomb when they don’t know, or should they act as if they have to confirm that the person is harmless, unless they have a real reason to suspect otherwise.

  155. The girl was lucky that she was not also wearing a provocative miniskirt – TSA would have shot her at first sight.

    The fact that she is a student at MIT made her a prime target for the envious media. Students from elite universities are pure evil and have the temerity to challenge authority. MIT must be sanctioned and de-funded as they are obviously in cahoots with Columbia U. and Osama Bin Laden.

    I agree with John regarding the terrorist threat of hillbillies, but for a different reason. Based on the COPS shows, rednecks only wear tattered blue jeans. They never wear shirts, belts, socks, shoes, underwear, or deodorant. They have no place to hide a bomb (unless their budweiser can is full of C4).

  156. “I’m shocked and appalled that somebody would wear such a device to the airport. We had someone with a submachine gun at the airport go right to the scene.”

    Was the battleship busy?

  157. Crushinator – what’s with yer email?

  158. “If I recall, she did not try to clear security — she was not a passenger so she can’t.

    She went to an information desk to get flight information. She was challenged and asked what was on the hoody. After the second time, she responded that it was art. She was then confronted with weapons draws as she went to her car to wait for her boyfriend.”

    She left the terminal and was heading to her car, away from the teminal. Yes, for someone who they thought might want to blow up the terminal, walking away from it might be a clue that something else was going on.

    Any charges she has against her should be dropped. And the idiots who drew machine guns should get the proverbial spanking.

  159. “They didn’t have reasonable suspicion that it was an IED. ”

    i said ASSUMING that they had RS.

    that’s a technique for discussion. i don’t know the exact fact pattern they had, and if it would qualify for RS under terry v. ohio. based on the fact that it appears that they received a phone call from the desk person who spoke to her (“it’s art”), and that he would generally fit the aguilar/spinelli two prong test (veracity and basis of knowledge) (yes, i used to work in Mass legal system), they arguably may have

    but again, i said that ASSUMING that was the case, because i was discussing the force used. obviously, fi they had no RS to believe she was so armed, then pretty much ANY use of force would be excessive. otoh, if they did have RS, then imo the force was reasonable under terry v. ohio

    “They had reasonable suspicion that it was an unknown object.

    The question is, should the government allow security personnel to act as if they suspect someone is carrying a bomb when they don’t know, or should they act as if they have to confirm that the person is harmless, unless they have a real reason to suspect otherwise.”

    i think you need to read terry v. ohio. the mass state police (the agency that responded) certainly have.

    but in brief, the whole point of a terry stop is to investigate when you do not have PC, but have more than a “hunch”. that’s what RS is.

    regardless, given the nature of the RS (that it was an IED), the force used was appropriate for the investigation to take place.

    if there was RS that she was a warrant suspect with a warrant for forgery, obviously not.

    use of force decisions are always viewed based on the ‘reasonable officer’ standard (no, that’s not oxymoronic)

    and, policy aside, it’s not what the “government allows”. it’s what the US (and Mass.) constitution allows. and based on what i have read, the force WAS reasonable, but yes… that’s my opinion

  160. Her 40 year-old boyfriend that is…..(she’s 19). Just a little flavor to the story.

    I’m so cruising the MIT campus next week.

  161. “TSA would have shot her at first sight.”

    at least get the facts down. it was not TSA . it was the mass state police that drew down on her.

  162. whit: how does it feel to be exactly what the terrorists want?

    Terrorism works because of you.

    reason is infuriating.

  163. Whit-

    Thanks for pointing out my error. Besides, only Southwest Airlines flight attendants would have objected to the miniskirt.

    I cannot understand why an MIT student could not read the computer displays to obtain the flight information she sought from the information desk.

  164. I agree with frequenty flier and Lost_In_Translation about the girl in this story. Probably a briliant computer-geek type whose ability to anticipate how others will react to something is not as well developed as her technological skills.

    Further, if what this woman did was so harmless and smart, why don’t all of you put together a similiar device and wonder around the nearest airport in it. If she can’t be expected to know, how can you? None of you would do that in a million years, because you know how stupid this woman was even if you won’t admit it.

    Well, one thing is we have the hindsight effect of this story, whereas she presumably didn’t. Also, I can’t speak for other commenters, but I’m not in the habit of making and wearing/carrying around stuff like this so I’d be going out of my way to do that.

    If I were some type of technology enthusaist(sp?) use to wearing this thing, and I had to go pick someone up at the airport, would I have made sure to wear something else? I’d like to think something like this would have occurred to me:

    “Hmmm. My fellow MIT students think this blinking thing is cool. But an overly-cautious, less technologically adept security gaurd might see a circuit board, wires, and a battery; and think “bomb”. So I’ll wear something ordinary.”

    Its easy to say in hindsight that she should have thought of that. But at the time, it might have been easy for her to overlook such things, especially if she’s use to wearing that device everywhere without a problem. I would like to think it would have occurred to me if I were in that situation, but I can’t say for sure that it would have.

  165. “regardless, given the nature of the RS (that it was an IED), the force used was appropriate for the investigation to take place.”

    Hmmm, we think she has a bomb, so we’re going to provoke her in the middle of the airport. No need to get her out of a crowd……

    Regardless of the legal standing, those clowns put people in real danger.

  166. “whit: how does it feel to be exactly what the terrorists want?

    Terrorism works because of you.

    reason is infuriating.”

    utter hysterical rubbish.

    i really suggest you look into the use of force continuum and what is considered reasonable and not reasonable in these situations.

    this is almost a textbook example of how it should go down.

    the reality is that because it WASN’T a bomb, that it offers armchair dingdongs the opp to kick back and think how much smarter they are than the cops in this case, and how ridiculous it was , etc.

    the reality is that situations like this are dynamic, and necessarily (much like poker) a situation where one is dealing with incomplete, fragmented, and sometimes contradictory evidence.

    if they had NOT drawn down on her and done an approach of the sort they did, they would have been remiss in their duties. their job was to protect ALL the people at the facility. and while it sux that poor star had to look down the barrel of some gun(s), based on what was apparently known to the MSP at the time of the incident, the use of force was appropriate given the circ’s.

    she was not shot. millions of people use airports every day. they are exceptionally safe places, but when situations like this arise, we expect pro-active policework and quick response to potential threats.

    terrorism works as much because of people who refuse to recognize potential threats, as it does becauase of people who overrespond.

    i walk around with a CCW and a gun and have done so for 20 years while never drawing the thing. so, i am perfectly aware that i am neither paranoid, nor have the terrorists “won”.

    but i also understand the dynamics of use of force situations, and based on what i have read about this case, the cops’ actions were appropriate

    reason, does not include the luxury of 20/20 hindsight (as more than one SCOTUS and other judge has remarked in reviewing such cases).

  167. WE HAVE PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE THAT “WHIT” ACTUALLY IS THE FAMED LOS ANGELES CLUBBER NAMED, “POGO”.

    WHY DON’T WE JUST AGREE THAT GEEK BLING IS OUTRE THIS YEAR AND BE DONE WITH THIS SILLY, POINTLESS BICKERING.

    AND LET IT BE RESOLVED THAT “JOHN” AND “WHIT” AREA TWADDLENOCKS.

  168. TSA was busy forcing some Swedish mother to drink her own breast milk to “prove” it wasn’t a WMD.
    They had already used up their quota of checking
    shaved head Muslim-looking women in black hooded sweatshirts with strap-on detonators, shaping plastic explosive charges, while refusing to answer questions at the airport for the day so the Mass State Police had to pickup the profiling slack.

  169. “Its easy to say in hindsight that she should have thought of that. But at the time, it might have been easy for her to overlook such things, especially if she’s use to wearing that device everywhere without a problem. I would like to think it would have occurred to me if I were in that situation, but I can’t say for sure that it would have.”

    it’s easy to say – period. not merely in hindsight. to anybody with common sense, and situational awareness, it’s stunningly obvious. similarly, when i travel (i realize she was not going on an airplane, but was in the facility, but i digress…) i do not take a ziplock bag of protein powder, or bcaa’s or something, because i have the common sense not to take a baggie of powder on an airplane, even a perfectly innocuous one (from my basis of knowledge).

    i’m not going to wear something that looks like a poorly construced, power-sourced device and walk around with playdo in addition.

  170. whit,

    I think you put your finger on the problem, without realizing it. And it’s the same problem that got that Brazilian guy killed.

    The phone call from the info desk should not have been interpretted as probably cause, but a hunch. Airport security and other counter-terror personnel are being given instructions to treat anything out of the ordinary, any non-compliance, and anything that warrants further investigation as if it is a known threat.

    Terry stops most certainly do not authorize the police to draw several rifles on an individual and shoot her if she does not comply with orders, as the Staties’ statement makes clear was their intent.

    A statement from a non-security personnel that something needs to be checked out should not be interpretted by the police as probably cause to suspect an imminent threat to human life.

    Someone’s going to get killed that way. Oh, wait, people already have been.

  171. police pulled machine guns on an unarmed 19 year old

    Machine guns are legal in Boston?

  172. Yes, for the police. Automatic rifles are common in airports in the United States these days.

  173. joe,

    Just so you don’t have to keep on repeating ‘Brazilian guy,’ his name was Jean Charles de Menezes.

  174. One thing that people seem to forget is that intelligence and common sense are not the same thing. I fly all the time but many of my friends don’t. They don’t know the protocol – they don’t spend a lot of time reading up on current events (yea – i know sad) so its not out of the realm of possibility that they really don’t understand that the flashing LED could be considered a something else but a flashing LED. And you know what? They shouldn’t. Our “professional police” force should have a clue but they don’t. They completely overreacted in this case.

  175. “Hmmm, we think she has a bomb, so we’re going to provoke her in the middle of the airport. No need to get her out of a crowd……”

    “provoke her” . gawd, i love the loaded language some people use. so, when cops confront a person they believe to be armed with an IED, they are “provoking them” by pointing a weapon at them.

    “Regardless of the legal standing, those clowns put people in real danger.”

    and you have what basis to believe this? did you see a sketch of the area where they approached star, their backstop if they had overpenetration or missed, etc?

    again, no use of force is ever gonna look good, or ever be completely safe. anytime you point a gun, you run risks. so what? the point is what it ireasonable and legal given the fact pattern presented to the MSP?

  176. whit,

    What do you think of the de Menezes case?

  177. I’d say that Hawaiian bitch was dumber than me but she was young and cute so they didn’t cap her ass.


  178. “provoke her” . gawd, i love the loaded language some people use. so, when cops confront a person they believe to be armed with an IED, they are “provoking them” by pointing a weapon at them.

