Teacher Arrested After Bookmark Called Concealed Weapon


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GSB
September 17, 2004, 05:01 PM
http://www.local6.com/news/3738411/detail.html

Teacher Arrested After Bookmark Called Concealed Weapon

POSTED: 6:58 am EDT September 17, 2004
UPDATED: 10:29 am EDT September 17, 2004

TAMPA, Fla. -- Federal officials say a school teacher charged with carrying a concealed weapon - her weighted bookmark - into Tampa International Airport may soon be cleared.

Kathryn Harrington, 52, of Laurel, Md., was flying home from vacation Aug. 17 when airport screeners found her bookmark, an 8 1/2-inch leather strap with small lead weights at each end.

She had carried it on several flights since the 2001 terrorist attacks, even through Tampa, but screeners had never noticed it, she said.

This time they did, and thought it resembled a weighted weapon that could be used to knock people unconscious. Airport police charged her with carrying a concealed weapon.

"It was a bookmark," Harrington, a special education teacher, told the St. Petersburg Times. "It's not a weapon. I could not understand why I was being handcuffed and put into a police car. I cried for hours."

Harrington, who also is a Sunday school teacher, faced a possible criminal trial, a $10,000 fine and the stigma of being deemed a security risk.

Earlier this month, state prosecutors declined to prosecute the case. Even without a criminal charge, though, Harrington still faced a federal civil fine of up to $10,000.

A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration said Thursday that the agency is not likely to seek the fine.

"I think at this point we've decided not to pursue a civil penalty," spokeswoman Lauren Stover said. "It will be sometime next week before all the paperwork is processed to drop the case."

Harrington attorney W.F. "Casey" Ebsary Jr. of Tampa said he hopes travelers will take Harrington's case as a cautionary tale.

"That will not be in my purse ever again when I fly," Harrington said of her bookmark

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Phantom Warrior
September 17, 2004, 05:11 PM
That's the fundamental problem with trying to control THINGS instead of people. Any thing can be used as a weapon. The maglite in my pocket can be a kuboton. Keys into the eye or throat. Pen into the ear or either of the last two. When's the last time someone took away your pen? The law needs to stop restricting items and start restricting behavior. It shouldn't be illegal to carry a gun (w/o a permit), it should be illegal to shoot someone. Well, it is, but that's the only part that should be illegal.

Sorry, this subject has been bothering me for a long time...

deej
September 17, 2004, 05:23 PM
Roll a newspaper or magazine on the long axis, you have an effective improvised striking weapon. Airline headset cords make good garrottes. Etc, etc.

At this rate, we'll all have to be chemically sedated and in four-point restraints before we're allowed to board an aircraft.

Zundfolge
September 17, 2004, 05:44 PM
Harrington attorney W.F. "Casey" Ebsary Jr. of Tampa said he hopes travelers will take Harrington's case as a cautionary tale.

"That will not be in my purse ever again when I fly," Harrington said of her bookmark

Wow ... just take it as "a cautionary tale"?

I think the appropriate response to this story is to take it as "an OUTRAGE! and warning of the coming police state".


So whats next ... if you have ever had martial arts training you're not allowed on an airplane?

:banghead:

Art Eatman
September 17, 2004, 05:50 PM
Other than a flight to and from Europe to visit my son and his wife, I flat-out won't fly. I won't allow myself to be subjected to this sort of nonsense.

This particular instance is as ridiculous as taking 83-year-old Joe Foss' Medal of Honor away from him at Phoenix, because it had sharp points and could be used to harm somebody.

Art

2nd Amendment
September 17, 2004, 05:55 PM
"That will not be in my purse ever again when I fly," Harrington said of her bookmark.

Damn right! That sucker would be hanging out of the copy of Unintended Consequences in my left hand.

444
September 17, 2004, 06:00 PM
Typical Sheeple

She is going to modify her behavior and continue to fly dispite all this.
BOHICA

HankB
September 17, 2004, 06:35 PM
This particular instance is as ridiculous as taking 83-year-old Joe Foss' Medal of Honor away from him at Phoenix, because it had sharp points and could be used to harm somebody. The best story was about the alert screener who spotted and tried to confiscate a shuriken, or throwing star, from a passenger. It was concealed in a wallet, and our intrepid screener tore it out, all in the interest of security.

Thing is, the "shuriken" turned out to be a star-shaped BADGE belonging to an off-duty police officer. :rolleyes:

More and more, I'm convinced the inmates really ARE running the asylum.

