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Terrorists to make us "cry on 9/13"
September 13, 2002 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Terrorists to make us "cry on 9/13" Looks like some terrorists have been picked up on I-75 in Florida, apparently on their way to the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area. Seems like the news media is definitely glomming on to the "special dates" scenario that's been spoken about a few times, i.e. 9/11, Friday the 13th, Halloween, et al. Do you buy into that, or is it just coincidence? Watch out for terrorists at your local Shoney's!
posted by djspicerack (103 comments total)

 
i went to the breakroom to get coffee and caught the last 10 seconds or so of this story on the televison. i knew that, when i got back to my desk, i'd be able to come here and find a link to an article. thanks for saving me the trip to CNN.

incidently, if i were planning anything, i wouldn't be discussing it in public, in a diner, in a language easily understood by the waitstaff, and i wouldn't plan to do it on days that people are already thinking that something may happen.
posted by tolkhan at 6:18 AM on September 13, 2002


* reports tolkhan to Herr Ashcroft *

Just doin' my patriotic duty.
posted by yhbc at 6:25 AM on September 13, 2002


The idea of terrorists attacking on any significant day is quite ridiculous. Before 9/11, Sept. 11 was a day just like any other. Remember, we're dealing with terrorists, who're supposed to be unpredictable by nature, not Martha Stewart types who plan their lives around Hallmark days.
posted by freakystyley at 6:35 AM on September 13, 2002


So the Terrorist Operation blew its cover when they were overheard boasting in a diner in Georgia that they were on their way to a bombing?!

Can you say *Decoy*with me, boys and girls ?
posted by BentPenguin at 6:37 AM on September 13, 2002


They were talking about it like that at a restaurant? If they were indeed terrorists (which I won' discount) they certain weren't bright ones.

He said the three people had not been arrested, but were being detained.

In this day and age, that phrase makes me shiver. People who are arrested get a lawyer. People who are detained get a new home with free rent but no view for a looooong time.
posted by kayjay at 6:38 AM on September 13, 2002


yhbc: goodie! i sooo want to meet to him. i have fantasies of him serenading me while he gyrates like Elvis. i hear John likes to be ridden like a cavalry horse. i have my jackboots and riding crop ready.
posted by tolkhan at 6:39 AM on September 13, 2002


i'm gonna have to agree with BentPenguin - sounds like a decoy to me, and from what I can tell from the television (the wonders of having a day off!), the bomb stuff could have already been given to someone else, etc. who knows.
posted by djspicerack at 6:45 AM on September 13, 2002


Fox News (here in Chicago) saying that the guys said that they were going to be celebrating in Chicago while the rest of the country cried. Good to know that we're safe up here. And yeah, BentPenguin - my first thoughts on hearing how sloppy these guys are being is 'decoy' or 'diversion' (this is among coverage of Gloria Gaynor singing 'I Will Survive' live in the Loop).

Can Florida be the source of any more problems this year?
posted by ao4047 at 6:48 AM on September 13, 2002


Shouldn't we arrest ANYONE frequenting Shoney's that isn't old or drunk?
posted by machaus at 6:55 AM on September 13, 2002


Good to know that the entire concept of innocent until proven guilty is alive and well.

Facts: three guys made a waitress nevous, they blew a toll booth, bomb dogs alerted on their vehicles, the men are now in custody, and the police are investigating whether there is anything significant about the men and their vehicles. Please note that bomb dogs will alert if you've ever had anything explosive in your car- including firecrackers.

Rampant speculation: A buncha terrists invaded Florida!
posted by headspace at 6:57 AM on September 13, 2002


My first MeFi post woo yay. I joined after a belated fascination with the whole Kaycee Nicole Hoax (and grovelling awe to the MeFis who completely did a complete Scobby-Doo on that case), being an arch skeptic and student of cons and hoaxes. Woo yay:

I go for coincidence, but not just coincidence. The significance of 9/11 or 9/13, or finding 5s in the stats for the Washington Monument, or Jesus in the Taco, is just another aspect of the tendency of some humans to see *everything* as significant in an attempt to squeeze a little order out of chaos.

The nice thing about "significance junkies" is that spending long hours looking for Badgeman in the Zaprauder film, or new clues why Paul is Deadâ„¢ or nifty numerical fun with the 9/11 stats keeps them off the streets and out of traffic. What I find appalling is that the news folks, who, at one time should have known better, play into this. Especially when it's a slow day for John Edward.

Incidentally, snopes already debunked the first wave of 9/11 numerology:
http://www.snopes.com/rumors/numbers.htm
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:00 AM on September 13, 2002


They just interviewed the witness on Fox - tried to get some quotes down... Eunice Stone was a customer at the Shoney's - not a waitress. She said that one guy said:

"If they thought they cried on 9-11 wait until 9-13."

And at another time the same guy said:

"If we don't have enough to bring it down. I've got contacts. They'll know how to get it down."