    Of course! When you confront a person you believe to have a bomb strapped to her chest, which pretty much by definition implies a willingness to blow herself up, it should be in the most crowded area you can find.

  179. Actually, whit is making his opponents’ argument for them, and he doesn’t realize it.

    Many decades went by during which this girl’s artwork would not have been interpreted as a bomb, and would not have generated the response that it did.

    Was the “force continuum response feedback purpose structure readiness system adjustment awareness hierarchy” or whatever you want to call it wrong, on each of those thousands of days and in all of those millions of situations?

    The problem is that in recent years we have begun training police forces that they have the right and the authority to establish total control over situations before determining the facts of the situation, and this exactly reverses the way a free society should operate.

    You may not believe this, but the order of values in our governance is NOT “establish total police dominance, removing the slightest possibility of even hypothetical risk to LEO’s” and THEN “probable cause” and THEN “allow the free and unmolested enjoyment of public spaces by the citizenry”. It’s actually the reverse of that.

  180. @ joe

    “A statement from a non-security personnel that something needs to be checked out should not be interpretted by the police as probably cause to suspect an imminent threat to human life.”

    This raises a good point. Airports, trains, etc. ask non-employees to report suspicious behavior — behavior that sometimes should be checked out. But now we have to consider that reporting something might get an innocent person killed because the security officials can’t be trusted to respond reasonably and cautiously. The more often the police overreact, the less I want to call them.

  181. “The phone call from the info desk should not have been interpretted as probably cause, but a hunch.”

    actually, it was probably interpreted (and based on what they knew at the time, it was reasonable imo) as REASONABLE SUSPICION which is more than a hunch, but less than PC.

    ” Airport security and other counter-terror personnel are being given instructions to treat anything out of the ordinary, any non-compliance, and anything that warrants further investigation as if it is a known threat.”

    again, what was the fact pattern? some sort of putty in her hand, power source, wiring, and lights on a homemade electronic device that she walked up to the desk with.

    the whole point of a terry stop is to do further investigation. however, when you are ts’ing somebody believed to be carrying an IED than you draw down, you do not just walk up.

    that is safer for EVERYBODY, to include the cops and the civilians. vs. getting people blown up.

    “Terry stops most certainly do not authorize the police to draw several rifles on an individual and shoot her if she does not comply with orders, as the Staties’ statement makes clear was their intent.”

    actually, terry stops DO. i suggest you read the decision and relevant case law. if you are making a TStop on somebody where you believe the person is armed with an IED, you most definitely can (and should) draw down, and if they do not obey orders, you DO shoot.

    sorry, but that’s the way it works. you don’t get a “do over

    “A statement from a non-security personnel that something needs to be checked out should not be interpretted by the police as probably cause to suspect an imminent threat to human life.”

    except you don’t know that the statement was ‘something needs to get checked out”.

    cops get dozens of those every day. the statement was more likely that the desk guy saw the above things i mentioned – wires, power source, putty in hands, etc.

    not merely that something needed to be cheked out>

    cops do that stuff every day without drawing down. the circ’s were much different in this case.

    “Someone’s going to get killed that way. Oh, wait, people already have been.”

    they always have, and always will. the legal colloquialism is “lawful but awful”. that’s (fwiw) how many suicides by cops occur, etc.

    the point is that she complied. if she didn’t, it would have been justified (imo) based on the fact pattern apparently known tot he officers (as described) to shoot.

    and yes, i have testified in inquests involving deadly force. i have instructed officers and civilians on firearms (and deadly force).

    that’s how it works.

    i’ve carried concealed for 20 yrs without ever drawing it (i presented it once to some potential muggers, but never drew)

    so, i’m not trigger happy,and iunderstand restraint. but in this situation, they handled it correctly as far as i can tell, based on what i have read about the fact pattern.

  182. “This raises a good point. Airports, trains, etc. ask non-employees to report suspicious behavior — behavior that sometimes should be checked out. But now we have to consider that reporting something might get an innocent person killed because the security officials can’t be trusted to respond reasonably and cautiously. The more often the police overreact, the less I want to call them.”

    except they weren’t just reporting ‘suspicious behavior’

    cops at airports and elsewhere confront people in thousands of circumstances a day based on “suspicious circs” and do not draw rifles on the person

    we are talking about the facts of THIS CASE.

    i’ve spent hundreds of hours in airports. i have never once seen cops draw down on somebody, but i have seen them make many many contacts with people, presumably many were suspicious circs.

    the issue is the fact pattern in THIS case.

    did the desk person call the MSP desk and say ‘there’s some suspicious girl?”

    obviously not. they were armed for bear and responded tactically because, as is supported by numerous articles, they were ifnromed of the PUTTY, the wires, the battery, etc.

    you are committing a ridiculous fallacy if you are conflating this case, and this fact pattern with ever “suspicious incident” cops respond to at airports. this was an EXCEPTIONAL incident based on exceptional circumstances, and as best i can glean, it was handled reasonably based on the fact pattern, observations, etc.

    saying that this incident somehow proves that cops are just trigger happy nimrods pointing rifles at every person who sneezes at an airport is not supported by any evidence.

    let’s deal with THIS case, not draw unfounded parallels, to the average suspicious package or person that are dealt with routinely.

  183. Not only that, observant bystander, but we also have to reckon with the fact that we can’t be sure that the person we’re reporting as suspicious will receive due process.

    Until the Military Commissions Act is repealed, I have to consider that any person whose behavior I report might be disappeared without being granted access to a court.

    That means that I simply will not report anything suspicious unless I have absolute and unquestionable proof that a crime is taking place. That means that if I see some Middle Eastern guys filling a Ryder truck with fertilizer, I can’t and won’t call the police.

  184. Observant Bystander,

    That is very observant.

  185. i’ve carried concealed for 20 yrs without ever drawing it (i presented it once to some potential muggers, but never drew)

    What, did they tell you they were about to mug you? You then flashed your piece and they changed their minds? Potential muggers? Non-Caucasian youths in a bad part of town = potential muggers? Explain. I’m curious.

  186. Boston PoPo over react? Thats unpossible!

  187. “That means that I simply will not report anything suspicious unless I have absolute and unquestionable proof that a crime is taking place. That means that if I see some Middle Eastern guys filling a Ryder truck with fertilizer, I can’t and won’t call the police.”

    translation: “screw you guys, i’m going home”

  188. “””I am thinking that something that has a bunch of wires sticking out of it and appears to be homemade and electronic, is a pretty good guess. “””

    Sounds like one of many projects I had to do for my electronic classes. And I had to take them on the subway. I use to say to the rest of the class that we were on paranoid cop away from the grave. The sad thing is that I wasn’t kidding.

  189. “What, did they tell you they were about to mug you? You then flashed your piece and they changed their minds? Potential muggers? Non-Caucasian youths in a bad part of town = potential muggers? Explain. I’m curious.”

    considering your inflammatory race baiting mixed with snark, you may be curious, but you are clearly not interested in an objective look a the facts, so i’ll pass.

  190. The fact pattern, whit, was that she had a light-up name-tag, a pla-dough rose, she walked up to the information counter to ask about a flight, and went back to her car.

    You can try rephrasing that using all the scary language you want. It is not reasonable to assume that she represented a threat.

    BTW, just in case you thought no one noticed you trying to move the discussion from “reasonable” to the legal standard of “reasonable doubt” – and thereby remove from the police the need to exercise judgement in deciding whether the blinky name tag was a suicide bomb – we noticed.

    however, when you are ts’ing somebody believed to be carrying an IED

    Nice use of the passive voice. In reality, these cops saw a light-up name tag, and they actively made the decision that it was reasonable to conclude it was a suicide bomb.

    You are just assuming that it was reasonable for the police to confuse a name tag with a bomb, on the grounds that the police thought it was a bomb – circular logic that has no place in a free society.

    actually, terry stops DO. No, they do not. They authorize the police to use reasonable force to secure a suspect. In case you haven’t noticed, there is an actual debate going on over whether the force was reasonable, given the facts (not “fact pattern,” Mr. Cop Talk. Facts.), while you are just assuming it was, on the grounds that the police acted as though it was.

    There is no place for those assumptions in a free society.

  191. No problem, whit. It was mainly snark, but take it as you will.

  192. Okay, so let’s agree for the sake of argument that the police “overreacted” by pulling machine guns (since that seems to be the main complaint) instead of, I suppose, service revolvers.

    So what? It appears to have been a totally inconsequential overreaction as nobody got hurt and nothing bad came of it.

    Beyond pointing out that in an ideal world, people would be 100% accurate in their ability to tell the difference between a homemade bomb under somebody’s shirt and just a bunch of wires, what can you do?

  193. whit,

    What do you think of the de Menezes case?

  194. this was an EXCEPTIONAL incident based on exceptional circumstances

    Once again: blinky name tag. Those are your exceptional circumstances. A name tag with blinking lights, and a pla dough rose.

  195. Beyond pointing out that in an ideal world, people would be 100% accurate in their ability to tell the difference between a homemade bomb under somebody’s shirt and just a bunch of wires, what can you do?

    Yea, that person could have been carrying a sub, or a wallet FFS!!!

  196. obviously not. they were armed for bear and responded tactically…

    Oh, obviously, then.

    I love this logic:

    The police draw automatic rifles on a girl with a bliky name tag.

    That was perfectly reasonable. They had every reason to believe it was a bomb.

    What reason? It doesn’t look like a bomb.

    Of course they had every reason to think it was a bomb; after all, they drew assault rifles on the girl.

  197. Once again: blinky name tag. Those are your exceptional circumstances. A name tag with blinking lights, and a pla dough rose.

    “Eh, it’s just a boxcutter – let ’em on the plane.”

    Logan Airport Security – 9/11/01

  198. “BTW, just in case you thought no one noticed you trying to move the discussion from “reasonable” to the legal standard of “reasonable doubt” – and thereby remove from the police the need to exercise judgement in deciding whether the blinky name tag was a suicide bomb – we noticed.”

    i didn’t. i was addressing terry v. ohio. the issue is not “reasonable doubt”. the issue is REASONABLE SUSPICION

    try reading case law before you try to pretend you understand it.

    “Nice use of the passive voice. In reality, these cops saw a light-up name tag, and they actively made the decision that it was reasonable to conclude it was a suicide bomb.

    actually, as repeatedly explained, they received a call from the person at the desk who REPORTED what they saw in regards to when star approached the desk. i don’t know the exact text of what this person said, but considering star was carrying putty, and had wires, lights, and a power source affixed to her shirtfront, the initial “trigger” so to speak was what they were TOLD, not what they saw.

