Boston Police Still Calling Random Light-Up Devices 'Hoax' Bombs

from the it's-not-a-hoax dept

Earlier this year, a Cartoon Network marketing promotion became a huge story in the city of Boston when police assumed that some promotional light-up boxes were actually bombs. Rather than admit that they made a mistake and overreacted, the authorities in Boston continued to accuse the folks behind the promotion of perpetrating a “hoax” on the city. Of course, a hoax is where you try and trick people. None of the folks involved in the promotion were trying to trick anyone into believing the promotional devices were bombs. They were simply promotional. However, Boston still seems to be focused on calling any electronics device they don’t understand a hoax device. The latest situation involves an MIT student wearing a sweatshirt that included a homemade electrical component that would light up LEDs on the sweatshirt. It’s certainly understandable that security would want to check out the device and understand it. It’s even somewhat understandable that they would be quite concerned about a homemade electrical device found in a sweatshirt. Walking into an airport with such a device is asking for trouble. However, to then accuse her of possessing a “hoax device,” seems a bit absurd. This wasn’t a “hoax” device at all. She wasn’t trying to trick anyone.

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Comments on “Boston Police Still Calling Random Light-Up Devices 'Hoax' Bombs”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Complete idiots. The Boston police are complete idiots.

I fly in and out of Logan all the time. Yesterday I unpacked my laptop bag and realized that I’ve been carrying a razor sharp, folding knife through Logan security for the last 6 months. I’ve cleared security there at least 12 times in that time frame, they’ve never found it.

Steve Forcum says:

Do a little more research

The problem with the light brites is that the full story never came out.

The devices which caused the panic were not up for weeks. They were placed the night prior.

There was a LEGITIMATE bomb threat at one of the hospitals BEFORE the light boards were called in. A device which looked like a pipe bomb was found and security had observed what turned out to be a fired employee saying “Someone’s going to pay today” when leaving the building. The light board hoax came in while they were investigating THAT. Thus they had to take EVERYTHING seriously that day.

With regards to this idiot today…she walked into an Airport, post 9-11 with a circuit board and wiring protruding from her shirt. She was holding a ball of what turned out to be playdough.

When she was at the ticket counter asking about a flight into Boston from Oakland, the airline employee observed the object in her shirt. When she asked the idiot about it, the girl walked away not responding to the question.

What were the police supposed to do? And that wasn’t Boston PD, it was State Police who took her down. She’s lucky she wasn’t shot.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Do a little more research

What were the police supposed to do? And that wasn’t Boston PD, it was State Police who took her down. She’s lucky she wasn’t shot.

As I said, they were correct to check it out and figure out what the device was.

They were *wrong* to then say it was a hoax device. Once they knew it was a simple device for lighting up a shirt, they should have been done with it. There’s nothing wrong with them reacting cautiously and investigating what the device is. However, once they know it’s not a bomb, to then call it a hoax device is ridiculous.

Why is it so difficult to understand this?

Mike says:

Re: Re: Re: Do a little more research

uh, no it looks like a visual EQ, and its an MIT project… there are dozens of students wearing variations of them this week… regardless its just stupid fearmongering to make such a huge scene when the LOGICAL move would have been to whisk her aside once they realised what had happened and NOT to tell the media and I quote “She’s lucky we didn’t shoot her” which will be the line repeated over again at the court hearing you can be sure.

Streaker says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Do a little more research

You just need to accept the fact that everyone isn’t an expert at determining what’s a bomb and what isn’t. They obviously don’t possess the genius skills that you would manifest in such a situation.

She IS lucky they didn’t shoot her. Angels protect idiots, I suppose.

Mr Obvious Man says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Do a little more research?

Do a little more research? you DO mean the DHS yes?

Perhaps DHS should HIRE some people CAPABLE of looking at a device and DETERMINING what it is?

Any 19 year old computer geek/Make Website Fan should be able to handle this.

That said, I don’t think that she should have been allowed to wander around frighting DHS employees, (I’m pretty sure the general public would have known better than to freak out.) but a quiet “You cant wear that in here, we are freaking out” & an escort from the airport would have been the correct response.

mkam says:

Re: Re: Re: Do a little more research

I could not agree with dorpus more. I never thought I would every say that.

Uh, what was the intention behind this device? It was clearly designed to look like a bomb. Then by definition, it was a hoax device.

It was definitely supposed to resemble a plastic explosive, and therefor was a ‘hoax’ device by definition.

Mike says:

Re: Do a little more research

uh, I have footage of one going up on a bridge I filmed MYSELF 8 days before the fiasco, and within 45minutes of the police stating they had found “suspicious devices” we called the police and told them what they were, we even tried to send them to the youtube clip we had uploaded the week before. The lady we spoke to took all of the info including the URL, and we called AGAIN 30min later when we heard nothing about it on the news. You my friend are reading the POLICE version of events which is a tad twisted because they look incredibly foolish in the REAL timeline. They actually DETONATED a device AFTER they were found to be nothing more than batteries and LED’s just because the equipment was on scene and the techs wanted to use it.

Mike says:

Re: Re: Re: Do a little more research

lol incriminating myself for what? reasoned thinking? I would welcome an attempt by the city of Boston to bring me to trial, the end result of that being taking some taxpayer dollars for my pocket as they don’t have a leg to stand on. Better in my pocket than in the hands of the inept municipal government that spent +4mil on a bunch of light up signs.

Steve Forcum says:

One more thing about the light brites...

The long haired idiot who put them up supposedly observed and video taped the police dealing with one of his “marketing materials”. He did nothing. He didn’t tell the police what the devices were.

Instead he went home, sent an email to his friends asking them to stay quiet about the things.

But the Police are the idiots.

dorpus says:

I wonder

Obvious troll from Manick aside, will MIT kick her out? I can just hear the conversations on the phone getting, chewed out by her parents.

Looks like the girl gained weight since her blog pic was taken. My guess is she was getting her ass kicked in her sophomore courses, plus whatever family troubles she had at age 20, going out with some trashy guy from Oakland, ….

Thales says:

Then what was it?

What was the purpose of it, why would she do it? It was supposedly art… So it is artful to go into the airport where two of the hijacked planes originated? The classes referenced on the sweater was an electrical engineering and computer science class, not an art class. She -WANTED- them to think she had a bomb, hence the use of play-doh in imitation of plastic explosives. It sounds to me like she was looking for trouble and got it.

Having been deployed twice, and having seen what sorts of crazy UXOs and IEDs terrorists are capable of conjuring I would have shot her on the spot. I don’t agree with the response to the Adult Swim ATHF signs, but they should have dropped her to the ground and zip-tied her.

