Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Caught With their Pants Down

A while ago, a young whippersnapper realized that all this post-September 11th airport security was not really doing its job.

While airport security was busy taking away my eyebrow tweezers (so that if I did take hostages, at least I'd go down in history with well-groomed eyebrows), Nathaniel Heatwole was busy planting boxcutters and modeling clay in the shape of explosives devices on an airplane flying out of Baltimore-Washington International airport. Mind you, he'd taped over the sharp edges of the boxcutters to prevent anyone who found them from accidentally hurting themselves.

After a few days, when no one found the dangerous items (a bit more dangerous than eyebrow pluckers, i'd say) he called it in to the airline. And he had to show them where he hid the items. The items that had made it through our very tough airline security. The items that had hung out on several planes that had been "thoroughly searched on a routine basis".

Instead of airline security saying "Thanks for exposing the gaping flaws in our system, so that we may better protect the American people", they screamed, "Felon!!!" and charged him with a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

They did what most guys do when caught with their pants around their ankles. They blame the next guy -- always keep the buck moving. Nathaniel Heatwole did a great service. I'm thinking the judge agreed with me here, since Nathaniel ended up convicted of a misdemeanor and fined $500 plus 100 hours community service. A mere slap on the wrist, but I think Natey deserves a high-five.

I hope someone donates the $500 to Nate. Maybe we should take up a collection.

I am just totally outraged. Its like when I was in school and this girl snuck into the dorms after hours, only to discover a gas tank was leaking poisonous fumes. Instead of punishing her for sneaking in, the dean quickly evacuated everyone at 4 in the morning. I'm not sure if she got a slap on the wrist or not, or even reprimanded. She certainly wasn't really punished at all. The big difference here is, it wasn't the dean's negligence that caused the gas leak. I am sure that if it was his fault, he would have given the girl all the riches in the world.

Anyway, hats off to you, Nathaniel Heatwole. You're a hero in my book.


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