She also said that they indicated that they needed to get on to Miami and they said they were five hours behind their schedule. Her son told her they were just playing but as they drove away after charging for their meal (more sloppiness?) that she went outside as they drove away and got the license plate of one of the cars - Illinois plate. They spoke English without an accent - not in whispers but in normal tones.

Let the conjecture continue!
posted by ao4047 at 7:01 AM on September 13, 2002


Sorry about the phrase "who completely did a complete" in my previous post. I have spend too many years working for the U.S. Department of Redundancy Department.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:03 AM on September 13, 2002


maybe these guys are some kind of National Kitten in the Tree rescuers. they use a special kind of tuna to lure the poor felines down, and that's what they mean by "If we don't have enough..."

see, and rescuing kittens is one of those feel good-happy tears stories. maybe that's what they meant by the cry part.

-or-

maybe Eunice is the terrorist and she's trying to distract us all with these schmoos while she's out doing her evil deeds.
posted by tolkhan at 7:09 AM on September 13, 2002


Or maybe the so-called terrorists are really training officers in Ashcrofts TIPS program and this was all a big test for TIPS newest agent, Eunice!
posted by bmxGirl at 7:24 AM on September 13, 2002


Eunice...
Shoney's...
Calhoun, Georgia....
sigh.
posted by spilon at 7:24 AM on September 13, 2002


An "expert" on Fox just said that pre - 9/11, Eunice would probably be dismissed as a busybody who was trying to mind someone else's business. Now she's a hero.

Good God Almighty!
posted by Wildcat3 at 7:37 AM on September 13, 2002


BentPenguin: Can you say *Decoy*with me, boys and girls ?

I don't really see a decoy... all I see is unusually high attention for what could be a petty bombing (or petty anything). I think all this is to make the 9/11 terrorist alert readiness shite all worthwhile.
posted by freakystyley at 7:42 AM on September 13, 2002


WOOT! NAPLES REPRESENT! <thumps his chest>

(Sorry, I lived in that retirement community for sixteen years before escaping to Seattle. My family is still there, though.)

Err...whoa. Deja vu.
posted by Danelope at 7:47 AM on September 13, 2002


Just a thought. The US is broke as hell with nothing but stock speculation holding its so-called economy together. Paranoia is running rampant and Bush is putting so much on the military budget. Didn't the US use this tactic to bankrupt and dismantle Russia? If that's the case, terrorists can bide their time and take pot shots at the US every couple of years or so, just to keep the paranoia up and the military spending high...
posted by freakystyley at 7:51 AM on September 13, 2002


The phrase "petty bombing" reminds me of the old definition of a "tactical nuke": It explodes, but in Germany.
posted by alumshubby at 7:56 AM on September 13, 2002


spilon: What exactly do you mean?

If Andre in Boston at Starbucks heard someone saying what Ms. Stone reportedly heard, and called the police, would you still say "sigh" ?
posted by jmcmurry at 8:05 AM on September 13, 2002


Isn't calling someone a terrorist when they haven't actually done anything, or attempted to do something similar to calling someone a vegetarian because they talk about eating vegetables?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:13 AM on September 13, 2002


alumshubby: The phrase "petty bombing" reminds me of the old definition of a "tactical nuke": It explodes, but in Germany.

LOL! Gold!
posted by freakystyley at 8:13 AM on September 13, 2002


Thank you Eunice. You are a true American hero.
posted by pemulis at 8:37 AM on September 13, 2002


Pemulis: Great, now we'll have to listen to some stupid beer commercial featuring her. At least it won't talk about her swinging her big ball...
posted by FullFrontalNerdity at 8:39 AM on September 13, 2002


Let me be the first to describe "The Eunice Effect", where ANYONE who wants to be all over CNN and Fox News will report every little thing that any brown non-Hispanic person says (or doesn't say).

Obviously, in this case, there was plenty of reason for Eunice to call someone, but I fear this will become a national epidemic, and the authorities will seriously feel the strain.

Sharks? Feh. Child abductions? So "Summer 2002." The next media frenzy has arrived.
posted by jmcmurry at 8:48 AM on September 13, 2002


Wouldn't these guys speak Arabic if they wanted to conceal something? My friend speaks French with me if he wants me to check out some hot chick, for god's sake.
posted by cell divide at 8:54 AM on September 13, 2002


The idea of terrorists attacking on any significant day is quite ridiculous.

With an act as political as terrorism, it's commonplace for attacks to be scheduled on special dates for some symbolic purpose.

