The Boston press is coming down pretty hard on Star Simpson, the MIT sophomore and "artist" who yesterday strolled through Logan airport with a fake bomb and was nearly taken out by security forces. MIT's getting a bit of a black eye as well. [Edited to add: It's not clear that she constructed the device to be a fake bomb, or to look like a bomb; she claims the circuit board with a bunch of wires sticking out from under her sweatshirt was a piece of art she had created to stand out at a career fair -- if true, also a boneheaded move, but not one that rises to the same level as walking into an airport with a device that makes people think you're a suicide bomber. More here.]
I have to wonder what she was smiling about while she was being arraigned? According to the Boston Herald, "[d]uring her arraignment in East Boston, Simpson smiled as her lawyer entered a not guilty plea to possession of a hoax device, a felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine."
Many locals are also making the "brilliant but not bright" observation (with an emphasis on the "not bright" part). From the same article, verbatim:
- "It makes me angry that police, instead of responding to legitimate emergencies, have to be diverted to deal with morons," City Councilor John Tobin said. "In this day and age, you can't play around."
- "Thankfully, because she followed our directions, she is in a jail cell right now instead of the morgue," State Police Maj. Scott Pare said.
- The Logan scare was the second MIT-related incident that has created chaos this month. On Sept. 6, a cleanup crew working the banks of the Charles River was burned when it retrieved metallic sodium. Although the exact source of the substance remains under investigation, the annual "sodium drop" is a tradition for MIT students.
- Yesterday, MIT released a statement calling Simpson's actions "reckless."
People are particularly sensitive about Logan airport, where all four of the 9/11 planes originated:
"Enough with the guerrilla art. It's irresponsible. . . . What did she actually think was going to happen?" asked Juliette Kayyem, undersecretary of Homeland Security.To Alyson Low, whose 28-year-old sister Sara was a flight attendant on one of the planes hijacked six years ago, yesterday's drama was "painful" to watch. "She had better be given a jail cell surrounded by the photographs of all the people who left that airport and never came back," Low said. "With freedom comes responsibility. And she showed none."