    “You are just assuming that it was reasonable for the police to confuse a name tag with a bomb, on the grounds that the police thought it was a bomb – circular logic that has no place in a free society.”

    i’m not assuming it. i am saying that based on my knowledge of the facts in this case (media articles, etc.) and my knowledge of terry v. ohio and my knowledge of deadly force law etc. (have testified in inquests), that it APPEARS to have been reasonable. i hardly know all the facts, nor do you.

    i do know that she approached the desk, had putty in her hand, wires, power source, a circuit board, etc. and that she responded it was “art” when questioned by the desk person, and turned around and walked away, and that this person notified police of their observations, and that set the ball in motion.

  199. What, did they tell you they were about to mug you? You then flashed your piece and they changed their minds? Potential muggers? Non-Caucasian youths in a bad part of town = potential muggers? Explain. I’m curious.

    C’mon, obviously he had every reason to believe they were muggers.

    We know this, because he drew his gun.

  200. At a conference I attend frequently, some of the exhibitors give out pins and buttons with flashing LEDs. I recall one with a flashing red-and-blue star.

    They are holding that conference in Boston soon.

  201. Dan T,

    A boxcutter can hurt somebody.

    Also, the planes were not hijacked with boxcutters on 9/11. The hijackers used knives, pepper spray, and bomb threats to take over those planes.

  202. I proclaim Dan T “Emperor of the Burning Strawmen”

  203. i do know that she approached the desk, had putty in her hand, wires, power source, a circuit board, etc. and that she responded it was “art” when questioned by the desk person, and turned around and walked away, and that this person notified police of their observations, and that set the ball in motion.

    Good point, I don’t know why people are assuming that the arresting officers are the ones who determined that the device might be a bomb.

  204. “Once again: blinky name tag. Those are your exceptional circumstances. A name tag with blinking lights, and a pla dough rose.”

    false.

    one: putty
    two: wiring (if you look at a picutre of the decvice, it was clearly homemade in appearance)
    three: power source
    four: affixed to shirt

    and that this information was RELAYED to police by the desk person.

    based on that info, the cops responded.

    also noted that given their RS of an IED, a rifle is a better choice than a handgun. ceteris paribus, a rifle is almost ALWAYS a better choice than a handgun since it offers greater accuracy.

    cops are taught to shoot center of mass, NOT specifically at the head, and that’s partially because they are mediocre shots, most shootings are not slow-tactical, but are excited instant response to threat (talking to somebody and they draw a knife and cops reacts near instantly, etc.).

    in this case, it is superior to have a longer range/more accurate weapon because if they DID have to fire, they could actually try to make a headshot etc. and more quickly neutralize the threat (again, if she had deadman’s switch – they were #($#($ probably regardless).

    and again, feel free to read case law – i’ve read dozens of these cases, GIVEN the facts as presented, if she had not responded to their commands, they would have been justifiied in shooting her (imo) not based on 20/20 hindsight, but based on the (terry v. ohio) “facts and circumstances known to the officers at the time they acted”

  205. whit,

    Is there a reason you put art in quotes? It was art, no need to quote it.

  206. It is spelled Play-Doh you illiterate fucks! Do you wipe up your spooge with Clean-X ?

  207. try reading case law before you try to pretend you understand it.

    Let me say this very clearly, whit, since you are so very devoted to straining so very hard not to understand it:

    NO ONE GIVES A FLYING FUCK ABOUT YOUR CASE LAW. NO ONE IS ARGUING WHETHER THIS IS LEGAL. THIS IS AN ARGUMENT ABOUT WHETHER THE COPS’ BEHAVIOR WAS APPROPRIATE, WISE, CORRECT, AND SMART. NOT WHETHER IT WAS LEGAL. NOT WHETHER IT MET THE TERRY STANDARD.

    Is that clear enough, or are you going to keep pretending that the threat should be assumed, rather than that being the central issue under discussion?

  208. “Eh, it’s just a boxcutter – let ’em on the plane.”

    Logan Airport Security – 9/11/01

    Dan T.

    A couple dozen guys got lucky on 9/11. Without a single rule change, do you really believe that 3 guys with a boxcutter are going to take a plane in this country, ever again?

    Look, we got suckerpunched on 9/11. It happens. In over 200 years of history, it’s gonna happen now and again. You get up, dust yourself off, and make reasonable changes to your routine. You don’t lock down the entire country and and start indiscriminately pointing guns at everyone who walks in with unusual couteur.

    I mean, for chrissakes, we just went through forty years of “just cooperate with the crazy guy, and e’ythang’ll be aight.” We make some adjustments. We don’t need a PATRIOT act.

    Some guy on a plane waving a boxcutter at me? I’m pulling a bag out of the overhead and beat his narrow ass down like a red-headed stepchild.

  209. robc,

    Indeed, she identified it as art, didn’t she?

  210. Agreeing with joe here (shudder) – The question is about what police behavior SHOULD be, not whether what they did follows current accepted procedure.

  211. “We know this, because he drew his gun.”

    again, it continually amazes me how poor you (and some others ) are at reading comprehension.

    like any ideologue, or prejudiced person, you form opinion first, then selectively parse data to fit your preconceived notion.

    i specificallty said i did NOT draw my gun

    go back and read it.

    for pete’s sake, you are supposed to be able to parse the fact pattern in THIS case (which is multifactorial) and you can’t even perform simple reading comprehension. i did NOT draw my gun and i stated that clearly.

    here’s a hint. study, read, consider, THEN form an opinion

    your post was so revealing of the lack of care you use. your opinions are formed without dispassionate and careful analysis of evidence. that’s clear. i said that i did not draw my gun, and you were too prejudiced and ideologically trigger-happy( which is ironic, since you accuse the cops of ignoring the obvious, and jumping to conclusions inconsistent with evidence, then you do the EXACT same thing)

    the irony is thick, as are you

  212. All you need to become a TSA security officer is a goddamned GED, and now we’ve got ostensible Lovers of Freedom like John insisting that all Americans should second-guess everything they do, say, hold and wear in light of the question: “Could this possibly be taken as a threat by a power-tripping high-school dropout?” And if the power-tripping high-school dropout views your LED button or glowstick as a threat, it’s your fault for being dumb enough to think you’re a citizen of a free nation, not a slave in thrall to a goddamned high school dropput.

  213. “Eh, it’s just a boxcutter – let ’em on the plane.”

    Logan Airport Security – 9/11/01

    And i haven’t gone to the grocery store since. Lesson learned.

  214. joe must be trying to get back on the good side of Reasonoids this week.

  215. So what? It appears to have been a totally inconsequential overreaction as nobody got hurt and nothing bad came of it.

    The difference between a live student at MIT and a dead gambler is a few pounds of pressure and “oops”.

  216. “NO ONE GIVES A FLYING FUCK ABOUT YOUR CASE LAW. NO ONE IS ARGUING WHETHER THIS IS LEGAL. THIS IS AN ARGUMENT ABOUT WHETHER THE COPS’ BEHAVIOR WAS APPROPRIATE, WISE, CORRECT, AND SMART. NOT WHETHER IT WAS LEGAL. NOT WHETHER IT MET THE TERRY STANDARD.”

    iyo. some of us believe in rule of law. iow, if you are going to blame the COPS (which is what people are doing here), then you judge their actions in relation to policies, procedures, and case law. because they are LEGALLY bound to conform their actions to same.

    if you have problem with SCOTUS decisions, or Mass State police policy (which i am confident you are ignorant of), then criticize THAT, not the cops.

    because those are two entirely different things.

  217. Indeed, she identified it as art, didn’t she?

    Im going to pull a quote from Reagan here:

    “Trust but verify.”

    They should have assumed it was art [trust] but stopped here, questioned and checked it out [verify]. Since there was no evidence she was lying, there was no reason to pull any type of weapons before stopping her and questioning.

  218. I’d want to change the subject to, whit, it I had been taken down as badly as you have been.

    Once again, whit is willing to assume the reasonableness of judging the threat, on the grounds that the cops thought there was a threat.

    When pressed, he points to the fact that the cops assumed there was a threat.

    And then he does an hysterical little dance about the difference between “draw” and “present” to distract people from that glaring hole in the middle of his logic.

  219. Dan T.

    A couple dozen guys got lucky on 9/11. Without a single rule change, do you really believe that 3 guys with a boxcutter are going to take a plane in this country, ever again?

    My tongue-in-cheek point there was simply that if the 9/11 hijackers had been stopped, then on 9/12 everybody here would have been complaining about the total non-threat they posed.

  220. “stopped her”
    not
    “stopped here”
    When is Reason going to add a preview button?

  221. My tongue-in-cheek point there was simply that if the 9/11 hijackers had been stopped, then on 9/12 everybody here would have been complaining about the total non-threat they posed.

    Yeah, because if they were stopped, they wouldn’t have been a threat.

    Duh…

  222. joe must be trying to get back on the good side of Reasonoids this week.

    The intersection of liberal and libertarian is distrust of the police state.

  223. some of us believe in rule of law.

    All of us believe in the rule of law.

    Some of us believe in other values as well, and criticize our government when it doesn’t utilize them.

    Such as reasonableness. Wisdom. Intelligence. Responsibility.

    Some of us don’t think the existence of a legal cover makes those things irrelevant when judging the governments’ actions.

  224. Play-Doh | October 2, 2007, 2:16pm | #
    It is spelled Play-Doh[,] you illiterate fucks! Do you wipe up your spooge with Clean-X ?

    Also, they wouldn’t be here reading and typing if they were illiterate.

    (Read “joe’s law of teh internets”. Pop-quiz to follow.)

  225. iyo. some of us believe in rule of law. iow, if you are going to blame the COPS (which is what people are doing here), then you judge their actions in relation to policies, procedures, and case law. because they are LEGALLY bound to conform their actions to same.

    So the real question is, “Were they just following orders?” And if the answer is yes, you give them a free pass?

  226. Actually, whit, “Screw you guys, I’m going home,” is an entirely appropriate, fair, and reasonable response when faced with the actions of the Bush adminstration.

    Want my cooperation with law enforcement as a “good citizen”? Restore habeus corpus. Until then, GFY.

    Dan –

    Well, the other “big deal” in this situation is that even after the police determined that the item was not a bomb, they still arrested her.

    Because in Boston, the police being stupid is an arrestable offense. For the citizenry.

