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Here's a picture of the sweatshirt that Simpson was wearing, including the "suspected explosive device."  (Source: CNN.com)
A valuable lesson can be learned here -- don't wear electronics to airports unless you want to be jailed

Think your Friday was bad?  Well, you should listen to the story of 19 year-old MIT student Star Simpson's eventful Friday at the Logan Airport.

Star Simpson was arrested by police who mistook a piece of tech-art for an improvised explosive device.

Simpson entered the airport wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with a light beige circuit board mounted to the front.  The circuit board featured wires, green leds, and a battery.  Friends of Simpson say the shirt was a homemade tech-art statement and that she frequently wore the shirt.  According to Simpson's friends, she was headed to the airport to pick up a friend before 8 a.m..

Another one of her friends adds:
MIT students don't really do mornings, or worry about what they're wearing, so I can't imagine she'd even think about her clothes before heading out to pick up a friend at the airport before 8am."
Well someone else certainly became very worried about what she was wearing.  Simpson approached an airport employee and inquired about the 8:00 a.m.  incoming flight from Oakland.  At the time she was also holding a putty-like substance that was later determined to be playdough.  When the employee asked about the device on her shirt, she responded that it was art and walked away.

Outside the terminal she was surrounded by police holding machine guns.  They told her to stop, raise her hands, and make no movements, so they could see if she was "trying to trigger the device".  Simpson obeyed the orders and was subsequently arrested.  Police quickly realized that the device she had been wearing was entirely harmless.

Simpson was charged with possessing a hoax device and disorderly conduct.  She was arraigned at the East Boston Municipal Court. She was later released on $750 cash bail and ordered to return to court October 29.

Major Scott Pare of the state police felt that Simpson was lucky that the police had not used deadly force.  He had this to say of the incident:
"Thankfully because she followed our instructions, she ended up in our cell instead of a morgue," Pare said. "Again, this is a serious offense ... I’m shocked and appalled that somebody would wear this type of device to an airport."

Simpson lists the following self-description on her website -- the website seems to be either down or to have too much traffic:
"In a sentence, I'm an inventor, artist, engineer, and student, I love to build things and I love crazy ideas."
According to police, Simpson never did fully explain why she had brought the playdough to the airport.

The incident is a warning to those who might wear LED shirts or other blinking electronic devices into the airport--you will likely get arrested at gunpoint.  For now, Simpson is likely wishing all the unwanted legal attention will blow over, so she can get back to what she does best ... inventing.


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Mooninite 2.0
By ChoadNamath on 9/24/2007 10:03:39 AM , Rating: 2
I'm glad to see that the Boston authorities learned a lesson from the Mooninite "bombs" in January. Oh wait, here they are again talking tough ("Thankfully because she followed our instructions, she ended up in our cell instead of a morgue") when they should be trying to downplay an incident that makes them look bad. It's amazing how a city that is so well-known for its level of education is served by such morons.




RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2007 10:55:12 AM , Rating: 5
I do love the opportunity to disagree with TomZ...it happens so rarely.

You're forgetting one important factor here. This sweatshirt wasn't the only part of the picture. The woman was also holding a large block of play-doh, a substance which (assuming she chose a neutral color) identical on sight to many plastic explosives.

Plastique-like material...wires...a battery. All the components needed for a bomb. I don't want to get into the issue of whether or not the police used inappropriate force, but this student clearly intended a bomb facsimile.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 11:25:01 AM , Rating: 2
Don't you think it is strange that the police didn't show the play-doh? I searched through tons of articles and I couldn't even find a single picture of the play-doh. Maybe the police made a "mistake" in saying that she had play-doh.

I'll agree with you that, if she had a clump of play-doh in her hand, that's pretty suspicious. But if it was just the circuit board, then the police clearly overreacted.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By arazok on 9/24/2007 11:59:27 AM , Rating: 5
I'm sorry, but even without the play-doh, walking around an airport with a contraption like that on your shirt is begging for trouble.

Everybody knows these are locations where security is hyper sensitive to anything even remotely suspicious. They don't take any chances, and everyone knows it. I'm not sure that charges are appropriate in this case (they are if she did have play-doh in her hand), but certainly taking the person in for questioning isn't out of line.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 2:17:46 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
but certainly taking the person in for questioning isn't out of line

I agree, which is what they should have done, but they didn't. They hauled her away at gunpoint and charged her with multiple felonies and are continuing to prosecute her.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By arazok on 9/24/2007 3:39:39 PM , Rating: 2
If the play-doh allegations are true, then I would say that felony charges and an armed takedown are warranted.

Any one of the pieces by itself I could understand not pressing charges (the gadget, or the play-doh in hand). Put together, and you have either a very stupid person, or somebody willingly testing the alertness of authorities. I question if this person was truly surprised that she got arrested with that combo.

Who walks around with a bomb looking gadget strapped to them and then feels compelled to play with a ball play-doh at the same time???


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Micronite on 9/24/2007 4:49:39 PM , Rating: 3
I say regardless of play-doh, they did the right thing.
I'm trying to determine what I would do if I saw that contraption on her chest:
Hmmm... let's see, oh, you have an op-amp here, an LED controller here, a few wires here, caps, resistors... Ah must be a piece of art. Very nice.
Yeah right! Sorry, I'm EE and even I wouldn't do that.

Suppose it was a terrorist. Then gunpoint would have been completely accpetable. Should we drop the charges because it may have been a mistake? Think what this exercise cost taxpayers? Should they not have responded this way because she said it was "art"? The public should not have to pay for her oblivion.

The way I see it, there are two possible outcomes...
1) The girl gets charged, fined, and everyone realizes that you shouldn't bring something that looks like it could be a bomb to the airport. (Duh!)
or...
2) The girl gets them to drop the charges, the police get lax in security for fear of another embarrassing situation.

Think about it, which would you prefer?


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Alexvrb on 9/24/2007 6:30:51 PM , Rating: 4
You sir, are a naive fool. Explain to me exactly what a bomb looks like. A stuffed teddy bear can be an explosive device. Do you know what substance they use to simulate plastic explosives, due to its texture and appearance? Play Doh. She had something that looked like a plastic explosive, and a battery capable of detonating said material.

Also keep in mind this airport has not been devoid of previous incidents. Think back... you'll remember who else has been to this airport and WASN'T CAUGHT.

What's your next excuse? She was a harmless girl? She could have been a brain washed cultist for all you know.

I've lost a lot of respect for you today, sir.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 7:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
I think the police made up the play-doh bit. They mentioned it "in passing" in the press conference on Friday, but they never showed it or released any photographs of it AFAIK. I also was not able to find the criminal complaint or any other official documentation which is usually released to the media for high-profile cases.

This would be a convenient way to dupe the public into adopting the attitude that you have regarding this case.

To me, I find it hard to believe that a sophmore at MIT Engineering would, just for the heck of it, make a fake bomb and wear it to the airport while picking up her boyfriend. Something stinks about that story - it doesn't seem plausible, and I'm guessing it was a naive mistake she made which drew an overreaction by the police, who then felt it necessary to "embellish" the story a bit to cover their butts.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Oregonian2 on 9/24/2007 9:57:34 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, authorities shouldn't be allowed to do anything unless explosions actually happen and at least a minimum of five people are dead. Only THEN can they do anything (but of course will be blamed for something happening).

The only solution is one of those things that turns back time with everybody still remembering what happened the first time so that only those who actually will successfully blow folk up are grabbed (and even then probably will be accused of violating rights if the first time-path isn't able to be recorded and/or be lawfully enterable into court actions).


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By kyp275 on 9/24/2007 11:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I have no idea what a real bomb looks like, but I don't think it's a plastic board with a 9-volt battery on it.


If you have no idea what a real bomb looks like, then how can you say something "doesn't" look like a bomb? :rolleyes:


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By elgoliath on 9/24/2007 5:32:57 PM , Rating: 5
I would prefer they surround her, even take her in for questioning if deemed necessary, and then drop it when it is known that it was not a bomb. Continuing to prosecute after it is known that it was just a piece of art is ridiculous imo. I think it is time that some common sense was brought back into play.

To answer your question: Yes, we should drop charges because it was a mistake.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Screwballl on 9/24/2007 10:15:58 PM , Rating: 3
agreed... Thats what I was wondering, how the hell are they getting away with continuing to press charges for something that she is not guilty of.
Now if she pulled a stunt like that moron that questioned Kerry then I can see disorderly conduct but she cooperated every second with the police and the device was found to be exactly what it was and what she said it was, ART.
As for the playdoh, theres only a few mentions of it, no evidence, no further information. It could have been one of those stress squeezy things. Some crap is just taken way out of proportion. If they do continue to press charges, she should have the right to counter sue for false arrest and whatever else they can find they did wrong.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By elgoliath on 9/24/2007 5:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
Also, what exactly DID this cost tax payer? Not saying it didn't, I don't know for sure, but it would seem that regardless of whether she did what she did, these same people and resources are being paid for anyhow.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By elgoliath on 9/24/2007 6:07:48 PM , Rating: 3
One last point regarding how much money was wasted by her actions, I'd bet it is far less money than it is going to cost to prosecute...


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Grast on 9/24/07, Rating: -1
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By ebakke on 9/24/2007 8:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
I wish I could slap you.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Flunk on 10/2/2007 9:59:00 AM , Rating: 1
Are you advocating racial profiling? I think this is the single most offensive thing I have ever read on Dailytech. It's prejudice like this that causes a lot of these problems in the first place.

