Every time I start to question whether I should be in politics or not, something like this happens, which is so outrageous that it reaffirms my commitment to change the system…
This is Geoffery McGann…
Mr. McGann is an artist. Notice that Mr. McGann is wearing an unusual shirt with an Asian-style buttoned collar. You don’t see much of that in the US, but being an artist, one might well expect Mr. McGann would express himself by choosing non-conventional styles.
Yesterday, Mr McGann went to the airport to get on a plane. He was wearing a watch, which he had modified for an art project. Part of the modification included adding wires and switches to the watch. He didn’t try to hide it. He was wearing it out in the open. One could certainly say that may have not been a great idea, given the hypersensitivity to anything unusual in an airport, but certainly nothing criminal about it.
The watch was noticed by the TSA, and who responded with characteristic idiocy. After being told by the guy that it was just an art project, they could have responded any number of rational ways. They could have told him that the watch might look unsettling to some passengers and suggest he have it sent back to himself in the mail. They could have told him that, given the unusual nature of the watch, they would like to subject him to some further scrutiny.
That’s not what happened.
Via ABC 7:
McGann reportedly took off his watch and put it in the bin along with his carry on. Investigators say he covered it with his coat. An alert TSA officer didn’t like what he saw.”The watch had on it a toggle switch, a series of fuses, a series of wires protruding from it, a circuit board,” Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. JD Nelson said. Even though the TSA found no explosives, Nelson says the bomb squad determined that McGann had all the ingredients to make a timing device for a bomb.
Additionally, Nelson says there were other strange things about McGann; his boots were two sizes too big and they were stuffed with layers of insoles, something the shoe bomber Richard Reed did, “They also had what appeared to be a homemade cavity in them,” Nelson said.
It’s a place where he could have hidden something. Nelson says his attire was also strange, “He was wearing a military style shirt which has a built-in tourniquet in the sleeves.” Soldiers learn how to tighten the tourniquet to stop bleeding if they receive an arm injury.
Nelson says it was the totality of everything they found that made them suspicious, and that led to his arrest.
Passengers we spoke with on this day, one of the busiest travel times of the year, applauded the TSA, ”
“You never know who’s going to try to pull whatever off and it’s good we have these measures in place if they do catch them,” passenger Debbie Johnson said.
Chicago resident Glaydis Rice added that she’s always vigilant anyway when she travels, “You see something and don’t report it, that makes them just as guilty as the person doing it.”
The burning question — what was McGann up to? Nelson gave one possible answer, “That’s always a concern, is that somebody’s making a dry run, exactly.”
McGann told investigators he is an artist and what he was carrying was artwork. ABC7 News did find a website for a Geoffrey McGann. If it is the same person, he is indeed an artist and a photographer.
He’s being held at Santa Rita Jail, charged with possession of materials to make a destructive device
There is a lot here that really bothers me a lot. The first thing is the way the TSA is reporting this and the way some media outlets are carrying the story. Clearly they are trying to scare people as a way of justifying the existence of the agency and its conduct. Statements like “all the ingredients to make a timing device for a bomb” are just the kind of thing that is intended to make people feel as if the TSA heroically stopped a very dangerous incident.