    So if the police draw their machineguns and pile drive you into concrete because you have a joy buzzer in your hand or a fake flower in your lapel that shoots tap water, one downside for you is that you might get shot, or get your skull cracked – but the other downside is that once they realize that they’ve made a mistake, you’re getting arrested anyway, for the crime of “Boston cops being dumb”.

  227. Dan T.,

    When the security personnel didn’t stop any of the 19 hijackers, their actions were perfectly consistent with the relevant case law.

    I offer this observation, because I can’t defend their actions on the merits.

  228. “So the real question is, “Were they just following orders?” And if the answer is yes, you give them a free pass?”

    no, but you blame the source of the laws and the scotus decisions. fwiw, i agree with both in this case, but i know it’s not the cops who make those laws and procedures.

    if you think the law (const. and procedural) JUSTIFIES (legally) force that is prima facie unreasonable, then say so. personally, in regards to the facts of this case, i don’t. but we can differ on that of course.

    heck, i know several cops who are totally against the war on drugs. it’s not THEIR fault that mj is illegal. blame the legislature (and the politicians).

  229. whit,

    You need to research the difference between “Rule of Men” and “Rule of Law”. Just because a law is on the books and you follow it does not mean you are following the “Rule of Law”. That only applies for valid laws – Thomas Aquinas (btw, Im stealing this stuff from wikipedia, didnt feel like looking up a real source, but it all seems right for what I was looking for) defines a valid law as one that:

    1. Is in keeping with reason
    2. was established by a proper authority
    3. is for the purpose of achieving good
    4. was properly communicated to all

    1 and 3 dont apply and 2 is up for argument.

  230. I guess that which is allowed is mandatory, in whitworld.

    No, whit, it is not the Supreme Court’s fault that these brain donors thought a blinky nametag was a suicide bomb.

  231. “Actually, whit, “Screw you guys, I’m going home,” is an entirely appropriate, fair, and reasonable response when faced with the actions of the Bush adminstration.”

    this has nothing to do with the bush admin. i know that BDS people like to believe that under clinton et al stuff like this never happened – of course it did. and it should have .

  232. To be clear, the cop holding the weapon pointed at the student is probably not the part of the system that failed.

    That cop was more than likely given a command to stop a suspected bomber. The real question is how the suspicions of a desk jockey turned into an order to apprehend a suspected bomber.

  233. “Took no chances”? When people were reporting this story, all they could say was that this girl was “lucky to be alive” or “close to being shot.”

  234. @whit

    “saying that this incident somehow proves that cops are just trigger happy nimrods pointing rifles at every person who sneezes at an airport is not supported by any evidence.”

    Then it’s a good thing I didn’t say this. But thanks for mischaracterizing my comment.

    I’ll try one more time: the more I read about policing behaving unreasonably and dangerously, the less likely I would be to call them.

    The AP article quoted Officer Pare as saying the MIT student came close to getting shot. Officer Pare said she was “lucky.” There is no justification in this case (based on what has been reported) for her coming anywhere near getting shot and being alive only by luck.

  235. “1 and 3 dont apply and 2 is up for argument.”

    and i disagree. there, now . isn’t that fun!>?

  236. “It appears to have been a totally inconsequential overreaction as nobody got hurt and nothing bad came of it.”

    Perhaps, but don’t play it off as “not taking any chances” when the fact is that they took very grave chances. Not only were they wrong to brandish machine guns unnecessarily, they were wrong to provoke a possible suicide bomber in the middle of a public place.

  237. “I’ll try one more time: the more I read about policing behaving unreasonably and dangerously, the less likely I would be to call them.

    The AP article quoted Officer Pare as saying the MIT student came close to getting shot. Officer Pare said she was “lucky.” There is no justification in this case (based on what has been reported) for her coming anywhere near getting shot and being alive only by luck.”

    there most definitely is.

  238. whit,

    Why was she arrested after it was discovered that she was truly wearing art?

  239. i know that BDS people like to believe that under clinton et al stuff like this never happened – of course it did.

    Ah. Yeah, I thought so.

    Amazing how consistently tolerance of police state tactics correlates with the use of Republican buzzwords.

    Clintondidit. Bush Derangement Syndrome.

  240. “Want my cooperation with law enforcement as a “good citizen”? Restore habeus corpus. Until then, GFY.”

    i realize that BDS people try to turn everything into a “it’s bush’s fault” discussion, but george bush has zero to do with this incident. spare me the “climate of fear” stuff.

  241. “Amazing how consistently tolerance of police state tactics correlates with the use of Republican buzzwords.”

    except i also acknowledge clinton derangement syndrome, which many republicans suffer from “but clinton but clinton, but monica, etc”

    ideologues are like that.

    rational people can discuss issues like this w.o feeling the need to bring bush into it. BDS ninnies like you, see everything through that twisted lens. equally as annoying as the clinton haters. same pathology, different angle

  242. i realize that BDS people try to turn everything into a “it’s bush’s fault” discussion, . . .

    pardon me, I thought we were conversing with a real person.

  243. “Why was she arrested after it was discovered that she was truly wearing art?”

    that’s already been addressed. read back.

  244. this issue has fuck-all to do with bush, cheney, clinton’s penis, monica, black helicopters, habeas corpus, echelon, FISA, etc. so, try to stay on-point. it’s good for you

  245. whit,

    that’s already been addressed. read back.

    Because the Boston police are dumb was, I thought, supposed to be a joke answer. Im surprised you are supporting that as the reason.

  246. Dan –

    Well, the other “big deal” in this situation is that even after the police determined that the item was not a bomb, they still arrested her.

    But she wasn’t arrested for having a bomb, but rather for carrying a hoax device.

  247. Moreover, what does it say about airport security when the commanding officer of the airport says, “She’s lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue.”

    Shouldn’t airport security be intelligent enough that people with simple electronic devices aren’t surviving trips to the airport based on luck? Isn’t Officer Pare implicitly saying his airport security system represents an intolerable risk to innocent behavior?

  248. Dan T,

    But she wasn’t arrested for having a bomb, but rather for carrying a hoax device.

    But she wasnt carrying a hoax device either.

  249. Whit,

    I realize that since everyone is yelling at you, you may be having trouble following the thread.

    But a poster above said that incidents like this one make them hesitant to report suspicious behavior to the police.

    I pointed out that, in addition to the pause this incident might give them, they also need to consider that under the terms of the Military Commissions Act, it is entirely possible that someone they report as suspicious will be spirited away and held indefinitely without a right of habeus corpus, and that this was an additional reason to not report suspicious behavior.

    So while Bush may have nothing to do with the incident at Logan, he has everything to do with the suspension of habeus corpus under the Military Commissions Act, since he demanded it and is personally responsible for it.

  250. “Because the Boston police are dumb was, I thought, supposed to be a joke answer. Im surprised you are supporting that as the reason.”

    no. it was in reference to the reckless aspect of the offense, referenced under the whole misdemeanor continued without a finding thing.

    oh, and it wasn’t boston police. it was mass state police.

  251. A ROSE…eh?

    That would be our RED Play-Doh, which looks just like the Czech manufactured plastic explosive Semtex. Karlheinz Stockhausen referred to 9/11 as “Art”.How long did MS Simpson wander the airport with her “Art” before, failing to attract authorities to her “class project”, went to the counter to get information freely available on electronic displays throughout the airport?

    Even “Stars” critics characterize her as “dumb” but perhaps she was “smart”.

    I “assume” they teach Civil Engineering at that Massachusetts Trade School she “attends”.
    MS Smith likely has prior “experience” in using our harmless modeling clay as a “stand-in” for plastic explosive in studying demolition and blasting.

  252. “But she wasn’t arrested for having a bomb, but rather for carrying a hoax device.”

    Right, but in Massachusetts a “hoax device” is “any object Boston police are stupid enough to think is a bomb” so in effect she was, in fact, arrested for the crime of “Boston police are stupid”.

  253. But she wasnt carrying a hoax device either.

    I’d say that’s yet to be determined.

  254. Wow. 245 comments. Did this morph into an Ayn Rand thread while I was away? Let me guess without wading through the sludge that there has been name-calling, all people in authority are stupid, and there’s no such thing as a terrorist threat? (Goes back to check his hypothesis…)

  255. “whit” is rapidly taking over from “john” as the biggest doofus, twaddlenock hier today.

    Congratulations!

    and as a reminder to you. You’ll note it’s presented in eye-pleasing, dick-waving hypermilitaristic form that you seem to crave for your little rice dick erection.

    Enjoy!

  256. VM on da troll-a-meter

    Suckitude—————————Super Sweet
    –^–
    lllll
    lllll

  257. This issue has fuck-all to do with Supreme Court decisions, whit.

    It has a hell of a lot to do with the state of fear and greater lattitude extended to anyone using violence in the name of fighting terror that our country is experiencing.

  258. Right, but in Massachusetts a “hoax device” is “any object Boston police are stupid enough to think is a bomb” so in effect she was, in fact, arrested for the crime of “Boston police are stupid”.

    Because any policeman should know that walking around an airport with a battery and wires attached to a circuit board on your shirt is everyday, normal behavior.

    The point being that most here are assuming that Simpson, despite being an MIT student, is just really stupid. But that’s the question – is she just clueless or was she trying to pull a bomb hoax?

    At least one report says that when someone at the desk asked her about it, she just turned and walked away without responding. As if she wanted people to be suspicious…

  259. Shouldn’t airport security be intelligent enough that people with simple electronic devices aren’t surviving trips to the airport based on luck?

    Bears repeating: To be a TSA security officer, the only educational requirement is a GED or high-school equivalency. High school dropouts can be TSA agents.

    And John and Whit think that anybody who carries anything that can be construed as a possible threat by these dropout geniuses, pretty much deserves what she gets. Lovely.

  260. ya know, “whit”, yer package looks pretty toight like a toyger

    and that’s the only reason we like having you around.

    but, from your expression, you might wanna get yer gastritis looked at…

  261. “This issue has fuck-all to do with Supreme Court decisions, whit.

    It has a hell of a lot to do with the state of fear and greater lattitude extended to anyone using violence in the name of fighting terror that our country is experiencing.”

    no, it doesn’t. it only seems that way to you because you view every police action through that lens. this was a basic use of force that is not at all surprising, and i would expect the same use of force would have been used PRIOR to 9/11 and bushcohysteriacheneychimpyburtonfascisttakeover

  262. Dan T | October 2, 2007, 2:47pm | #
    But she wasnt carrying a hoax device either.

    I’d say that’s yet to be determined.