How can you tell who is a terrorist? Certainly not by looking at them!


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Christopher1 on 9/24/2007 5:57:31 PM , Rating: 2
Felony charges are NOT warranted in this case. Think about it, idiots out there who support this: someone who is coming in with a bomb strapped to their body, intending on killing a bunch of people is NOT going to make it that obvious!
They are going to want to hide the bomb behind clothing, coats, etc........ not have it out in the open!

We need to realize that by the police doing stupid things like this, and more importantly that airline worker even bothered to call the police when any 2 year old could tell this was not a bomb........ it just totally UNDERMINES the airline security and makes it seem like our airline security people are total nutjobs.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By ebakke on 9/24/2007 8:10:07 PM , Rating: 2
If everyone assumes a real bomb will be disguised, and openly visible bombs are fakes, it won't take long before someone carries around a real one and says "oh, it's just art." ......BOOM


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By elgoliath on 9/24/2007 8:26:02 PM , Rating: 3
According to that logic people should have to be nude to go to the airport or ride on a plane (and even that may not be enough). A bomb can be hidden anywhere in anything.

The point is that a 'terrorist' is not going to be wearing it on the outside of their shirt, no if ands or buts about it. The airport was right in stopping her (something a 'terrorist' doesn't want); they were right in calling the cop's even (better safe than sorry); what is not right is everything that happened after the police were called.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 8:27:04 PM , Rating: 2
It's irrelevant anyway, since anybody could walk into an airport (or anywhere else for that matter) with a bomb in their backpack and noboby would have any clue. Any security which depends on visual identification of a bomb in that way is inherently flawed, right?

And this situation is also a gentle reminder that we don't have much "real" security at airports anyway. If someone is dedicated to kill others and damage property, it would be pretty easy to do. And I personally don't believe I want to always live in fear of this type of event. The percentage odds of being killed by a terrorist is probably less than 1 in a million. You're more likely to be killed in a car accident on the way to the airport.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/07, Rating: -1
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2007 12:43:52 PM , Rating: 2
> "National news did not even mention this Play Doh I bet because its existence is questionable."

On the contrary, nearly every national news service did mention the Play-doh, including the very AP wire story you yourself quoted. Here's a link to CNN's mention of it:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/09/21/bomb.hoax/index.h...


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/2007 2:45:29 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, sorry, the national TV news, specifically, NBC Nightly News and Today Show. I wonder why they would have omitted this information. Also, why does the media not seem to know the color of the play-doh. I bet if it was an off white color then the media would have known about it. I am always suspicious when details are lacking. I am willing to bet that the play-doh was a bright color typical of a child's toy.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 2:50:38 PM , Rating: 4
So mixing in a little lime green food colouring with my plastique makes it perfectly okay to bring into an airport?

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but I can't see a bill - I'll still put money on it being a duck rather than a goose with a speech impediment.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 3:26:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yeah, and have your kid carry it. No one will suspect a thing. Or just shape it like a Snickers bar and seal it in a Snickers wrapper and you're set. Do you see how rediculous this can get? There are detection technologies that overcome all of this.


Now you're into the argument of the effectiveness of airport security, which is a related, but still different, kettle of fish. If the objective was to get the explosive on a plane, then yes, detection devices would work - if the objective was to detonate it prior to or entering the secured area, it wouldn't.

quote:
The police over-reacted, but it is understandable. The idea of prosecution, in my opinion, is a violation of her constitutional rights. She should be cleared and she should sue the hell out of the police dept. for false arrest when this is over.


Ah, the lawsuit defense. Makes me just want to weep tears of red, white, and blue every time it's mentioned. The arrest itself wasn't made under false pretenses.

quote:
Say what?


The "looks like a duck" saying had better not be new to you, or I'm going to feel really old.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/2007 3:38:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if the objective was to detonate it prior to or entering the secured area


What does that matter? What would then be the difference of detonating it there or in a store or square?

quote:
If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but I can't see a bill - I'll still put money on it being a duck rather than a goose with a speech impediment.

The "looks like a duck" saying had better not be new to you, or I'm going to feel really old.


Since when do geese and ducks look the same? Your point is lost.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 3:46:22 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
What does that matter? What would then be the difference of detonating it there or in a store or square?


I fail to see what this has to do with your original argument.

quote:
Since when do geese and ducks look the same? Your point is lost.


It's not lost - it's just flying clear over your head.

You see a bird waddling across the street at a distance. It's not clear what it is. Suddenly, a quack originated from it. The bird is most likely:

A: A duck
B: A goose
C: Delicious


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/2007 4:31:28 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I fail to see


and i'm not surprised. you should be ashamed that you can not keep up with the argument and that i have to explain it for you.

your argument is that she should have known that her art sweater would provoke this situation. you say that a bomber could access the airport's unsecured area, a place with potentially numerous casualties. I say that that argument does not make sense. A bomber could access any of a number of public places and that this seems to imply that the woman could not wear her art sweater anywhere. Not to a music festival. Not to a football game. Not to a farmer's market. And so on... No freedom of expression for Star Simpson. Our constitution gives her the right to wear it. Our legal system is trying to ignore that right.

Besides, let us be honest here. I saw the "explosive" device (pun intended) on the television and I must say that only an absolute fool would think it's a bomb. Compare the socket board to the 9v Duracell battery. It is very thin and flush with the sweater it is mounted to. It seems so silly to me that a trained security personnel would see this young woman walking around with that on her sweater and conclude that she was a bomb. And ask yourself, would a bomber not want to conceal the bomb? This very young woman obviously has very poor taste to walk around with that silly looking device glued to her, but in America, she is supposed to have the freedom to do so.

Here is a picture of it:
http://mensnewsdaily.com/2007/09/22/my-courageous-...


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/2007 4:35:35 PM , Rating: 1
I should add that what a policeman should have done was walk up to her and tell her that at first glance she appears to be wearing a bomb and that while she is at the airport she should remove it. Yes, should not HAVE TO remove it but it would seem like a resonable request and probably any reaonable person would oblige. They should not have shown up with guns blazing. Very poor judgement on their part. A simple situation turned on its head.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By bhieb on 9/24/2007 5:24:56 PM , Rating: 1
The police did not get a close look at the device. More than likely the person she talked to at the counter (one not trained in EE and bomb identification such as yourself) was concerned and called the cops. They err on the side of caution and show up "guns a blazing" as they should.

Should they prosecute? On the surface no. But (and this is pure speculation on my end), she is an "art" person and as a group they are out to make a "statement". I imagine she was questioned and did not play ball, so they took her in. I also think she did it knowing full well what it could be mistaken for, just to make her "statement". Just like most liberal "art" people she wanted to test the bounds of free speech, and guess what if it can invoke public panic you cannot do it. We will find out when she actually goes to trial, but my guess is she planned this to see what would happen. I am sure she bragged to some friend about how if she wants to wear her "art" to the airport there is nothing "the man" can do about it. If so throw the book at her, if not let her off and be done with it.

But for goodness sake quit blaming the cops for responding as they should. Afterall they are not the ones to apply guilt that is up to the trial. They had a person that did break several laws, and they arrested her accordingly. Whether she meant to is still unknown.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By bhieb on 9/24/2007 5:57:26 PM , Rating: 2
Correct after a couple of minutes, but it is a little late not to come "guns a blazin" after the fact (even if it is only a couple of minutes).

The only act of excess was procecuting her, and the cops felt she knew better so they arrested her. That is all they can do, if in doubt they have to. You act like they sentenced her right then and there. They made a call that this girl's story was not quite right so they took her in. It is not their job to determine her guilt that is up to the trial (or at least the DA that questioned her later that day), but in a case with this much grey area they cops should have arrested her and let the process determine her guilt.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/2007 6:42:55 PM , Rating: 1
Dang it I hate to reply...

quote:
The police did not get a close look at the device.


This quote is from the article above:
quote:
Police quickly realized that the device she had been wearing was entirely harmless.


In my opinion, the police handled this situation VERY poorly and have egg on their face as a result. Oh, and ofcourse they have presented a case to the prosecutor that he simply must prosecute.

quote:
They had a person that did break several laws, and they arrested her accordingly.


"They had a person that they thought broke several laws, and they arrested her accordingly."

Another way to look at this is:
Before 9/11/01, which laws would she have broken?

Really, this is not about this one MIT student. Like you speculated about, she may have planned this as a hoax. But, this or similar situation like this could occur and I think we should examine what went wrong and correct it from ever happening again. I can imagine myself carrying one of my child's video games w/tape around it holding the batteries in place through an airport and being mowed down gangster style by police convinced the batteries were explosive cells attached to a cellphone. Last week, this would have seemed rediculous. Now, it seems possible. It's disappointing that so many posters can only take this story at face value and cannot see its greater implications. The fight on terror seems to be getting a little out of hand. I think it needs to be reigned in. The way to stop an airport bomber is not to catch him when he is at the airport. By then it is too late. If this student were a bomber, she would have detonated killing the police and surrounding people. Instead, she almost got shot. An innocent person not breaking any laws. We caught an innocent MIT student!! Woo-hoo! Now we are safe!! The fight on terror really has gotten the better of us.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By bodar on 9/24/2007 7:41:38 PM , Rating: 1
"...innocent person not breaking any laws"?

