I came across this particular post on BoingBoing today and got kind of pissed off. A lot of DIYers are defending the 19-year-old MIT student, Star Simpson, who last week, walked into Boston’s Logan International Airport with this odd homemade electronic device on her sweatshirt. Understandable, but there’s something called social responsibility that applies to us humans.
From what I’ve read, this girl who had the device is one smart cookie. She goes to MIT and has received a few awards, so I’m assuming she’s an intelligent person. Now, she probably didn’t intend for the device to look like a bomb, but she should have though about a few things before heading off to Logan. Earlier this year, Cartoon Network threw up a bunch of light-up Mooninites around Boston as part of a guerilla marketing campaign. Someone saw one in the daytime and freaked out thinking it was a bomb.
National media attention was given to the incident and as a result, Boston upped its security. This incident was definitely overkill, but it happened and it’s done. Star should have remembered this and thought about it for a second. Walking into an airport with an improvised, light-up electronic device? Of course that’s going to set off an alert with TSA employees. Their job is to help keep our airports secure, not to instantly recognize DIY electronics some student whipped up in a dorm room.
Secondly, we’re living in a post-9/11 world. Save me your rant on ethics, Bush, security and civil rights. Although there are issues regarding homeland security that piss everyone off, when it comes to flying at a huge airport like Logan, I’m glad there’s a ton of security. Know why? So I don’t end up dying when some jackass flies the plane I’m on into a building or getting stabbed. Last I checked, the general consensus was that dying sucks. Think about that long and hard for a second. So you have to take off your shoes and put a bunch of crap through an X-ray machine. Cry me a river or I’ll call up Nicky B’s Pizza and order you some French Cries. Your pick.
So why is everyone coming to this girl’s defense? I agree that she shouldn’t be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but 100 hours of community service or something similar would smack some sense into her. Maybe Star was trying to make a statement or just wearing an original piece of clothing. Either way, I doubt she intended for her DIY device to be recognized as a hoax explosive device.
Hopefully Star will make it out of this with a light sentence. Maybe a little probation or something, whatever. She’s fine. What I don’t get is why the DIY community rallies behind her like a bunch of buffoons. There’s this shirt being sold to support Star’s legal fees. Here it is:
Improvising electronic devices may not be a crime, but bringing them to an airport is downright retarded. Mailing improvised electronic devices is also a pretty stupid idea. Just think for two seconds about what you’re doing. Sure, you may be pissed off that USPS scans your packages and flags your homemade oscilloscope as a bomb, but you can’t change the system. These people are just doing their jobs to ensure your safety, that’s all.
The next time you make something with a soldering iron, leave it at home or invite your friends over to show it off. If you’re on a college campus like Star was, organize a DIYer meeting or something similar. Not only will your new light-up sweatshirt be the talk of the school, you’ll meet people with similar interests and you might even make some friends. Use your mind, not your machine.