    Dan T has abandoned his troll-like behavior and is acting as the voice of reason on this thread.

    Play-Doh is incorrect, our product is brick-orange not red.Roses are not all red however- some may be characterized as “Semtex-Colored”.

  263. “The point being that most here are assuming that Simpson, despite being an MIT student, is just really stupid. But that’s the question – is she just clueless or was she trying to pull a bomb hoax?”

    and again, it is a crime to intentionally create a bomb hoax. it is ALSO a crime to unintentionally create the fear thereof, if it can be shown that your actions were reckless etc. and most states have similar statutes.

    iowm, if she engaged in behavior that a reasonable person (reasonable person standard) should have known would create an apprehension among others that she was carrying an IED, then it would still be criminally chargeable. as a misdemeanor

  264. quietly singing…

    Sur le pont d’Avignon,
    L’on y danse, l’on y danse,
    Sur le pont d’Avignon
    L’on y danse tout en rond.

    Les beaux messieurs font comme ?a
    Et puis encore comme ?a.
    Sur le pont d’Avignon
    L’on y danse tout en rond.

    Sur le pont d’Avignon,
    L’on y danse, l’on y danse,
    Sur le pont d’Avignon
    L’on y danse tout en rond.

    Les belles dames font comme ?a
    Et puis encore comme ?a.
    Sur le pont d’Avignon,
    L’on y danse, l’on y danse,
    Sur le pont d’Avignon
    L’on y danse tout en rond.

  265. Wow, whit the Freeper has lost it.

    bushcohysteriacheneychimpyburtonfascisttakeover

    I think it was the guy in the tiger suit that did it.

    I’m not even going to argue with the naked assertion that police surrounding a girl, pointing rifles at her, throwing her on the ground and saying she is “lucky to be alive” because she wore a blinky name tage can only be considered a demonstration of overly-aggressive cops acting in a climate of fear by people with an irrational hatred of George Bush.

  266. Forgot the link. You anti-government types might be interested in our line of products. We recommend our Libyan distributors for your “needs”.

  267. no, it doesn’t. it only seems that way to you because you view every police action through that lens. this was a basic use of force that is not at all surprising, and i would expect the same use of force would have been used PRIOR to 9/11 and bushcohysteriacheneychimpyburtonfascisttakeover

    Can you provide evidence that this ever happened pre-9/11? I can’t prove a negative, but if you could find an article in Lexis that proves a positive, I will admit you are right. I know people that have been stopped by airport security for brining something suspicious looking, that wasn’t a bomb (but looked like one), and all they got was a “Bringing that through security is a bad idea,” tsk-tsking. I’ve never heard of anyone held up at gun point. So based on my anecdotal evidence, you’re wrong. Care to show any facts that contradict this?

  268. LOL “FREEPER”

    if i’m a freeper, you are clearly a kos-kid.

    lol. if only you knew.

    how many freepers voted for clinton?

  269. it is ALSO a crime to unintentionally create the fear thereof, if it can be shown that your actions were reckless etc. and most states have similar statutes.

    iowm, if she engaged in behavior that a reasonable person (reasonable person standard) should have known would create an apprehension among others that she was carrying an IED, then it would still be criminally chargeable. as a misdemeanor . . .

    Here we have a brilliant, but socially clueless, student with a quirky sense of fashion who is lucky to not be in a morgue.

    And on this list we have many people that vigorously defend this situation as the “correct” operation of the security system.

    I don’t know which statement depresses me more.

  270. “My tongue-in-cheek point there was simply that if the 9/11 hijackers had been stopped, then on 9/12 everybody here would have been complaining about the total non-threat they posed.”

    Exactly. Everyone sits around and plays stump the chump on this stuff and laughs at the cops unless and until something bad happens and then the cops are incompetant for not stopping it. The people like Jennifer on here that claim that having a jacket with a nine volt battery, wires and a circuit board is somehow utterly inocuous in an airport defy credulity.

    “i do know that she approached the desk, had putty in her hand, wires, power source, a circuit board, etc. and that she responded it was “art” when questioned by the desk person, and turned around and walked away, and that this person notified police of their observations, and that set the ball in motion.”

    If that really is what happened, this woman is a double moron. What was the woman at the desk supposed to do? She probably has had the “reprot everything, lives could depend on it” meme beat into her head for months. She was supposed to take the “its art” remark at face value? This was an act stupidity on everyone’s part. She should have never worn the stupid thing. The police should have detained her, made sure what it was and told her to never come back to the airport with the contraption again and no one should have ever heard about it.

  271. Here we have a brilliant, but socially clueless, student with a quirky sense of fashion

    Once again we don’t know that.

    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology student arrested at Logan Airport Friday accused of carrying a fake bomb, described herself as someone who loves “crazy ideas” and has been “traveling the world and saving the planet from evil villains (sic) with my delivered-just-in-time gadgets.”

    On her MIT Web site, Star Simpson wrote “I’m an inventor, artist, engineer, and student, I love to build things and I love crazy ideas.”

    Crazy ideas like, “let’s cause some trouble at the airport?”

  272. I think it was the guy in the tiger suit that did it

    which one:

    this one or this?

  273. Can you provide evidence that this ever happened pre-9/11?

    Well, its not exactly the same, but during the Clinton era the Feds overreacted in their choice of weaponry in a simple custody dispute case.

    http://www.athousandandone.com/photos/0/448a07d7cb24f_s.jpg

  274. Wow, this thread’s still going on? 260+ posts?

    Did I miss anything good?

  275. “iowm, if she engaged in behavior that a reasonable person (reasonable person standard) should have known would create an apprehension among others that she was carrying an IED, then it would still be criminally chargeable. as a misdemeanor.”

    Most bombs that historically have actually exploded in public places and killed or injured people looked like completely innocuous things: a backpack, a brown paper lunch bag, a Fed Ex package.

    That means that any person carrying a backpack, their lunch, or a Fed Ex package should be considered to be violating that law, if our reasonable person has any knowledge of the history of terrorism.

  276. how many freepers voted for clinton?

    Quite a few, if you ever read them talk about themselves.

    We all panicked on 9/11. Some of us have managed to get our wits about us since then, and others need visions of strong men sticking guns in people’s faces to feel safe.

  277. Hi Doktor T!

    we found out that “whit” and “john” like this, while Stevo et al prefer this.

  278. Dan, there has been no information posted in any news report that indicates she was trying to cause trouble at the airport.

    John, I’ve been to Russia many times and I know what it is like to be stopped by someone in a uniform and asked to show my papers. This is the direction the US is heading, and I don’t like it one bit.

    To repeat, there is no indication that she was anything other than a socially inept teenager and the security infrastructure almost killed her.

    I’m tired of you saying its her own fault.

  279. Regardless of whether Star Simpson is a ditz like H&R commenter Jennifer or a serious “Art Terrorist” I doubt her “Rose” was as well crafted
    as this from our advanced craft ideas page but probably resembled more something in the Semtex manuals.Particularly the one for military applications.

  280. Jeepers, Play-Doh, be careful with that link!

    You’re lucky you’re not dead right now!

  281. “Most bombs that historically have actually exploded in public places and killed or injured people looked like completely innocuous things: a backpack, a brown paper lunch bag, a Fed Ex package.”

    correct. but those are with what LEO’s refer to as “well organized” types. iow, your average terrorist is not going to advertise his shoddily made IED.

    otoh, the mentally ill, suicide by cop etc. types often do engage in such bizarre behavior. remember the guy not too long ago that had the device around his neck (iirc he was forced to rob a bank, etc.)

    clearly, if you see some dipshit with a bunch of wires, putty, etc. you are not dealing with an organized cell or something. you are either dealing with a hoax device (which you can’t be sure is hoax until you check up close and personal) or is tryin to draw attention.

    which would be consistent with walking up and having the thing in plain view when you ask about airline schedules.

    if there is one thing that is clear when dealing with criminals is that they often do stuff that does NOT make sense on the surface.

    the point is that cops can (and do) act on specific indicia of a threat. when somebody is carrying a backpack, it COULD be a bomb, but a cop cannot reasonably assume that and/or draw down. obviously.

    when somebody presents one in open view, they can (and do).

  282. “We all panicked on 9/11. Some of us have managed to get our wits about us since then, and others need visions of strong men sticking guns in people’s faces to feel safe.”

    stop projecting, joe. if you need this kind of thing to get you engorged at night, keep it to yourself (and your ron paul blow up doll)

  283. If the 9/11 terrorists had been caught, we would have had 19 men from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Egypt captured as they attempted to board airplanes with knives and a chemicalical spray. On 9/12, it would have been discovered that four of them had recently taken flight training on 747s.

    Call me crazy, but I don’t think that anyone would have been writing about how little threat they posed.

  284. Dan, there has been no information posted in any news report that indicates she was trying to cause trouble at the airport.

    All I’m really saying is that’s the issue that is in question here. Everybody’s assuming that she wasn’t trying to pull a hoax of some sort, as if wearing a battery, wires, and a circuit board on your shirt while holding play-dough is somehow normal behavior.

    Beyond that, the police are told that somebody might have bomb and to go arrest her. So of course they pulled out guns – that’s the most normal and understandable action of the entire episode!

  285. “Call me crazy, but I don’t think that anyone would have been writing about how little threat they posed.

    well, spend some time on democraticunderground.com

    there are plenty who would have written that off as a non-threat

    but i agree that among sentient beings, that is largely true

  286. Look, I’ve been messing with whit, but I think this “hoax device” discussion has the potential to be a worthwhile vein of discussion.

    The other day we had a long discussion about hanging nooses in a tree, and whether this was a clear “threat” or not. I voted “not” because I think the menacing statutes should only come into play for unambiguous threats.

    One reason for that is seen here now.

    I think that the crime of “use of a hoax device” should be reserved for situations where I build something that looks like a bomb, and then ANNOUNCE THAT I HAVE A BOMB, or walk into a bank and point to the device and demand the teller fill my bag with money, etc.

    It should NOT apply to any situation where the police encounter an amateur electronics tech freak, and want to punish her because her eccentricity made them waste her time.

    “I like to dress up like a freak and epater le bourgeoisie” should not be transformed into a crime, folks. The fact that it was not a bomb and the fact that she made no overt attempt to terrorize anyone with it as if it were a bomb should be an absolute defense. If the police waste their time occasionally, that’s the breaks.

  287. The reasonableness of the police’s actions has to take into account the threat environment. To repeat myself from the Moonite thread, Boston is not Baghdad, Tel Aviv or even London. Actions that would be appropriate in those places are not appropriate here. (Yet. I believe that all bets will be off if we invade Iran.)