She intentionally went to an airport with a device she clearly meant to look like a bomb. If that isn't a hoax, then what is? The police could not tell her intentions or state of mind when they confronted her at gunpoint. Just because someone isn't a religious extremist, doesn't mean they are just run-of-the-mill crazy.

If there is no penalty for creating a bomb hoax or sending someone a letter full of baby powder, then there is no deterrent. The police did not shoot her because she complied with their orders, which were not out of line considering the circumstances. You gave an example about about getting shot down by crazed airport police for having a taped-up Gameboy. That's a valid concern, and hopefully the police would show the same restraint they did here. However, intent would be the difference regarding charges. If the DA can prove that she MEANT for the device to be mistaken for a bomb -- which given her propensity for "zany ideas" and the whole Playdough bit, it should be a slam-dunk here -- then she should be found guilty of creating a bomb hoax. Clearly your hypothetical GameBoy was not intended to incite a panic.

I am liberal myself, and the war on terror is a beast all its own but this is just straight-up Monday morning quarterbacking. For a smart person, she shows little common sense.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 7:50:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
She intentionally went to an airport with a device she clearly meant to look like a bomb.

Huh? How did you know that? How about "innocent until proven guilty"? Or are police press releases enough information for you to convict on its own? Because after all, the police never make any mistakes...!

Don't give me that "liberal myself" crap. Think about what you're saying!


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By bodar on 9/24/2007 8:58:02 PM , Rating: 1
I'm sorry, I guess PCB + battery + putty-like-substance = toaster oven to you at first glance? The cops, not being engineers (because then they wouldn't be cops), treated like it was actually a bomb. End-result? Nobody got hurt, and she's still lives to be a moron. Notice that I said "IF the DA can prove" intent, which implies that there is a trial involved.

What reasonable person carries around Playdough just for kicks? Should I be treated any differently for walking into a government building carrying a garbage-disposal unit with a timer attached? "What, it's not a bomb. I just like to do my garbage-disposing at scheduled times."

Assuming that the facts are true -- which all we have to go on really -- one could make a strong case for a bomb hoax. Obviously, even a jury would have to look at all the evidence combined and figure out who they believe. I am making a judgment based on what I'm presented. How is that different? Are you saying that the article is somehow biased and does not present both sides fairly? My opinion is not going to send her to jail. Maybe I'm just tired of the lack of personal accountability in this country, I don't know.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By bhieb on 9/25/2007 9:13:36 AM , Rating: 2
We don't know it was intentional, neither do you know it was not. And guess what Tom neither did the cops!!!! THAT IS WHY THEY ARRESTED HER!

They did not know one way or another (barring her word), what her intent was. Yes shortly after they saw the device they knew it was not a bomb, but they still did not know if she did this as a hoax. THEY HAVE TO ARREST HER! How hard is that to understand, if in doubt it is not the cops who make the judgement.

Again hours later after waiting to be booked, and the DA came and asked some questions. More than likely they got the impression it was a hoax and decided to procecute, I was not in the room so I don't know what made the DA decide that. But for the 100th time IT WAS NOT THE COPS that acted excessively.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By bhieb on 9/25/2007 9:21:35 AM , Rating: 2
Dang I just have to reply too.

quote:
We caught an innocent MIT student!!


If it was intentional (and there is no way to know either way without the arrest that you think is not necessary), then she is not innocent. And it does not matter what the device looked like, it was odd enought that someone thought to call the cops. That by itself means to the general public it could be considered a bomb.

(from other post)
We don't know it was intentional, neither do you know it was not. And guess what neither did the cops!!!! THAT IS WHY THEY ARRESTED HER!

They did not know one way or another (barring her word), what her intent was. Yes shortly after they saw the device they knew it was not a bomb, but they still did not know if she did this as a hoax. THEY HAVE TO ARREST HER! How hard is that to understand, if in doubt it is not the cops who make the judgement.

Again hours later after waiting to be booked, and the DA came and asked some questions. More than likely they got the impression it was a hoax and decided to procecute, I was not in the room so I don't know what made the DA decide that. But for the 100th time IT WAS NOT THE COPS that acted excessively.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Eris23007 on 9/24/2007 5:28:03 PM , Rating: 1
For what its worth: the civil liberties defense is pretty weak in this case. The Supreme Court has clearly delineated that such actions as walking into a crowded theatre and yelling "FIRE!" is not considered free speech.

This action, walking into a crowded airport wearing something that can easily be mistaken by non-techies as a bomb or IED (as demonstrated by the mooninites incident!), is not going to win a free-speech case.

That said, I'm somewhat sympathetic to the girl. A 19-year old who has gown up in an intensively technical environment very well may not have sufficient common sense to see that perspective. If I were the prosecutor, I would probably push for a "community service" oriented sentence.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By ebakke on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Eris23007 on 10/4/2007 8:24:35 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, no. I've known enough intensely technical people to cease being shocked by the absence of common sense, and more simply feel sympathy for them...


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2007 3:53:08 PM , Rating: 2
Of course they omit certain information that makes this person look guilty.

If you havent noticed, pretty much all those news channels except for Fox News are highly liberal. They want to make the political figures - in this case, the cops - looks like idiots just like they tried to do for that person who went crazy at the John Kerry rally.

The person at the John Kerry rally got what he deserved. You need to act accordingly when in the presence of major political frigures - especially with what has happened the past few years with national security. If you act like an idiot, then you deserve to be make to look like an idiot.

In this case, the MIT person wore something that resembled a BOMB. No one knows that its only playdough and an electronic device for lights. Cmon people, dont be stupid and cry brute force or defend this person. This person was a complete moron. If they went to MIT, they should obviously know better than to wear that at an airport. Christ, you cannot even SAY the word bomb around an airport - what makes you think you can wear something that may resemble a bomb to a normal person INSIDE of an airport?

Wake up people.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Sunrise089 on 9/24/2007 5:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
NOTE: Self-professed libertarian speaking here.

This has nothing to do with the news media's political slant. This has to do with the fact that the news media thinks it generates higher ratings to show "that's outrageous" type stories than the nuts-and-bolts sort of cases that make our criminal justice system (mostly) work. In other words, if armed terrorists had gotten in a shoot out with security at the airport, you can bet that whatever slant airport security as a whole had received, the police would have been glorified.

In the same vein, for small stuff, the media almost always wants to portray the police as overly harsh, and make the (note: young and female) defendant into a victim. Hence we get very selective terminology - she was "surrounded" by "machine gun" wielding officers, while she was expressing her "art" and carrying play-dough (with no mention at all of the similarity to plastic-explosive, perhaps the single most relevant fact here.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2007 5:47:28 PM , Rating: 1
So your saying that the news media is not a liberal media, and that it is not used as liberal propaganda?

Cmon man.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By ebakke on 9/24/2007 8:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
He didn't say that at all. He said the liberal bias (if you believe it to exist) doesn't come into play here.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By gradoman on 9/24/2007 1:16:54 PM , Rating: 1
I'm sorry, but we all know that in this day and age, we are all under greater scrutiny for anything that MIGHT be suspicious; I must ask, is the art worth your life? Couldn't she have just taken her damn sweatshirt off, disassemble the circuit and board like a normal person?

Has she been living under a goddamn rock? How could she be so smart and yet so dumb?

I understand that it's sad that we live in this sorta world, but is it REALLY worth your life?


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/2007 2:55:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I must ask, is the art worth your life?


So now when we want to express ourselves, we must stop and consider if it may result in death? What happened to freedom of expression? Is it only for those who don't care to live? That sounds rediculous to me.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 3:00:19 PM , Rating: 1
This is exactly the purpose of the terrorists. Exactly. And if Americans accept this way of living in fear, then we have allowed the terrorists to accomplish their objective.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 3:14:36 PM , Rating: 3
Equating a logical airport security procedure ("if you look like you're wearing a bomb, we're going to nail you") with the erosion of the First Amendment is absurd. If they had arrested her walking across the MIT campus, you might have a leg to stand on.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 3:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If the thing in any way actually resembled a bomb, then you'd have a leg to stand on. I mean, did you see the picture?


See my postulate re: "tennis balls" below. It looks a lot more like a bomb than a Spaulding.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By mdogs444 on 9/24/2007 3:55:31 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, and how many people out there have actually ever seen a real bomb? Not very many at all, so they have no idea what one really looks like. So the cops had every reason to do what they did.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 4:48:07 PM , Rating: 1
So in you view a plastic board with a 9-volt battery on it is what a bomb looks like?


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By kyp275 on 9/25/2007 12:20:44 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So in you view a plastic board with a 9-volt battery on it is what a bomb looks like?


to the general public whose experience with explosvies devices are likely limited only to what they've seen in movies, the answer is a resounding "yes". and TBH, that should be common-sense.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By gradoman on 9/24/2007 4:50:49 PM , Rating: 2
"When the employee asked about the device on her shirt, she responded that it was art and walked away."

You're going to tell me that this wouldn't cause a stir? How dumb!!


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 5:46:42 PM , Rating: 2
Hey gradoman, what's that red stuff on your shirt? It's not blood, is it?

Nah, it's ketchup (and walks off)

:o)


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By gradoman on 9/24/2007 6:54:44 PM , Rating: 2
Hahah,

The question is, is it banana or tomato ketchup?

I'm not sure I'd totally ignore the over-reacting security at the airport. I have made that mistake with the cops at my Aunt's house more than a decade ago and their hands were on their guns the moment I made that mistake -- of turning away from them.

