Terrorism

State Troopers Fail to Appreciate Geek Chic

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So here's the chain of events:

Star Simpson

Nice 19-year-old girl from MIT goes to pick up her boyfriend at the airport last September. Perhaps in honor of that special occasion, Star Simpson is wearing a sweatshirt that she made herself. It consists of a circuit board wired with green LEDs.

She makes an inquiry at the information desk, and then "Troopers, with machine guns aimed at Simpson, surrounded her outside the terminal and ordered her to raise her hands."

Months later, after fighting off criminal charges about a hoax bomb, Simpson wound up with a sentence of 50 hours of community service, pronounced yesterday. She also issued an astonishingly groveling apology through her lawyer:

"I want to apologize for the results of my conduct on Sept. 21, 2007," Simpson said in the statement. "Although I never intended to act in a disorderly fashion, I now realize that the shirt I created caused alarm and concern at Logan Airport.

"I am appreciative to the Massachusetts State Police for their diligence in protecting our citizens and apologize for the expense that was caused that day," she added.

Simpson "is scheduled to return to MIT this fall for her junior year but will spend the first semester with other MIT students installing an electrical power grid in a Guatemalan village."

 You know, after she finishes those 50 hours of community service.

The opening sentence of the Globe's coverage pretty much captures the absurdity of the situation: Star Simpson "apologized for the actions that nearly led to her being shot by State Police as a suspected terrorist."

Via Hit & Run reader Jilly

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  1. Well, of course. If you ritualistically abase yourself before the state, you will receive a lighter sentence. Because it’s about submission, not about reason or justice or the facts.

    Maybe the bootlicking apology was the price of admission for a community service sentence instead of 10 days in the clink or something.

  2. The longer I can stay away from planes and airports, the happier I am. I used to work a job where I had to fly around, but from here on out, I’m slapping “0% travel” on my resume.

  3. Airport security is an exceedingly stupid and arrogant species of pig.

  4. but will spend the first semester with other MIT students installing an electrical power grid in a Guatemalan village.

    OK, but no flashing lights this time. Maybe a light up “on” switch, but that’s it. We mean it. Can’t be too careful.

  5. Seriously? Now I consider myself as libertarian as anyone, but the woman showed up to an airport with a circuit board wired to her sweatshirt? In September?

    I mean come on. That’s extremely stupid.

  6. I now realize that the shirt I created caused alarm and concern at Logan Airport…and [I] apologize for the expense that was caused that day

    Apology accepted. Don’t do it again.
    And see a good hair stylist for god’s sake.

  7. I mean come on. That’s extremely stupid.

    Rrright. Because real-life bombs have blinkenlights all over them, just like in the movies.

  8. Not one Mooninites reference?

  9. Not one Kanye West “Flashing Lights” reference?

  10. I mean come on. That’s extremely stupid.

    It’s one of those cases where it was stupid to not be stupid enough to realize how stupid people are.

  11. Next we’ll hear of a 4-year old getting shot at an airport for wearing those cute little shoes with the flashing LEDs…

  12. Lucky she wasn’t wearing an “unseasonably heavy” coat, she’d be dead by now.

  13. I’d be suspicious of a girl who looks like that claiming she has a boyfriend…of course, I’d imagine your standards alter when you’re an MIT geek.

    DISCLOSURE: My undergraduate app to MIT was rejected almost immediately during my senior year in HS…

  14. And people are complaining about Russia.

  15. MP beat me to it.

    BLINKY LIGHTS!!!! GET DOWN!!!

  16. The bitch is lucky she’s not dead.

  17. Boston: Where citizens need not fear the scourge of little blinking lights.

  18. “I am appreciative to the Massachusetts State Police for their diligence in protecting our citizens and apologize for the expense that was caused that day,” she added.

    Quoted verbatim from the plea agreement, I’d say.

  19. Neil, I mean Cesar, I wish your internet connection were dead.

  20. Apologize? She should grow some balls and sue their shit. And grow her hair out.

  21. Too bad she’s not in law school. She could spend her fifty hours of community service filing pro bono suits against the DHS.

  22. All your sweatshirts are belong to us!

  23. Ya’ll’s just jealous because her dick is as big as yours.

  24. It’s like “what is the limit of how retarded we’ll allow society to get?” and the answer is “None, there’s none more retarded we won’t go”

  25. I wonder what her “boyfriend” looks like

  26. I also am sorry and would like to thank the police for whatever it is that I am causing them to think that I did or am doing.

