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Teacher Arrested After Bookmark Called Concealed Weapon

Discussion in 'Legal' started by GSB, Sep 17, 2004.

  1. GSB

    GSB Well-Known Member


    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
  2. Phantom Warrior

    Phantom Warrior Well-Known Member

    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...
  3. deej

    deej Well-Known Member

    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.
  4. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Well-Known Member

    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?

  5. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    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.

  6. 2nd Amendment

    2nd Amendment member

    "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.
  7. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

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

    Typical Sheeple

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

    HankB Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. wasrjoe

    wasrjoe Well-Known Member

    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?
  11. GSB

    GSB Well-Known Member

    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.
  12. Atticus

    Atticus Well-Known Member

    "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.
  13. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    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.
  14. joab

    joab Well-Known Member

    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

    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
  15. joab

    joab Well-Known Member

    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
  16. sendec

    sendec member

    I wonder...

    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?
  17. SDC

    SDC Well-Known Member

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

    LAK Well-Known Member

    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 :)
  19. fjolnirsson

    fjolnirsson Well-Known Member


    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?
  20. Edward429451

    Edward429451 member

    Could be a sap I guess, if it wasn't in a 52 yr old lady's hand!

    BOHICA indeed.

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