Another terrorist nabbed

Before September 11 and after, I have always wanted to say the word “bomb” while waiting in line for security. Call it a weakness. I understand why doing so would attract attention to myself, and would be willing to receive that extra attention, were I ever to say, for example, “I have no bombs” to a screener. I have trouble, however, in understanding how this statement of fact could be illegal.

Even so, when 17-year-old David Socha put a bomb threat in his bag, it seems reasonable to me that he be arrested for the hoax. A threat is more than simply a comment–it’s a clear statement of intended harm. I was interested to discover the nature of this threat. The Globe reports the note as reading:

”[Expletive] you. Stay the [expletive] out of my bag you [expletive] sucker. Have you found a [expletive] bomb yet? No, just clothes. Am I right? Yea, so [expletive] you.”

I think he has eloquently expressed what many of us are thinking when we have our bags [expletive] searched. Yes, we may recognize the necessity, and most of us try to remain polite and treat those executing the search with courtesy, but I doubt I am alone in being [expletively] [expletive]. This is especially so when the searches are not random.

One of his neighbors was contacted. “‘I’m surprised,’ [neighbor] Ryan said. ‘I thought he was a good kid.'”

Stupid note. Who isn’t stupid at 17? But in the world of things that teens do, should this be taking up the court’s time? Sounds like he didn’t like people messing with his business, and he made the honest mistake of thinking that he could express this in writing. He’ll learn. We all will.

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  1. Posted 8/3/2003 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    As always, I was a little late on this. Cory Doctorow posted basically the same thing on Boing Boing hours earlier. I just wanted to note for the record that I wasn’t ripping off his post, but I bet many had the same reaction when they read the article.

  2. Posted 8/4/2003 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh, come on- hasn’t everyone put a note like that in their bag at some point in their life…

    Living in Buffalo, part of growing up was Saturdays and Sundays at Crystal Beach, in Canada, barely a 40-minute drive. Frequenting another country is part of life around here. But I always remember my father in the driver’s seat issuing the stern warning to “just say United States when they ask where you were born and then SHUT UP!”

    The next question they ask you when you’re driving across one of the 5 convenient bridges is “anything to declare?” (Which, for some reason always makes me want to launch into my best Blanche DuBois.) That was the scary one in case they thought you looked suspicious, (in those days, tie-dye was the height of subversiveness) pulled you over, and found the one-more-than-allowed carton of cigarettes.

    So, the questions from the agents are the same these days, but it all seems so much more sinister and serious. Which, well it is. But your 11-year-old kid still says, “can I say I’m a (fill in the blank)? Only now the warnings from the driver’s seat are much louder and more stern.

  3. Posted 8/4/2003 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    “We’re from France. Let us consume mass quantities.”

    I’ve never understood the question about “business or pleasure.” As if it had to be one or the other. Most often it is both, and sometimes it is neither. I did answer “no” once to this question (entering Japan) and the inspector went and got his supervisor.

    But I am generally left alone at the border crossings. I’ve always “dressed”–even if this meant wearing a jacket over a T-shirt Miami Vice style–and I’m almost never searched.

    The time I really wanted to mess with border guards was when I was communiting across the Orange County-San Diego crossing. I was always just pissed that they were there and half-hoping that they would mess with me, but they never did. At the time, I equated them with the Gestapo, but that was pre-9/11. Now it’s just normal.

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