There’s a news story that’s going on right now that is really, really pissing me off on several levels.
Here’s the story: Star Simpson, a student at MIT, went to the airport to pick up a friend. On her jacket she had a breadboard with several LEDs and a nine-volt battery that powered them. Now, I’m choosing my words deliberately here, because word choice is one of the things that’s so aggravating about the way this story is being reported. In case you’ve never played with one, a breadboard is a plastic board with holes in it and metal circuits inside. It’s used for prototyping electrical circuits – it’s re-usable and much easier than printing up your own printed circuit boards. But I digress.
The cute little artsy breadboard was identified by airport personnel as a possible bomb. Star was arrested, had to pay $750 bond to get out of jail, and is currently charged with “posessing a hox device”. The news media is consistently using the phrase “fake bomb” in their reporting.
Here’s what really gets me: security from the airport confronted this girl and arrested her. They saw the breadboard up close. They decided it was a potential bomb. Ever since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the entire world has implemented lots of extra security measures in airports, but the people who are supposed to be the experts in security can’t tell a bomb when the see one – or don’t see one.
There are people walking around airports with machine guns and the authority to potentially send you to prison without legal counsel for the rest of your life right here in the United States, and they are not very bright. This should make everyone worry.