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  • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

    "Ba-dum, bum"
    Never drink anything larger than your head!





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    • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

      Ok, not trying to resurrect a dead thread or throw gas on the fire, but I thought this related well to the debate here about over reaction.

      http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post...ments-act.html

      Short version: New proposed legislation in Boston; If you cause a terrorist hoax, the authorities can sue you to get the money back they wasted. Problem is they don't have to prove intent, just that they wasted their time.
      Never drink anything larger than your head!





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      • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

        Originally posted by renderman View Post
        Ok, not trying to resurrect a dead thread or throw gas on the fire, but I thought this related well to the debate here about over reaction.

        http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post...ments-act.html

        Short version: New proposed legislation in Boston; If you cause a terrorist hoax, the authorities can sue you to get the money back they wasted. Problem is they don't have to prove intent, just that they wasted their time.
        Typical government over-reaction...
        "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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        • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

          So, if the Government wastes resources based on their own misunderstanding of a given situation, they can demand compensation for the wasted resources? Thats about as asinine as a swat team blowing up small LED ads for a carto... oh, right.

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          • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

            Typical Boston bullshit. they prefer to blame other people for their own stupidity. "We fucked up and shutdown the city over a lite-brite.. it is not our fault".
            Stuff like this sucks.. I really wanted to live in Boston but their idiotic laws keep me away. Even if I had taken the job offer I had there I would have commuted over living there.

            Originally posted by renderman View Post
            Ok, not trying to resurrect a dead thread or throw gas on the fire, but I thought this related well to the debate here about over reaction.

            http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post...ments-act.html

            Short version: New proposed legislation in Boston; If you cause a terrorist hoax, the authorities can sue you to get the money back they wasted. Problem is they don't have to prove intent, just that they wasted their time.
            Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.

            Comment


            • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

              Originally posted by che View Post
              I really wanted to live in Boston but their idiotic laws keep me away.
              heh... i thought that their gun laws would be enough to keep most of us away.

              incidentally, didn't see mention of it in the thread but as far as i know, the city dropped the criminal charges against the two guys in this matter. they're still likely facing minor charges and some community service.
              "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
              - Trent Reznor

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              • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                http://machinist.salon.com/blog/2007.../star_simpson/


                WTF is WRONG with Boston? WTF is wrong with people these days?!?!?! I don't know what to believe here. Also, I love how the media keeps making crap up, especially how the hoax device was strapped to her chest...when the one picture of it clearly shows it on the back of the jacket.....whatever. (EDIT: It was actually pinned to the front my bad) I'm seriously questioning how much further we can become completely stripped of rights and live in even more fear of terrorism or being killed by a bunch of guys following orders at the airport...wait which ones are the terrorists?


                Then as Star Simpson left the airport terminal she found herself surrounded by police holding machine guns, they thought that she had a bomb strapped to her body.

                Apparently she had approached the airport employee to inquire about an incoming flight from Oakland.


                Simpson was "extremely lucky she followed the instructions or deadly force would have been used," Pare said. "She's lucky to be in a cell as opposed to the morgue."

                What if I'm minding my own business and someone calls the cops on me, saying I have a bomb in my purse and for whatever reason, i am resistant feeling that i have RIGHTS or maybe I am just STUPID person or what if I am handicapped or what if someone calls security on me because I wear a heart monitor and I end up cornered by guys with guns, terrified. Which has happened to me actually. h while wearing (and trying to conceal) a heart monitor with a battery pack. Which is kinda scarier than a 9vlt and plastic board. In todays day and age I would be really scared to go anywhere with it, thankfully I don't have to wear it anymore but still...what if i need it again? What about all the others? Man...I'm considering raising my kid in some other country.

                shouldn't someone access the situation before calling the kill squad on a chick with a science kit you can get at KB TOYS and some glitter glue on her damned jacket?
                It's just stupid the escallation GOES This FAR and its all over the news, so much we are all terrified of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING and it's shoot first ask questions later. I give up...Dev Null it if i crossed the line... *LE SIGH*
                /rant

                more links:
                http://news.google.com/nwshp?tab=wn&...&hl=en&topic=h
                Last edited by Nikita; September 21, 2007, 16:39.
                "Haters, gonna hate"

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                • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                  i, too, was especially upset at this story. not just the incident, mind you, but the actual news story as it was "reported" by "journalists" who so badly mangled the facts that they deserve beatdowns.