I can't understand her reasoning -- going to the airport with her breadboard w/an array of LEDs for * and then turning away from the employee's questioning...?

You weren't asking for a bullet to the head, were you? :D Nor were you trying to appear suspicious, were ya?


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Mooninite 2.0
By murphyslabrat on 9/24/2007 3:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So now when we want to express ourselves, we must stop and consider...

This is a responsibility that we do have. I cannot go around flipping people off, as this is a horribly offensive action. Even if that really was expressing myself, it is still a duty that I, as a citizen of the United States and freely speaking person, must fullfill.

Nonetheless, either she didn't think about it, or this was a social experiment. While the latter would be hilarious, the former is not a crime. What is the problem, however, is that the police just arrested an innocent person at the point of many automatic weapons ("machine-guns" was probably refering to SMG's or assault rifles), and they have to save face somehow. Apparently, that way is to protract the legal dealings, and emphasize the "disorderly conduct" line.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/2007 3:59:30 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
This is a responsibility that we do have. I cannot go around flipping people off, as this is a horribly offensive action. Even if that really was expressing myself, it is still a duty that I, as a citizen of the United States and freely speaking person, must fullfill.


Sure, and you can even go around killing people if you so choose however you will be spending some time in prison. So, while I understand the point you are trying to make, I do not see it. As far as I know, walking around flipping people off is illegal. There is nothing illegal about wearing electronic art. Nothing. To me, it's perfectly understandable that on Career Day at MIT, this young lady could put on her cheesy looking little art sweater w/circuit board and blinking LED's without even considering how it might be percieved at the airport later that day and only considering its perception at Career Day. This day was probably an event for her and she probably had her calendar marked. I don't think it would have been an ordinary day. Really, the prosecutors should be ashamed of themselves for not letting common sense prevail here. I can't believe our legal system is actually trying this woman. It is absurd.

quote:
and they have to save face somehow. Apparently, that way is to protract the legal dealings, and emphasize the "disorderly conduct" line


Believe me, it is very suspicious that we do not know the color of this play-doh. I must believe that it is some absurd color and the police do not want to look any more like the idiots they are on this issue. Our legal system must have a heck of a lot of free time to waste it on stuff like this.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 4:11:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is nothing illegal about wearing electronic art. Nothing.


As is being clearly illustrated, you're quite wrong.

quote:
Believe me, it is very suspicious that we do not know the color of this play-doh. I must believe that it is some absurd color and the police do not want to look any more like the idiots they are on this issue. Our legal system must have a heck of a lot of free time to waste it on stuff like this.


See above re: the colour meaning nothing.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/24/2007 4:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...you're quite wrong.


You're quite the debater.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By kyp275 on 9/25/2007 12:25:07 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You're quite the debater.


well, he is right :P


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By murphyslabrat on 9/27/2007 4:12:54 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So, while I understand the point you are trying to make, I do not see it. As far as I know, walking around flipping people off is illegal. There is nothing illegal about wearing electronic art. Nothing.

The point is not in the relative legality, but in the acceptability of the action. My point is not that wearing electronic art is as bad as flipping people off, I am saying that the same principle applies: think about your audience.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By arazok on 9/24/2007 1:52:24 PM , Rating: 2
Did you have to quote the whole article?


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Samus on 9/25/2007 3:47:15 AM , Rating: 2
Do these moron's really think bomb's have blinking LED's in them. Jesus... I thought higher education was a requirement to be an officer?


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By 16nm on 9/25/2007 10:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
holding a large block of play-doh


What is your source on that? Her attorney understandibly has a different idea as to its size. I would just like to know who is claiming it was a "large block" of play-doh. Bet it's the police.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By tedrodai on 9/24/2007 10:45:48 AM , Rating: 3
I disagree completely. Bombs don't have to 'look' a certain way. How could you expect anyone to know exactly what that is the first time they see it? Security officials are paid to investigate suspicious-looking people/things (among other duties), and frankly, that piece of clothing is pretty suspicious-looking. The moron in this case is the student who walked into one of the more controlled and paranoid environments you'll find in any city with something that looks so strange attached to her sweater. Personally, I prefer the people that are supposed to protect my family and friends from wackos to assume the worst and be wrong rather than assume the best and be wrong.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not calling her a wacko for her art, or anything. I just feel it wasn't bright to walk into the airport with it--and I don't feel the response by authorities was inappropriate.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 10:52:54 AM , Rating: 1
I'll give you a clue - a person walking in with a bomb is going to conceal it - they're not going to be asking about arriving flights.

Also, she was not in the secure area of the airport.

Sure, I want my police to protect my family, too, but I also don't want the police to so overzealous they put my family in harm's way. The woman here is someone's daughter who could have been killed.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By jskirwin on 9/24/2007 11:35:16 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
I'll give you a clue - a person walking in with a bomb is going to conceal it - they're not going to be asking about arriving flights.


In all cases? How about a mentally ill person?

quote:
Also, she was not in the secure area of the airport.


I assume you mean the area between the gates and the TSA screening checkpoints. But to get to that area she would have had to have been screened, and no doubt subjected to some pretty rigorous examination - if not held at gunpoint.

Not just bombs but all kinds of attacks - grenades, shootings etc - have happened in airports. Most of these attacks (both pre and post 9-11) have occurred in non-secure areas of airports. For example, in July 2002 a man opened fire on the El-Al counter at LAX, killing 2 and wounding 4. In 1985 Palestinian terrorists shot up the El Al check-in counter in Rome, killing 18. Most recently, this past summer's Glasgow bombing occurred in a non-secure area of the airport.

And it's not just Middle Eastern looking men involved in attacks. Both the Red Army and Bahder-Meinhoff Gang used women in their attacks. A young Asian/Caucasian family would match profiles for both terror organizations.

Given the number and nature of threats, you cannot train police to look for particular items (e.g. bombs, guns) so you instead train them to look for the unusual. This is standard procedure for police - watch an episode of Cops! and you'll see that many criminals are arrested for acting unusual, or something they possess being out of place.

So I believe that you are making a fundamental error in your perception of how law enforcement operates.

quote:
Sure, I want my police to protect my family, too, but I also don't want the police to so overzealous they put my family in harm's way.

That's a pretty tough balancing act when you consider what the cops are up against. As other commenters have mentioned, Logan was used by al-Qaeda in the past.

It's easy to Monday-morning Quarterback this incident when you know the student's intent and exactly what she possessed. But if you imagine yourself on the scene with no information, would you have reacted any differently?

And what if she had been mentally unbalanced and listening to voices in her head telling her to blow up the American Airlines counter - and you had failed to act because you thought that what she was carrying was not a bomb - and it turned out to be one. Would you be able to live with yourself?


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Christopher1 on 9/24/2007 6:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Would you be able to live with yourself?


Answer: Yes, I would! I would be able to live with myself because I KNOW that even mentally disturbed people who are trying to blow up things are going to be more slick and hidden about it, coming straight from the FBI.

You are acting like a mentally disturbed person would be obvious about their mental illness: they are not usually, they look just a normal as you or me until you talk to them.
The 'gibbering to themselves' kind of mentally disturbed person is exceptionally rare, and are NOT DANGEROUS!


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By arazok on 9/24/2007 12:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'll give you a clue - a person walking in with a bomb is going to conceal it - they're not going to be asking about arriving flights.


This is true, but as soon as it becomes known that NOT concealing it will get you past security, it will become the preferred method. Terrorists are going to use what works. If walking through an airport with a bomb in a box labeled "I AM GOING TO KILL YOU ALL" gets you through because nobody believes anyone would be so stupid, then that's what they will do.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By tedrodai on 9/24/2007 12:26:27 PM , Rating: 2
Not all crimes are commited by rationally thinking individuals. Who's to say what someone is going to do?

You are correct that the woman is someone daughter...it would have been a tragedy had she gotten shot by police, much less killed. However, as a parent, I also want to try to make sure my son (especially by the time he reaches adulthood) has the sense not to walk into security-monitored areas with something that looks like a weapon (or like it could be a weapon) in plain sight. Thankfully, the woman DID cooperate when the police confronted her, and the police did NOT shoot--that's pretty much what I expect to happen in a case like this, if the police are doing their job and the person is rational.

A very tragic accident could have occured, but when organizations like this are constantly threatened by people with bad intentions and dangerous weapons (which can be very hard to spot)...what do you propose they do?


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By troublesome08 on 9/24/2007 1:07:53 PM , Rating: 2
Gonna have to agree...If this chick had even an ounce of common sense, which she should, being an MIT student and all, she would have clearly recognized that wearing something as suspicious as that into an bloody AIRPORT would get her noticed in the very worst way, and the play-dough CERTAINLY did not help.

Although I really don't like the Police statement "she could have ended up in the morgue" etc was a little much, I don't feel the they acted inappropriately.

A possibly better way of dealing with it though would have been to apprehend her from behind, quietly, and bring her in for investigation, as opposed to the SWAT style guns up method, because if she had been a 'terrorist' then she would have detonated the bomb right then and there...


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Misty Dingos on 9/24/2007 11:24:51 AM , Rating: 5
Hmm, if today were September 15th 2001 people would be asking why didn't they spray her brains all over the floor. But now we are all tired of the increased airport security, the hassles, the delays. No one has high jacked a plane since then. So what is the big deal?