I would say that hoax device is an accurate description of what she was carrying. Regardless of whether or not it was art, the sweater was meant to deceive people into believing it was a bomb and that the play-doh was plastic-explosive.

Furthermore, I don’t see how your interpretation of what a hoax device is any more correct than that of the arresting officers. I also fail to see how you are an expert in explosives or even know what your typical IED would look like.


Mike (profile) says:

Re: Then what was it?

She -WANTED- them to think she had a bomb, hence the use of play-doh in imitation of plastic explosives. It sounds to me like she was looking for trouble and got it.

The story notes that she *often* wore this sweatshirt. She didn’t just decide to put it together to wear it to the airport and trick security.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not sure that I agree with the police being out of line for charging her. It is stupid to wear stuff like this to the airport. I don’t know if she was going for a bomb look (for an MIT student, I am sure they could have come up with something more bomb looking than that). However, to call it art is a bit ridiculous as well.

She said she was there to pick a friend up. Did they follow up on that? Was the friend story legit, or was she simply using that as an excuse after realizing what she had done wasn’t such a good idea?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Boston's

What do you expect? The BPD has more PRESSING issues on their plate:

* The detectives union is complaining that the State Police is taking over MBTA-related homicides. Earlier this year, the same union complained that the homicide unit is being overworked with too many cases per person.

* The State Police (the department involved in this matter) is still having trouble with their academy cadets and “unauthorized” hazing.

Excuse my terminology, but what do you expect from a bunch of mick cops? Thanks to the way-lefties, freedom of *anything* for the majority is all but extinct (think of the Dodo bird and you will get the picture).

Joe (user link) says:

hoax device

In Massachusetts, the term “hoax device” has a legal definition. And it took literally 3 minutes of research to find it. Personally, I like to look into things like this BEFORE I post.

(b) For the purposes of this section, the term “hoax device” shall mean any device that would cause a person reasonably to believe that such device is an infernal machine. For the purposes of this section, the term “infernal machine” shall mean any device for endangering life or doing unusual damage to property, or both, by fire or explosion, whether or not contrived to ignite or explode automatically. For the purposes of this section, the words “hoax substance” shall mean any substance that would cause a person reasonably to believe that such substance is a harmful chemical or biological agent, a poison, a harmful radioactive substance or any other substance for causing serious bodily injury, endangering life or doing unusual damage to property, or both.

Um yeah…it’s a hoax device. To quote Mike, “Why is it so difficult to understand this?”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: hoax device

Don’t forget: The decision to make a law is ultimately up to the people (through their representatives).

Apparently, Massachusetts’ court system did not get that memo when it came to the decision on same-sex marriage. Where was the people’s choice in that?

And, the people never got a chance to make their own ruling on this matter; the ballot question was squashed in the state congress due to some stupid level of legislative insanity.

I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again: THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT WORK!!!!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

“would cause a person reasonably to believe that such device is an infernal machine”

The only thing that would cause a person to believe what she was wearing (or even more so in the aqua swim case) is going to too many Die Hard Movies.

The cops should stop going to adventure movies and read this article.

Thales says:

Any real life experience?

Have any of you actually seen an IED, like actually handled one or had to -search- for one? I’ve seen IEDs rigged behind Saddam posters, I’ve seen acid-filled lightbulbs serve as IEDs… they don’t adhere to any particular to form, so you can’t blame them for taking precautions. Think about it, they are continually put in a situation where they have to make judgment calls in order to protect themselves and those around them. It doesn’t matter what the intent was behind it, it doesn’t matter if she thought it was harmless or that the Boston PD is stupid… what matters is she went into an airport that was the site of two plane hijackings with something that could have BEEN an IED and was detained as a result. As for the stupid, ignorant defense “terrorists wouldn’t do something so obvious” or “they don’t look like she did”; IEDs look like anything and everything, they are made and strategically placed to do the most damage. If you aren’t suspecting something obvious then you might overlook it, and vice versa, this applies to both the terroristic individual and the weapon they choose to employ. I say they rightfully erred on the side of caution and things turned out as they should… although if they had trashed the girl it would have been far more fitting.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Any real life experience?

IEDs… they don’t adhere to any particular to form

Now try to remember that.

…she went into an airport that was the site of two plane hijackings with something that could have BEEN an IED and was detained as a result.

Remember, almost anything can be an IED. So then why isn’t EVERYONE detained? Anyone COULD be carrying an IED. Especially in a country at war. Right?

I get the feeling that anyone who questions authority would be in Gitmo if you had your way.

GoblinJuice says:

Re: Re: Any real life experience?

Bob Businessman wouldn’t be playing with putty and refusing to answer questions.

As for Guantanamo: the overwhelming majority of people being held there deserve to be there. Furthermore, it isn’t a gulag or a deathcamp. The detainees are treated humanely. (Being captured on a battlefield kinda blows the “I’m innocent!!!” defense. =))

As for questioning authority: Sorry to burst your bubble, but you’re not Tank Man. Neither was she.

GoblinJuice says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Any real life experience?

“She was holding a lump of what looked like putty in her hands.”

“The employee asked about the plastic circuit board on her chest, and Simpson walked away without responding, Pare said.”

Thales says:

Re: Re: Any real life experience?

Huge difference between me using my laptop in an airport and clutching it to my chest, looking about suspiciously while I avoid direct questions.

As for “Gitmo”, I was actually stationed there briefly. And if I had my way she would be shot, as would you for your ignorant comments.


GoblinJuice says:

1) She wanted attention. She got it.

2) I hope she’s prosecuted – for something. Stupidity must be punished.

3) You don’t have the right to scare people.

4) Law enforcement aren’t engineers.

5) A blinky board? She’s in college and she’s making blinky boards? …. I guess that’s a major accomplishment… for a woman engineer. Zing! =D

GoblinJuice says:

Re: They're selling haox bombs over the internet!

The difference, which you are aware of it, is that these are professionally produced – and look it.

We’re talking about a crude, homemade piece of crap. Oh, yeah, she was also PLAYING WITH PUTTY.

AND she REFUSED TO ANSWER a question about her crude, homemade piece of crap.

Again: you don’t have the right to scare people, Joe Jackass isn’t an engineer, and anyone dumb enough to walk around an airport – acting the way she was – deserves whatever she gets.

Just because you have a problem with authority figures – since, honestly, this is what the anti-cop/pro-girl bullshit boils down to – doesn’t mean you have the right to scare the public.

