Saturday, September 22, 2007

Security Morons

This one definitely sounds like everyone over-reacted, but then, this student is a complete moron.
An MIT student walked into Logan International Airport yesterday morning wearing a glowing device with wires coming out of it, prompting a bomb scare and her arrest at gunpoint.

The student, Star Simpson, 19, said she had designed the device, which she called a piece of art, and had worn it for several days, hoping to attract prospective employers visiting MIT for a weeklong career fair.

But police and prosecutors said Simpson, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering and computer science, put herself and others in danger by wearing a device that looked like a bomb to the airport.

"This is total disregard for the situation; this is an airport, post-9/11," Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Wayne Margolis told an East Boston District Court yesterday during Simpson's arraignment on charges of possessing a hoax device.

The device, made of a plastic circuit board decorated with green LED lights and wires leading to a nine-volt battery, was attached to the front of Simpson's black, hooded sweatshirt when she walked up to the information counter in Terminal C at 8 a.m. and asked about an incoming flight from Oakland, Calif., said Major Scott Pare of the State Police. He said Simpson was also carrying in her hand between 5 and 6 ounces of Play-Doh, a substance that can resemble some plastic explosives.

I guess I can't fault the security people overly much. They have defined actions for threats, but I'm kinda thinking they could have read this a little better. Though you have to admit she was acting suspiciously.
When Maria Moncayo, who worked at the information counter, asked Simpson what the device was, she walked away without responding, according to the police report. Moncayo then called police.
If your looking for attention for your "art" don't you think you'd want to say it was just that?

And the security forces:
Outside the terminal, police officers surrounded Simpson. They aimed their machine guns at her and ordered her to raise her hands. The airport's explosive ordnance disposal unit approached and investigated the device.

"She said it was a piece of art, and she wanted to stand out on career day," Pare said. "Thankfully, because she followed our instructions, she ended up in our cell instead of a morgue."

I'm going to say that is a definite over-reaction. Come on. Blinking LEDs. Who puts LEDs on a bomb? I suppose the automatic weapons are the standard response weapon, so I guess we'll cut them some slack even if it sound over done.

The problem with Boston is that with all this crap causing over-reactions, sooner or later someone is going to get shot or worse, someone is going to openly walk into the airport with a bomb and will be ignored.
Last winter, two Charlestown artists planted 40 blinking circuit boards around Boston, setting off a wave of bomb scares that brought the city to a halt. The packages were a marketing stunt for a show on Cartoon Network. The artists, Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens, performed community service as part of their plea deal. Criminal charges against the artists were dropped.
The problem with making a comparison to this is that these marketing devices were hung in areas for a prolonged period before anyone even became nervous. Walking into an airport is a whole different thing.

She certainly got the attention she wanted. I'll even bet she gets a job offer. Personally, I hope they throw the book at her.

Ok, now I've seen the device. (Scroll down)

These people are all complete idiots.

The problem I have with the commentary at that link is that someone assumes that just because there are LEDs that there couldn't possibly be a bomb. Frankly, I suspect that that is how we come to telling terrorists how to get past security by weakening the ability of the responders to use reason.

Sadly, the security and airport people probably have to react this way due to the rules.


BobG said...

"Blinking LEDs. Who puts LEDs on a bomb?"

The prop guys in the movie industry.

Nylarthotep said...

Heh. Wish I had said that.