Timothy McVeigh picked April 19 because it was the anniversary of the raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. Terrorists in El Salvador have bombed American interests on the March 2 anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero's assassination. Terrorists in Chile have done the same on March 29, the anniversary of a murder of dissidents. You can find more on the Terrorism.Com Calendar.
posted by rcade at 9:18 AM on September 13, 2002


What's interesting is that Islamic terrorists would use our caledandar instead of the Islami one. Does anyone know when Sept 11 falls on the Islamic Calendar. September 11, 2001 was/is the 23rd of Elul on the Hebrew Calendar, which was August 31, 2002 (I checked it because I got married on September 1, 2002). The mind boggles.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:37 AM on September 13, 2002


oops Calendar. Islamic.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:38 AM on September 13, 2002


You can dismiss poor old Miss Eunice but I think what she heard was certainly enough to put in a precautionary call. Could you imagine trying to live with yourself when you saw these guys on CNN the next day charged with detonating some awful weapon or bringing down some other skyscraper after you'd heard them blabbing about this stuff and had done nothing at all. Lets keep that cynicism in check until we know if this is a fuss about nothing or a tragedy averted shall we.
posted by zeoslap at 9:39 AM on September 13, 2002


Wouldn't these guys speak Arabic if they wanted to conceal something? My friend speaks French with me if he wants me to check out some hot chick, for god's sake.

I recall that the 1993 WTC bombing case solved because one of the conspirators tried to obtain his deposit back from the rental truck agency. Criminals can be incredibly stupid at times.
posted by Durwood at 9:41 AM on September 13, 2002


so, terrorists can pretty much pick any day of the year and claim some significance to their deeds?
posted by tolkhan at 9:42 AM on September 13, 2002


Durwood, is that true? don't you usually have to return the truck to get your deposit back?
posted by tolkhan at 9:43 AM on September 13, 2002


Cell divide: I read that their various heritages were Jordanian (Arabic), Pakistani (Urdu), and Iranian (Farsi). English might have been the only language they had in common. Still, I bet that poor Eunice misunderstood the conversation and that they are perfectly innocent of anything worse than skipping a toll. I bet they regret not shelling out that $1.50...
posted by Emera Gratia at 9:45 AM on September 13, 2002


Emera-- ah. Nice to know that English is also the international language of terror. I wonder what they spoke in the Afghan training camps?
posted by cell divide at 9:48 AM on September 13, 2002


The question I want answered IF these guys are indeed terrorists: were they going to bomb something in Florida because they hate America, or were they going to bomb Florida because they're just sick of hearing about the place screwing something up on the news all the time?
posted by frallyth at 9:56 AM on September 13, 2002


"Ummm, I saw these three tan guys with beards, wearing those things on their heads. One of them said "911" and they were laughing. They've gotta be terrorists. No, they didn't eat the meatloaf."
posted by zekinskia at 10:03 AM on September 13, 2002


I suspect our Eunice is closer to Michael Hamdan than to James Woods

This being said, I don't think it is unreasonable to question the guys. Woods recently claimed on the Tonight Show (ashamed to admit I watched the Tonight Show, but I digress) that the FBI confirmed that two of the suspicious passengers Woods fingered turned out to be among the 19 hijackers. Right now I fall in the "better safe than sorry" camp.
posted by herc at 10:05 AM on September 13, 2002


Grrr. I swear those links worked a second ago. Sorry 'bout that, folks. Thumbnail sketch of what the links contained -- Hamdan's the guy in Vegas who swore he overheard a cellphone call where "terrorists" discussed hitting Vegas this summer. Woods claims to have flown with 4 "suspicious middle eastern characters" who appeared to be casing the plane.
posted by herc at 10:11 AM on September 13, 2002


maybe those three guys were sitting there and noticed ol' Eunice glancing warily at them. one of them says, quietly, "I'll bet she thinks we're terrorists. Go along with whatever I say." then, he begins to rub his hands together evilly and talk of "bringing it down" (you know, in English and loud enough for the eavesdropping Eunice to hear). the other two go along, just having fun with Eunice.

-or-

maybe they didn't say "bring it down," but were having a discussion of Kirsten Dunst and said "Bring It On." anyone check to see if she has a movie premiering today?

we are still wildly speculating, aren't we?
posted by tolkhan at 10:34 AM on September 13, 2002


What Zeoslap said. The cynicism here amazes me when the facts aren't even out yet. If you were sitting in a restaurant and overheard people speaking conspiratorially about something that's *going* to happen and you just got that creeping feeling that something was amiss, would you sit in your chair and cluck your tongue at "Herr Ashcroft" and scoff at our constitution being gutted and bemoan that verbally challenged president of ours, or would you do the cautious thing and alert someone? It is actually a good thing to be vigilant sometimes, as long you're doing your best to be fair.
posted by dhoyt at 10:38 AM on September 13, 2002


You're forgetting about your patriotic duty to be a snarky, cynical jackass, dhoyt. Er, did I say patriotic? I meant your enlightened dissenter's duty! Yeah. That's it.
posted by jammer at 10:47 AM on September 13, 2002


dhoyt: What Zeoslap said.

What you said.
posted by Sinner at 10:50 AM on September 13, 2002


rcade: With an act as political as terrorism, it's commonplace for attacks to be scheduled on special dates for some symbolic purpose.

