So for being completely innocent, he is likely out $15,000 plus attorney's fees and lost work time.
I did database programming back in the early 1990's for a California bail bonding company. As I recall the standard cost for a bail bond was 10% which does not get refunded. This is in addition to someone fronting $150,000 of collateral to secure the bond.
You can post the $150,000 directly with the court and avoid the bond costs. Even if you are rich and have the cash sitting in an account it can take many days to co-ordinate the transfer of cash. (Plus you will have to prove to the court that it is not funds obtained from a criminal enterprise.)
I recall several cases where it appeared that the arresting cops knew there was no case, but figured that they could punish someone due to the cost of the bail fees before the District Attorney, Judges and Juries even got involved.
Basically, the TSA can in effectively fine someone $15,000 at anytime through the extrajudicial punishment.
This sentence is utterly terrifying. Or at least it would be were I american.
First they establish if he has any malicious intent (i.e. is he a terrorist?), then they establish if he has a legitimate non-malicious reason for such odd behavior (i.e. is he an activist?)
Turns out this guy is just a little unhinged.
Activism and terrorism are often one and the same. I don't think it's unfair to describe 9/11 and similar terrorist attacks as forms of activism — not that this in any way justifies the attacks — nor to apply the 'terrorism' label to many self-described activists (e.g. Anonymous with their computer hacking)
Most contemporary terrorists (Islamic extremism being the most salient example) are not terrorizing people for the fun of it. They want to bring about political or social change. The 9/11 terrorists objected to U.S. foreign policy, specifically its support for Israel and continued presence in Saudi Arabia. Terror is just a campaigning tool.
I don't think politicians are too far off the mark when they describe certain contemporary activists as terrorists. As I say, it's a very thin line, and plenty of contemporary activists resort to terror tactics.
Applying that experience to the sentence in question (and probably because I am not as vigilant as you in detecting attacks against freedom), I read it to distinguish activists who would perhaps be wearing a faux-bomb as protest against security measures from terrorists who would be wearing a real bomb watch.
I look forward to your well reasoned response.
Journalists have also been known to test the limits of airport security, taking suspicious items on board planes or gaining access to restricted areas, then reporting on the associated security lapses.
i think that's what worries people (and me). that his own lawyer, apparently defending him (not just explaining, but holding him up in positive contrast), seems to be saying, "look, he's not one of these problem groups". and in that sense, as a "problem group", activist and terrorist are presented as similar.
This doesn't mean that activists can't be terrorists, but to equate the two so generally is quite irresponsible.
The question becomes, was arresting him the right thing to do? Maybe it was--if nobody in the airport had the expertise to decide that this thing that looks like a Die-Hard-style bomb was not dangerous, maybe they had to hold him until an expert could be located.
The other question is, were the charges dropped because he was innocent, or were they dropped because he got media attention? That's probably the more important question. Not everyone can get the news to write about them, and no doubt many injustices in America and in the world get ignored precisely because they're ignored.
How about the fact practically everyone is carrying a smartphone that can be far more easily used as a wireless trigger? You can do a frequency scan/pulse with a phone with an app!
What if someone tried to get onto a plane with a smartphone without a cover and all the electronics exposed, or a clear case?
Those xmas toys people carry on planes, even unwrapped, they contain far more electronics and hiding places than that fake watch with electric fuses.
To a TSA agent who probably has only a high-school education, a power trip, and was raised in a culture where movie supervillains use bombs that look just like that, yes, it's scary.
The right thing to do would have been to stop him in the line, bring in some kind of expert to look it over, then let him get on to the plane. It looks like they started on that path, but then went too far. That's where my questions come in.
Well there's your problem right there. I'm not sure how any argument based on that premise can be a justification for how the TSA agents did anything approaching the right thing in this situation.
(These people are employed by private contractors, yes? If they're employed by the state, then why are they hiring such morans?)
A true explosive device trigger is likely to have wires on it . Explosive devices will also have resistors and perhaps a fuse (can't see why exactly) but to an average TSA employee any device which looks out of the norm with wires is immediately suspicious.
And honestly, if you're going to go to the airport, don't be an idiot. Everyone knows the TSA is hypersensitive and quite ignorant of engineering concepts or art in this case, don't push the limits when you know that this is likely to happen.
Also, if they had simply gotten an expert or not let him board that would be understandable. But instead they arrested him.
Besides which, in this case they managed to determine that the watch didn't have any explosives attached, but they still arrested the guy anyway.
This guy is clearly not retarded, so he is obviously a publicity whore.
End of story.
And they let him rot in jail while the charges were already dismissed.
Talk about a complete power-trip.
I think I saw Boing Boing championing his cause, which isn't too unexpected, but the guy must have known he was running the gauntlet and it detracts from the actual batshit stuff the TSA do.
What's also batshit is the idea that people need to curtail their free speech in order not to piss off some ill-trained goons managing a contrived state of fear.
I know the rules, I follow them, thus never had any issues in airports. But there is a golden rule: if you feel like you are probably going to break a rule ( by carring somethin g strange, for example), do the first step. Always. And it works. Heck, I moved a a few bottles of finest lager from Munich to NY, I went to AA representative and after explained she agreed with me taking them.
Anyone have an idea as to why?