Cosmoline
September 17, 2004, 07:14 PM
Actually, those would make surprisingly effective weapons. Like a sap.

Of course, it would be a piece of cake to fashion an even more impressive sap in the jet's bathroom using a sock and a lead object d'art.

As was pointed out above, this is what happens when you focus on OBJECTS not PEOPLE.

wasrjoe
September 17, 2004, 07:19 PM
Well, she was a damn special ed teacher, what do you expect? All that bad karma had to catch up to her somewhere. Greedy bastige.





Wait, what?

GSB
September 17, 2004, 07:20 PM
Actually, those would make surprisingly effective weapons. Like a sap.

No, not really. If they are like the ones I've seen, they have far too little weight in them to be very effective as anything other than a bookmark.

Atticus
September 17, 2004, 07:28 PM
"At this rate, we'll all have to be chemically sedated and in four-point restraints before we're allowed to board an aircraft."

That pretty much describes me at take off anyway LOL.
:cool:

Cosmoline
September 17, 2004, 07:31 PM
No, not really. If they are like the ones I've seen, they have far too little weight in them to be very effective as anything other than a bookmark.

The one I remember seeing had balls about the size of OO buckshot at each end, and even at that size they can be really nasty. Tie some buckshot on a fishing line and give yourself a light smack in the back of the head--it has a real impact to it. (This is the kind of thing I do with my spare time :D )

Is it silly? Yes. But no more silly than taking box cutters and small knives.

joab
September 17, 2004, 07:32 PM
"I think at this point we've decided not to pursue a civil penalty," spokeswoman Lauren Stover said. "It will be sometime next week before all the paperwork is processed to drop the case."
Harrington attorney W.F. "Casey" Ebsary Jr. of Tampa said he hopes travelers will take Harrington's case as a cautionary tale.
She should wait for all the chrhes and civil penalties to be dismissed, as proof that this whole thing was bogus. That way maybe TSA could hace a cautionary tale to take for themselves.
Has there ever been a lawsuit based on this kind of mistake or do people usually just decide to take extra vasoline with them next time they travel

Actually, those would make surprisingly effective weapons. Like a sap The bookmarks I've seen that fit this description have two very small weights about the size of fishing sinkers or maybe .32 slugs attached to about a 6" strap the thickness of the skin on a calf skin wallet.
These are not heavy weights attached to a substantial strap of leather Getting hit by one would definitely be irritating but certainly would not pose any threat of serous baodily injury they're no more dangerous than ,say,,nail clippers

joab
September 17, 2004, 07:48 PM
Actually I just looked them up and they do look amazingly like a small sap.
I'll have to to Borders to see exactly how big they are
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v14/bugman/posting/da0a12c2.jpg

sendec
September 17, 2004, 08:26 PM
If TSA screeners have any interest in self defense and martial arts. Look on those forums and you'll find thread after thread on improvised weaponry and flying, what to take, what to make, etc, etc.....Might this screener have been thinking outside the box? Might this special ed teacher be a little more aware and astute than she let on? Sure I can use a minimag or a Surefire light as a kubaton, do you think i'd tell the screener that? Do ya think they may figure stuff like that out, too?

SDC
September 17, 2004, 08:37 PM
Of course, it would be a piece of cake to fashion an even more impressive sap in the jet's bathroom using a sock and a lead object d'art.

Why not a sock and a pocketful of loose change (or are they taking THAT away too)?

LAK
September 17, 2004, 09:08 PM
Anyone on an airplane wants a weighted bookmark all they have to do is take off a stocking or sock and fill the end with small change or something similar.

They going to arrest people wearing socks with small change in their pockets as they board planes?

Hey, SDC took the words right out of my mouth :)

fjolnirsson
September 17, 2004, 09:15 PM
Funny thing. I was at Barnes and Noble about a week ago, and saw one of these for the first time. My very first thought was,"That'd be great to carry around as a makeshift sap!"

Who knew?

Edward429451
September 17, 2004, 09:26 PM
Could be a sap I guess, if it wasn't in a 52 yr old lady's hand!

BOHICA indeed.