“Don’t tase me, bro!!!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: They're selling haox bombs over the intern

AND she REFUSED TO ANSWER a question about her crude, homemade piece of crap.

She did no such thing. From ,”A Massachusetts Port Authority staffer manning an information booth in the terminal became suspicious when Simpson — wearing the device — approached to ask about an incoming flight, Pare said. She did not respond when the employee asked her about the device she was wearing, so the employee repeated the question, police said. Simpson then said the device was artwork and left the counter and walked around the terminal area…”

OH NO! She didn’t hear the question the first time and they had to repeat it! How dare her? Shoot, shoot, shoot!

And when the police asked her about it:
“However, she was rational, and she did answer all questions as required”

Joe Jackass isn’t an engineer

She’s in the engineering program at MIT.

you don’t have the right to scare people.

People like you scare me. Collectively, you’re a far bigger threat to my daily safety and this country than OSB or AQ could ever hope to be.

GoblinJuice says:

Re: Re: Re: They're selling haox bombs over the in

“However, she was rational, and she did answer all questions as required”

Yeah, most people get real cooperative when the cops get involved. lmao.

She’s in the engineering program at MIT.

Joe Jackass isn’t an engineer. The average citizen wouldn’t know the difference between an LED and a resistor. Nor should they be expected to.

People like you scare me. Collectively, you’re a far bigger threat to my daily safety and this country than OSB or AQ could ever hope to be.

You have no idea how hard I just laughed. My friggin’ stomach hurts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Idiocracy

You’re expecting… a chic that works at an information booth… to analyze a circuit… and tell the difference between C-4 and silly putty?

If you can’t, then perhaps you shouldn’t pretend that you can.

…and you’re calling the infobooth chic stupid?

You’re saying a person has to be highly intelligent to work an “infobooth”?

Talk about getting real.

But I can excuse someone in such a position because they aren’t particularly dangerous. It’s the cops with the submachine guns that are the problem.

Random Thoughts says:

Re: Idiocracy

1. Being an MIT engineering undergrad she probably knows a lot of stuff. However, her social skills and ‘common sense’ are probably rudimentary at best. So, when it comes to almost any social or ‘real-life’ public situation she probably IS stupid. Very stupid. Darwin Award quality.

2. As for dealing with stupid people – the writer seems to think higher education means not stupid. I’m constantly amazed at the stupidity of many college graduates, regardless of school or major. It wouldn’t surprise me if as many as half of the engineering graduates in America think it is all about following formulas and equations and have never learned to think. I meet many people with no more than a high school education who know how to think and are far from stupid! This brainless MIT girl was stupid in her failure to react in an intelligent way to a curious question that an intelligent person would have expected somebody to ask sooner or later. By walking away without replying she showed how stupid she is.

zcat says:

My 2c for what it's worth..

This girl is an idiot. IED’s can look like just about anything.

If you walk around an airport carrying (or wearing) any kind of homemade electrical circuit and something in your hand that could be plastic explosive, you should expect to be at least questioned by airport security.

If you ignore them and walk away, you should expect to get shot.

Tracy says:

Disgraceful. She is a genius. The only thing is that she over-estimated other peoples intelligence. A 5-year old could clearly see that wasn’t a bomb. What about all these other flashing T-Shirts and hats you can buy? If the Boston PD sees a 5-year old playing one of the portable games with flashing LEDs are they going to arrest him and charge him with a hoax device?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“If the Boston PD sees a 5-year old playing one of the portable games with flashing LEDs are they going to arrest him and charge him with a hoax device?”

A 5-year old probably would follow orders quickly or correctly enough. They’d obviously have no choice but to shoot the little bastard. Can’t be too careful you know.

Thales says:

The Scary part...

You guys rant about the injustice of her getting arrested and held at gun point for a stunt, you complain about the unethical treatment of prisoners in Cuba, you whine about how inhumane our troops treat detainees…

Why don’t I hear people complaining about innocent people being beheaded? Why don’t I hear complaints about convoys of -OUR- soldiers being ripped apart by explosives? Why don’t I hear complaints about the torture and murder of soldiers? Why aren’t you complaining about the fact that -OUR- soldiers are dying?

No, you think that complaining about the motives behind the war and how things have changed after we were attacked is the same as supporting troops and complaining about -their- treatment. You take something like this and try to twist it into an example of how our government is out of control? Do you have the ability to have a dissenting opinion about the government without being black-bagged? You liberal morons disgust me, because that is what a majority of you are, you mistake your own political agendas and personal morals as patriotism and support for our armed-forces. Forget this discussion… I can’t understand how Techdirt is in any way a method of corporate America to get its finger on the pulse of America considering their methodism here. Take a story they know nothing about and pretend to be experts; I HAVE AN MBA! Funniest part is how many people complain about the evils of monopolies and corporate America, then they boost up Techdirt whose purpose is to provide companies with partial news stories with a twist of an amateur opinion. Officially removed from my google page…

I think I’m going to go read some actual news.


PaulT (profile) says:

Re: The Scary part...

hmmm… obvious troll but I’ll bite. The reason our soldiers are fighting the war, being beheaded, whatever, is because of the ridiculous ‘war on terror’. Stories like this one show how much panic there is, and how authorities would rather spread more panic than admit a mistake (in this case, call the device a ‘hoax’, creating the impression that the girl was trying to fool the authorities in some way – she wasn’t).

I think most of us ‘liberals’ support the troops, we simply don’t support the reasons they are there. We would rather see them come home rather than die in the name of panic and terror. Remember, terrorists are called terrorists because they want to spread TERROR, not because they kill people in the process. Stories like this just remind us that they’ve already won, regardless of what our troops do overseas.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The Scary part...

You have no idea who you are talking to and yet you make assumptions based on what you want to believe. You really are pretty ignorant. So let me tell you a little about myself.

I come from a family with a US history that goes back to back to 1600’s colonial days and we have fought with distinction in every damn war this country has ever been in from the revolutionary war forward. There’s even a general or two in there. Sure, my family has sacrificed and died for this country, but so have many others. That doesn’t make us special, we just try to do our part.