    Why? How many suicide bombing attempts have there been in the US? How many acts of Al Qaeda terrorism? Why are we allowing our police to behave as if they suffer the same risk in a U.S. airport that Israeli security does in Tel Aviv? Look, it’s part of a free society that we suffer some risk from potential threats, until those threats are actual. Show me, in this country, where people are blowing themselves and others up in airports and shopping malls, and I’ll agree with you that we’ll need to adopt the mindset where sticking a machine gun in someone’s face for wearing a LED breadboard and carrying a Play-Doh? rose is O.K. We aren’t there yet. (And for our sakes and the continued existence of this country as a republic, I hope we never do get there.)

    Dogs and terrorists get the first bite for free. It’s part of living in a free society. Which is not to say that she should have been ignored by security; by all means go up and ask her what she’s doing. Brandishing a firearm at her, dumping her to the pavement and cuffing her though strikes me as a tad excessive.

    Despite my antipathy for all caps in posts, Fluffy really hits home with this:

    “You may not believe this, but the order of values in our governance is NOT “establish total police dominance, removing the slightest possibility of even hypothetical risk to LEO’s” and THEN “probable cause” and THEN “allow the free and unmolested enjoyment of public spaces by the citizenry”. It’s actually the reverse of that.”

  288. when somebody is carrying a backpack, it COULD be a bomb, but a cop cannot reasonably assume that and/or draw down.

    When somebody is wearing a blinky nametag, it COULD be a bomb, but a cop cannot reasonably assume that and/or draw down.

  289. joe,

    Excellent we will teach you to spell our product name correctly as you defend this girl who abused our good name and product in pursuit of attention.

    Dan T,

    The Play-Doh division of Hasbro encourages creativity but Star Simpson’s faux terroristic act is not what we mean.

  290. whit,

    and your ron paul blow up doll

    A swing and a miss. joe is a hardcore Democrat/liberal. He doesnt like our anti-government libertarian ways.

  291. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that anyone would have been writing about how little threat they posed.

    joe, you of all people should know H&R better than that.

  292. “It should NOT apply to any situation where the police encounter an amateur electronics tech freak, and want to punish her because her eccentricity made them waste her time.”

    interesting the way bias creeps in and you assume bad motives on one part (the cops) but not (which i agree there is no evidence for specifically) on another’s, like stars.

    there is no reason to believe the cops wanted to punish anybody. they wanted to stop a perceived threat, and hopefully survive it. the prosecutor makes charging decisions, and i don’t see any reason to believe the cops wanted to punish anybody.

    again, if there is sufficient evidence to meet the hoax device statute, then that may be the final disposition. if the evidence support some sort of recklessly created a breach of the peace type misdemeanor, that may be a better option. let the friggin thing play out.

  293. “When somebody is wearing a blinky nametag, it COULD be a bomb, but a cop cannot reasonably assume that and/or draw down.”

    except as has been repeatedly explained, that was not the totality of the circ’s. \

  294. “joe is a hardcore Democrat/liberal.”

    hmmm…

    that explains a lot.

  295. Who’s to say that the 9-11 highjackers were not also “performance artists”?
    Didn’t they have a right to express themselves?
    I think some of those passengers overreacted.

  296. *looking around*

    Dinsdale?

    oh. it’s you. You’re an asshole.

    Good day

    *smiles politely and strolls off*

  297. Have the jack booted thugs seized the young gash’s computer? There may be documentation of the true intent of her “class project”.
    We at Semtex are happy this incident did not involve our much-maligned product.Now Play-Doh
    has the PR problem. He was probably counting on an increase in sales based on the ban on remote controlled toys on airplane flights but HA! Now your product will be subject to arbitrary and unfair government restrictions. Welcome to the club Play-Doh.

  298. TSA officials also have trouble with video games (at least ones where the wiring is visible). So we will need a better policy and procedure than one where only the lucky survive.

    “Long Beach airport evacuated over video game”
    http://axcessnews.com/index.php/articles/show/id/11768

    “Electronic game in luggage triggers Long Beach airport evacuation”
    http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_6470365

  299. “””if you have problem with SCOTUS decisions, or Mass State police policy (which i am confident you are ignorant of), then criticize THAT, not the cops.”””

    SCOTUS and State police policy say it’s the cops that determine if something is “reasonable suspicion”, right? SCOTUS nor Mass State Police policy told the cop that the device in question was, in fact, reasonable suspicion, the cop made that determination, right? so why would we blame any BUT the cop? Assuming you believe it was wrong.

    There still seems to be some misconceptions about what the “device” was or was not. If it was a LED name tag, (I have one. Ubergeek alert?) then the cop was an idiot. If it was some homemade device made to look like a bomb, then the person was an idiot.

    But I don’t see how forcing citizens to conduct their lives to avoid the guns of parnoid policeman benefits our country in any way, shape, or form.

  300. You can’t judge the police’s actions until you know what they knew. IF all they had was a report that a woman is running around the airport with what looks like a bomb in her jacket, then they no doubt took it seriously. Their actions only seem unreasonable with the hindsight of knowing it was some moron with the “art” jacket. They didn’t have the benefit of hindsight. You have to judge the totality of the circumstances as they knew it at the time. If there is any fault, it is the procedure they followed of drawing their guns. Truthfully, had this nitwit been a real suicide bomber, drawing their guns would not have saved them, so what is the point of drawing them? I am sure the police followed procedure as they were required. The drawing of the guns goes to a deeper issue of law enforcement not understanding the inherent risk involved in doing their jobs and the risks to innocent people associated with drawing a weapon. That is true of any situation. The bad policy of drawing a weapon every time the police perceive a threat does not mean that they were not justified in thinking this woman might be a threat. Is she guilty of a hoax? No because I think she is sincerely and legitimately that stupid. Just because she is not guilty doesn’t mean the police shouldn’t have detained her and made sure it really wasn’t a bomb.

  301. But I don’t see how forcing citizens to conduct their lives to avoid the guns of parnoid policeman benefits our country in any way, shape, or form.
    Tricky:

    because “john”, “RC”, “whit”, et al live in fear brought on by their own ignorance and inability to deal with a complex world.

    They distill everything to a black-and-white binary situation and employ an aggressive ego defense mechanism to alter interpretations to fit with their perceptions of themselves.

    By doing so, in this case, they’re actually enabling the terrorists. They are betraying all the powerful goodness that the US has: betraying basic freedom and liberty.

    They want us to live in constant fear and worry that the guns of paranoid policemen will be trained on us, so they don’t have to be confronted with their fearful, bigoted ignorance and inability to cope with the complexities of a free society.

  302. VM,

    Read my above comment regarding the futility of drawing a weapon in that position. You just want to throw stones and think everyone who disagrees with you is a fanatic.

  303. whit,

    A couple of folks have already mentioned that joe is a liberal (I hope that is the term that joe uses). frequent flyer for one.

  304. “there is no reason to believe the cops wanted to punish anybody. they wanted to stop a perceived threat, and hopefully survive it. the prosecutor makes charging decisions, and i don’t see any reason to believe the cops wanted to punish anybody.”

    They arrested her.

    Here’s what’s dumb about claiming that she “disturbed the peace”:

    You’re saying that because her behavior gave the police a reasonable belief that she was committing a crime, their response was appropriate [I can live with that, even though I think their response was out of proportion] AND she was disturbing the peace because it created this public incident.

    But any time the police secure an arrest warrant or search warrant, they have demonstrated that they have probable cause to believe a crime is taking place. Why aren’t all the people whose searches turn up empty arrested for disturbing the peace? After all, by definition we know that their behavior created a reasonable suspicion, or there wouldn’t be a warrant. And those daylight police raids can be very noisy. So why aren’t the subjects of failed searches arrested for disturbing the peace?

  305. John,

    Might the reporting procedure, and the police response to the reporting procedure, that led them to conclude there was a girl running around with a bomb in her jacket, also be part of the problem here?

    You, like whit, are merely assuming the reasonableness of that determination, based on the fact that the police made it.

    Somehow, “this is worth looking into” turned into “probably cause to believe there was a clear and present danger to human life.” That seems to be the problem.

  306. The police should have detained her, made sure what it was and told her to never come back to the airport with the contraption again and no one should have ever heard about it.

    That’s what we’ve been arguing to you this whole time, John. Are you intentionally this obtuse?

    It’s obvious she didn’t make it just for this incident, since she’s been wearing it for quite a while, including to a career fair.

  307. S of S,

    Yup, liberal. Liberal Democrat. Not a moderate. Not a progressive. A liberal.

    Damn proud of it, too.

  308. I am less proud of my ability to spell “probable.”

  309. Truthfully, had this nitwit been a real suicide bomber, drawing their guns would not have saved them, so what is the point of drawing them?

    To shoot her if she reached for some kind of switch to detonate the bomb.

  310. As someone who was deeply impacted by the events of 9-11, I see no humor in this at all. Either (1) she is mentally unstable (in which case students and faculty at MIT should recall the events at Virginia Tech and should take no chances with the safety of the university), (2) she was stupid (indicates something about MIT admission standards), or (3) she willingly pulled a prank (and she should be prosecuted). It simply has to be one of these three scenarios. It just could not have been an “innocent mistake”. In either of these situations, MIT needs to immediately and indefinitely suspend her (pending a full investigation) and anyone else who had prior knowledge of this incident. The MIT administration should be held fully responsible for any actions (including any copycat incidences) that may occur as a result of their lack of immediate and decisive action with respect to this incident. Not doing so would be viewed as an insult to all of those Americans who were deeply impacted by the events of 9-11, especially the victims and their families. It will also be seen as a clear signal to any future copy-cat perpetrators that this would be condoned as an acceptable action.

  311. I haven’t read all 300 comments, but I haven’t seen this point being made.

    This case is a perfect illustration of why having TSA inconveniencing travelers looking for bombs is STUPID STUPID STUPID right from the get go.

    This is why democracy in industrial societies is so fucked up. People otherwise too stupid to live make up the bulk of the population. How anyone could ever for one second that the TSA searching our luggage would make us safer is beyond me.

    It’s just this simple. What doesn’t look like a bomb? Your shoes didn’t look like bombs, but now they do. Your underarm deodorant didn’t look like a bomb, but now it does. Cell phones and laptops actually do look like bombs. You think the TSA could tell the difference?

    Last point. Pulling a gun on this girl and hauling her off was way over the top. These are the actions of a police state. It should shock the conscience of every decent person.