    Sorry.

  27. I wonder what her “boyfriend” looks like

    I found a picture of him.

  28. Warren–I’m reminded of an old t-shirt mesasge: The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

  29. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.

  30. I’ve read that ritual apologies of this nature were commonly extracted from political prisoners in the old Soviet Union. It’s hardly surprising that the new Soviet Union would follow that example.

  31. I’d hit it. Just thought I’d put that out there.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: It’s been awhile.

  32. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity.

    “It’s two things are infinite in the universe: hydrogen and stupidity.”

    Get your Zappa right, fool…

  33. Zappa misquoted me.

  34. The bitch is lucky she’s not dead.

    Careful there, Cesar. Pretending to be someone you’re not is just as suspicious as wearing LED lights in our brave new world.

  35. The longer I can stay away from planes and airports, the happier I am.

    Ditto that.

  36. Sorry, Boston, but it takes a special kind of stupid to consider this a suspicious device. It’s about as suspicious as an abacus or a telescope.

    Is it because of the battery hanging off of it? That makes about as much sense as saying that it was suspicious because it had “XXX” written on it. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    If she tries to walk through security with it, then give it a good close look. But she steps in to ask a question about an arrival and the police go after her as she leaves? She’s not the one that should be apologizing, unless she wants to apologize for granting them an assumption of a sub-moronic or higher intelligence.

  37. My guess is that she’s considered pretty hot by MIT standards.

  38. Art-P.O.G.,

    Tap-tappity-tap-tap! But I’m a sucker for the crazy, geeky, dyke look. For example, I thought that Ani DiFranco was hawt when she was near bald.

  39. We are no longer citizens but instead subjects.

    I suppose we should be glad we are not simply slaves, yet.

  40. Hell, yeah Rimfax. That look just works on some womyn.

  41. The whole state of Massachusetts should be spanked with moon rocks.

  42. Rimfax, Art POG-

    I agree. She’s hot.

    All you simple-minded haters need to get back to your boring laminated Pam Anderson posters and shut the hell up.

  43. Let’s not forget that Boston was also the only city to go crazy over the Aqua Teen Hunger Force promotion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Boston_bomb_scare

    Seriously, there was a prefectly simple way to handle this situation. Take a quick look at the device, ask her a few questions and send her on her way. Maybe give her a fine if you want to flex a little.

    What’s truly worrisome is that the people who are in charge of looking for bombs at the airport apparently have no idea what a bomb actually looks like.

  44. There was a chick in college with that same hair that I was chasing. Granted this was the late 80’s so it was in, mostly.

    She ended up sleeping with my roomate. Awwwww. [/zoidberg]

  45. I’d be suspicious of a girl who looks like that claiming she has a boyfriend.

    I think blinking nipple lights make up for almost any plain Jane face.

  46. Yah, she’s hot enough – just that her hair looks funny IMO.

  47. What’s truly worrisome is that the people who are in charge of looking for bombs at the airport apparently have no idea what a bomb actually looks like.

    Airport security missed a golden opportunity to recreate the Lost bomb defusing scene inside the airport.

  48. What’s truly worrisome is that the people who are in charge of looking for bombs at the airport apparently have no idea what a bomb actually looks like.

    So are you thinking Spy v. Spy black ball with a fuse, or one of those old skool football with fins joints?

  49. It’s truly sad that she uttered this apology. But the government can just beat people down to the point they’ll admit to anything, just to make the scrutiny go away. Why the government ever needed waterboarding, I have no idea. All that’s needed is the zillion pound hammer of a municipal government to ‘cite’ you for some obscure violation such as ‘disorderly conduct’ and beat those charges to fucking death, and you’ll finally just cop to whatever you’re charged with.

  50. Most likely the hottest person at MIT. You know the guys are fugly.

  51. Now I consider myself as libertarian as anyone, but the woman showed up to an airport with a circuit board wired to her sweatshirt? In September?

    I mean come on. That’s extremely stupid.

    Why is that “extremely stupid”? There has never been a terrorist attack committed by someone showing up to a a domestic airport counter with any circuit boards wired to their sweatshirts. Ever. Ever.