As for my self, I did my bit in the military. These days I’m one of the guys who provide the “protection” that keeps people like Gitmo Boy alive. I’m a weapons engineer designing the kind of weapons for the US that make it the top military power in the world today. Yes, that’s right. I said that our weapons technology is mainly responsible for our military power. Consider this: In the Iraq conflict, if the weapons technology roles were reversed who do you think would have prevailed? I mean if Saddam and his troops had all the weapons the US had (nuclear submarines, intercontinental nuclear missiles, aircraft carriers, stealth bombers, cruise missiles, etc., etc., etc.) and the US troops had the weapons Saddam had (a bunch of rusty old Soviet tanks, etc.), do you think the outcome of our invasion would have been the same? I can practically hear you screaming “Hell yeah cuz our troops is da best! They can do anything!” but that’s bullshit. It would have been a massacre of US troops. If not for people like me. So just who’s protecting who?

As for Gitmo, I’ve actually been there so I’m not speaking out of total ignorance. Most of the people in the military are fine people who join the military for various reasons, mostly related to a combination of benefits and patriotism. But there are a few bad apples who see joining the military more as a way of getting away with things that would land them in prison as a civilian. One of the most disgusting things I encountered in Gitmo was listening to a couple of the bad apples brag about mistreating prisoners. These guys were basically bullies in uniforms and their attitudes reminded me of the poster who commented about how he would basically like to murder those whose disagree with him. So I dubbed him Gitmo Boy. For all I know, he may even be one of those individuals I encountered there.

So GoblinJuice, if you and “Gitmo Boy” Thales ever feel like being the superheroes you think you are, I suggest you forgo the mere mortal technology that people like myself provide and just go running into battle bare handed using your superpowers to conquer all. I won’t miss you two a bit. And neither, I suspect, will the people you would have liked to have murdered for disagreeing with you.

Thales says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Scary part...

The weapons technology is the only thing that makes a soldier a soldier? Isn’t that interesting… That makes me wonder why I had to learn Unarmed Combatives, survival training, rank and file and the stuff in AIT.

I fail to see how what you have said has any relevance on what we have been discussing. No one claimed to be a hero, I certainly didn’t, and I sure as hell didn’t say I would murder anyone who disagreed with me. I didn’t exult my greatness or beat my chest, I stated facts which I knew to be true and stated my opinion, never placing myself above anyone other than the jerk who posted about communist China. In fact I think I went out of my way to establish I had no part in any inhumane or dehumanizing acts with in “Gitmo”… but I guess when you’re in a rush to seem like an asshole you can’t be bothered to read. I’m so glad that your family tree and the weapons that you produce have single-handedly given us an edge in every war and conflict the country has taken part in. After this I’m going to write a letter to my congressman telling him that my training in the Army was ineffectual and pointless and that we simply need better weapons. Never mind the fact that a grunt on the ground with an M16a2 and proper training is one of the most effective and discerning methods of combat.

My sister was near the second tower when it collapsed, she was in the Army at the time on leave visiting her boyfriend, she was caught in the collapse and killed… that was my reason for joining, and I served for her. It wasn’t to seek revenge, if that were the case I would have applied for an infantry position. Prior to joining I was working towards a degree in computer programming, now I’m finishing my 1st year of medical school with the idea of reenlisting if possible. Don’t presume to call me a bully when my intentions are to help people… don’t presume to think that you are a hero either. You obviously can’t read the discussion that has gone on here, but hey, you make the weapons that save the world, right?


Thales says:

Re: Re: Re:5 The Scary part...

The best part is how you overlooked the other violent comments posted by the guys on the other side of the fence… I guess since he shares your views you are stricken blind. Hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance are skills that your “type” practice with a deft efficiency, I would guess from use.


Thales says:

Re: Re: Re:5 The Scary part...

I meant a gun, but not literally. And yes, they seem to compliment each other well, too bad registration isn’t required, or confined to a single IP. But I guess if someone is a big enough loser they will irrevocably find a way around it.

I think I’m going to call this discussion in the corner of those who agree with me, when you consider the concise method with which we’ve dissected their hypocritical crud I would say it is a knockout. Furthermore, just to be a l33t-d00d; I agree, I call Godwin’s Law… therefore the discussion ended when the issue of Hitler was introduced. Not only do I win in a logical, civil debate, I guess Yar wins for being the first to call shenanigans on the anti-Bush/Anti-War rhetoric. Kudos to him and those that can actually have a discussion without turning into incoherent, slavering boobs.



Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Scary part...

“After this I’m going to write a letter to my congressman telling him that my training in the Army was ineffectual and pointless and that we simply need better weapons. Never mind the fact that a grunt on the ground with an M16a2 and proper training is one of the most effective and discerning methods of combat.

You know, the last time I checked the M16 was a weapon. Maybe you should tell him you don’t need any of those either.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The Scary part...

Actaully no, that would be the guys standing in front of a camera with black bags over their heads, hiding their faces while they cut a man’s head off. Then refuse to show Sadam in his tighty whities due to humane treatment concerns…Do you think Christian hostages are given bibles? Do you think they get to observer their religious customs? They believe infidels should be killed end of story.

Goblin, 50 years to think won’t change anything.

Silicon Shaman says:


Ok, first a disclaimer;
I am not now, nor have I ever been a terrorist sympathizer, patriot or partisan to American politics. I am, as a point of fact, a British citizen with some American friends.

Having said that… people, sections of your country’s government & law enforcement are seriously out of control !

This incident is just one more example of what happens when you have an atmosphere of paranoia and rampant authoritarianism… and frankly, given the tone of some of the commenter’s here, I am not surprised.

Good Lord people, whatever happened to “Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave”?

zcat says:

Not saying it's right but...

Not that I’m defending the air of paranoia. Over the last six years, 3000 people have been killed by terrorist bombings.. compare that to plain old homicide, 96,000. Drunk driving, 102,000. lack of healthcare, 108,000. Suicides, 180,000.. hell, you’re about 60 times as likely to kill yourself as get killed by a terrorist. The numbers all go up from there too.. I haven’t seen any cause-of-death numbers lower, nobody bothers to keep track of the ‘falling-satellite’ death toll. The level of paranoia is totally fucking insane compared to the actual risk!

But it’s still there. You’d have to have been living under a rock since mid-2001 to not know that walking around any airport in the USA (let alone Boston) carrying any kind of homemade exposed-wires-and-batteries circuit board is going to result in at least some questions. Or on a bad day, a bullet first and questions afterwards.

Anonymous Coward says:

If you worked at Gitmo, you should be shot. Here’s a cluepon for you and any fellow facists reading, If dimwit dubya haddn’t mired us in Viet Nam V2.0 troops wouldn’t be coming home in body bags.

Hey, but you must have volunteered, so suck it up and enjoy the good times. Lemme guess, you kinda get hard when you hear taps?