You're right on this note, but I wasn't very clear. I meant to say that attacking on a significant day when the country is already on its toes is quite ridiculous.
posted by freakystyley at 10:54 AM on September 13, 2002


Gov. Jeb Bush said the information that triggered the threat came from credible witnesses.

"Making a mockery or laughing about 9-11 and saying ... 'If you thought 9-11 was bad wait until you see what happens on September 13th' gives us all some concern," he said.

Yahoo News

When did Americans lose their freedom of speech? Was the Bill of Rights revoked while I was in the bathroom?

Was there credible threat shown here? Or, were the three Middleastern men just racially profiled?
posted by azileretsis at 11:01 AM on September 13, 2002


WTF? How was I being a jackass?
posted by dhoyt at 11:02 AM on September 13, 2002


dhoyt: You weren't, not at all. I agree with you. I was exercising snark towards the overly-cynical folks. :)
posted by jammer at 11:08 AM on September 13, 2002


Oh. Geez. Sorry, Jammer. Snark can be such a tricky thing when not face-to-face with someone.

I guess my point was basically: let's try to take terrorism scares on a case by case basis. Today's may be paranoia and goverment scaremongering, tommorrow's may mean another 3000 dead. Let's wait for the facts.
posted by dhoyt at 11:13 AM on September 13, 2002


When did Americans lose their freedom of speech?

September Eleventh, Two Thousand and One.
posted by glenwood at 11:17 AM on September 13, 2002


From the article:

"Two bomb squad technicians in hoods and protective blast suits removed a suitcase and plastic bags from one car and searched the interior and trunk. A robot was also brought to the scene, though it wasn't immediately clear how it would be used."

Oh, the possibilities! Does anybody else have visions of Paulie's robot from Rocky IV? Heh.

p.s. cell divide: classy.
posted by Zulujines at 11:21 AM on September 13, 2002


well, to close the loop - looks like it *was* all a big joke http...

Seems the men were playing a joke on another patron because they were giving them a funny look. Jeb Bush isn't happy... (but hey, his kid's on crack) Fascinating. This has gotta suck when you're on your way to medical school in Florida, huh...
posted by djspicerack at 12:05 PM on September 13, 2002


Federal sources involved in the investigation said they believe the three men - all U.S. citizens - were playing a stupid joke on another restaurant patron who gave them a suspicious look.

We have a winner! Johnny, tell tolkhan what he's won!

It's a NEW PONY!!!
posted by yhbc at 12:16 PM on September 13, 2002


I had pony
posted by cell divide at 12:17 PM on September 13, 2002


so... Kirsten Dunst has a movie premiering today?


email me for the PO Box to send my pony too.
posted by tolkhan at 12:25 PM on September 13, 2002


to
posted by tolkhan at 12:29 PM on September 13, 2002


azileretsis:

When did Americans lose their freedom of speech?

Americans should watch what they say. . .

Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer - September 22, 2001

Was the Bill of Rights revoked while I was in the bathroom?

No, it was when Congress rolled over like a puppy wanting to get it's belly scratched and passed the Orwellian and totally illegal USA "Patriot" Act.
posted by mark13 at 12:36 PM on September 13, 2002


When did Americans lose their freedom of speech?

When someone yelled fire in a crowded building what 's new. What words do you say now that you would have never uttered in front of your parents, yet today who seems to care?
The ones that bite their lips...........

PS,
i hear John likes to be ridden like a cavalry horse. i have my jackboots and riding crop ready.

Hmmm?? really now

We have a winner! Johnny, tell tolkhan what he's won!
It's a NEW PONY!!!


error, she's won....... but, maybe will have to go with a consolation instead,

Durwood, is that true? don't you usually have to return the truck to get your deposit back?
yes true,
began to come together quickly when one of them attempted to get his deposit back on the rental truck used to transport the explosives
I'll go as a consolation prize.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:58 PM on September 13, 2002


According to police sources, all three men at first were uncooperative - denying consent to search the car.

''It was probably not the right time for them to be copping an attitude with police,'' said one federal law enforcement source who was up all night monitoring the investigation.