Well the big deal here is that the police don't get the luxury of treating an extremely bright person with an artistic attitude with kindness. They see a potential threat and respond accordingly. We do not pay the cops with machine guns to let the girl with play dough and electronics attached to her clothing to wander about the Boston Airport. Secure area or not. Remember where the 9-11 highjackers got to their flights? Boston. Do you think that just maybe the guys there have a really freaking thin skin when it comes to someone with what could potentially be an explosive device?

When they found out that the device was a toy and the play dough was not explosives, should they have patted her on the head and sent her on her way with a “Opps our bad. Don’t we feel stupid you aren’t a terrorist. Gee were sorry we almost killed you card.” No she should have known better and I am just willing to bet she did. Because if she didn’t she is quite possibly the dumbest person at MIT.

Was she looking for her 15 minutes? I don’t know but she could have gotten a dirt nap and I for one would have bought the guys with the guns a beer afterwards. They did their job. And before you condemn them for doing that job try thinking of running toward the bomb and not away from it. If she had not done exactly as they told her they would have been fully justified in turning her into an MIT educated corpse.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By bhieb on 9/24/2007 5:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
BRAVO!!!

Would have rated you up to a 5 if I hadn't already posted on this thread.

I don't get the "it did not look like a bomb" argument. You act like the police had a chance to see it from closer than 10 feet first. They got a report of a girl in a black hooded sweater (which is close enought to criminal anyway if it was 2am at the 7-11) with a bomb-like device in the airport. They respond en mass as they should. Why is that excessive? They have not seen this device, only the AA counter person (or whomever) that called it in did.

They realize that no matter what this girl has at least disturbed the peace. The cops are not responsible for determining her guilt or innocence. If in doubt they arrest you and that is what a trial is for. Sure the DA that questioned her could have let her off then, but for whatever reason he chose to procecute (and they don't usually unless they can win).

Either way stop the excessive argument regarding the cops, they did what they should have. If anyone acted excessivly it happened hours later when the DA decided to procecute.


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Christopher1 on 9/24/2007 6:17:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't get the "it did not look like a bomb" argument. You act like the police had a chance to see it from closer than 10 feet first.


Actually, they did. Ever heard of a pair of binoculars? It would have been very easy to go onto one of those lookouts in the rafters at the airlines (yes, there are such things according to the online article about BWI), look at this lady's shirt while coordinating with someone on the ground, and tell them "That's not a bomb! That's a sweatshirt with a circuit board backing on it and a couple of wires! Move along!"


RE: Mooninite 2.0
By Fritzr on 9/25/2007 4:15:52 AM , Rating: 2
Binoculars would have shown an unidentifiable circuit board that was probably live. LED art looks best if you have the lights blinking :D

Assume she had an unidentified thing in her hand that the airline employee identified as an unknown putty (good description of C4 and other assorted plastiques)

So the correct thing to do is to walk up to her and tell her that her art is in bad taste, when security has been told that an unidentified visitor carrying possible plastique and displaying a wierd electronic contraption that appears to be handmade while wandering around an airport asking about arrival of a particular flight.

As for what a real bomb looks like. At the Atlanta Olympics it was a backpack. A very common appearance is a piece of metal pipe. A brown paper lunch bag makes an excellent casing also.

As for what I might see in the electronics lab...if it as an LED timer, a lump of putty and assorted meaningless circuits, well that is exactly what an undisguised bomb that had an LED timer and plastic explosive would look like...

Strap the PC board onto a sweatshirt, make little PlayDoh sculptures out of plastique and walk into the airport with your personal art ... that is what the police saw initially.

There have been hijackings since 9/11 though none on a flight originating in US...yet

There have also been attacks on airports. Public parks & shopping malls just aren't as popular with the terrorists as targets in US for some reason. Once they get out of the "We need to attack planes for best results" mindset we should start seeing more terror attacks on schools and similar high emotion targets. For now it's just the normal everyday nutcases attacking targets without involving airports. Of course they may choose to show up at the airport to meet their target also :)

As for disguising the weapon...well not disguising it at all & telling everyone who asks that it is an art piece or a toy is a great way to hide it. After all no one would ever think it was a real weapon unless an attempt was made to conceal it...

The reasoning the police used in assuming it was a bomb until they were able to take it apart, is the same reasoning that justifies arresting someone who walks up to the ticket counter and reads the notice aloud that says you are not allowed to say the word "bomb" at the ticket counter. It is simply a case of being safe rather than telling the survivors that perhaps we should be more suspicious next time.


ATOT vs. DT
By soydios on 9/24/2007 10:54:00 AM , Rating: 3
When this thread appeared in ATOT (AnandTech's Off Topic forum for those who don't know), the nearly universal consensus was "good job police for acting decisively but not overreacting" and "that person was an idiot for wearing a bomb-looking device to an airport". I find it interesting that here in the comments on DailyTech, half the people are saying the police reacted excessively.

It's a device that looks like a BOMB. The police reacted according to their training: take no chances with a suspected terrorist. Remember, Boston is where two of the airliners took off from on 9/11.




RE: ATOT vs. DT
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 11:09:21 AM , Rating: 2
So by your definition, any device with wires and a battery looks like a bomb? You probably wouldn't set foot in any kind of electronics lab, then - you'd be scared to death.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By Keeir on 9/24/2007 2:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
to the OP, its mostly TomZ posting again and again that makes it appear like its 50/50

Context: Its important

In an electronics lab where one expects there to be boards, wires, LEDs, batteries etc.

In an airport, a baggy sweatshirt with bomb making materials, maybe disoriented and ungroomed...

In this context, the security personel acted "correctly" even if most of the visible items were obviously harmless in the current condition


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 2:33:10 PM , Rating: 1
Let me ask you think: what do you think a "typical" bomb would look like at an airport? Probably would be a suitcase or backpack filled with explosives. Probably would not look like a Radio Shack kit stitched to a sweatshirt, black or otherwise.

Yea, you're right, I've got too many posts here. I just think people are wrong to give the police a free pass on this.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 2:39:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Let me ask you think: what do you think a "typical" bomb would look like at an airport? Probably would be a suitcase or backpack filled with explosives.


Thus the rule about not leaving baggage unattended. Is that a logical conclusion, or another example of the Horrible Police State This America Has Become, etc etc?


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 2:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
1. Did she leave anything unattended?

2. Do real bombers always leave their bombs unattended?


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By Ringold on 9/24/2007 3:22:05 PM , Rating: 2
Who's to say they wouldn't try her tactic of hideing in plain sight?

This is purely a matter of opinion, I think. Personally, I think the cops did a great job -- unless they really do press charges. Let the oblivious geek / attention-grabber, whatever the case truely is, spend a night in a cell (alone) to make a point, then drop the whole thing and let mommy and daddy pick her up the next morning.

I'm sure a week later a black guy would then get arrested and charged for having a funny backpack or the likes and the Race Warlords would descend upon the media shouting war-cries of discrimination, damned if we do and damned if we dont, but that's how I'd of rather seen it handled.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 3:41:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think the cops did a great job -- unless they really do press charges

They are pressing charges - I haven't heard anything about them dropping the charges. They have to save face, you know!


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 3:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They are pressing charges - I haven't heard anything about them dropping the charges. They have to save face, you know!


It happened on Friday, and this article was posted on Monday.

FedEx doesn't even guarantee delivery to certain areas in that amount of time, and you expect this to be resolved that quickly? At least let the raindrops hit before you claim the sky is falling.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By TomZ on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: ATOT vs. DT
By AndrewH on 9/24/2007 6:13:22 PM , Rating: 2
She broke the law though. This to me falls into the realm of screaming fire in a crowded theatre. I can't imagine the hysteria that would have insued if she walked past a crowded section of the airport and someone, seeing the lights, screams "BOMB!".

If I am speeding down the interstate and a cop gives me a speeding ticket, it is because I broke a law... not because the oppressive local government wants to crush me under their boot.

This isn't the girl walking into your house and threatening you (at least until you figure out it is "art"). This is a girl doing the same in a public place. The cops have to be cautious, they are out there protecting you, me, and all the other people in the airport.

Btw... you should see some pictures of some of the real bombs that have been mailed to military bases, city halls, schools, etc. They literally do have wires sticking out of them... fuel dripping out... beeping/flashing coming from inside. Obviously the terrorists quickly figured out that this wasn't working, but they did try for awhile.

Andrew


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 7:33:13 PM , Rating: 1
She only broke the law if she did it as a prank, if the intended it to "look like a bomb." Otherwise, it could have been simply a mistake by the police and a little naive on her part.

The police arguably created the disturbance themselves.

But I'm of the "innocent until proven guilty" mentality, unlike many of the other posters here today, who have decided without any evidence that she is guilty (including yourself).


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By AndrewH on 9/24/2007 7:50:13 PM , Rating: 2
I am of the innocent until proven guilty mentality too, but I don't think ignorance is an excuse. Because you don't intend to cause a disturbance doesn't mean you are any less guilty of causing it. The police in the airport don't have the time to decide innocent/guilty though. That is for a judge and/or jury. I have to believe that the DA (local prosecuter) wouldn't have filed charges unless they were warranted though. The charges may get dismissed by a judge or dropped by the prosecution anyways.

I think it is one of those situations where neither party was in the wrong. She is well within her rights to wear whatever she wants. The police were well within their rights to confront and detain someone they belived to be committing a crime.