Just this says:

The sad thing is:

It is sad that after billions of dollars of expenditures on homeland security, those officers securing such an important airport have STILL not been trained to visually identify the key defining elements of a real explosive device versus a fake one. Hint: if it has blinking LED’s, it is now more likely to be one than a box of chocolates.

Anonymous Coward says:

She's lucky she didn't pull this stunt in another

Because there’s a good chance she would have more holes in her than Swiss Cheese.

Whatever opinion one has about the reaction to this person’s behavior, she initiated this situation and did nothing to diffuse concerns about her “art.” No matter how “smart” this woman is, she did something stupid.

Part of any punishment should include working at Logan Airport for the TSA. Who knows, maybe one of her classmates will pull a stunt on her.

Sefu binta says:

The really Sad Thing

The really ad thing is that we talk about being free and look at how we live. We cower in our corners like scared children at the first blinking light or closed paper bag. We spend billions “protecting” ourselves. What are we protecting. We have messed in everyone else’s business that they no longer admire the US but they hate the US. We have perpetrated so much crap on the world that we are no longer safe at home. did Ronald Reagan really win the cold war. Have we just become another soviet union, with a KGB (Homeland Security). 9-11 did change american life. For a while we were the envy of every nation, now we are the laughing stock of the world, ducking and dodging every blinking light and paper bag we see.

Anonymous Coward says:

What are we coming to?

Are this country’s security forces run by Frank Burns (did anyone get that “M*A*S*H” reference). The average American-based security/public-defense employee has become nothing more than a schitzophrenic, borderline incompetent, frenetic twerp that become extremely neutotic at anything that is not in the major norm (then again, what is?).

Widget says:

Society of Fear

Let’s see: Police prepared to use deadly force to intercept wires, battery, flashing lights, squishy stuff, and words on a shirt. What kind of fool does that make you to carry your iPod and your cell phone with ear buds into an airport? Oh, and don’t forget that plastique has the right weight and jiggle to be smuggled on a plane as breast augmentation. Will you lineup for the new security position of Breast Inspector when they realize that? Get a grip, folks. They have already won. We are afraid of shoes.

On another note, it makes me sad that our school system releases so many graduates in such abysmal ignorance that a kiosk attendant is excused for not knowing anything about a few simple electronics just because she isn’t an engineer, and then everyone here takes it as valid. It is shameful how ill-informed the majority of our citizens are. It is even more shameful that we find it acceptable.

Dave says:


The easy answer, which I largely agree with, is that it’s an over-reaction. The thing was harmless.

But it doesn’t consider context. Let’s see, Logan airport – origin of 9/11 multiple fiery death planes. Um, would it be surprising that Logan employees might be just a little bit overly vigilant, maybe even bordering on paranoia? And knowing that, even if you were 100% harmless, wouldn’t you want to at least try a little bit to avoid calling attention to yourself? And even if it’s wrong, oh, so WRONG to do that to an innocent student, especially in OUR United States, wouldn’t it occur to you that maybe, just maybe, they might make an example of you, and it might stick due to political pressure?

Of course not. This is normal behavior for an adolescent college student, even a brainiac. “Nothing can happen to me – I’m invincible, I’m smart, and mummy and daddy will fix it if I make a little booboo. ROTFL!” And by her smug expression in court, it’s pretty clear that she doesn’t give a sh*t. At least her own mother had the sense to say that she was stupid. She’s essentially right, but extremely stupid.

Thales says:

Couldn't help myself...

I should be shot for doing what I signed up for? You have no idea what I did in the military, you have know idea what I did at Guantanamo or what actually goes on there. Let’s say I was a line-cook and I served food to soldiers and prisoners, whould I still be shot?

I was a 97Bravo, Counter-Intelligence, and I was responsible for disseminating information from enemy-combatants and detainees. I can say this with certainty, I never treated anyone with disrespect or inhumanity. I never struck, chained, whipped, starved, tortured or debased anyone I came into contact with. I hear about how Fox News twists things into a conservative, Pro-Bush direction but what about the news you receive? You’ve heard somewhere or another than we are torturing and mistreating EVERY captured person… While I can’t speak for things now, or previous to my arrival in Cuba, I can say that it did not happen when I was around. I will concede that there is no such thing as a non-biased media, which is quite remarkable considering the liberal fools who posted can’t offer the same introspective evaluation of their beliefs. I will also concede that facts were skewed and hidden prior to our invasion, but there are facts that none of us are aware of. I like to think that our government is willing to play the part of the bad-guy because certain facts are classified or sensitive, and I also like to delude myself, for lack of a better term, into believing that in 50 years information will be declassified that exonerates what has transpired in Iraq.

Truth be told, I don’t support the war as it is being fought, I don’t believe the motives of our invasion based on the facts presented to us, but I do believe that I was doing the right thing. I was partnered with an Iraqi translator right out of AIT, he and I became friends despite the stereotypes we both assumed of each other’s culture and we often clashed about the morality of the things we were both doing. However, we both agreed that, once the zealous religious sects and foreign fighters were ousted, Iraq would be a better place than it was when Saddam was in power. This translator’s brother, sister-in-law and their children were all victims of torture and murder, and several of his cousins were killed during sectarian attacks after Saddam was deposed, but he still believed these things… He believed that what he was doing was creating a country where something like that wouldn’t happen, he believed that he SHOULD be entitled to the same freedom’s Americans are able to enjoy, he believed that it was worth dying for the cause of creating a new country, he believed that we (*American Soliders) were “Godsent”. He also knew that there would be many, many more casualties before things got better and that it was likely he would be one of them. The point? He was willing to die for the betterment of his country, and I am willing to die for the betterment of ours and his.

You are right though, I did volunteer… and you didn’t… so when you speak of what happens in Iraqistan or “Gitmo” you aren’t speaking from experience or personal insight, you are speaking from someone else. Isn’t that what most liberal, Bush-haters accuse conservative republican’s of doing? Eating the patrio-facist, delusional lies that comprise Fox News’ broadcasts? Look inward…


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Couldn't help myself...

“I can say this with certainty, I never treated anyone with disrespect or inhumanity. I never struck, chained, whipped, starved, tortured or debased anyone I came into contact with.”

That seems a little hard to believe coming from someone who has professed a desire to murder people for making comments he disagrees with. No, it sounds more some kind of canned denial being read from a script.

Thales says:

Re: Re: Couldn't help myself...


A professed desire to murder people? *GASP* You’ve found me out! But man is the most dangerous prey of all!

Using the same thought process we could safely assume that any jovial, good-natured (or otherwise) threats that have ever been spewed from your officious craw or have guttered from your fingers are a window into your homicidal urges? If not then I call you a hypocrite.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Couldn't help myself...