                  if one reads the comment threads of online news outlets that have public replies enabled, you come to quickly realize how damaging such shoddy reporting is. a site like Fark (a favorite daily read of mine) was one of the worst... an assload of drunken fratboys all saying this girl should have been shot for her "hoax bomb threat which was a publicity stunt"

                  let's go over the facts... the device wasn't strapped to her chest, it was on the back of her hoodie... completely exposed and not concealed in any way. the device wasn't large and bulky, it was small, thin, and had some sort of writing on it. this girl had just come from a job fair (or some other such campus event, reporting has been varied on this point) and was promoting the tech program at MIT.

                  the girl didn't make any threatening comments and wasn't affixing the nefarious play-dough to the device, she simply had some in her possession. she walked up to a counter, asked whether her friend's flight had arrived yet, and walked back out again. she wasn't boarding a plane and didn't go towards any secure areas.

                  for that, she has been vilified by everyone with a web site and is facing criminal charges.

                  the last part really upsets me, too. there was a time when a victim of police or .gov misconduct (harrassment, abuse, or false arrest) would be given a public apology and the department responsible would issue a mea culpa. nowadays, the victims are treated like criminals and charged with "disturbing the peace" or something similar as a matter of policy.

                  this is done, i believe, for three reasons...

                  1. being formally arrested and charged is emotionally upsetting and potentially very taxing on one's finances. someone would often be willing to sign anything (see: the recent Ohio Circuit City receipt arrest story) to make it all go away after 24 hours if a plea bargain is offered.

                  2. being an accused criminal makes it harder to go after the state for damages. one's credibility is knocked down a lot, even if charges are in the process of likely being dropped.

                  3. with the quality of "reporting" and very short deadlines in short news cycle, authorities know that any "facts" in public record, like the mention of an arrest, will automatically be used as padding and filler by "journalists" reporting the matter... and that criminal proceedings will typically be above the fold in the news stories.

                  so what this girl was accused of by the authorities is mentioned first... we're lucky to get a cursory and often error-filled summary of what actually happened someone in the second to last paragraph.

                  i personally think that as far as stories like this go, they're not worth wiping one's own ass with them unless a comment directly from the accused is included. better still, anyone accused of a crime who has yet to go to trial should have the right to read the entire copy before it goes to press and should have the right to inform the news outlet of any errors they find in the text. not saying that the press should be muzzled or that the accused party's "edits" should be set in stone and non-negotiable... but poisoning of a jury pool is a very real risk in cases like this.

                  either that, or the press should be liable in civil court if they report the facts wrong about a criminal matter that has yet to go to trial.
                  "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                  - Trent Reznor

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                  • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                    I think it's relevant to the thread.

                    This event re-enforces an interesting point.

                    In my conversations with theprez98, who has more experience with explosives than I care to ever have, rightly noted that the general public is ill equipped to know what is a bomb and what is not. His point was made to say that you should treat all 'suspicious' items as bombs until proven otherwise.

                    This also can work in the reverse. As this case noted, the airline employee freaked at something that 'looked like a bomb'. Problem is that, in this case, it looked like a Hollywood bomb (Hollywood bombs always have lots of wires and a menacing looking blinking LED on them).

                    This recent event and a few other recent ones (suspected dry runs using cheese blocks for explosives) show that staff freak at anything that looks like a Hollywood bomb, but are likely ill equipped to notice real threats.

                    I was hoping at con to put the screws to theprez98 at his talk but I'll have to do it here.

                    The whole 'suspicious device' thing boils down to location, location, location.

                    'Treat it like a bomb until proven otherwise' is rational, however it needs to scale. In downtown Baghdad, given the availability of raw explosive materials (i.e. all of Saddams ammo dumps that were not guarded after the invasion), it's more likely that a 'suspicious device' on the side of the road is a bomb, than say, downtown Boston. I think you'd find that the ratio for bomb/benign are inverse from each other for Baghdad and Boston with alot more bombs in Baghdad.

                    The same sadly can be said about locations within cities. The mooninites freaked out the cops because it was on a bridge support and the sweatshirt was in an airport. Sadly this means that people are on heightened alert and prone to overreacting.

                    This also shows how far things have slipped into a police state. She is apparently being charged with possession of a 'hoax device'. Basically a charge that she created some commotion and authorities had to be called. Now we have stressed out, nervous and underpaid airport employees getting to decide what is a hoax device and usually using what Hollywood has taught them to be fearful of (liquid explosives anyone?), rather than real threats which are often nothing like Hollywood.