It sounds like you are of the opinion that she is innocent period, end of story. That they shouldn't even attempt to prove her guilty (ie filing charges)?


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 7:56:26 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
It sounds like you are of the opinion that she is innocent period, end of story.

No, here is what I think. If she planned this as a hoax and/or she really did have play-doh in her hand, then she should be prosecuted.

If, on the other hand, there was only the circuit you see in the picture, that is by itself no reason for alarm, and I would say the police should have released her with no charges. It is not a "fake bomb" and the police created the disturbance through their own error.

I am assuming the later so far, since I have seen no evidence presented that tells me she did something on purpose. If that evidence comes out, I'll be the first to say I'm wrong.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By AndrewH on 9/24/2007 8:20:03 PM , Rating: 2
I (mostly) agree Tom.

I think that if she was indeed oblivious she should not be charged.

I don't think that it is the police that did the arresting that are in the wrong though. I am not a police officer, but I am in the military. I know that a lot of times once you start a ball rolling it isn't in your power to stop it. Once the initial call went in that a suspicious person might have a bomb... it isn't as simple as arresting her and then going "Oh it isn't a bomb... ah well have a good day." There are good reasons for this. It prevents the exact abuses that you (and I) fear. It prevents cops from coming up to you on the street and harrassing you for no reason (I know this still happens, but I think it happens less than it would if reports weren't required). Since they are required to report the event, it becomes documented. This hasn't been covered up, that by itself should be a good thing.

I don't like "knee-jerk" reactions anymore than anyone else, but I've seen the consequences of inattention and inaction. I think an occasional, slight overaction on the police part is bettern than an occasional, slight inaction. (I do think that this is both occasional and small... though that opinion may change depending on the outcome of her legal issue)


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 8:29:11 PM , Rating: 2
Good points... Hopefully sanity will prevail and the DA will toss out the charges. But he has to do it in a way that doesn't make the police look bad.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By Keeir on 9/24/2007 3:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
I would say there is no such thing as a typical bomb or a typical threat.

And lets make a few distinctions here

1.) The police/security personel at the airport. They acted correctly.

2.) The police/public relations arm. They also acted more or less correctly. Yes, dressing in a suspicious manner in a public place and then ignoring the police can get you hurt or killed. A bit strongly worded and callous.

2.) The police/DA charging her post arrest. The current charges seem like a joke and are indeed overzealous. But that's working on the assumption that the person really had no intent to Hoax. I will be angry if this goes to trial or if fines are assesed. Until then, I will hold my final judgement.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By Christopher1 on 9/24/2007 6:20:56 PM , Rating: 2
You don't have too many posts, TomZ. You are a delightful breath of fresh air in a room full of smelly, beer-guzzling idiots (and yes, that was meant to disparage the people who are supporting the police in this case).

Any two year old would have the thought run through their mind that "No terrorist is going to be THIS DAMN OBVIOUS about having a bomb with them. They are going to try to hide it from view and make it so that no one notices them!"

That's the reasoning that is lost on much of the 'good job, police!' idiots on this board and many others, and once I pointed that out at other boards, you would be shocked at how many once supportive of the police people realized they were being had.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By AndrewH on 9/24/2007 6:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
You all seem to be under some assumption that the police (in general) are less intelligent than the average person. Chris have you ever worked any type of security anywhere for anything serious?

Had this girl come up to me in the middle of nowhere (or even on the campus of MIT) I wouldn't have ever thought it was a bomb or anything harmful.

That isn't what happened though. She was walking in a public place with wires on her chest and playdough (playdough:C4 :: realistic looking toy gun:real gun) in her hand. I can only imagine what I would think if I saw her pass... but I think at least the first thought in my head would be "She is stupid!", my second would be "Or maybe crazy...". Either way I would inform someone.

The police aren't standing in a field talking one on one with criminals (or potential criminals). They are in the streets, alleys, malls, airports. Trying to keep them safe for everyone. They have to trust their instincts.

Andrew


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 7:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but on the other hand, when the police make a mistake and arrest someone wrongfully, they need to admit that and move on. That didn't seem to happen so far in this case. All I see from the police is CYA. And so it seems like it will have to move to court in order to get real justice.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By bodar on 9/24/2007 11:26:17 PM , Rating: 2
So if you were the cop, would you have ignored the whole thing because criminals only have one profile? If that were the case why do they even have FBI profilers anymore? I mean the profile is there already. All cops have to do is follow it. Yes, a terrorist is going to hide his intentions. However, crazy people come in a million different flavors so it's probably best to play it safe once in a while.

Be honest... they played it as safe as they could have. What cop in his right mind wants to take the chance of being wrong in a case like that, however slim? Situation was defused and no one got hurt, aside from Star's feelings. Quit acting like they shot her 137 times and planted a .38 on her.

Seriously, what are the odds of accidentally walking into airport in your circuit board shirt while holding a lump of playdough? How is that coincidence more likely than a high-IQ artist with "wild ideas" deciding to make a statement? Critical thinking works both ways.

The DA thinks that she meant this as a prank, so he's pressing charges. Now it's up to him to prove it.


RE: ATOT vs. DT
By kattanna on 9/24/2007 12:30:17 PM , Rating: 1
yep.. and i bet these same idiots here who are saying the police over-reacted would also be the first ones to be talking out their asses if the story had been about how someone who looked like a suicide bomber walked freely through an airport without being challenged.


Win for Terrorists
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 9:52:54 AM , Rating: 2
It's certainly a win for the terrorists if we live in such fear in this country that a breadboard with some LEDs on a shirt causes such a stir. Any reasonable person who looks at this can clearly tell it is not a bomb.

The police should drop the charges, however, they probably won't because they probably want to keep like looking like complete idiots. By pressing changes, they can "take a stand" against this sort of thing.




RE: Win for Terrorists
By Etsp on 9/24/2007 10:30:24 AM , Rating: 2
Oddly enough...suicide bombers tend to try to conceal any and all explosives that they have on them...they don't ask security for directions...and they don't use circuit boards on bombs... they are rather simple devices, a battery, a switch and some wires and some method of ignition. The play dough she was carrying had it been c4 would have been enough for a small explosion, and if it had been C4, a terrorist would not be carrying it in their hands.


RE: Win for Terrorists
By tedrodai on 9/24/2007 10:55:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
and if it had been C4, a terrorist would not be carrying it in their hands


Unless they were crying out for attention/help. A person with a bomb (rather than terrorist, to distance the idea from the stereotype) doesn't necessarily have rational thoughts when they're on a suicide mission (imagine that). Mental illness could also cause such a situation.


RE: Win for Terrorists
By Etsp on 9/24/2007 12:11:46 PM , Rating: 2
Any person with a bomb and the intent to use it can be considered a terrorist. A terrorist can be of any race, religion or background. The only qualifier to being a terrorist is the desire to kill many people in the public eye, to make their point of view heard and/or respected.

As far as someone not having rational thoughts...the way the police handled that situation would have probably provoked them to trying to use the device, either out of fear or rebellion. Instead of any attempt to communicate, they chose to point their guns and make threats...a method that doesn't work particularly well with the mentally unstable.


RE: Win for Terrorists
By SlipSlideBazoom on 9/24/2007 10:38:54 AM , Rating: 2
I've gotta disagree with you here. To say that any reasonable person could clearly tell it's not a bomb is evidence of an overly optimistic view of your fellow humans. Show a random person on the streets a breadboard and ask them what it is, I'll bet 8 out of 10 won't know. Add to this the fact that movies and television portray bombs as having lots of wires and blinky lights all over them, you've got a recipe for confusion.

Perhaps the issue isn't fear, but ignorance. Security personnel should know what a bomb looks like, right?


RE: Win for Terrorists
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 10:49:40 AM , Rating: 2
Let's look at it this way - ask random people if they think it is a bomb, and how many "yes" answers do you think you'll get? My cell phone looks no more like a bomb than that.

And no, "ignorance" doesn't cause you to make statements like "she is lucky she complied otherwise she would have been in the morgue." No, the use of deadly force is clearly based on fear, not ignorance.

The police were overzealous, but the problem is, they don't have "sorry for the mistake" anywhere in their vocabulary.


RE: Win for Terrorists
By jskirwin on 9/24/2007 10:55:25 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Perhaps the issue isn't fear, but ignorance. Security personnel should know what a bomb looks like, right?


Bombs can look like anything. There isn't one type of "bomb," e.g. a black ball with a fuse in it. The reason we have to take our shoes off in an airport is because Richard Reid tried to blow up a plane with a bomb in his shoe. We laugh about it now, but had he been successful hundreds would have died.

Because terrorists are so creative, security personnel are trained to look for the unusual - not for something in particular. What the student wore would be classified as unusual anywhere, including on MIT's campus let alone in an airport. Given the fact that airports have been the favorite target of terrorists since the 1960s, I don't think the reaction of police and security was unexpected or an overreaction.


RE: Win for Terrorists
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 2:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
If I wore a pineapple on my head to the airport, that would be unusual also. I wouldn't expect to have law enforcement make an example of me, however.

The overreaction wasn't what they did initially - it made sense to stop her and investigate whether there was a real threat. The problem is in the statements that the police made to the press (e.g., statement that she might have been killed) and the fact that they took her to jail and charged her with a couple of serious felonies. That's an overreaction.


