From the Associated Press:
New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who was briefed on the arrest, said authorities found Jiang with “sheer, hard police work” of sifting through records and following leads. But he expressed anger that Jiang faces a charge he described as a “slap on the wrist” and will only be given a fine of about $500.
“This was a terrible deed in its outcome — it wasn’t some prank that didn’t do any harm — it did a lot of harm because it sent out an alert that people can get away with something like this,” Lautenberg said.
The senator called Jiang’s actions “premeditated” and said even though the his actions were relatively benign, “what he did was a terrible injustice” to the thousands of people who were inconvenienced. [my emphasis]
Follow this train of logic:
A guy wanted to kiss his girlfriend goodbye at the airport. Security was so lax, he was able to slip past to be with her in the secure zone. Many people were inconvenienced by this as the entire airport was briefly shut down. But the headline statement Lautenberg makes is that this man should be punished more harshly and that the deed “did a lot of harm because it sent out an alert that people can get away with something like this!”
There are two subjects here:
- The guy knowingly broke the rules to kiss his girlfriend goodbye – and this breach caused the airport to shut down. For this, it would make sense to levy a significant fine to ensure that others are less likely to do such things.
- Security was unconscionably lax to allow this to happen. This isn’t the guy’s fault – and it’s not his fault that his getting by security so easily “sent out an alert that people can get away with something like this.” The way to fix this is to fix security – and not to attack this guy for acting on an understandable impulse.
[Image by Bob F. licensed under Creative Commons.]