Thales wrote:

As for “Gitmo”, I was actually stationed there briefly. And if I had my way she would be shot, as would you for your ignorant comments.

Jovial and good natured? I don’t think so. But if you’re entertained by such things then I can see how you’d think that. I always wondered who bought those kind of videos.

dualboot says:

a happy (? okay, less hostile) medium

in other words, let’s get back to the original topic. Many people have cited many points both for and against the airport response; some logical, some not so logical. While I see the point that we don’t want everything to be considered a bomb, saying that her actions are equivalent to carrying an ipod is exaggerating a bit. Electronics go through the X-ray machines, as do our shoes and liquids, to check for danger. You can no longer keep your car curbside at airports or government buildings, nor leave bags unattended for fear that they could contain something dangerous. These are rules that protect us. When you bring your mp3 on the airplane, it has been verified as not harmful by the x-ray machine. However, when you wear clothing containing a home-made circuit board, which can’t be sent through the x-ray unless someone implements a new airport nudity policy, you should expect security to be concerned. I would be worried if she was not stopped.

Some of your comments about shooting her are a bit over-zealous,but the idea of letting her walk around the airport that way seems a bit like asking for trouble. I think stopping her to investigate was completely appropriate and necessary. I used to carry many electronics with me while traveling, but have used my common sense to determine that it would no longer be a wise decision, and so limit myself to first the necessary components now. I think others should do the same, and not bring in anything other than a cell phone if you’re just picking up someone. The rest (including artsy circuit-board shirts) is entirely unnecessary to the task of retrieving your friend.

Victor Mess says:


Hey dude, you know why so many people believe that we are torturing detainee’s at Gitmo, and why Iraq is a losing mess. Look at how they treat prisoners here in US jails and prisons. In case you don’t know prisoners are beaten, ganged up upon, stomped and murdered while in custody. Watch the prison stories on MSNBC and watch the coward (guards) gang up on inmates. Where if you or I were meet in the streets by a dude with a bat or a knife we would have to fact that threat. So what do you suppose the same types would do to “enemy combatants” that no-one gives a damn about. The military and police are full of pin-headed, weak-knee’d jerks that put on a uniform and think they have grown balls.
A friend of mine encountered a corrections officer in a Sams club store and beat the crap out of him because as he explained to me he was the kinda guy that thought he was tough on the inside, but for real he was a chump on the outside.
And about the Vietnam thing, I am a Vietnam Vet and it gripes my azz to hear that 20 years later they finally admit that Vietnam was a joke. 53,000 lives lost, for nothing, you would have thought we learned our lesson about going to countries having a war to make other people live the way we do when they really don’t want to live like US. Lets stop now and not let another 47,000 lives be lost. Not to mention how Vietnam vets are treated.

Thales says:

Re: Gitmo

I wasn’t aware that they didn’t want to live like us… that they don’t want freedom. Did you take a census of the popular opinion of the status quo? I would have to say that, in my limited questioning of the non-extremists, they thought we were doing something good and sought to establish at least a few parallels of American society.

But I guess you would know, having taken that census, and having seen those specials on MSNBC. It always amuses me when people complain about violence and perpetrate it themselves, or condone the actions of one group and not the other.


Thales says:

Re: #

I’m sure, since he and I have everything in common, not just veteran status. Since there are more events in life than serving in the military, I think other things I do with have a relevant bearing on how I feel in “forty-odd years”… then again, I could be wrong. I mean, the generation he grew up in has everything in common with the one I did, his political views are mine, his social and moral opinions are the same as those I cling to. I can see that I will grow up to be exactly like him. I don’t know what he does for a living, but I’m sure kismet will see me abandoning medical school in some sort of Freudian coincidence to follow whatever career he is/was in…

In case you can’t tell that was sarcasm. There are more things in life that shape who I am and will be than my military service and political beliefs. You are a prophet, zcat.


Ronnie says:


Oh my god, all you people who say, “she’s lucky she didn’t get shot” should all go live in communist China…You’re all fascists…

Boston is total shite, so is all of Massachusetts. The Boston police, and ESPECIALLY the Mass State Police are all scumbags!

Screw Boston. And screw all of you tools who beg to live in a police state, I hope someone flies a rusty airplane full of AIDS and broken glass into your face. Pricks.

Thales says:


What a witty, well composed counter-point to everything you oppose. I’m surprised you haven’t assembled your crack wit into some sort of publication…

You rant about tools, but you spew the same recycled opinion everyone else does. Do you know what communism is? Have you lived in an actual police state? I don’t think so, but I’m sure the same mental delirium that inspired your garbage post will cause you to say yes.


Anonymous Coward says:

Thales writes:

“I was a 97Bravo, Counter-Intelligence, and I was responsible for disseminating information from enemy-combatants and detainees.”

…No wonder we haven’t caught UBL.

You’re impulsive. You rise to being baited. You’re easily angered. You don’t listen carefully to subtext. You believe this black and white shit, when the world is all gray.

You can’t win an internet message board argument in English. You’re getting played here by amateurs. Why on earth would anyone expect YOU to be able to elicit anything useful from enemy combatants?

AHumanMind says:

Appropriate to call police. Disorderly--yes.

I’ve reviewed the video.

a) A breadboard with wires, scotch tape, LEDs and a dangling 9-volt battery was crudely attached to a shirt.

b) The black shirt had hand lettering on the back saying “Socket to me” and “Course VI”.

c) Unlike a gameboy or an ipod, this device could intentionally heighten security concerns.

d) It was completely appropriate for a non-engineer to call in the experts to investigate.

e) Society does not need to be permissive to disorderly conduct and antagonistic hoaxes. Thanks #59.

f) The 19-year-old is a good candidate for the Darwin Award as her own “Socket to me” suggests. Thanks #84.

PeteF3 says:

I’m as liberal as it gets, and I’m not advocating this girl getting shot…but if she had, she’d have been asking for it. Period.

By the way, saying “this is art” and walking away is not an acceptable response when you’re questioned about a potential bomb on your person. They decide when to stop asking questions, not you.

Erik says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Just like the lite brite case, this was an hysterical overreaction.

They don’t have to let you through security, they do have to let you in the airport. She didn’t try to get through a secure checkpoint. Would MP-5’s have been an appropriate reaction if she had worn the “device” to Copley Place?

You realize the goal of the terrorists is not to win, they know they can’t. Their goal is to force us to change the way we live. They are achieving their goals with our hysterical reactions.