Police acted properly, and bravely
By johnsonx on 9/24/2007 12:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
Let's suppose someone wanted to blow themselves up very publicly to make a politcal statement. Let's also suppose that this person desired to kill some police, to make a statement against the 'enforcers of evil' or whatever their voices tell them. They wouldn't hide their device at all. Rather they'd make it conspicous and strange, in order to attract attention; they'd also make it not too obviously a bomb, to avoid a police sniper round behind the ear. They'd do something odd like ask for directions at a security checkpoint (or wherever, somewhere bound to gain attention from security officials), and then wander around, waiting to be surrounded by police. Then they detonate once they have the proper audience and victims assembled.

How are police to tell the difference between that person and this foolish MIT student?

Faced with the above possibility (and many others), the police still surrounded her and didn't shoot immediately. As they said, she's very lucky to still be alive.




RE: Police acted properly, and bravely
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 2:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How are police to tell the difference between that person and this foolish MIT student?

Funny, isn't it exactly the job of the police to be able to tell the difference between a criminal and an ordinary citizen? I mean, doesn't the failure to distinguish between a criminal and an ordinary citizen point to a real problem somewhere?

After the police realized the mistake (which probably took all of one minute), what did they do - did they (a) apologize for all the trouble, ask her to be more careful in the future about what she wears, and ask her to leave the airport; or (b) did they haul her off to jail and press charges, and make a strong statement in front of the press to make an example of her?

I can't believe the number of people that are defending the police and prosecutors here. Clearly their actions were inappropriate and of the blockhead CYA variety. Once they realized the situation was not what they thought, they should have quickly "diffused" it.

How does prosecuting her make us any safer?

Luckily it will be nearly impossible for prosecutors to find a jury that will convict this girl. At least that side is working.


RE: Police acted properly, and bravely
By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 2:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Funny, isn't it exactly the job of the police to be able to tell the difference between a criminal and an ordinary citizen? I mean, doesn't the failure to distinguish between a criminal and an ordinary citizen point to a real problem somewhere?


TomZ, I am holding a tennis ball in each hand.

One is normal.

The other one is full of sharps, buckshot, and centrally located propellant. A chemical fuse under the logo lets me arm it with a five-second delay, after which its payload will deploy.

You tell me which hand is holding the legit article, and which is holding the Wimbledon Special.


RE: Police acted properly, and bravely
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 2:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
Are you talking "in the heat of the moment," or after some period of analysis? Those are two different situations.

You see, my criticism is that after the cops realized they had made a mistake, they didn't fix their mistake. The fact that they made a mistake in the first place is pretty understandable and forgivable. But to haul her to jail anyway and charge her with multiple felonies is a real problem.

I suppose you support the idea that the police can have unlimited powers to do their jobs?


By MercenaryForHire on 9/24/2007 2:34:48 PM , Rating: 2
A. I see one felony - "possession of a hoax device" - referring to the bomb itself; "disorderly conduct" is not a felony.

B. You seem to have no shortage of criticism for the "heat of the moment" decision here:
quote:
But if it was just the circuit board, then the police clearly overreacted.

quote:
Any reasonable person who looks at this can clearly tell it is not a bomb.

quote:
ask random people if they think it is a bomb, and how many "yes" answers do you think you'll get?

quote:
So by your definition, any device with wires and a battery looks like a bomb? You probably wouldn't set foot in any kind of electronics lab, then - you'd be scared to death.


C. No, I don't support the idea of "unlimited power." The root cause of this is the fact that it's very bad police procedure to "un-arrest" someone. Charges can be dropped easily. When they made the initial arrest, they didn't know she was just a (slightly dense) student who had made a very bad decision about what to wear to the airport.


RE: Police acted properly, and bravely
By johnsonx on 9/24/2007 2:30:03 PM , Rating: 2
First, I didn't say ANYTHING about the prosecution, did I? The POLICE don't press charges, the local prosecutors do. They probably feel, even it's purely a mistake and bad judgement on the part of the otherwise ordinary citizen, that people need to understand the serious of what occurred. She'll likely get no more than a slap on the wrist. Lightly prosecuting her makes headlines, and reminds everyone that airport security is serious business these days. Even though it was nothing more than a silly circuit board and a piece of play-doh (that part still strikes one as odd), it created a dangerous situation. While such events didn't happen in this case, this situation could have resulted in a crowd panic and someone being trampled, or an accidental police shooting of perhaps an innocent bystander. Many of these incidents also result in flight delays and other inconvenience to thousands of people. Prosecuting her (again, as long as this continues to appear to be an innocent mistake rather than a purposeful prank or hoax, it will be pleaded out quickly) re-inforces the message that you DON'T F__K AROUND AT AIRPORTS anymore. It's about time we took airport security seriously. I remember the times I was at the airports in Rome back in the mid 80's... Carabineri with sub-machine guns everywhere; (by the way, I was in Rome (or had just left, I don't recall for sure) at the time of the El Al attack someone mentioned, and a little girl killed was a student at my school)

Second, you insist that it's the job of the police to tell the difference. But you still don't say how they are to tell. Seems to me the way they tell is disarm and control the situation, then determine what's what. When an 'ordinary citizen' does something that makes them appear potentially dangerous, have they not temporarily crossed the line? The police behaved PERFECTLY here. They diffused the situation, no one got hurt.

I'm surprised you act as if the police are the ones that made a mistake.


RE: Police acted properly, and bravely
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 2:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Second, you insist that it's the job of the police to tell the difference. But you still don't say how they are to tell.

I'm not saying anything - the police said it. The Captain in the initial interview said that within a couple of minutes, they had a bomb crew on the scene and quickly determined it was not a real threat. You can watch that interview at CNN.

The question is, once they realized they made a mistake, how did they react...? Listen to the interview - it is clear they are trying to make a strong statement as you said. But is prosecuting her really "justice" or does it make you or I safer in any way? No way!


RE: Police acted properly, and bravely
By johnsonx on 9/24/07, Rating: 0
RE: Police acted properly, and bravely
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 7:14:54 PM , Rating: 2
So you're advocating public education by making an example of an individual? How is that justice? How is that even effective? After all, not everybody reads the news.


By johnsonx on 9/24/2007 8:47:02 PM , Rating: 1
oh, I don't know at this point. My original point was about the police, not the prosecution. I got off on a tangent about the prosecution; I'm certainly not advocating this so much as attempting to explain WHY they would still prosecute. If they didn't prosecute her at all, I wouldn't be screaming for them to do so either. My point is I guess that there ARE legitimate reasons to prosecute in this case, as long as they don't go overboard. The initial charges seem overly serious, but they always do. That's why I said we should follow this case, see what comes of it.


By MikieTImT on 9/24/2007 2:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
It seems to be forgotten that the police were not the first to notice the device, but an airport employee, who reported her. If I were in airport security and it was reported to me from someone that I worked with on a daily basis that there was a woman in a black hooded sweatshirt with an electronic circuit, battery, and what appeared to be plastic explosives, I couldn't possibly say that I would have reacted differently, especially given the history of the security breaches at that particular airport leading up to the disaster that it did. I hope they pursue it and teach her a lesson that obviously one of our premier engineering schools has failed to do so far.




By TomZ on 9/24/2007 2:07:37 PM , Rating: 2
That's fine, but why, after realizing that the shirt was "just art" did they decide to haul her to jail and prosecute her anyway? Don't you think the police have some responsibility to be able to accurately distinguish between a real threat and a non-threat, at least at some point? Yes, maybe not initially in the "heat of the moment," but once the situation becomes clear, they should return to rationality, which it seems they didn't.


By MikieTImT on 9/24/2007 2:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
If they saw this as just a case of misidentification of a threat, I would say you were right. But, with the combination of items she had, I would bet they view, as I do, that she was testing them. I would consider that to be somewhat of a threat in itself, one that shouldn't just be dropped.


By TomZ on 9/24/2007 2:30:42 PM , Rating: 4
Why do you suppose the police didn't show the "play-doh" to the press? The only thing they showed was the shirt, and based on that alone, they clearly overreacted.

If she had a half-point of play-doh in her hand, then that changes the nature of the situation to from an innocent/naive misunderstanding to a prank. And if it truly was a prank, then she should be prosecuted. But I find it hard to believe that someone would do such a prank, especially when picking up a boyfriend at the airport. It just doesn't make sense.

I think the police made up the play-doh to make their story play better with the media.


By 16nm on 9/25/2007 10:44:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why do you suppose the police didn't show the "play-doh" to the press? The only thing they showed was the shirt, and based on that alone, they clearly overreacted.

The play-doh was formed into a rose. She was going to give it to her love. Ah, to be 19 again...

Anyway, the police did not even mention the play-doh in their reports which explains why the national news sources I saw did not mention it. I think the police later thought it would help their case in the public. I don't think the police ever considered this little play-doh rose a threat of any kind. It all comes down to the little socket board on her chest with the LED's aligned into a star.


LOL what an idiot
By kattanna on 9/24/2007 10:13:53 AM , Rating: 4
i guess some arent all that smart at MIT




RE: LOL what an idiot
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 10:21:23 AM , Rating: 1
Obviously smarter than the police in this case.


RE: LOL what an idiot
By borowki on 9/24/2007 10:25:12 AM , Rating: 4
More likely is that she staged the incident for the sake of her 15 minutes of fame. Got to have that playdough on hand when picking up someone at the airport...yeah right.