                    I'd be curious what would have happened if the wearer of the shirt was of middle eastern decent......

                    I suggest reading Bruce's contest on Movie-plot threats: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archive..._annual_m.html
                    Last edited by renderman; September 21, 2007, 16:52.
                    Never drink anything larger than your head!





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                    • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                      Treating these things as an intellectual exercise after reading about it in a paper or on a blog site is far different than dealing with it on the ground. The police can't change when something is called a bomb. Again, once something has been reported as a bomb -and a it isn't immediately obvious that it is not- the police can only react to what is reported. That means they stop and stabilize the situation until they know what they're dealing with at the time. Sometimes that means destroying the object through a controlled explosion. That isn't overreacting, it's being prudent. "Scaling" a reported bomb guarantees that sooner or later that some cops end up with dead, because the odds catch up with people who ignore procedure.

                      Please note that the shoddy reporting goes both ways. We don't have the input of the affidavits, so we don't know what is supporting the charges. For example, a stupid, smart-ass remark (e.g. "Yeah, it's a big fucking bomb") said at the wrong time can go a long way in escalating a situation, may be considered as an incriminating statement, and may well justify hoax charges.

                      Has the fear, especially in airports, gone way overboard? No question about it. However, while the police are the the most visible arm of the government in these situations, they are least able to change the policy. If you don't like these things (or anything an arm of the government does) then complain to the appropriate political type. They are the ones setting and approving policy.
                      Thorn
                      "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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                      • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                        Originally posted by nikita
                        I give up...Dev Null it if i crossed the line... *LE SIGH*
                        For those that follow, and wonder about rules like replying to old threads, here is an example of where it was totally fine to bring up an old thread:

                        Nikita posted significant ideas on this topic, so as to make it a really good idea to bring back an older thread.

                        Of course this is just my opinion, but someone told me my opinion is sometimes worth more than that of lunatics, but only 2. 3 Lunatics' opinions are worth more than mine.

                        Now for my being on topic:

                        It seems to me, that fear of the unknown is the motivational ingredient to cause reactionary behavior. Collections of "what-if's" in the minds of those with authority, or power to turn the wheels of justice, and grind you between them, seem to lead to what appear to casual observers to be irrational behavior.

                        There is an additional item that plays a part in such real-time events, and it is directly related to that phrase, "you can never make a first impression twice." If Joe citizen calls 911 to complain about a suspicious device (like those that were found) and Joe Citizen mentions that it looks like it could be a bomb, then there is a high risk of the keyword "bomb" getting replicated when instructions are passed through the chain of people involved.

                        Joe: Hello 911? There is this strange device on the bridge.
                        911: Does the device look like is poses a threat to people or items nearby?"
                        Joe: (Thinking:) Threat? Do they know something I don't? Maybe it is a bomb.
                        Joe: "I guess it could be a bomb."

                        Excitement follows.

                        Such keywords, once introduced, are hard to ignore.
                        Last edited by TheCotMan; September 21, 2007, 19:26.

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                        • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                          Very good point Cotman; Is some of the over-reaction to these devices because it's simpler to just say 'bomb' than sign looking thing with wires and batteries?

                          This relates with Thorns comment that it is appropriate that if it may be a bomb, you treat it as such until otherwise noted. If you scale it, someone could end up dead. As we discussed before though, what needs to happen is a quick de-escalation when the situation is deemed not dangerous.

                          On a semi-related note. New York has their whole "If you see something, say something" campaign going on, encouraging people to report suspicious behavior. While I was out there, they were running TV spots saying something along the lines of "Last year 972 of you said something. Thank you".

                          This got me wondering though; How many of those calls actually were related to someone reporting something suspicious and it actually stopping a crime/terrorism? Number of calls does not necessarily equal results.
                          Never drink anything larger than your head!





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                          • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                            As is typical in these situations I am always in the minority. Regardless of the exact facts of the story (which seem to be in dispute), walking through an airport with anything that could be perceived as a suspicious device is not very smart.

                            The courts in this country have long recognized that while Americans have a right to travel and freedom of movement, these rights are necessarily restricted somewhat in certain areas (airports and borders, for example). That being said, your actions will be perceived differently in an airport than in a town square.