PeteF3 says:


No, it’s not “just like the lite brite case.”

And no, they don’t “have” to let you into the airport.

Was Copley Place an origin point of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history?

By the way, this very same thing would have happened if she had done this in September 1995 or 1975. Airport security and ticket agents don’t mess around and never, ever have.

Erik says:

Re: Re:

No, it’s not “just like the lite brite case

We disagree. This was theater. The liquid ban is theater. The shoe thing is theater. The lite brite thing was theater.

And no, they don’t “have” to let you into the airport.

If you have legitimate business there (which she did) they do. The can move security out if they like, but it is a public place.

Was Copley Place an origin point of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history?

No, but it’s a moot argument. Copley Place is a far better target for a suicide bomber than an airport. Any mall is. Any movie theater is.

By the way, this very same thing would have happened if she had done this in September 1995 or 1975. Airport security and ticket agents don’t mess around and never, ever have.

B.S. Airport security is a joke, it always has been. Getting weapons onto a plane is trivial, even now.

This incident was another example of security theater.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

By the way, this very same thing would have happened if she had done this in September 1995 or 1975. Airport security and ticket agents don’t mess around and never, ever have.

How old are you? In 1975 you could buy a plane ticket for cash, on the plane, with no ID. They didn’t even start screening passengers for weapons until 1973.

You ever hear of D.B. Cooper?

PeteF3 says:

How so?

Again, she’s holding an LED device *and* carrying Play-Doh or putty, which absolutely could be construed as a plastic explosive.

Again, they don’t have time to take a look at the thing up close. They can only go by what they see from a distance or what they’re told.

Again, she had a chance to explain herself (“It’s art” is not an explanation) and didn’t do it.

Again, with a potential suicide bomber and lives at stake, you have to act and react instantaneously.

Airport screeners and ticket agents are not trained explosives experts. I’m not going to play the ridiculous Slashdot game of “They’re too stupid to know better,” but…if they see something that looks remotely suspicious, they must act.

Alisha says:

Next time I hope they shoot her fat ass

They should have shot her. It would have served her right! And I’m no fan of Homeland Security, and I do believe that in general, our government has engaged in a campaign of overreaction and fearmongering. However, in this case, the police had every right to presume that she had a bomb. What if they had just let her go through security without questioning her, and the damned thing really was a bomb?

Overcast says:

Being an MIT electrical engineering student means two things:
1. She probably isn’t stupid.
2. She probably isn’t used to dealing with stupid people either.

Seriously… how can you say taking something that any normal person could at least guess – *might* be seen as a IED by someone else into an airport a good idea? Regardless, if upon 2 seconds of observation it could have been ruled out as an IED, the fact remains – she did a series of stupid things..

College Student != automatically = intelligent, that’s for certain.

Actually an intelligent person would have known it was a good idea, to first talk to security about it, prior to even going to the airport. A simple phone call, and then a stop by the security office would have done wonders.

That or maybe – what an INTELLIGENT person would have done, it talk with security and put it in a bag and check the luggage in.

Or perhaps an intelligent person would have sent the item to their destination first via FedEX or UPS.

An intelligent person might have checked the TSA’s web page to determine if there would be any cause for concern when wearing a bread board and holding silly putty. Google would have been helpful.

An intelligent person might have waited, answered all of security’s questions, and made sure there were no further concerns before attempting to go further into the terminal.

Intelligent people don’t go into airports with ‘silly’ putty and other electronics that might give the impression it’s a ‘concern’. An Intelligent person would have *known* that ahead of time and not made any assumptions.

The fact that she did not think of any of this ahead of time, either makes her quite stupid or in dire need of attention.

According to what I read there, she walked away without saying a word about it.

That’s quite stupid, indeed.

Ten Pound (profile) says:

well no shit

The BPD and the NYPD and all the PDs across the country are run by, managed by, populated by idiots.

In BPD’s case, would it have been so bad to admit they didn’t realize these were cartoon devices? They are a police force, I would think they are too busy for watching late night cartoons anyway.

Hoax, my ass. The hoax is on us for having police department that are so stupid and stubborn.

Anonymous Coward says:

Lets see if I get this right. She went into the airport with a lightboard. an AIRLINE employee asks her what it is, she doesn’t answer. The airline employee calls in security, and security takes her down. Security then says “we’re lucky we didn’t shoot her”.. for what.. not answering the curiosity of a clerk checking tickets? Was the girl a little wrong in how she handled the situation, yes. But she was under no moral or legal obligation to explain anything to the person who questioned her about it. Had airport security asked, I’m sure the situation would have turned out differently, but it wasn’t. So instead airport security and Boston police come off looking like idiots because they issued a press release about something thats a non-issue. Instead of simply going, “oh, mis-understanding all around, you may go”. This was handled wrongly by both sides.

Anonymous Coward says:

what is more absurd, is most headlines refered to her sweater as a “fake bomb”. It’s not at all.. it’s not unheard of to have apparel that has some flashing lights. Like those kids shoes with lights in them… they better gun them down could be a bomb. Honestly how dumb can you be if you think that anyone really trying to use a bomb would have flashing lights all over it. A real bomber would keep the bomb concealed.

Enrico Suarve says:

How do they train these guys

Apart from the fact that the US is now officially a police state where you can be tazered for talking and shot for failing to follow due fashion sense, the scary thing for me is:

She was arrested for having a hoax device – if a breadboard with a few wires and a flashy lit up sign is a hoax device, exactly what training do these ‘security’ guys get?

Appropriate response to a would be ask to leave, escort outside, check device, apologise for inconvenience/warn that wearing stuff like that in an airport is likely to scare people who know nothing about bombs/security etc

That’s if your man has a clue about what constitutes a bomb – but since this is Boston where flashy signs and roadside traffic counters are bombs you have no chance (yes they also blew up a city owned and positioned traffic counter as a ‘suspicious’ device earlier this year)

America – land of the pacified and home of the scared

I’m just waiting for the first time they have to justify shooting a skier as “it looked like he had a bazooka”

Be honest – the Nazis you employ in airports are just there to remind everyone that you sure as fuck have no rights, and you can and will be screwed with if you so much as even THINK about stepping out of line

Keep drinking the Kool-aid – nothing to see here

Anonymous Coward says:

I wasnt sure about how I felt about this until I saw the pic of the device in the NY Times. LOL its a freaking experimental board with LEDs formed in a Star type shape with the wires held onto the board with tape. What kind of Idiot even thinks that could be a bomb?

Ferin says:


I like Massachusetts, for a variety of personal and idealogical reasons. It kills me when this kind of shit goes on there.

