Trickle Down Islamic Terrorism

The Effects of Racial Profiling and Whipping Your Geek Out

bombvest“Geeks like to make things. Indeed, the drive to create is an intrinsic geeky quality…” – Ken Denmead

Living in the Atlanta Metro area means that often our ‘local‘ news ends up being ‘national‘ news. After all, we’ve got Newt, Bishop Long, Creflo Dollar, Charles Stanley and other infamous leaders of the religious right living on our doorstep. Several years back, a Christian terrorist named Eric Rudolph, set off a bomb in downtown Atlanta during the Olympics.

The terrorist attacks on September 11th left numerous scars on our nation, one of them being the general distrust of many people who bear a resemblance of being Middle Eastern. There is widespread bigotry and distrust of them, especially in areas that have been the target of terrorist attacks, the origin of terrorist attacks or even locations that were the scenes of mass murders that had nothing at all to do with terrorism. So, let me tell you as story.

A Geek Walks Into A Movie Theater…

Meet Daniel Tudela, Geek and nerd extraordinaire. You should know that those words are not pejoratives. I have a geeky, nerdy side to me that would probably surprise many of you. Although I’ve been a writer for decades, my academic background is in computer science and computer theory. You wouldn’t believe the places I’ve whipped out my geek.

Daniel Tudela not only whips out his geek, he wears it. It’s part of his style. It’s also what got him arrested. In a WSBTV news report, journalist Kerry Kavanaugh reports on a story with a sub-headline telling us that a man strapped with wires caused a big scare at a local mall.

Mr. Tudela was actually doing three things. One, he was wearing a bunch of cellphones, iPods and other devices, all hooked together through a series of other devices that allowed him to use all of it in a wonderful conglomeration of nerdgeek awesome. Two, he decided to go to the movies. Three, he’s not really all that ‘white’ looking. Here’s a picture of Daniel:

Tudela

The local constabulary said that Tudela was ‘strapped with wires and electronic devices.‘ Notice the word ‘strapped.’ Not ‘wearing‘ electronic devices that were wired together, but ‘strapped with wires…’ They added in the fact that these ‘devices‘ were ‘hanging from his body.’

The Nerve…

The actual incident happened on September 13th, as Tudela was heading toward the movie theater. This wasn’t too long after the massacre in Aurora,  Colorado, and, well, Tudela kinda sorta looks a little like a terrorist, right? (That was sarcasm, folks). Even local cop, Corporal Ed Ritter of the Gwinnett County Police Department chimed in with his opinion that,

“One would put together, and reasonably assume, that he is here to commit some type of heinous crime, deadly crime.” 

The cops showed up in full force, and, according to the report, were prepared ‘to confront’ Tudela – a man who was about to have a pretty bad day because he’s a nerd and the US citizenry has a hair-trigger for anyone who looks like they might be a terrorist. Like Middle Eastern nerds. The story says that the officers quickly determined that what  Tudela was ‘wearing’ weren’t a threat, although there are no details about how this assertion was made.

Remember our Police Corporal, Ed Ritter? Well, he had some more comments about Tudela and his collection of geekwear. Let these comments serve as a reminder to any of you who have the propensity to dangle a device or three from your body, particularly if those devices have wires attached to them. Oh, and if you’re not white.

Ritter said,

“In the day of age that we’re in today, with terrorist activity, and dressing like one, one would assume that you are one” 

Reporting The Crime…

In case you were wondering, a local shopper reported the crime. Her comments can be heard in the video at the bottom of the story. To save time, I’ll just include them here,

“He walked into the store. Wires strapped onto him and they’re just really strange…”

The reporter went to Tudela’s house, because his privacy wasn’t invaded enough, to find someone to talk to about this. A friend answered the door, telling the reporter it was no big deal, and she really didn’t understand why the police were making it such an issue. Apparently, Tudela is known around town for his eccentricity, which is usually a character trait present in most nerds.

Tudela has an attorney, now, who released a statement to the WSBTV that said, in part,

“This was an unfortunate arrest that was completely unwarranted. Family, neighbors and friends who know Mr. Tudela are expressing their concern and outrage over how such charges could be brought against someone who is kind, gentle and would never pose a risk of harm to anyone.”

An Attorney..?

Why does this guy need an attorney if the police ‘quickly’ asserted that the items on Tudela’s person were not a threat? I’ll tell you why. He got arrested, and not right away, either. It took two weeks for the cops to do it. The charge?

‘Having a hoax device”

Pardon me, but what the actual fuck does that even mean? I searched through all of Gwinnett County’s laws on Municode and couldn’t find anything called ‘Having a hoax device.‘ Nothing, nada, zip. Yes, it’s a misdemeanor and will probably get thrown out of court, but now Tudela has an arrest record, and is in the system on a terrorist related charge. Good luck getting through airport security without being taken to a small room and being subjected to a very personal examination involving rubber gloves.

Final Thoughts…

Yes, I get it. There’s an “If you see it, report it” campaign going on, and there’s a part of me that understands the reason for it. There are fucked up people in the world doing bad things on a regular basis. I also understand when people say, ‘who the hell would do that in light of all the horrific acts of violence being committed by radical Islamic fundamentalists and ‘What kind of a person would wear all that stuff and go out in public, being all dark-skinned and bearded like that, and not expect to get arrested?