    I’m trying to remember one terrorist attack that comes to mind. It was pretty big. And as I recall, everyone had legal paperwork, looked like businessmen in Dockers, and had no bombs or seriously dangerous weapons of any kind, less a box cutter or two. Help me out here, folks, does anyone remember this attack I’m thinking of? I’m pretty sure they didn’t storm the airport counters with circuit boards and LED lights on their sweatshirts.

  52. Hey zoltan, I resemble that remark!

  53. Y’know, I’m thinking of going to the Airport in…*shudder* september sporting a digital watch. Do I deserve a cavity search if I make that “extremely stupid” error in judgement?

  54. Bigger than mine, even?

  55. I agree. She’s hot.

    Eh, not bad I guess, but kinda old for my taste.

  56. thank God she answered there questions immediately, didn’t act in a suspicious manner and wasn’t carrying anything that resembled SEMTEX plastic explosive…..Oh wait…only 50 hours of community service? The bullet to the brain would have been cheaper, but then Massachusetts isn’t known for their frugality.

  57. OOOOOO-kay: she’s been sentenced to 50 hours of community service, and a humiliating apology to the airport rent-a-cops, for wearing a geeky sweatshirt to the airport.
    I heart Massachusetts!

  58. Hey that’s not even a circuit board it’s a bread board. She was clearly just prototyping and wasn’t serious. Now if she came in with a newly etched circuit board and LEDs I could understand their reaction or not.

  59. Paul- “less a box cutter or two”?…..Looks like another has fallen for the government conspiracy theory.

  60. Thank you sir, may I have another?

  61. Why is that “extremely stupid”? There has never been a terrorist attack committed by someone showing up to a a domestic airport counter with any circuit boards wired to their sweatshirts. Ever. Ever.

    Yeah, and as of 9/10/01 no group had ever, ever hijacked a bunch of airliners with the intent of turning them into suicide vehicles, either.

    it’s the job of security people to look for anything suspicious or unusual. That is why anyone with common sense and basic social skills understands it’s stupid to act suspicious, provocative or even “unusual” in high-security places like airports or near Presidential candidates. It’s even more stupid for people with weird and scary hair to do such things. It’s like driving an old van with Grateful Dead bumper stickers and lighting up the last half of your hand-rolled tobacco cigarette next to a cop car at a stop light, then complaining about the unfairness of being pulled over.

  62. I’m trying to remember one terrorist attack that comes to mind. It was pretty big. And as I recall, everyone had legal paperwork, looked like businessmen in Dockers, and had no bombs or seriously dangerous weapons of any kind, less a box cutter or two. Help me out here, folks, does anyone remember this attack I’m thinking of? I’m pretty sure they didn’t storm the airport counters with circuit boards and LED lights on their sweatshirts.

    Actually, last year a couple of gents tried to drive into an airport in Scotland with a homemade detonator. So, it can happen.

    Yeah, and as of 9/10/01 no group had ever, ever hijacked a bunch of airliners with the intent of turning them into suicide vehicles, either.

    Maybe not, but:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Byck

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FedEx_Flight_705

  63. Just the latest in a long line of ridiculous terrorist-related overreactions which just shows that Americans are probably the dumbest people on Earth. Remember the Aqua-Teen Hunger Force promotion, or the amateur running club marking out running lanes with flour being mistaken for anthrax-toting terrorists? The authorities should be apologising to this girl.

  64. Paul | June 3, 2008, 6:14pm | #

    Y’know, I’m thinking of going to the Airport in…*shudder* september sporting a digital watch. Do I deserve a cavity search if I make that “extremely stupid” error in judgement?

    If you made the digital watch yourself, and wear it strapped to the front of your torso, then yes, that would be extremely stupid.

    I really do want to hate the authorities, but I’ve got to give them this one.

  65. You can’t call yourself a libertarian if you value life, at any cost, up to and including a lifetime of servitude to leviathan, more than you value the spirit in which life is lived.

  66. Did anybody ever put in a bar complaint against the prosecutor (Margolis) for pursing charges (regarding a “hoax device”) any educated adult would know are false?

  67. “Nick M”: It takes a real dunce to confound a breadboard and a bomb. Some people get their idea of reality from television and think a bomb is full of blinkenlights and gepokenwiren; others go to places like MIT and get their idea of reality from reality.

    Remember that the “Lockerbie” bomb was hidden *inside* a tape deck.

  68. What a dumb cunt. You go to an airport with lights flashing on your person and expect that no one would be concerned? Stupid bitch. And fuck the lot of you losertarian halfwit fucktards.

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