Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

This is not a Bomb, Boston

Posted in Airplane,Law,Military,Scandal,Security by Elliott Back on September 22nd, 2007.

Reading about the poor MIT student who was recently arrested at submachine gunpoint on BoingBoing I saw a few comments that interested me enough to write a brief rebuttal. For example, comment #63 by Jacob Davis:

On another note, to everyone saying, “It’s obviously not a bomb, they should have known better!” : that’s really condescending. My mother doesn’t know what a breadboard is. My neighbors don’t. Several of my friends don’t. I’d wager the great majority of the US doesn’t know, for better or worse. Don’t pretend that everyone else knows what you know, especially when you are judging circumstances after being given all the facts at once in hindsight.

See the problem is that security personnel, if expected to guard against bombs and bombers, should be able to positively recognize bombs. Your mother and neighbors are not airport security officers, military police, or Boston police for exactly that reason; they don’t know what bombs look like.

Then there are comments #7 and #8, which feel like the police brutality (they arrested her outside the airport with force) is justified:

Wow, she sure put the “mor[on]” in sophomore! Maybe for her next art project she can run around the airport screaming “I’m Al Qaida! Look at me! I’m Al Qaida!”

I’d have wished the above moron had written “more[on] in sophomore;” it would have bee more funny. That said, there’s nothing wrong with a geeky girl wearing a hoodie with some blinking LEDs. As far as I know (and I think the statistics support me here) no one has ever died or been injured, directly or indirectly, by an LED. And, I fully support her right to voice her political opinions, even in the airport. Unfortunate the climate these days means wearing we will not be silent arabic / english t-shirts will probably get you detained.

I thought MIT students were supposed to be a bit more intelligent than the rest of us. Walking into an airport with an electronic device strapped to her chest ….. a very stupid action. She is lucky to just be in a cell, but I have a feeling a lot of people (including her) will never understand why, this time, the Boston Police are in the right.

This one is begging for me point out that 99.99998% of people walk around airports with iPods tucked around their chest or body somewhere… and I’m not even going to start counting people with pacemakers, who actually have an electronic device embedded in their chests! An electronic device isn’t a bomb, and if you think airport security can prevent terrorism, you’re wrong.

Finally, on a lighter note, Rob Cockerham’s comment #27 takes the cake, and eats it too:

I can’t believe NBC is promoting Bionic Woman like this. What a terrible idea.

This entry was posted on Saturday, September 22nd, 2007 at 8:10 pm and is tagged with . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback.

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