Glock Glockler
September 17, 2004, 09:39 PM
My belt, with the metal part extended, would make a nasty whip-like weapon.

joab
September 17, 2004, 10:24 PM
Anybody ever see the movie Bad Boys
Remeber the scene where Penn put soda cans in a pillow case. Modify that to one of those airline soda cans in a gym sock

Old Dog
September 17, 2004, 11:54 PM
... at least it's not LE-bashing ...
Those folks have a crappy job. Would any of you do what they do for the crappy wages they get? Again, I submit: let's just do away with ALL airport/airline security because it inconveniences people and sometimes mistakes are made.

Art Eatman
September 18, 2004, 09:57 AM
Well, Old Dog, I guess I look at it a bit differently. Before 9/11, airline passengers "knew" that if they followed a hijacker's orders, the odds were that nothing bad would happen.

Now, if a highjacker without a gun tries to comandeer an airplane, he's probably gonna die. So he cuts a stew's throat. so? That's gonna stop you from trying to kill him? Our fearless leaders don't have a clue about how the attitude of travellers has changed, and view you as an incompetent, helpless little baby.

Bomb-snioffing is a different matter, and Ihave no problem with that. It's the ridiculous stuff like a tiny plastic pistol on a keychain, or medals or cop-badges, etc., being verboten. The lady's bookmark could inflict pain, but to be used as a threat to take over an airplane? Duh? Is there no difference between minor injury potential and the reality of a deadly device?

Sure, I understand about improvised weapons. I carry a ballpoint pen with an extra-fine point for just that possible need; I might need to autograph an eye. I also think in terms of pushing a lit cigarette in somebody's face or eye, if needs must.

Two facets to this: First, the ideas for rules and regs from On High. Second, the absence of any common sense about using judgement, down in the lower levels of the system.

If a job's all that crappy, why are they in that job? If that's as good a job as they can get, how can they be trusted at all to do anything right? You can't have it both ways.

So, I won't fly.

Art

Double Naught Spy
September 18, 2004, 10:16 AM
Talking about controlling things instead of people, there as that poor (sarcasm) lady in Illinois who was arrested for selling paperweigths, then it was determined she had an unlicensed gun which brought additional charges. Her paperweights, by the way, were brass knuckles.

Art, you may be right in that prior to 9/11, if you followed the hijacker's orders, things might work out. Of course, that was purely naive reasoning here in the US and not reasoning that really applied very well outside of our borders.

And yes, there are all sorts of weapons available on a plane to be used against hijackers. Some people realize this, some don't. Similarly, there are all sorts of things to be used as weapons all around us all the time. I cringe every time I read a post here at THR or on TFL where people refer to not being able to have a gun on their person as being 'defenseless.' Talk about a defeatist attitude.

The folks who died in the Penn. crash on 9/11 did things right, as far as I am concerned. The apparently used their numbers and what they had to effect an attempt at taking the flight back over. If I am going to die, I would rather it be while fighting for my life rather than at the hand of someone flying me into a building.

JohnBT
September 18, 2004, 11:20 AM
That bookmark is legal to possess in VA as long as you don't carry it around. Carrying a blackjack has been outlawed by the Code of VA for a great many years.
I know one old timer who keeps a small collection at home. Some look like the bookmark, some are small with a cylinder of lead in one end and some have a flat lead disk in the end. John

Here's a blackjack for comparison.

www.ioffer.com/i/11-Inch-Blackjack-244033

http://www.ioffer.com/images/upload/surface9-110859-MVC_016S.JPG

carpettbaggerr
September 18, 2004, 03:01 PM
Now, if a highjacker without a gun tries to comandeer an airplane, he's probably gonna die.A hijacker WITH a gun is probably going to die -- unless he has enough ammo to kill at least half of the passengers. Nothing to lose anymore; you've gotta figure you're dead if they get control of the plane. Without a gun, any hijackers are gonna be beaten to death in very short order.

Don Gwinn
September 18, 2004, 04:58 PM
:scrutiny:

DoubleNaughtSpy, what on earth . . . . are you referring to Vana Haggerty? You've been misled.

Vana had an unlicensed gun? That wouldn't be a very impressive trick in Illinois, where guns are not licensed. Essentially, if you don't live in Chicago, your guns are unregistered by default, because there's nobody keeping a registry.

What she had was a perfectly legal pistol, which she was carrying in a perfectly legal manner. She was ACCUSED by police and prosecutors of carrying it illegally, but that wasn't true. She had a valid FOID card, the gun was unloaded, and it was inside a closed case (a fanny pack)--ALL of which was noted in the official reports of the arresting officers!
Illinois law specifically exempts people transporting a gun in that manner from prosecution. That's why they offered her a "deal" over and over and then dropped the case literally minutes before the trial began--they knew she hadn't broken the law.