Still, it isn't a smart thing to do. Could have easily ended up in a pool of blood.


RE: LOL what an idiot
By LogicallyGenius on 9/24/2007 11:04:47 AM , Rating: 1
ok, so if someone wants to blow up an airport of the evil taxpayers along with those taxpayers that dont have time to stop their presidents free run over world,

dont use LED in your bombs, keep it simple.


The airport is a crazy place...
By Verran on 9/24/2007 2:44:51 PM , Rating: 4
You can't stop your car in the terminal. You have to drive in circles like an idiot until the people you're picking up are standing there waiting. You can't take toothpaste, or hair gel, or small plastic scissors. You can't say the word "bomb", even it's just to say "Yo, that new fiddy cent video is tha bomb!". You can't leave your bag on your seat while you go to the bathroom, no matter how disgusting the always-wet men's room floor is.

Debate the ridiculousness of these things all you want, but that's the way it is. It's not a democracy. The normal rules don't apply. The airport people aren't messing around, and everyone knows it.

I don't really care if her treatment was "fair" or not. What she did was stupid. People are tense enough at an airport anyways, and that's before they start thinking about a terrorist wanting to blow their face off.

If you don't know that wearing a breadboard with flashing lights, a battery, and a fistful of play dough in an airport is probably a poor decision, you deserve this sort of treatment.




RE: The airport is a crazy place...
By walk2k on 9/24/2007 7:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yea you are right, they should just shoot everyone who even TRIES to go into an airport in America. Think about it, that way we would all be SO much safer.


RE: The airport is a crazy place...
By ebakke on 9/24/2007 8:33:59 PM , Rating: 2
He didn't say she deserved to be shot. He said she deserved to be arrested and removed from the airport.


An appropriate response?
By Mystickal on 9/24/2007 9:07:55 PM , Rating: 4
I would ask those who say this didn't look like a bomb - what, exactly, does a bomb look like? More specifically, what does a detonator look like? One can obviously see that there is no explosive material on the surface of the shirt, but what about underneath? Does the device on shirt look like a detonator?

You bet it does. I spent 10 years in the Navy working on Ordnance, and that device looks just like an IED detonator. What do you need to detonate a bomb? Well, really all you need is some wire and a voltage source. A switch is optional - nice, but not required. Believe it or not, a 9V battery is all it takes to detonate an IED. And the breadboard with LEDs? You wire up a bunch of LEDs in series, and wire that in parallel with the load (explosive). That way, while the LEDs are lit you know you have enough juice in the battery to detonate the device. The parallel line is simply an open short. When you close it the LEDs blink off as the current of the battery goes into the explosive, and boom.

What terrorist is going to walk into an airport with a bomb in full display? Unfortunately, a lot of people wonder the same thing. And that’s exactly what a terrorist is counting on. Why would a terrorist ask about incoming flights? Well, who said she was a terrorist? Perhaps she’s an ex-girlfriend who feels wronged by the man on that flight. How hard would it be to walk up to him in baggage claim, attempt to hug him, and detonate? Perhaps she wants to take some Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs) out – what better way than to walk in an airport with a bomb strapped to you? The police did not know what her goals were - if she's a terrorist, a criminal, a student – only that she had a suspicious device attached to her chest - an obviously homemade device.

What if the police had done nothing? What if the story reported had been “Woman walks into airport wearing a circuit board with flashing lights – Police do nothing”? Would everybody then feel a lot better because her ‘artistic expression’ had not been violated?

And I’m sorry – that shirt is not “art.” If I disassemble a pistol, and attach the various pieces of it to (except the firing pin) my shirt and call it “art” should I expect to be able to walk into an airport, or any other public venue, and not get slammed to the ground by an LEO? I suspect my excuse “But Officer – I don’t have any bullets, and there’s no firing pin – it’s art!” wouldn’t get my any slack. This case is no different. And if she really wanted to impress someone on career day, the way do it is definitely NOT by wearing that shirt – art or not, it looks like crap, and no tech employer is going to give someone wearing a shirt like that a second thought. If she wanted to impress, she should have designed a circuit and had it silk-screened on a shirt. All her homemade breadboard does is show that she has the electronics skills of a 12 year old – certainly not an MIT student.

Is the prosecutor’s response overzealous? No. The fact of the matter is that she did disturb the peace, and she did put a lot of people’s lives in danger. Someone very easily could have been killed. When she was told to stop and put her hands up, if she had a sudden itch and her hand quickly darted to scratch it, do you think she’d still be alive? What then happens to the LEO that shot her (arguably justifiable, but still probably career-ending). What happens if a shot goes wide, or goes through her, and into an innocent bystander? All of these outcomes could have happened just as easily as the one that did. By prosecuting her, you tell her and others across the country, that stupid behavior like this is not only unacceptable, but against the law. If someone’s at a football game and pulls out a cap gun replica of an M-16 and shoots it off to celebrate a touchdown, should we allow him his “artistic expression” or should he be arrested and taken to jail.

I’m not saying that she needs to go to jail for 5-10 years and have a felony on her rap sheet. But she needs to at least be fined and/or serve community service. And if that keeps someone else in the country from doing something stupid, and accidentally getting themselves or others hurt or killed, it is time and money well spent.

I applaud the original airport employee for their non-complacency, the LEOs at the scene for the quick reactions and good judgment, and the prosecutor for the sense to file charges despite any possible public outcry.




RE: An appropriate response?
By ebakke on 9/25/2007 8:39:11 AM , Rating: 2
Couldn't have said it better myself.


MORE DETAILS...
By 16nm on 9/25/2007 10:32:13 AM , Rating: 2
The plot thickens. These state police are idiots. They should be working on lowering our rising violent crimes rate and nothing else.

Excerpt from http://www-tech.mit.edu/V127/N41/simpson.html
quote:
The putty was a “very small amount in the shape of a rose,” Simpson’s current attorney Tom Dwyer said yesterday. Simpson intended to give the rose to her boyfriend, Dwyer said.

Wark said that there was no mention of the putty in the police reports used to file the charges.


Arresting people without bringing charges is not good! Let's see if the DA really does drop the charges.




RE: MORE DETAILS...
By TomZ on 9/25/2007 1:57:40 PM , Rating: 2
Gee, the police failed to mention it was a small amount in the shape of a rose. Idiots.

Anyway, I found this information interesting from that article:

Prosecutors must prove ‘intent’

Simpson was charged under Chapter 266 of Massachusetts law, Dwyer said. The law requires that prosecutors prove Simpson transported a “hoax device or hoax substance with the intent to cause anxiety, unrest, fear or personal discomfort to any person or group of persons.” (For full text of the Massachusetts law, see page 22.)

Dwyer said that he firmly believes there is no evidence to support intent to cause anxiety and that “there is not a crime here.” “It’s not a crime in Massachusetts to exercise bad judgment,” Dwyer said.

Dwyer said he expects the case to be dismissed by the end of October.

The charge was sought by the state troopers assigned to Logan Airport, Wark said. “This is not the type of offense in which you can compare it to the average case,” Wark said. “Frankly, it’s rare that this charge is brought.”


RE: MORE DETAILS...
By Mystickal on 9/25/2007 8:29:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Gee, the police failed to mention it was a small amount in the shape of a rose. Idiots.


And they're idiots why, exactly? Because there's no way that a jilted lover would find it poetic to meet her ex-boyfriend at the airport and give him 10 ounces of semtex in the shape of a rose? Plastic explosives are quite malleable, and can be molded into many different shapes.

Chances are, she'll beat the rap on the hoax device charge - it will be difficult to prove intent without someone stepping forward and saying they overheard her saying something. I still say they should have charged her with disturbing the peace.


Ugh
By gramboh on 9/24/2007 3:28:38 PM , Rating: 1
Why am I not surprised her name is 'Star'.




RE: Ugh
By Misty Dingos on 9/24/2007 3:48:28 PM , Rating: 1
I would not be surprised if Star's mommy and daddy engage in the afternoon bong hit instead of a beer or glass of wine.

Parents like that should be beaten. I don't mean the ones that do pot I mean the ones that name their kids Star, Blaze, Moon Beam, or Peace. She probably has a history of head injuries from grade school.


RE: Ugh
By gramboh on 9/24/2007 4:08:15 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed fully.

It's funny because I consider myself extremely socially liberal (thus I feel a bit hypocritical), but I get angry when I see zany artist types with wacky names floating through life. I bet this person genuinely did not see anything wrong with what they did, no common sense.

Speaking of funny names:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2NEzmzfXho


Dork?
By johnsonx on 9/24/2007 12:00:19 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Sources say that the shirt was a sort of homemade tech-art statement and that Simpson frequently wore the shirt.

Dork?




How's this for bad product timing?
By Ajax9000 on 10/8/2007 8:22:09 PM , Rating: 2
"T-shirt helps geeks detect Wi-Fi networks" http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2007/10/08/wifi_shirt

It may be more elegant than Ms Simpson's piece of "art", but I still wouldn't be keen to use it to check for wifi hotspots in an airport ...




lol.
By RMSe17 on 9/24/2007 4:26:52 PM , Rating: 1
Don't tase me bro!




Lucky Her
By FS on 9/24/2007 8:15:22 PM , Rating: 1
Can't believe she's still alive, considering the police had machine guns. Honestly, I think it would've a bloody situation if this "dumb" student was a middle eastern(or looked middle eastern).




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