  312. “Somehow, “this is worth looking into” turned into “probably cause to believe there was a clear and present danger to human life.” That seems to be the problem.”

    No I think that based on the report that some woman had a jacket with a battery and a bunch of wires hanging out of it, requires the police to stop her and then take her to somewhere away from the public, look at the jacket, make sure that is what it is and politely tell her not to wear it anymore. That is really all they should have done. If she is a suicide bomber, as soon as you walk up to her, she will probably blow herself up, meaning it does no good to come with a lot of force. If anything, it is a job for one person not ten. If I were that person, would certainly tell her to keep her hands where I could see them, but I wouldn’t draw my gun. The whole process shows how poorly thought out these things are. What this incident shows is that if you are a suicide bomber and want to kill a bunch of cops, just make the bomb obvious, go to an airport, and they will coming running to you guns drawn to get blown up. I don’t blame the cops for assuming this woman might be a suicide bomber. I blame them for not thinking through what that really means.

  313. How anyone could ever for one second that the TSA searching our luggage would make us safer is beyond me.

    It’s gotta be safer than the alternative, which would be allowing people to bring bombs onto planes.

    Man, this “voice of reason” (NPI) stuff is a chore. Next?

  314. “How anyone could ever for one second that the TSA searching our luggage would make us safer is beyond me.”

    Yeah because no one has ever blown up a plane like over Scotland or anything by putting a bomb in a piece of luggage. What are you talking about?

  315. “””You can’t judge the police’s actions until you know what they knew.

    Funny how one is not to irrationally pre-judge the cops actions but it’s ok for the cops to irrationally pre-judge the actions of others, with a gun.

    It seems that “reasonable” would require getting real information by either side before rendering judgement.

    The cop should have understood the information he received could have been inaccurate and the further investigation was require. It IS reasonable to expect a cop to walk up to a lady with an LED name tag and ask “Is that an LED name tag?” I believe that’s the constable’s right to inquiry under common law. If any cop is too scared to do that, they should find a new job. They get paid to put their life on the line, regardless of what their paycheck says.

  316. It simply has to be one of these three scenarios.

    Let me put it this way, John Smith.

    You’re either:

    1) mentally unstable,
    2) stupid, or
    3) willingly full of shit.

    It simply has to be one of these three scenarios because NINE ELEVEN NINE ELEVEN NINE ELEVEN!!!

  317. John Smith,

    You’re leaving out the possibility that she doesn’t give a damn.

    I think she has the right to not give a damn, as long as she doesn’t actually make bombs and doesn’t explicitly threaten people.

    Say I looked a lot like Osama bin Laden. People come up to me every day and tell me I look like Osama bin Laden, that I could play him in the movies, etc. So I decide that it would amuse me to start wearing a turban around, just ’cause I don’t give a damn.

    Am I committing a crime?

    Until I say the words, “Fly this plane to Mecca, infidels!” or “Empty your pockets and give me your valuables, dhimmi swine!” I don’t think I am. Am I fucking with people? Yup. Is it actionable? Nope. Why not? Fuck you. That’s why not.

  318. John Smith, I usually hate the libertarian grammar police but I have to say that IMPACT is not a verb. You were not impacted by 09-11 not was anyone else (except the buildings, which felt the impact of the airplanes crashing into them).

    Secondarily, we all were affected deeply by the events of 09-11, you don’t have a monopoly on that.

    Thirdly, to quote an Israeli security expert:

    “The United States does not have a security system, it has a system for bothering people.”-Shlomo Dror

  319. JOHN SMITH STILL HAS A CRUSH ON MYLES STANDISH. SINCE MILES DIED ON THIS DAY IN 1656, HE FEELS EMPTY AND ALONE.

    HE IS ALSO BITTER BECAUSE HE COULDN’T GET IN AT MIT. BECAUSE HE ASKED THE ADMISSIONS OFFICER, “WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING NAMED AFTER A GERMAN PREPOSITION?”

  320. @John,

    Yea, I don’t see how the last comment warrants VM’s response. Most people seem to agree that some sort of investigation was appropriate. (Is there someone above who thinks the police should have done nothing after the desk person claimed to have seen a suspicious device?) And the problem, I agree, is all in how they investigated. The interest of the police in investigating was not the problem. It was how they investigated that was the problem.

    But I don’t agree with this part of what you said: “Their actions only seem unreasonable with the hindsight of knowing it was some moron with the ‘art’ jacket. They didn’t have the benefit of hindsight.”

    I think their actions were unreasonable even without the benefit of hindsight (but again, this is based only on what I know from the news articles).

    It’s inevitable that innocent people will trigger the interest of security at airports. Therefore, there must be procedures in place that minimize the risk to these people.

    The commander of aiport security does not seem to agree and is willing to chalk it up to luck when the innocent survive. I want careful planning for dealing with these situations, so that once it’s all over, the police will say, “No one was injured and no one was made to fear for his or her life because our procedures are well-thought out and because our officers are well-trained and polite.”

  321. cuz I’m bustin chops. And it causes endless amusement.

  322. “The United States does not have a security system, it has a system for bothering people.”-Shlomo Dror

    The Israeli’s would probably “bother” Star Simpson if she approached an El Al terminal with an apparent plastic explosive, blasting cap and detonator.

  323. Yeah because no one has ever blown up a plane like over Scotland or anything by putting a bomb in a piece of luggage.

    If somebody wants to blow up your airplane bad enough you can’t stop them. I sincerely doubt that TSA’s half ass search techniques, where they confiscate my matchbooks and nail files, are responsible for the fact that no US airplanes on domestic flights have blown up since 09-11. After all, how many US airplanes on domestic flights were blown up before 09-10-01?

    What? None? One? Two? Without looking I have to say none. None that I can remember, anyway.

    How is that possible? We didn’t have TSA?

    AND, the 09-11 job was done without explosives, so TSA wouldn’t have saved us anyway.

  324. “Funny how one is not to irrationally pre-judge the cops actions but it’s ok for the cops to irrationally pre-judge the actions of others, with a gun.”

    It is irrational. How many times do I have to post that they shouldn’t have pulled their guns before you people get it through your thick skulls? They were right to think that she might be a threat. But since if she had been a suicide bomber a gun would have done no good, there was no reason to draw weapons. It was further completely stupid to risk more than one person’s life in confronting her. Either she is a moron, in which case on person will find that out just as easily as ten or she is a real bomber in which case no one will stop her from blowing herself up and there is no reason to risk more than one person’s life in confronting her.


  325. Yeah because no one has ever blown up a plane like over Scotland or anything by putting a bomb in a piece of luggage. What are you talking about?

    Do you know how much business that cost us?
    That “modeling clay” in the radio wasn’t Play-Doh.

  326. “”””No I think that based on the report that some woman had a jacket with a battery and a bunch of wires hanging out of it, requires the police to stop her and then take her to somewhere away from the public, look at the jacket, make sure that is what it is and politely tell her not to wear it anymore. That is really all they should have done.””””

    I 100% agree with John. This was the reasonable course of action. But if they are allowed to continue their current ways, there is no reason for them to follow the above.

    Sad to say, but there is plenty of evidence that paranoia beats reason in the “post 9/11” America. That needs to change.

  327. But the drawing of guns is about a lot more than some idiot an an airport. That is a better us than them mentality among law enforcment. I would bet anything that the police at the airport were required by some dumb ass policy to draw their guns whenever confronting someone thought to have a bomb.

  328. As I recall, the TSA’s procedures are from time to time tested and they record quite a number of failires.

    The thing is of course that it is highly unlikely that someone would wear a bomb so that it was visible. Earlier it was mentioned that backpacks, etc. can used as a means to carry, etc. bombs. Which is true. What differentiates a backpack from what this young woman on her is that bomb is not visible inside the backpack.

  329. “””Either she is a moron, in which case on person will find that out just as easily as ten or she is a real bomber in which case no one will stop her from blowing herself up and there is no reason to risk more than one person’s life in confronting her.”””

    Or maybe she was just a person with an LED name tag?

  330. did anyone mention she may have been simply and severely overestimating the reasonableness of the LEO’s in the airport?

  331. Either she is a moron, in which case on person will find that out just as easily as ten or she is a real bomber in which case no one will stop her from blowing herself up and there is no reason to risk more than one person’s life in confronting her.

    She was neither a moron nor a bomber.
    It was a class “Art Project”.

  332. It is irrational. How many times do I have to post that they shouldn’t have pulled their guns before you people get it through your thick skulls? They were right to think that she might be a threat. But since if she had been a suicide bomber a gun would have done no good, there was no reason to draw weapons. It was further completely stupid to risk more than one person’s life in confronting her. Either she is a moron, in which case on person will find that out just as easily as ten or she is a real bomber in which case no one will stop her from blowing herself up and there is no reason to risk more than one person’s life in confronting her.

    Huh? So if the police determine that somebody really is strapped with a bomb they should just let them walk around as they please?

    Of course the cops should pull their guns on the bomber and attempt to prevent them from both denonating the bomb and moving to an area where the damage will be worse if it does go off.

    I’m the only sane person here, I’m beginning to think.

  333. John, you’re missing the point.

    No I think that based on the report that some woman had a jacket with a battery and a bunch of wires hanging out of it

    If the “report” made it sound like she had a bomb-like device, that was the problem. If you see this girl with the light-up name tag coming towards you on the sidewalk, do you even bother to cross the street?

    This was as serious as somebody trying to walk through the metal detector with their shoes on. “Miss, you HAVE to take your shoes off.”

    The police – multiple police, with automatic rifles at the ready – followed her into the parking garage, ready to put her in the morgue if she didn’t obey their shouted orders – apparently, because they thought they had been notified of somebody with a bomb.

  334. The Israeli’s would probably “bother” Star Simpson if she approached an El Al terminal with an apparent plastic explosive, blasting cap and detonator.

    Yes they might. They might even bother her if she showed up with a flashing, battery powered star pinned to her coat.

    The point was that the US airport security system is largely ineffectual, provides little real security, and annoys a lot of people with it’s facade of doing something.

    I remember how mad the government was when the LA Times pointed out that those National Guard troops positioned all over LAX in the wake of 09-11 DIDN’T HAVE BULLETS for their M-16’s.

    We were traveling at the time and I really wanted to ask the NG guys about that. Mrs TWC threatened me with a month of sleeping on the couch and I acquiesced.

  335. “Huh? So if the police determine that somebody really is strapped with a bomb they should just let them walk around as they please?”

