Sep 21, 2007

Star Simpson: Idiot Prankster or Absent-Minded Geek?

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Left: Hooded sweatshirt of Star Simpson that created an airport furor

By now most of you have heard about Star Simpson, the 19-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) student who walked into Boston's Logan International Airport on Friday with what has been described as a fake bomb strapped to her chest.

Simpson claimed that the black hooded sweatshirt, which featured a computer circuit board with battery-operated, flashing green lights, was actually created to get attention at Career Day.

State police, who were called to Logan by an airport employee, arrested Simpson outside Terminal C and charged her with disorderly conduct and with "possession of a hoax device." Simpson pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a $750 personal bond.

On Star Simpson's website, she described herself as "an inventor, artist, engineer, and student," as well as a person who loves "to build things and I love crazy ideas." Check, check, check, check, and check to all of the above.

Still, if indeed Simpson did not intend to pull a prank on adrenalinized airport police at Logan, she certainly qualifies as someone who is a bit daft. While one might make a case that Massachusetts police overreacted, Simpson should have enough common sense to recognize that airports in the post-9/11 world have become hyper-vigilant fortresses with security personnel prepared to kill.

So the world awaits, with semi-bated breath, the first post-jail interview with Star Simpson to get a look at the young woman who came close to taking a few 7.62 mm caliber rounds to the head with her choice in fashion today.

14 comments:

JQ said...

Any publicity...

MP said...

"Simpson should have enough common sense to recognize that airports in the post-9/11 world have become hyper-vigilant fortresses with security personnel prepared to kill"

Yes, especially since this was Logan Airport, where the planes that hit the Twin Towers took off from.

Publicity move? Probably, but had she pretended to reach into her pocket or purse (if she had one), Lord knows that they might have killed her.

Geek or prankster, not smart.

winsleuth said...

It worries me more that the training we are giving to these security people is so poor they could suspect this gizmo was not a threat! While wasting time dealing with her, someone with the real thing could be getting through. You have to have seen the picture of the device. Circuits like this are covered in Electronic Lab at about age 14 and a bomb needs an explosive, a button, more than scotch tape to hold it together what she had isnt close. Just another example of what a bad mix fear and stupidity are. No wonder Bush has such an easy time keeping Americans scared to death about everything.
ukemist@comcast.net

winsleuth said...

edit error of Winsleuth

Make that ...
It worries me more that the training we are giving to these security people is so poor they could suspect this gizmo was a real threat!

Anonymous said...

"Fake bomb" was a comment by the State Police reported in the first paragraph of the first AP news story on the incident by a particularly clueless reporter. "Strapped to her chest"... Scotch tape is strapping?

Try this out before speculating more about Star Simpson's motives. She was stopped at gunpoint by police, who determined the blinkie device was harmless. Then she was arrested.

If you want to think in terms of publicity, seems to me the police wanted publicity. Otherwise, they would have sent her home with a stern warning.

The Screaming Nutcase said...

Boston was also the place where they shut the city down over the Cartoon Network devices. Not a good place to walk around with blinky lights, apparently....

Redeemer said...

winsleuth dont be an idiot. If they would ignore thing like that it could be 9/11 everywhere all the time and its not every day lunatics want to make statements with amateur devices that mostly look like bombs not to mention real bombs. People should use some commonsense when stepping into airports. The whole apparatus was attached to hoodie (cant really tell whats inside) and according to Finnish media she was holding modelling clay in her hand. I would shoot first, ask questions later, just to be sure...

-Sepp said...

She's either an idiot or, somone who was probing airport security for a weakness.

Anonymous said...

Star may consider herself an "artist" but realistically, she's completely ignorant and deserves any jail time and/or fines she may receive. To show up anywhere with a device like that (and yes, I DID see the pictures) attached to her is ridiculously oblivious and wholely disrespectful to the country we have come to know since 9/11. Nothing will ever be the same in this world, at least not until our generation has died off. Maybe instead of "career day", they should have "respect day"...or perhaps "how NOT to be an idiot" day at MIT.

Anonymous said...

And as for giving her a "stern warning"...because of her ignorance, people were scared and the police were called. A "stern warning" is hardly enough punishment for her display. Maybe that's the problem with that generation...they were given "stern warnings" all their lives. It's time to up the ante and hold them responsible for their actions. Clearly, her parent's don't even take her actions seriously if they are "proud" of what she did. This is real life. Your daughter could have been killed by police if she hadn't followed directions. Wake up, people!!!!!

Scara said...

Star Simpson sounds like about 10,000 other brainy tinkerers I know. LEDs are getting pretty popular among the hardware hacker crowd these days as knowledge about how to add them to art projects becomes more common. A friend of mine teaches a class in the subject and people come to it with all kinds of applications they want to use LEDs for. Putting blinky on something or yourself is something a lot of folks I know do for fun.

To say it was a "fake bomb" is imposing a judgment. Everyone's saying "dumb chick went to an airport with a fake bomb, DUH" but not all that blinks is a bomb, or a fake bomb. Paranoid cops remind me of that saying "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." LEDs are used practically everywhere now, in almost all electronic devices, and it's definitely a stretch to say that any red blinking light has got to be a bomb. Do you really think that jihadi's add blinky lights to their homemade bombs?

While I think the cops were wrong, I can understand their reaction. It's a damn good thing they didn't hurt her.

It would be nice if people would get real and cut her the same slack. It wasn't a good idea to wear blinky to the airport (of all places). But let's not impose a conclusion and say she deliberately marched in there wearing a "fake bomb."

Yes, in my mind this is an unintentional and stupid move by an absent minded geek.

Chris mankey said...

"Star may consider herself an "artist" but realistically, she's completely ignorant and deserves any jail time and/or fines she may receive. To show up anywhere with a device like that (and yes, I DID see the pictures) attached to her is ridiculously oblivious and wholely disrespectful to the country"

No,moron she deserves to do some community service and nothing else. Wearing a led name tag isn't "wholely disrespectful to the country" except in your paranoid and idiotic mind!

Chris mankey said...

"A "stern warning" is hardly enough punishment for her display. Maybe that's the problem with that generation...they were given "stern warnings" all their lives. It's time to up the ante and hold them responsible for their actions."

What "display" is that? Her led name tag? All of the display was put on by the boston police! What actions should she be held accountable for? Where a weird name tag? I guess I understand why you want to be anonymous, with idiotic opinions like this!

EyeNZenSky said...

The comment "...Do you really think that jihadi's add blinky lights to their homemade bombs?" is right on. Very disturbing how many are ready to crucify this STUDENT. If you have a son/dghtr (I do) in college they dont get taught a lot of common sense, but they can be super smart, ie. MIT Engineer. They get the common sense later once they are done studying relentlessly and turn on the Scary Tube. Their schedules are Brutal! If LED's were taken out of all the gizmos these STAR haters have, they would be so pissed off. I hope Star gets her life back and given what she was studying may well get to add something to your life someday. IF the Security staff WAS trained, Star would have just been warned and MORE time could be devoted the these threats you all are have been scared to death about. Oh, and it wasnt in a hoodie, it was plain as paint scotch taped to her hoodie's front chest or waist level as one guy mentioned. If you havent seen the picture, dont waste space and call Me an Idiot. Inform yourself. She was into Genetics too and may cure a disease someday.

Winsleuth
WS
ZC

ukemist@comcast.net