And the award for the dumbass of the year goes to....
September 19, 2001 6:09 AM   Subscribe

And the award for the dumbass of the year goes to.... Constantinos Carpis - an Australian who "told ticket-counter employees he had a nuclear bomb during routine questioning as he checked in."
posted by viama (19 comments total)
ha, that was lagado. i know it:)
posted by newnameintown at 8:15 AM on September 19, 2001

While not quite as big a dumbass, there was a story in Tuesday's Chicago Tribune about a guy trying to go through security at O'Hare with a loaded gun.
posted by alexg23 at 8:22 AM on September 19, 2001

This knee-jerk reaction on the part of the authorities accomplishes very little. Yeah, they should've searched him and detained him for questioning, but they shouldn't charge the guy. There ought to be some kind of exception in the law for sarcasm/jokes.
posted by Witold at 9:00 AM on September 19, 2001

Honorable mention, 20-years-to-life category: The waterhead who shot an Indian convenience store clerk in an apparent revenge attack after the WTC. More contestants to come, I'm afraid.
posted by sacre_bleu at 9:11 AM on September 19, 2001

There ought to be some kind of exception in the law for sarcasm/jokes.

Because that's what we need more of in our airport securtiy procedures...sarcasm and jokes. Great idea.
posted by ColdChef at 9:36 AM on September 19, 2001

If I'm ever diagnosed with a terminal disease, messing with the heads of airport security is on my list of things to do before I die. It's ludicrous to think that sarcasm could be ilegal in a free country. (I'd do stuff like that now but when I'm flying I usually have neither the time for jail nor the money for bail.)
posted by Octaviuz at 9:51 AM on September 19, 2001

Clearly the guy made a dumbass mistake and pissed off airline employees. He got what he had coming. But twenty years? C'mon people!
posted by xammerboy at 9:52 AM on September 19, 2001

Sacre Bleu -- what is a "waterhead"?
posted by amanda at 9:57 AM on September 19, 2001

Did anyone see the picture of confiscated items from LAX on the front page of today's midwest NYTimes? Tons of butcher knives, some guns, at least two meat cleavers (?), boxcutters galore, what looks like a railroad spike sharpened to a point (??), and some contraption consisting of a rolling pin (???) packing taped to a grease gun (????). WTF is that all about?

Dumbass behavior is a universal law, like gravity or the sudden, inexplicable need to fart in church.
posted by UncleFes at 1:04 PM on September 19, 2001

The question here I have is precisely how Carpis answered the guy at the ticket counter. The quotes would seem to imply that he replied "nuclear bomb" to one of the questions. Granted, this was a remarkably stupid mistake. But did Carpis simply reply "no" when he meant "yes?" I wonder if we can really place our faith in airline employees who are earning wages that are next to nothing and who are expected to work long hours after this tragedy with frayed nerves.

There wan't a lot of care placed on this before 9/11 happened. In fact, when I flew over to Germany before 9/11, the guy at the ticket counter asked me the customary questions, but he spoke in an extraordinarily quiet voice and he asked the questions in broken English. I asked him to speak louder and slowly and then I answered him.

If that same guy is working the counter, then I wonder if something similar to this will happen to another passenger, particularly one who does not speak English (funny that all of the U.S. "international airports" offer signs only in English, when it's exactly the opposite in Europe) or one who is trying to stay alert while adjusting to a new time zone.
posted by ed at 2:01 PM on September 19, 2001

fwiw, the whole airport security thing is ludicrous. there is no need to assume a fortress mentality. steel doors and locks on cockpit doors which cannot be opened even by the crew unless the craft is on the ground and powered down is all that is required. i cringe on a daily basis as i ponder the sheer magnitude of freedoms americans are going to blindly give away because they buy into the hysterical bleating jingoism of the right wing religious right which is unfortunately running this sad country at the moment.
posted by quonsar at 3:28 PM on September 19, 2001

There ought to be some kind of exception in the law for sarcasm/jokes.

Potential catastrophe-- then all bomb threats, threats of harm, and any manner of things (kidnappings?) could become "jokes" after you're caught.
posted by Astucity at 4:36 PM on September 19, 2001

Amanda: "waterhead" was short for "water on the brain" or hydrocephaly, a birth defect that can have crippling mental ramifications. In retrospect, I regret being insensitive - to the infants.
posted by sacre_bleu at 5:13 PM on September 19, 2001

The guy in question was Australian. Australians have a very dark sense of humor at times. Believe it or not, it's one way of dealing with things. Sounds to me like airport officials are trying to find ways to handle their own grief.
posted by skinsuit at 5:25 PM on September 19, 2001

What a waste of resources. The system needs to cope with people a little bit better than this.

Some people are simply this stupid. They get nervous and make stupid jokes. Really stupid jokes. They can't cope with the situation.

I think a simple "Sir, this is an important question, please answer truthfully and without sarcasm." would have solved the whole thing without wasting everyone's time.
posted by krisjohn at 6:02 PM on September 19, 2001

If you shout fire in a theatre, you deserve jail time for endangering people. If you're a big enough moron to say that you have a nuclear bomb, whether or not you deserve jail time for endangerment, you deserve it for stupidity.
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:04 PM on September 19, 2001

Although his remarks were highly inappropriate at this time, I am so glad that most of you realise he may have been resorting to humour in bad times, even if it wasn't a particularly funny retort. I know in the days following the Port Arthur massacre my friends and I were devastated, but still at times, laughed and felt guilty for laughing. Perhaps the human spirit can only take so much grief at one time.
posted by Tarrama at 7:48 PM on September 19, 2001

The article says there was a recorded announcement playing periodically which warned people not to make jokes or they might be arrested. He did it anyway.

Dumbass of the century. And it's only 2001.
posted by Potsy at 10:14 PM on September 19, 2001

re-read the article and you are right Potsy, the guy is a dickhead !
posted by Tarrama at 1:36 AM on September 20, 2001

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