                            Remember that in these forums we have time and hindsight on our side. As Thorn said:
                            Originally posted by Thorn
                            Treating these things as an intellectual exercise after reading about it in a paper or on a blog site is far different than dealing with it on the ground.
                            Exactly!
                            "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

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                            • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                              Originally posted by Nikita View Post
                              shouldn't someone access the situation before calling the kill squad on a chick with a science kit you can get at KB TOYS and some glitter glue on her damned jacket?
                              It's just stupid the escallation GOES This FAR and its all over the news, so much we are all terrified of ANYTHING and EVERYTHING and it's shoot first ask questions later.
                              It wasn't a "kill squad", it was a standard Massport MSP detail. They are equipped with HK MP5s as a standard weapon.

                              The people on the DC Forums may know what the circuit prototyping board is, but unless you're in a small percentage of the US population that's into DIY electronics, most people don't have the foggiest idea what it might be. As on person wrote on a blog:
                              It's unreasonable to expect everyone else to see homebrew electronics on someone's shirt and deduce immediately at a glance that it's a novelty device or "art."
                              Hell, I know what those boards are -I gave away ten of them at DC15-, but a homemade electronics project is about the last thing that I'd expect to see on someone's chest at 8AM in an airport. It's unreasonable to expect that the airport employee should have immediately known what it was, and looked at her and said, "Gosh! An artiste!"

                              Frankly, this kid probably shouldn't be charged for a hoax device, but someone should kick her ass level with her shoulders for being this freaking stupid.

                              Originally posted by renderman View Post
                              This relates with Thorns comment that it is appropriate that if it may be a bomb, you treat it as such until otherwise noted. If you scale it, someone could end up dead. As we discussed before though, what needs to happen is a quick de-escalation when the situation is deemed not dangerous.
                              The police did de-escalate it. She complied, and was taken into custody, and the sweat-shirt and board weren't destroyed. That is de-escalated.

                              With the ATHF Moonies, people here wanted blood from BPD for destroying some of the signs (which I still maintain was reasonable for the police under the circumstances.) Now nothing happens here, MSP doesn't destroy anything, no one was hurt, and people here are still bitching about the police procedure. Argue all you want about the policy, but the police procedure here seems to be understated. At the worst, Ms. Simpson had a gun pointed at her, until she was in custody. Big deal, it happens everyday in police encounters for a lot less than suspected bombs, and it rarely makes headlines.

                              Originally posted by renderman View Post
                              On a semi-related note. New York has their whole "If you see something, say something" campaign going on, encouraging people to report suspicious behavior. While I was out there, they were running TV spots saying something along the lines of "Last year 972 of you said something. Thank you".

                              This got me wondering though; How many of those calls actually were related to someone reporting something suspicious and it actually stopping a crime/terrorism? Number of calls does not necessarily equal results.
                              My NYPD contacts have told me in the past that there have been some terrorism arrests related and charges resulting from that program, although they didn't give me any details.
                              Thorn
                              "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." - Catherine Aird

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                              • Re: Boston Versus ATHF

                                I don't actually think that prez and thorn are in the minority per se on this one. While many people here get a bit wound up anytime a false alarm goes off affecting one or more people in a serious way, it's entirely rational to think that the sensitivity of people's natural warning/caution detectors gets cranked up higher in places like airports, subways, etc.

                                My chief complaint parallels something we discussed in the Boomstick-Fu talk... the fact that prosecutions of innocent parties are a matter of routine policy in certain situations. From the homeowner who fires a weapon at someone breaking in to the traveler whose walkman is mistaken for a bomb in their carry-on, it seems that department policy has been put in place to make life hell for anyone who causes a large use of police or government resources.

                                With respect to shootings... i've often wondered if this is supposed to be some sort of a deterrent. Let's say a burglar is in an old lady's living room but standing right next to her window, do they expect the thought process of this grandmother at that point to be...

                                "Holy Christ... i'd better stand fast and quiet and resist the urge to piss myself while i better ascertain whether or not this person is considering departing. Ah yes, it looks like he may be leaving... i'd surely be smart to not make a sound or brandish my revolver in any way because i'd hate to escalate things to the point where i'd be borrowing $10K from my family and friends for legal defense. Indeed, it looks as if he only has my jewelry box and some of the dinner silver. At most those things are worth $6000 to $7000, combined. I'd better sit tight."

                                i can totally understand the notional rule of "the only time it's appropriate to fire your weapon at someone is when you don't care at that point whether or not you get taken to jail for doing so." but procedural arrest is different than procedural prosecution.

                                the former is quick and painless and makes sense, at least to me. the latter has a huge impact on one's life and one's reputation... as this poor girl in Boston may come to experience soon.
                                "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
                                - Trent Reznor

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