How dare they assert their fourth-amendment rights!
posted by hilker at 1:14 PM on September 13, 2002


I think if terrorists really want to impress us with their threats, they need for them to rhyme, like:

We'll bring down Mount Rushmore
At ten on July Four!

and maybe they could wear wrestling outfits and Osama Bin Laden could stand in the background just stroking a wad of bills. That would be impressive.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:15 PM on September 13, 2002


thomcatspike: "I'll go as a consolation prize."

you saying you'll ship yourself to my PO Box in lieu of my pony-John? you like riding crops and jackboots? what else you into? i'm sure i can accommodate.

hey, wait a sec. was i to get a real pony, or my dreamy-crooning-fascist-Jesus-freak pony?


tcs: "she's won....... "

who's she?
posted by tolkhan at 1:39 PM on September 13, 2002


Kaf, I think your rhyme was a terror, baud a bang, terror rushmore ,yes I give up, I'm a, whoops, almost had me, Ashcroft.

tolken, whoops did I not read your blog right( I read, not let the boyfriend...... yet I missed very male in meta profile) , my bad, I have trouble fitting into tight spots.........
*splat*
posted by thomcatspike at 1:51 PM on September 13, 2002


(laughing) but this thing is taking up resourse and OT and all that, these guys joking?.
dunn dunt dah...
posted by clavdivs at 1:54 PM on September 13, 2002


Droopy: "watch it -bayby"
(loud music ensues)
posted by clavdivs at 1:56 PM on September 13, 2002


Witness the entropy of language.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:59 PM on September 13, 2002


Um...why, exactly are we making fun of the person who reported this or arguing about civil liberties?

As the Miami Herald story djspicerack linked makes clear, these guys were most likely deliberately creating the impression that they were engaged in terrorism, in an attempt to piss off some guy who looked at them funny.

While giving total strangers funny looks on the basis of ethnicity is certainly rude and stupid, deliberately convincing a crowd of strangers that one is about to blow up a building is way worse.

If the above story is true, and they were deliberately creating the impression that a threat existed, then Eunice did the right thing here. She does not appear to have done it on the basis of ethnicity, nor does she appear to have done it on the basis of a stranger expressing his opinion. She seems to have reported these guys because she believed exactly what they were deliberately trying to make her believe: that a large number of people were under threat in the next five hours.
posted by 23lemurs at 2:03 PM on September 13, 2002


for the information she had, i think Eunice did the the right thing, though i wonder if it gave her pause that the conspirators were openly discussing the plot in English in a diner in which they undoubted would realize people could hear them.

i don't think the three not-terrorists' joke was out of line.

i do think the way the media drooled all over this and couldn't wait to put Eunice on the air is funny though, especially considering how little information they had.

i thought this thread was about me and tcs trying to hook up (tcs: not a problem. i'm sure we can work something out).
posted by tolkhan at 2:46 PM on September 13, 2002


The coverage was, overall, tacky and jumped to a lot of dumb conclusions...but that's to be expected. Once the police have closed off 20 miles of a major highway, its pretty much their job to track down any source of info they can find.

Eunice may not have been the most sophisticated person in the world, but she called the police, not CNN. The media frenzy doesn't seem to be her fault.
posted by 23lemurs at 3:04 PM on September 13, 2002


Even TIPS poster girl Eunice says she ought to have known better.

"In an interview on Fox News Channel on Friday, Stone said she thought they might be playing a hoax.
"We hesitated to call anyone because we thought, they're just playing us," Stone said. ``But then I thought what's the right thing to do?"

(Deeply impressed by seer tolkhan.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:25 PM on September 13, 2002


One of the drawbacks of 24 hour a day news networks is that in the case of a breaking story with little real information comming in, they have to do something to fill in the time while they sit around and wait for facts. So the talking heads start yammering and speculating and you go out and find anyone you can who has any connection to the story and grill them for tidbits, or you bring in your resident 'experts' or headline pundit to pontificate about the situation.
The result of this is that you are able to fill hours of air time without actually reporting any real new
posted by TCMITS at 3:49 PM on September 13, 2002


I'm right in thinking that you're not allowed to talk about bombs and hijacks in airports, yes? (Your first amendment be damned.) Expect a few non-media-shy politicians to demand that the prohibition's extended to basically everywhere.
posted by riviera at 3:50 PM on September 13, 2002


Jeb Bush seems to want these three medical students to be charged with some sort of crime. Pardon my langauge, but are they guilty of anything besides fucking around? I'm not sure that they did anything illegal...
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:26 PM on September 13, 2002


When did Americans lose their freedom of speech?

Go and yell 'fire' in a crowded theater, asshole!
posted by HTuttle at 6:49 PM on September 13, 2002


Joey Michaels -- Perhaps, inciting public panic? But that would be pushing it. Besides, from the words that have been quoted as being overheard in the restaurant, there could be multiple meanings. Kind of like that conversation that you come into midway, and totally misinterpret.

Of course, the men are saying that they didn't say anything. Ah well...
posted by JaxJaggywires at 6:50 PM on September 13, 2002


HTuttle:

If American citizens can lawfully be imprisoned for talking out their asses in 24/7 roadside restaurants, there won't be many people patronizing Shoney's Breakfast Bar in the future. Its been my experience that if one were to yell "fire" in a crowded Shoney's, nobody would pay attention.

This was not a "hoax" perpetrated by the hapless travelers. It was a 21st century example of a public panic, akin to the "Palm Pilot" fiasco lampooned a while back in Doonesbury. Life imitating art. . .

