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Government Transportation United States

Man Arrested At Oakland Airport For Ornate Watch 519

First time accepted submitter mbeckman writes "A man was arrested at Oakland airport for having bomb-making materials. The materials? An ornate watch and extra insoles in his boots. Despite the bomb squad determining that there was no bomb, The Alameda county sheriffs department claimed that he was carrying 'potentially dangerous materials and appeared to have made alterations to his boots, which were Unusually large and stuffed with layers of insoles.' The man told Transportation Security Administration officers that he's an artist and the watch is art."
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Man Arrested At Oakland Airport For Ornate Watch

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  • Take that! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:45PM (#42014737)
    Take that Freedom and creativity!
    • Re:Take that! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:50PM (#42014781) Journal

      The home the brave, where we fear unusal timepieces and footwear.

      • Come on, you know the law, "Create Art, go to jail."

        Of course, raise your hand if you need multiple Insoles, and compartments in your shoes.
      • Re:Take that! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chewbacon ( 797801 ) on Sunday November 18, 2012 @12:53AM (#42017023)
        I've long admitted that the terrorists won: we are fucking terrified.
    • Re:Take that! (Score:4, Informative)

      by rullywowr ( 1831632 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:27PM (#42015087)
      Take that, 4th amendment! Shit, I just went through TSA today with a coiled air compressor hose (the yellow type)...that was lots of fun..
  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:45PM (#42014743) Journal
    Well done Timothy. I submitted this story earlier and the submission by mbeckman appears to be copied from my submission. [slashdot.org]
    • by jhoegl ( 638955 )
      Yeah, its why I stop submitting.
    • by mbeckman ( 645148 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:40PM (#42015601)
      Whoever57, If that is your real name.

      I did copy your previous post, after I replied to it and Slashdot for some reason deleted the whole article. I had saved a copy and reposted to help propagate this inportant example of TSA idiocy. I didn't give you credit because you're the kind of person that calls someone a plagiarist for simply reposting the existence and summary of a widely available news item. You plagiarist, you ;)

  • Never forget... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:49PM (#42014775)

    01-31-2007 Never Forget [wikipedia.org]

    Remember kids, just don't say, look, or do anything weird and nothing will happen to you.

  • Aloha Snackbar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:52PM (#42014801)
    I'll reserve judgement until I see the boots and the watch.
  • by Kwyj1b0 ( 2757125 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:53PM (#42014813)

    From the article, it seems as if the TSA did the safe thing and called the bomb squad, which I guess is the right thing to do. I don't expect the guy at the checkpoint to be able to decide if the "modified" watch is dangerous or not, and so they called in the experts (who decided that there were no explosives).

    What bothers me is that he was then arrested: "McGann was taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin where he was charged with possessing materials to make an explosive device" (emphasis mine). Isn't that too broad a charge? I'm sure every household has material that could conceivably be used to make an explosive device. Is everyone a threat now (in an actual enforceable sense, not in a we-assume-everyone-is-guilty sense)?

    • by Jim Hall ( 2985 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:03PM (#42014909) Homepage

      It's interesting to draw a comparison between this guy making his own watch as an "art project" and Woz's Nixie tube watch [youtube.com] which he says he has worn on flights. Did the TSA just let Woz through because he was Woz?

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      Don't bombs usually require some kind of....uh.....explosive?

    • by Intrepid imaginaut ( 1970940 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:39PM (#42015175)

      Isn't that too broad a charge?

      That the question even needs to be asked is a pitiable commentary on the state of affairs in the US today.

  • Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:56PM (#42014833)

    With all the bullshit pictures on the linked site, one would think there would be an image of the fucking watch... so I watched the video where bubbly mc blonde flaps along for a min and nothing.

    can someone show the god damned watch already? how ornate is a watch before the bullshit squad get your face on the news?

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `ayertim'> on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:14PM (#42015431)

      With all the bullshit pictures on the linked site, one would think there would be an image of the fucking watch...

      That would be like... gasp... distributing pictures of materials that can be potentially used to make a bomb. A lesser offense, but probably enough to get a fine

      Not to mention the risks that the terrorists will learn what kind of ornate watches around suspicion and de-assemble their bombs into less suspicious ornate watches

      On a serious note -- the guy is still detained, not like they could contact him for comment or pictures

  • by Thagg ( 9904 ) <thadbeier@gmail.com> on Saturday November 17, 2012 @05:59PM (#42014863) Journal

    I was traveling from LAX to New Orleans to shoot Bit Momma's House 2 (you remember that, don't you?) After some bad experiences checking baggage, I carried on my supplies, including my tracking kit.