Yes, I agree that the "paperweight" justification of the brass knuckles is a little weak, but then again, the ones she was selling WERE pretty far out of spec for the average actual brass knucks. More importantly, a law against fist weights of any type at all is incredibly stupid.

The final charge she faced was one of carrying a firearm on publicly-funded property (it was a county fair) without the written permission of the state. The catch on that one is that no one, including state officials, knew it was on the books. We held a small campaign of writing to state officials asking for permission to transport our guns on public roads, public lakes, public hunting grounds, etc. NOT ONE of the law-enforcement officers we asked for permission knew what we were talking about; we were called nuts and worse. But they were ready to throw Vana Haggerty in prison for not doing that--or so they wanted her to think. In reality, when it came down to it, they dropped that charge too because they knew no one would convict her of such a ridiculous thing as not writing a letter to ask permission.


Where did you get your information on that case, anyway? I'm genuinely curious who reported that Vana Haggerty had an "unregistered gun."

In case anyone wants to know, I've got 9 unregistered guns, along with about 200 unregistered knives and two unregistered electric drills. There are also several unregistered rocks and many, many unregistered sticks in my backyard. I am posting this from an unregistered computer.

jke456
September 18, 2004, 11:12 PM
Vana had an unlicensed gun? That wouldn't be a very impressive trick in Illinois, where guns are not licensed. Essentially, if you don't live in Chicago, your guns are unregistered by default, because there's nobody keeping a registry.>>>



Don


everything you said was spot on except for this one bit...
Jeff white could probaly put more input into this as I believe he is still a reserve leo in the town this occured in

If you have purchased a firearm in Illinois since the early 90's Illinois has a record (registered by default?) that the have kept throught the state police's foid card.

Ashcroft ordered gobbleyadik to destroy these records but the last I have heard the gov. filed suit to not do it......

jon

carpettbaggerr
September 19, 2004, 12:47 PM
WHY isn't this lady suing the hell out of everyone involved here? She broke no laws, and she had nothing illegal. Neither State nor Federal prosecutors will even attempt to bring a case to court.

Her bookmark is sort of similar to a blackjack. But it's certainly NOT a blackjack. Are they going to arrest everyone with a metal fine-point pen, because it's illegal to carry an icepick?

Lone_Gunman
September 19, 2004, 01:01 PM
WHY isn't this lady suing the hell out of everyone involved here?

Maybe because lawyers are expensive?

JohnBT
September 19, 2004, 05:04 PM
"But it's certainly NOT a blackjack."

Is too. :)

Do you own any blackjacks? Ever handle one? I've been around them since I was a kid in the early 1950s.

Have you held the item in question? I have, at the bookstore. Tried it out on my hand, too. It hurt. My actual thought at that moment was, "I wonder if they're going to start selling bongs, too?"

These 2 items are the same...leather-covered lead, flexible, etc. I wonder where the 'inventor' got the idea for such a useful page holder?

John

manwithoutahome
September 19, 2004, 05:06 PM
God, you've got to be freaking kidding me... GEEZ

Wayne

carpettbaggerr
September 19, 2004, 05:24 PM
These 2 items are the same...leather-covered lead, flexible, etc. And I've got a Marc Cross icepick. Metal, pointy....

My blackjack is 14oz of lead on a stiff spring, wrapped in braided leather. A flat sap will have a similar weight and a flat spring encased in leather. The weighted bookmarks I've seen have an ounce of lead and no springs at all. They might make your hand sting but wouldn't break any bones, and I doubt you could knock someone unconscious with one.

RevDisk
September 19, 2004, 07:22 PM
This particular instance is as ridiculous as taking 83-year-old Joe Foss' Medal of Honor away from him at Phoenix, because it had sharp points and could be used to harm somebody.


WHAT?

Ohhh boy. Glad no younger servicepersons were around. The military would look unkindly at assaulting security personnel and inciting riot. That is, until they learned the complete story. :scrutiny:

(I assume so, because I'd expect any serviceperson to raise hell if he/she saw such an activity.)

Sorry, but the idea of taking away a vet's MOH makes my blood boil... Taking a medal away from an old grunt is way over the line, bordering on deeply insulting. :banghead:

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