Florida's authorities were impelled by the best of motives to overreact wildly. Now red-faced at the comedic spectacle of the constabulary blowing up doctor bags with a water cannon, they attempt to blame the victims for exercising their constitutional rights.

"Eunice's Restaurant," anybody?
posted by rdone at 7:49 PM on September 13, 2002


rdone -- I wouldn't call these three guys "victims". They were idiots who supposedly said things that, taken in present context, constitutes a potential terrorist threat. Much like joking about a bomb at the airport. Even though it's a joke, you get in some trouble.
posted by JaxJaggywires at 8:00 PM on September 13, 2002


So, where do you draw the line? So, we are never to discuss anything that is potentially labeled "terrorist talk"?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

These people were pulled over, held in custody. Their things were searched, the police tried blowing up some of their things. I'm sure they didn't even see a lawyer the whole time. All based on second-hand hearsay.

It is plainly racial profiling. These men were looked at strangely, they may have even decided to play a joke. But, there was no reason for them to suffer through what they did.

Let's try not to have the Japanese Internment camps occur again.
posted by azileretsis at 8:21 PM on September 13, 2002


The later stories I've seen haven't mentioned the toll and them running through the toll booth.

Is that still known to be the case or was that incorrect early information?
posted by obfusciatrist at 8:32 PM on September 13, 2002


Jax:

Law enforcement folks expressly complained that the boys from Chitown were "uncooperative" because they refused to allow their car to be searched. Only one of the cars ran the tollbooth; the other merely stopped when the other was pulled over. Would you allow the cops to search your car any time they felt like it? If you were an orthodox Muslim in America today with an Islamic beard and skullcap, would you feel comfortable with getting searched for nothing? Do you think these guys had any idea that they had frightened ol' Eunice in Calhoun, GA? The stop on I-75 was 12 hours or more after breakfast at Shoney's. Think they may have been a little grumpy after a mighty long haul on I-75?

These guys had the temerity to back sass some folks who were giving them the hairy eyeball in a public restaurant. Eunice made a federal case out of it, notwithstanding that her son had already told her exactly what was going on. It is one thing to praise vigilance. It is another to praise credulous overreaction in the name of vigilance. It is the difference between "lightning" and "lightning bug."
posted by rdone at 8:49 PM on September 13, 2002


Remember boys and girls: BS all you want, but post 9/11, civil rights are still way more robust than in Western Europe, or anywhere else.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:58 PM on September 13, 2002


spilon: What exactly do you mean? If Andre in Boston at Starbucks heard someone saying what Ms. Stone reportedly heard, and called the police, would you still say "sigh" ?

What I mean is I live in Georgia, I know where Calhoun is, I know what Shoney's is, and I know what ladies like Eunice are all about.... and the minute I read the story I knew the situation would turn out exactly the way it did.

Sometimes I wish my home turf were not as predictable as Petticoat Junction.
posted by spilon at 9:26 PM on September 13, 2002


Paris, just because we've got a lot to lose doesn't mean we shouldn't defend the rights we have.
posted by hattifattener at 9:42 PM on September 13, 2002


rdone -- The cop called the guys "uncooperative", because the police had received a tip that these guys (remember, the IL license plate number was given) had been overheard talking about some event to happen on 9/13 that would overstep what happened 9/11, and needed to investigate. They did not allow an investigation to proceed, so they are considered "uncooperative". Personally, if I have nothing illegal in my car, feel free to search it. It'd make the stop go faster.

I, for one, would hope that future doctors would have more common sense then to go shooting their mouths off, saying what they, again, supposedly said. The fact that they intentionally said these things to try to illicit some response, and then turn around and cry foul when that response is given, is laughable.

This isn't racial profiling. If anyone says things to the effect of "I'ma blow me up a bomb today", it doesn't matter if he/she is white, black, brown, yellow or chartreuse. Nowadays, it needs to be followed up on. Feel free to say whatever you want...just don't cry foul when your words are taken seriously, even when delivered in jest.
posted by JaxJaggywires at 10:15 PM on September 13, 2002


If the authorities had really been convinced that these men posed a threat, they would have stopped them in Georgia, not twelve hours later in Florida after one of them ran a toll booth.

I have a feeling Eunice knew they were messing with her, but decided to call in their plates anyway in order to "teach them a lesson".

How dare you Middle Eastern scum eat at a diner in my beloved South and have the nerve to be sarcastic as I am scrutinizing your every comment and move?
posted by Devils Slide at 10:42 PM on September 13, 2002


It is possible they never said anything - as they are claiming. I am noticing that the sentiment on this board is that Eunice is more credible than these guys. Also interesting that they're medical students and Eunice is a nurse. Maybe they were talking about their blood sugar levels and whether they had enough insulin to bring it down.
posted by metaforth at 2:16 AM on September 14, 2002


Remember boys and girls: BS all you want, but post 9/11, civil rights are still way more robust than in Western Europe, or anywhere else.

