The forehead-slapping case of Star Simpson, the MIT student who walked into Logan International Airport wearing a computer circuit board and wiring on her sweat shirt, just goes to show that being “book smart” doesn’t not necessarily translate into possessing even the tiniest tidbit of common sense.
The 19-year-old student, who has expertise in electronics and robotics, was dressed up for career day at MIT. She went to the airport to pick up her boyfriend, wearing the white circuit board on her chest over a black hooded sweatshirt, which she told authorities was “art” for career day when they mistook it for a bomb. Silly authorities. The battery-powered rectangular device had nine flashing lights and Simpson had Play-Doh in her hands authorities said. And Play-Doh for brains since Simpson apparently really did not know her get-up would instantly garner the attention of a crowd of submachine-gun carrying troopers.
Phrases on Simpon’s shirt appear to refer to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s major of electrical engineering and computer science. She’s a good student who has never been in trouble before. But all those flashing lights completely short-circuited her judgement. She is lucky to be alive.
“I’m shocked and appalled that somebody would wear this type of device to the airport,” said State Police Maj. Scott Pare, the airport’s commanding officer, speaking on behalf of the world.
On the other hand, not having book smarts does in no way guarantee that someone has any street smarts. Take, for example, the two men in Antioch, Calif., who broke into a building to steal copper wiring. Inside was a group of police officers conducting a K-9 training session. Oops. At the time of the break-in, an officer was hiding inside the building as part of a training exercise. Then a K-9 officer announced that a dog was about to be released and that anyone inside should give themselves up or risk being bitten. One of the men immediately gave himself up and the other was found soon after. Apparently they didn’t see the police cars parked outside.
Then there are those rare heroes who use their powers for the greater good, such as 24-year-old graduate student Bethany Keeley, whose blog exposes the scourge of unnecessary quotation marks. It chronicles, for example, the restaurant billboard in Madison, Wis., which put quote marks around “Lunch” and “Dinners.”
For our part, we wonder what it means to advertise “fresh” bread, or just how small a “10 oz.” Steak might be. And apparently, “Going out of business” means some day, maybe, eventually. And we can’t forget Star Simpson’s wearable explosive-looking device. That’s right, “art.” And “performance art” when the submachine guns were pointed at her.