Saturday, January 10, 2004

Lucky stupidity isn’t a crime
Jeralyn over at TalkLeft has this little goodie:
DENVER (AP) - A 24-year-old Army sergeant was removed from an American Airlines flight after an inert land mine was found in his checked baggage, the Transportation Safety Administration said.

TSA screeners noticed the land mine Friday, pulled the bag from the luggage system at Denver International Airport and confiscated the mine, TSA spokesman Mike Fierberg said. No flights were delayed. The soldier, whose name was not released, could face civil penalties for trying to put a prohibited item aboard a flight, Fierberg said. No criminal charges would be filed, he said. The man was released by police, but the airline refused to allow him aboard his flight to Dallas, Fierberg said.

For lack of more details, I’ll have to make a few assumptions here. I’m guessing that the term “inert” in the first paragraph means nonfunctional and that the land mine was rendered nonfunctional by removing the explosive charge. In other words, he was carrying the empty shell of a land mine home as a souvenir. At least that’s what I hope it means based on the fact that no criminal charges were made. I can’t imagine the authorities not bringing criminal charges against someone who tried to bring a functional explosive device, or any kind of explosive substance, on board a commercial flight. “Victor,” in the comments at TalkLeft suggests that this is the case and the civil charge the sergeant is for not declaring such an item.

What was the good sergeant thinking? Hasn’t he heard that there is a war on and that some people, especially around airplanes, are a wee bit paranoid? Actually, I do know what he was thinking; I’ve known too many people like that. He managed to rationalize his way around to talking himself into something really stupid. Oh, it’s not a real mine and they don’t check all of the baggage so they probably won’t even notice. He just doesn’t take that next step in his chain of thought: but what if they do notice? The sergeant is lacking in plain common sense. I hope his superiors give him a firm talking to when he gets back to the base.

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