A little reality intruding on the spin: The Star Simpson Incident

Originally posted to my Tripod Blog on 27 October 2007 at 10:57 PM EDT

Let’s check out these videos from the Youtube user winsleuth.

If you’re tuning in very, very late and are wondering what on earth this could possibly be about, here’s the story as it is known now: An MIT student named Star Simpson was headed to a job fair, and on her way dropped by Logan International to pick up her boyfriend, who was on an inbound flight. She had assembled an electronic id badge which made a visual pun on her name – it showed a blinking star. There was nothing to it but a few LEDs, a simple circuit board and a battery. An airport employee saw it, went into hysterics and for no particularly good reason, decided that what she was seeing had to be a bomb. As one can see for oneself, just by looking at the photo in this news story, that conclusion was absurd

Story: here

The 'fake bomb' worn by Star Simpson being displayed

but, as Barnum once allegedly observed, nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. The unfortunate undergrad found herself surrounded by trigger happy Massachussetts state troopers who, in the middle of a crowded airport, had machine guns drawn and trained on her for the heinous crime of wearing a blinking name tag. The representative of the state police, a man by the name of Pare, far from being decently ashamed and embarassed over the fact that he and his men had endangered an innocent girl and every innocent bystander who would have been caught in the crossfire after recoil had inevitably thrown off the shots being fired at what would have been the girl’s soon to be lifeless body, actually bragged about the near brush his men had with the commission of an act of reckless homicide.

The spin given by the prosecutor, who at the time of this writing is actually trying to put the student in prison, is that the blinky badge was a fake bomb, even though it didn’t look like one and wasn’t presented as one. Most of the professional news media – at least those I’ve seen tape from – seem to have presented only the spin, left out the photos and other awkward details. (Disclaimer: I came across this story late, and can’t yet be certain that the footage I’ve seen hasn’t been selectively edited by third parties). The prevailing view among bloggers and those commenting on blogs has seemed to have been that the student deserved to die for not psychically knowing that the employee would leap to the bizarre conclusion that she did, and that in any case, the actual facts regarding what it was that she actually wore were beside the point in determining her guilt or innocence.

The word for today is “kafkaesque”. What is being proposed is a standard of justice that no country can adopt, if that country is to evolve into anything but a totalitarian state. I’ll probably write more about this later.

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~ by Joseph Dunphy on January 16, 2011.

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