Is there a thread you can't shoehorn this point into? Maybe the soda thread? "Remember boys and girls, we may use a lot of words for coke but in France they have to drink Orangina. Ha!"
posted by Summer at 3:19 AM on September 14, 2002


civil rights are still way more robust than in Western Europe, or anywhere else.

Care to prove that?

Western Europe human rights date back to the French revolution. The "Declaration des Droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen" grants more or less the same basic and unalienable rights to citizens as the US Constitution and BIll of Rights.

Today, there is a European Court of Human Rights which safeguards the EU Convention of Human Rights of 1950, a very robust charter of basic human rights for EU citizens. The Convention is directly applicable in any EU member state, which means that you can invoke it before any court if necessary (it won't be very often, as the individual member states all have constitutions themselves. The Court was installed to assure uniformity of protection for citizens throughout the EU).

Under this same convention, the death penalty (to name but something) must be abolished by any country wishing to join the EU. More than the US can boast. In Western Europe, Human Rights Watch reports no arbitrary detentions, due process violations, and secret arrests, etc. etc. As a whole, it seems that Human Rights Watch is more concerned with the robustness of human rights in the US than in W. Europe.

In the future, be so kind as to refrain from ignorant remarks about Western Europe.
posted by NekulturnY at 3:55 AM on September 14, 2002


Care to prove that?

Well, I know that in France, I can be stopped by a policeman for any reason, anywhere, sans probable cause. And be arrested if I don't have identity papers on me. I also know that in France, I can be sued for defamation if I investigate and report upon the private live of a politician. I also know that I will probably get nowhere if a physician commits medical malpractice upon me and I would like to sue. I also know that search warrants are kind of a sham. And that a jury of my peers will not be used if I am sued civilly. Or I want to sue.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:42 AM on September 14, 2002


PS: murders should be executed. And its arrogant to assume that the death penalty, at least in certain situations, is less humane (to everyone else) than not having the death penalty.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:45 AM on September 14, 2002


In Western Europe, Human Rights Watch reports no arbitrary detentions, due process violations, and secret arrests

None? Zero? Such an assessment has zero credibility.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:46 AM on September 14, 2002


Obnoxious drunken terrorists blathering at the bar? Chatty terrorists at the next table disturbing your meal? F*** the citizen's arrest, ladies-- throw your drink in their face and call the cops. Remember the three drunk guys in Boston. This is the second time our complicity in letting men get away with being big-talking macho jerks instead of calling them on their shit on the spot has resulted in an unnecessary terrorist scare.
posted by sheauga at 7:13 AM on September 14, 2002


September 13, 2002 - the day it became a federal crime to tell a sick joke? Well, at the very least, if you
posted by NorthernLite at 7:29 AM on September 14, 2002


Paris - you've told us enough times that you lived in the godless hellhole that is France and of the cowardly and morally bankrupt citizens that live there. France is not the whole of Europe. There are a lot of countries in Europe, all with very different histories and laws. Are you an expert in every one of them?
posted by Summer at 7:30 AM on September 14, 2002


I think it's fine to take seriously what these men said and have them checked out by the police. But why the fuss? Why were roads closed? Why was the media involved? Why weren't these men given a quick visit, checked out, then sent on their way?

People are often prevented from flying because they make an ill-advised joke at the check-in desk about having a bomb in their bag. The airport isn't closed and the media alerted. Their bags aren't blown up in a controlled explosion - they're scanned and cleared, then they catch the next flight. This is very puzzling.
posted by Summer at 7:38 AM on September 14, 2002


You can't say anything you want
at Eunice's Restaurant.

Shut your mouth, and don't tell no jokes
Because we'll tip you off to the Ashcroft folks

You can't say anything you want
at Eunice's Restaurant (if you're swarthy)

You can't say anything you want
at Eunice's Restaurant.
posted by yhbc at 7:47 AM on September 14, 2002


Well, I know that in France...

How exactly do you know that? Cuz you lived there and the Parisians weren't nice? Well here's some news: they're not nice to anyone, live with it. That doesn't make their legal system a sham.

But I'll answer you rant anyway. Just for laughs. And to prove that you have no clue what you're talking about.

1. stopped by a policeman sans probable cause
The right of the government to ask for identification is considered merely an administrative issue in Europe. You would most likely not be arrested, but held adminstratively (which, in Europe, they can only do for a limited amount of time - no exceptions) for a few hours to ascertain your identity, after which you would be released with a warning.

2. sued for defamation
If you write lies about someone, thereby damaging them financially/morally, you can be sued in France as well as the rest of Europe. As well as in the US only you call it slander or libel or something. But, as a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights says, if you write as an opinion, that said politician is a crook or an adulterer, you would probably get off the hook, because "opinions may be grieving to the person they are about". Now there's freedom of speech for you!