    Now, my tracking kit was a small Pelican case filled with watch batteries, short wires, and LEDs. After it went through the X-Ray machine, the TSA agent looked at the screen, looked at me, looked at the screen, then picked up the box. He carefully unlatched it, and held it out *as far as he could* as he opened it, turning his head away and looking through the corners of his eyes.

    Needless to say, I was insulted.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:03PM (#42014915) Homepage

    faced with a budget surplus and a terrorism deficit, the Oakland Airport TSA spring into action and arrest the most suspicious thing they can come up with after 3 red bulls and a half dozen cruellers: a 50 year old white man with a nice watch and a pair of comfy shoes.

    freedom has been preserved once more thanks to the watchful eye of a handful of overweight highschool drop-outs in cheap polyester slacks and clip-on ties....but for how long?

    tune in for an exciting conclusion to next weeks "Security theatre." Will the man in the comfy shoes buy a new, even more dastardly ornate watch with his lawsuit payout? What devious new orthopaedics will our nemesis equip himself with next? All this and more will be revealed in, "episode 25: I elected obama twice, this shits not funny anymore"

  • The new normal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:04PM (#42014931) Journal
    I imagine this https://www.adafruit.com/products/950 [adafruit.com] would give TSA agents pause, especially if its modified even further (blinky lights, toggles etc).
    • Re:The new normal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:15PM (#42015435) Homepage

      I had this device [hylobatidae.org] discovered in my backpack during a TSA extra-gropey our-explosives-detector-machine-has-beeped secondary inspection. It was powered down, but it actually is a hacked-together, home-made gadget for triggering an external unit [flickr.com].

      The TSA agents responsible were grumbling about having to work next to the ineffectual backscatter X-ray scanners (I'd opted out), and were interested in what camera equipment I had and what I'd recommend for a beginner. Many of the agents are human, and sick to death of the security theatre they have to work with.

      (As a photographer who likes taking pictures [flickr.com] of weird bits of crumbling infrastructure, I've had plenty of run-ins with security guards and the like. Oddly, I've never been arrested.)

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:16PM (#42015011)

    Those aren't bomb materials. Those are, at best, timer-making materials and a place to conceal something.

    Yeah, sure, if the guy's got ammonium nitrate and kerosene in his carry-on, those would be bomb-making materials. Go ahead and arrest him for that.

    But if you're going to start arresting people for stuff that can be part of a bomb without actually being dangerous, you should start by taking away everyone's cell phone. Not only do they all have timer functions now, but they can, and have, been used as remote triggers.

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:21PM (#42015047) Homepage

    and in retaliation they charge the guy with a real crime. He should set up a donation site so we can donate to his legal fund so he can stir up moire shit. Now for those will will spout the If you got nothing to hide... Well he had nothing to hide yet the authorities still railroaded him.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:21PM (#42015049) Homepage Journal

    Anybody who's read or watched 1960s spy stories knows how to make a detonation timer with an ordinary watch or analog clock. You scrape the paint of one of the hands and position a bare wire on the face so it completes the circuit at the desired time. So the argument the cops are making that the watch was capable of triggering a bomb means exactly nothing. Anything capable of marking the passage of time can be adapted to trigger a bomb. You could rig a trigger with an hour glass if you wanted to.

    • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:28PM (#42015503)

      Not only analog watches, digital watches are even easier, set the alarm for a specific time, and connect to the buzzer...

      Of course he wasn't arrested because he had a big ridiculouse watch, he was arrested because he made someone look stupid when the bomb squad showed up and couldn't find a bomb... the law for "making an authority figure look bad" isn't written down anywhere, but it is one of the crimes that is guaranteed to get you arrested almost every single time.

  • by zill ( 1690130 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:21PM (#42015051)
    Since no one mentioned it yet, Casio F91W [wikipedia.org].

    Remember, choosing the wrong brand of watch could land you in Gitmo.

    Casio, not even once.
  • by hduff ( 570443 ) <hoytduff.gmail@com> on Saturday November 17, 2012 @06:28PM (#42015095) Homepage Journal

    ... we can't have safe things. Morons.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:12PM (#42015401) Homepage

    The crime is that he cant sue the Cops that arrested them directly. If cops had to pay for their crimes they would be less like assholes and more like civilized people.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @08:49PM (#42015993) Homepage Journal

    America used to be the greatest nation of tinkerers and inventors in the world. Now we're a nation of consumers. The ability and inclination to create things is now considered prima facia evidence of anti-social tendencies.

    There's recently been an Internet-driven renaissance of inventing things -- the maker movement. But there's something sinister about the movement. It's *international*. Consider the Arduino. It was developed in the *commune* of Ivrea Italy, and the design is the property of *nobody*. The Trilateral Commission is probably behind it, assisted by the socialist Obama administration.

    People who know more than you are scary. People who know more than you *cooperating* with each other is scarier still.

MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.