These people watch too many chuck norris movies. What kind of moronic terrorist puts light up doohickeys on a freaking bomb? “Hey, lookee at my bomb! It tells you how much time is left, whether or not it’s active and glows real bright so you cna find it easily!”

RandomThoughts (user link) says:

I think its pretty funny that folks write that someone that was willing to blow themselves up would really care what the devise looks like.

What does a car bomb look like? A car. What does a shoebomb look like? A shoe. Could this have been a bomb? Yes, it could have. Do you want to be the person responsible for walking up to someone in an airport and asking “excuse me maam, is that a bomb?”

The way to execute that mission is from as far away as possible with a long rifle.

Had this happened in Iraq, I am pretty sure someone would have zapped her. Considering what happened concerning Logan 6 years ago, it wouldn’t have been unbelievable that she would have been shot.

Personally as soon as I saw a pic of her with the statement, I figured it was some kind of prank.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What does a shoebomb look like? A shoe. Could this have been a bomb? Yes, it could have. Do you want to be the person responsible for walking up to someone in an airport and asking “excuse me maam, is that a bomb?”
The way to execute that mission is from as far away as possible with a long rifle.

That’s absolutely right. Anyone stupid enough to wear shoes to an airport these days deserves to be shot on sight. I would consider it my patriotic duty to volunteer for the job of sniper (fully paid “volunteer” of course).

PeteF3 says:

Anyone who’s trying to use the “Why would a terrorist be so obvious?” argument is making a grave mistake in assuming that a terrorist or suicide bomber would act rationally.

And once again, crying about a “police state” and “overreacting” are glossing over the fact that THE GIRL COULD HAVE BEEN SHOT, AND *WASN’T.*

Also, the object clearly fits the legal definition of “hoax device,” so there’s no problem there either.

Nick (profile) says:

The problem here is the wording of the Massachusetts’s Chapter 266: Section 102A1/2 is that it takes us down a slippery slope. It brings us closer to a police state, where we are less free and where our own flare of terrorist has created our own state-sponsored terrorism. It is giving authorities permission to terrorize is in the name of safety, reducing our quality of life, interfering with my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Fear from of the people who are supposed to protect me is not my idea of freedom.

Pro says:


“Stupid” is a tough term to apply to someone. Most of the MA police can’t do multiplication, but they make a shitload of money – so who’s stupid? Corrupt, definitely. By keeping a state of panic, they are able to constantly day in and day out keep an inflated budget and be fat and happy.

Maybe they are stupid though, this is the same bunch that – upon seeing all the kids going crazy after the sox won the ALCS in 2004, started shooting them down from rafters with souped up paintball guns filled with pepper spray. They didn’t manage to kill any of the kids by shooting them off the rafters, but they did manage to kill a college aged girl with a direct shot to the eye. Anyone who has ever seen or heard of paintball knows that you wear eye protection for a reason. None of them could have figured that out before they deployed this “non-lethal” weapon? Or did the O’Finnegan company make and sell the paintball guns…

James L. Morse says:

The Greater Good

Sometimes the welfare of an individual must be sacrificed for the greater good of society as a whole. Just as police dogs must be occasionally “rewarded” by being allowed to bite nonresistant suspects (usually ones with “attitude”) in order to maintain their motivation, so must must police officers. We simply cannot allow boredom to demotivate our police forces. Thus it is perfectly reasonable for a few individuals to be sacrificed from time to time as training aids. Often times there are other agencies, such as the hazardous-materials teams, that can get in some hands-on training too. And what of personnel like airport counter workers? Surely they could use a little spice in their otherwise thankless jobs.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Like the waves from a stone dropped in water, they continue to radiate outward. Consider the immense benefit the news media derive from such stories. Without stories to cover all those people would loose their jobs and that surely wouldn’t be good for society as a whole. And then there are all the hard-working public servants who finally get some richly deserved face time on TV to communicate with the public they so faithfully serve. Many of these people also have children that they’re trying to support. If nothing else, at least think of the children.

Finally, consider the entertainment value that society as a whole derives. The billions of dollars a year we pay Hollywood to entertain us (money well spent I might add) shows how vital entertainment is to society. It’s no coincidence that these things are usually played out like Hollywood movies (except we don’t have to buy tickets). Ancient societies understood this well before there was any such thing as a mass media and used such contrivances and public executions and human sacrifice in much the same way. How likely is it that the sacrificed individual would ever have contributed as much value to society in any other way? Not likely, I say. As such, they should be grateful for such an opportunity. Like the girl at the airport. An engineering student? What a waste. We don’t need to be making engineers, we can buy all those we want from overseas and at lower prices. We need entertainment and this was her opportunity to rise to the need.

To the naysayers amongst you, I say that your value to society is obviously low. But don’t despair, opportunities to better yourselves through self-sacrifice are plentiful and I, for one, would be glad to help you meet such an opportunity. For the greater good, of course.

Nick (profile) says:

Yes, a slippery slope

This is could be America: First they beat you, shoot you, and/or accuse you of having a bomb or pretending to have a bomb or allowing stupid people to think you are pretending to have a bomb. Next, beat you, shoot you or kill you for opposing the president or tying to talk to another high-ranking politician in person. Next, they throw you in a prison becuase of your nationality or religion. The police state. Is this what you want the future to be like? Oh wait. We are already there. How the hell did that happen? By allowing personal liberties to fall down slippery slope.

RandomThoughts (user link) says:

Whom has been shot for pretending to have a bomb? Who has been killed for opposing the president? I know a student was Tasered for disrupting a John Kerry speech, but you want to count that? Who is thrown in prison for their nationality or religion? I am in NJ, we have pretty much everyone around here (including terrorist sleeper cells) and the President of Iran just spoke at Columbia University.

What police state are you talking about?

PeteF3 says:

I’m not a “sock puppet” for anybody else, and I’ve attached my e-mail address (punchdrunkhistory *at* yahoo *dot* com) to every post. I guess I have to be registered for it to show up, though.

The problem with a bomb is that, ideally, YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO TELL WHAT IT IS. So you can’t just “look at” something and determine that it’s not a bomb. At the same time, you can’t throw up your hands and say, “A terrorist wouldn’t do something like that, that can’t be a bomb,” either.

Other problems: airport security doesn’t pay enough to land any sufficiently tech-savvy computer geeks and keep them. Any ones it does land are going to grow bored out of their minds looking at x-rayed bags all day and their work is going to suffer for it.

No, there aren’t really any easy answers here.

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