3. "i can't sue for malpractice"

Bullshit. If you can prove there was malpractice, you can sue. All European systems provide reparations of damages. So if you can prove that someone injured you or your financial interests, you can get compensation.

Granted, there are no punitive damages in Europe, so there are no high verdicts as in the US. On the other hand: the entire population is insured for invalidity through their "mutuality", a population-wide insurance for health care. Health care (including check ups, dentists, operations...) is practically free in all the countries in Western Europe, thanks to this system. If your insurance for invalidity does not suffice, there are additional systems of welfare.

4. "Search warrants are a sham"
How would you know? Search warrants are always issued by a "juge d' instruction". This judge is by law required to find both damaging AND refuting evidence for the defendant (as opposed to an elected DA in the US). If they are "kind of a sham" in France, I see no reason why they wouldn't be in the US, as they are governed by the same principles. The only reason why they would be executed differently, would be, ah, because the French are incompetent? Malicious? Bad People?

5. jury
The jury system is reserved for criminal proceedings. As opposed to the US system, judges are never elected and are always professional lawyers, who hold their seats for life. I have, to date, not seen any spontaneous riots demanding the jury system for civil proceedings, because most judges seem more than qualified to do their job. This is not a human rights issue.

6. its arrogant to assume that the death penalty, at least in certain situations, is less humane (to everyone else) than not having the death penalty

It's arrogant to say that the state of human rights is not "robust" in Western Europe. And, as I stated above, ignorant.

7. Concerning the "zero credibility" of my assessment: I'm not assessing anything. I'm saying that Human Rights Watch doesn't feel the need to report any arbitrary detentions, due process violations, and secret arrests, as directly opposed to what they deem necessary for the USA. Read the link I provide for chrissake. Oh, wait, that would go against some prejudices about the French.

8. By the way: France = not Europe. Check the map (it's an American map, so it must be right!).
posted by NekulturnY at 7:55 AM on September 14, 2002


yhbc: See you and raise you one :

You can't say anything you want
at Eunice's Restaurant. (2x)

Don't talk weird and disturb the peace
Or she'll turn you in to the State Poiice!

You can't say anything you want
at Eunice's Restaurant.


You can't say anything you want
at Eunice's Restaurant. (2x)

Don't claim rights, buddy, if you do
She'll call the Feds and the Bomb Squad , too!

You can't say anything you want
at Eunice's Restaurant

posted by rdone at 9:54 AM on September 14, 2002


Excepting Eunice...
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:41 PM on September 14, 2002


they're not nice to anyone, live with it

whoa. last time i was in paris the french were jolly nice. i had a good time and people were very friendly. the time before, many years ago, it was much less so. maybe things are changing, or maybe it's because this time i was speaking spanish rather than english, and probably better dressed.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:07 PM on September 14, 2002


Eunice Stone = Racist Busybody.
posted by timyang at 10:15 PM on September 14, 2002


Update

Three Muslim medical students who were detained Friday in what is now believed to be a terror hoax, are no longer welcome at a Miami hospital where they planned to work this fall.

The president of the hospital said it wouldn't be "safe" for the three medical students.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:35 AM on September 15, 2002


I'm still confused how all of this is Eunice's fault. Perhaps she (or other patrons) were looking askew at the men, but maybe not. The men still chose, by all reports, to make their stupid joke, and thus far, no one is denying that once they were out on the road being actively pursued, there was a failure to pull over for several miles and the second car voluntarily pulled over behind the officer, which is always viewed as a threat in the eyes of law enforcement. There is also nothing to counter the report that the men were wholly uncooperative with police, and the bomb-squad dogs did, in fact, "hit" on both cars. Put all of that together, and the only way that the situation turns out differently is if the men had derailed the scenario at some point, either by skipping their "joke" or acting more appropriately at the time of the pull-over.

It's loathsome that there are people who treat non-Caucasians with suspicion and open disdain. It's also something that happens every damned day every damned where -- perhaps moreso in Calhoun, Georgia than the St. Louis or Chicago suburbs, but it's still going on there, too. Everyone of us who are obviously part of a minority group have had to deal with that, and learn when to ignore it as just something that will happen. By now, after a year of being given the hairy eyeball, I'd think that Arab-Americans would be anxious to disprove the notion that they're all suspicion-worthy, and that they wouldn't actively encourage such an idea. Did they really think that doing so would change the mind of some small-minded slackjawed yokel who stared at them in a Shoney's? Or didn't they think at all? My money's on the latter.

Simple fact of the matteris that when you play stupid, joke around about illegal activities, then get shirty when law enforcement ends up following up on that threat (and possible illegal activities which followed) you'll end up facing consequences that you'd rather not face, and you deserve to. If there is any substantive corroboration that these guys were spouting their mouthes off in Georgia, I'm hoping that there will indeed, be a big bad terroristic threats charge. There's a line, and it looks very much like it was crossed.
posted by Dreama at 11:47 AM on September 15, 2002


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