    They hadn’t determined that yet Dan. They just knew someone might have a bomb. In that situation the proper course of action is to send someone up to the person and see if they get blown up. I know that sucks but that is the only way to do it. You can’t just shoot the person because you don’t know if they are really a bomber. If they are a bomber, they are going to detonate as soon as you confront them, so having a gun or 1000 people there isn’t going to do you any good. The chances are that the person will not be a bomber, which is why you err on the safe side and don’t draw your weapon and only send one or at most two people.

  336. “””Huh? So if the police determine that somebody really is strapped with a bomb they should just let them walk around as they please?”””

    So are you saying that they actually determined that it WAS a bomb?

    I think Dan is full of it, and I’d bet he would be the first to file a lawsuit if the cops at the airport shot him because they mistakenly thought he had a bomb.

  337. Dan T

    You are %100 right in this instance, and not in the stopped clock way you occasionally are.

  338. “The police – multiple police, with automatic rifles at the ready – followed her into the parking garage, ready to put her in the morgue if she didn’t obey their shouted orders – apparently, because they thought they had been notified of somebody with a bomb.”

    Had she really been a bomber, she would have detonated and killed everyone of them. That is how poorly thought out that policy is. Like I said, the lesson of this is that if you are a terrorist and want to kill a bunch of cops, just wear an obvious bomb in your jacket and go to the airport and they will come running weapons drawn to get blown up.

    As far as the accuracy of the report, you can’t rely on that. They had a duty to investigate it and talk to her, even though she had left the airport. But confronting her weapons drawn with a ton of cops put her at risk and the cops at risk for no benefit.

  339. The Israelis don’t put poorly trained idiots in their airports. The Israelis would probably send someone with a higher level of technical expertise than Corporal Sully from West Roxbury to have a look at the blinky name tag, and he would have given it the quicke once over and sent her on her way.

    My suspicion is that the Mass State Police have been given irresponsible rules of engagement – that they have been told to “treat any suspicious object as if it were a bomb,” or some such thing. So when Desk Lady told them to have a look at the girl with the bliky name tag and the battery, they didn’t have the option of behaving reasonably and appropriately, like the Israelis.

    They sent several cops with automatic rifles to chase her down. The head cop said that she was “lucky she followed orders, or she would be in the morgue.” They went there ready to kill her. Thank God she didn’t mishear them, or one of the cops didn’t shout “Get down!” when he meant “Get up!”

    I don’t think the cops looked at the device and decided it was a bomb at all. I think their orders told them to treat this girl like a suicide bomber, and they were determined to do that before they left their break room.

  340. TWC,

    I agree tha the TSA and much of airport security is a joke.

    This is a case where the security-Mass State Police-actually did the right thing.

    The MIT girls intentions are suspect because of her behavior and the Play-Doh. An engineering major is much more likely to know what the combo of clay wires and electronics means.
    I would think faux bombs are probably a staple of goofing around in MIT undergrad creativity labs.

  341. “They sent several cops with automatic rifles to chase her down. The head cop said that she was “lucky she followed orders, or she would be in the morgue.” They went there ready to kill her. Thank God she didn’t mishear them, or one of the cops didn’t shout “Get down!” when he meant “Get up!”

    They are just morons and one of two things is going to happen someday; either they will shoot an innocent person, or they will run into a real bomber and loose half of thier force.

  342. When an H&R thread surpasses 300 posts, then you know the topic has struck a Libertarian nerve. Paul’s post at 2:18 and Viking Moose’s post at 3:46 hit the G-spot. We are deeply disturbed at the arbitrary abuses of power and violations of personal liberties that have resulted from the 9/11 attacks. The terrorists hurt America, but the reaction of US authorities has been equally harmful. The terrorists threw us off-balance. Instead of regaining our balance and making a rational and focused response, our leaders used this as an opportunity to further their ideological agenda. The neocons have played right into the hands of the terrorists by their response to 9/11. The war in Iraq, Patriot Act, TSA, Department of Homeland Security, SWAT team home invasions, and overzealous local police have caused more damage than the original attack. It is analogous to a car going into a skid. Frequently the driver will overcorrect and cause a much more vicious counterspin that sends the car careening off the road. A small steering correction would have neutralized the spin and kept the car out of danger.

    We libertarians are the passengers in the back of the car – drinking beer, playing poker, smoking interstate commerce, and cavorting with hookers. We get mighty pissed when our fun is interrupted by a driver who cannot keep the car on the road.

  343. John,

    The fact that there were so many of them, and they had rifles, suggests to me that the problem here is not the individual stupidity of each officer, but the orders they were given.

  344. “””They are just morons and one of two things is going to happen someday; either they will shoot an innocent person, or they will run into a real bomber and loose half of thier force.”””

    Sadly so. And if they loose half their force, they will start shooting first, ask questions later. Few will care about an innocent person killed.

  345. Everyone agress that people shouldn’t bring things that look like bombs (or fake bombs) to the airport.

    Everyone agree that it’s ok to bring things that DON’T look like bombs (or fake bombs) to the airport.

    People only disagree about WHO DECIDES if things look like bombs. If we let the [notoriously over-zealous] aiport cops decide, innocent people get a boot in the ass. If we publish an authoritative list, the terrorists can use that to better disguise their [real] bombs. If we use the standard of what a smart, informed people would think, we prohibit airport cops from being able to make the necessary distinctions in real time.

    How about this: We allow the airport cops to exercise their discretion and arrest folks they think look suspicious. Then the person is tried by a jury of intelligent, reasonable, informed people. If the jury decides the person is a terrorist (or hoaxist) the arrestee goes to jail and the cop gets a raise. If the jury decides that nothing the arrestee was carrying was (or looked) dangerous, the arrestee goes free and the airport cop gets fired.

    Some might say: No! Then the airport cops wont arrest anyone! But that would only be true if the airport cops selfishly care more about keeping their jobs than about protecting people from bombs. And since we have heard many times that airport cops are underpaid and underappreciated, they can’t possibly care that much about keeping their jobs.

  346. think of the WoD. there is a law and order drumbeat out there; there is a reflex by those who want to defend the WoD to accuse the innocent causalities of “asking for it” and the like.

    Being safe in a free society needs a balance between ‘public safety’ and safety from abusive ‘public safety practices’

    Where is the greater danger? Viewing Radley’s excellent work, a healthy fear of the authorities seems in order.

  347. She was neither a moron nor a bomber.
    It was a class “Art Project”.

    I don’t recall reading where the security guards attended that class.

  348. “””Where is the greater danger? Viewing Radley’s excellent work, a healthy fear of the authorities seems in order.”””

    If the government demands citizens to fear the authorities, we need to question if that’s in the best interests of our Democratic-Republic. The founding fathers have warned us about these things.

  349. Dan T:

    I’m the only sane person here, I’m beginning to think.

    Although you are mostly right in this thread, that thought you are expressing is common amongst the batshit insane. Just sayin’.

  350. Joe:

    They are just morons and one of two things is going to happen someday; either they will shoot an innocent person, or they will run into a real bomber and loose half of thier force.

    Or a little of both, they surround and shoot at an innocent person, and they lose half their [Polish firing] squad.

  351. John, not joe. (Should have known, joe knows how to spell “lose”.)

  352. Jenny…Is that you? Jenny?

    Moose – I am laying low for now, hence the baloney email address. If you want to reach me, try 8675309

  353. stupid as the rest of you | October 2, 2007, 4:57pm | #
    She was neither a moron nor a bomber.
    It was a class “Art Project”.

    I don’t recall reading where the security guards attended that class.

    They didn’t, but they were part of the project.

  354. @Tommy_Grand

    “People only disagree about WHO DECIDES if things look like bombs.”

    I think the main disagreement is how to handle situations when the police want to investigate whether someone has a bomb. As a practical matter, the police are going to decide if things look like bombs. If they see something that looks like a bomb, we couldn’t expect them to check with a committee before investigating further. The situation might require too much urgency to check with anyone else.

    So the important question is about the procedures and practices for dealing with suspicious items and people.

  355. Bystander sez: “So the important question is about the procedures and practices for dealing with suspicious items and people.”

    We know there are terrorists, bombers, and hoaxers out there, and we know airport cops are [often] overzealous gun-junkies. The important question is how to balance the incentives and penalties to discourage airport cops from pointing the boomstick at innocent people without preventing the cops from accomplishing their legitimate purposes.

    Hence my suggestion.

  356. Crush – good idea! But Bender was looking for you…

  357. If anyone wants to sneak a bomb past security, the first thing is make it look like something that is definitely not a bomb.

    The point is, everyone knows that U.S. Airport security is full of holes, but the sad thing is, we go through the motions, a pathetic charade, at tax payer’s expense.

  358. I’d prefer to shift all the burdern of air travel security costs to the airlines. They have the greatest incentive to prevent bombs/ hijacking, etc. They would pass the costs on to consumers who could then deicde if flying at that price was a good idea.

  359. We libertarians are the passengers in the back of the car – drinking beer, playing poker, smoking interstate commerce, and cavorting with hookers. We get mighty pissed when our fun is interrupted by a driver who cannot keep the car on the road.

    That is as funny as it is astute. I’m going to file that away on my quote list.

  360. I have to go with Tommy Grand on this one. I personally have to *for the first time ever* disagree with Jesse Walker and instead posit that the college student should’ve used some situational awareness.

    But is it art?
    Yes.

  361. Last point. Pulling a gun on this girl and hauling her off was way over the top.

    I agree. They should have let her off with a stern body cavity search.

  362. joe,

    I lived in Boston for 14 years. It’s pronounced Lullll, not Lowell.

  363. A 9-volt transistor battery plus an LED is a flashlight circuit, only not as bright as a regular flashlight.

    The authorities at Logan, who evidently cannot recognize a simple flashlight circuit aren’t very bright, either.

    After all, it’s been 128 years since Thomas Edison first wired up that same circuit.

    If people in power, carrying deadly weapons in public, are terrified of a trivial flashlight circuit, there probably isn’t much hope for what’s left of our increasingly dysfunctional civilization.

  364. I for one am amazed at the collective recitation of “fake bomb” when another framing would be simply a blinking nametag. It is amazing, and quasireligious. Are we all now loyal terrorized subjects of Bin Laden, ready to chant any terror mantra in Unison? “Fake bomb, fake bomb, let’s hear it folks, louder “Fake bomb, Star is an idiot, Fake bomb.” For crying out loud. The Play-Doh didn’t even exist — was since retracted and the police spokeswoman has “No idea where that piece of information came from.” Nevermind! Jsst keep repeating, “Star is a bomb hoaxer with a fake bomb, FAKE BOMB, fake bomb…

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