Well, I’ll tell you who. A nerd. A geek. I’ve done it, and you can ask anyone who knew me growing up about the stuff I’d wire together that would probably get me arrested and thrown into an interrogation room in Cuba if I made them today. And they were harmless toys, too. We are geeks and nerds, and many of us are dark-skinned, and a lot of us have beards. And we’ve been doing it for as long as there’s been shit to wire together. You can’t imagine the nerdgasms we had when technology allowed the miniaturization of things so we could stop carrying our nerdventions in suitcases and duffel bags and actually start wearing it.

Now, because of a bunch of fundamentalist Islamic assholes have decided that they are going to hold hostage the entire planet in fear of getting blown to pieces over whatever twisted theological commands they have stuck in their deluded minds that they believe come from their god/prophet, geeks and nerds are getting accosted, searched and even arrested for, well, being themselves.

The whole thing sucks, and regardless of what anyone might think, this is just another example of religious bigotry, racial profiling and victim-blaming. If you see it any other way, please enlighten me.

______________________

Special note to the FBI, CIA, Homeland Security and any other agency who got a red flag notice due to my Google image search of an appropriate picture of a bomb vest for my opening image, I wasn’t shopping. Really. It was just an image search. You can relax…

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  14 comments for “Trickle Down Islamic Terrorism

  1. October 1, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I don’t really see a problem with the initial reactions. People saw some stuff they thought might be a bomb. They called police. Police looked at it and dismissed it. So far, no one was being unreasonable (assuming the police treated Mr. Tudela respectfully and didn’t detain him). I really have no problem with anyone’s actions to this point even if some of the initial caller’s suspicion was because of a perceived Middle Eastern appearance.

    Where it gets weird and scary is when they charge him with a bogus “crime” and it is patently obvious that Mr. Tudela had not been trying to appear as though he had a bomb. This is the point at which his rights begin to be violated.

    • October 1, 2012 at 11:45 am

      Yes, I did acknowledge this. The issue I have is that a bunch of religious assholes have behaved in a way where calling the cops because a nerd is carrying a gazillion iPods seems the sensible thing to do.

      As well as the bogus charge…

      • Dairy
        October 2, 2012 at 8:20 am

        Yeah! The problem isn’t that this guy had something disruptive and horrible happen to him, or that yet another PoC found himself targeted for the colour of his skin, but can Al Stefanelli somehow tie this to how ‘religious assholes’ have behaved.

        He doesn’t need to elucidate because we all know that hating on the religious takes a front seat and justice for brown people takes a back seat when you don’t care about Atheism+

        • October 2, 2012 at 9:24 am

          I was wondering when someone would try to tie this into A+. Got nothing to do with it, nor do I.

          The point I was making was that before 911 nobody would have paid attention to this guy unless they were nerds or geeks themselves, and it would only be to ask him how much he spent at Radio Shack.

          I don’t think the tie-in is really that hard to contemplate.

          Or, were you trying to make another point?

  2. machintelligence
    October 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Perhaps the arresting officer should be charged with filing a false report.

  3. stevebawden
    October 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    My position is probably informed by 52 of my fellow citizens having been bombed to death not long back.

    As for the charge, it’s what we call a deterrent. It’s regrettable – by which I mean I’m sad that it’s necessary – but I promise you it DOES work.

    I would hazard a guess that your position regarding internal flight security in your country is slightly more in accord with mine.

    Hope this helps. With genuine best wishes,

    Steve (London, UK)

    • M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati
      October 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      Charging people unrelated to terrorist groups with terrorism-related charges is a “deterrent” towards who, exactly? If anything, it’s a “deterrent” aimed at anyone insufficiently conformist; after all, we must all remember that carrying more electronic devices than the median consumer (or dressing in ways divergent from said median, or insufficient conformity to some other standard…) is punishable by law!

      …really, you’re on the verge of moving beyond flirting with fascism into the “making out” and “heavy petting” stages.

      • stevebawden
        October 3, 2012 at 7:00 am

        “Charging people unrelated to terrorist groups with terrorism-related charges is a “deterrent” towards who, exactly?”

        It’s a deterrent towards people who look like they might be carrying explosives; whether they ARE wired up as a human bomb, HOAXING about being wired up like a human bomb, or – as in this case – not smart enough to realise that it’s a bad idea to go out LOOKING LIKE they’re wired up as a human bomb.

        There was a time when I would have agreed with your stance. That time passed (for us) on 7th July 2005. You cannot expect to go about attired as this man was and not expect to be taken to task for it.

        “If anything, it’s a “deterrent” aimed at anyone insufficiently conformist; after all, we must all remember that carrying more electronic devices than the median consumer (or dressing in ways divergent from said median, or insufficient conformity to some other standard…) is punishable by law!”

        Absolutely No! I am mixed-race, and sport a bald head with a sikha growing from the back of it (because I LIKE that it makes me provocatively non-conformist, even though I am 49 and perhaps should know better). I also live in a city with a police force that is undeniably racist. In my younger days I was regularly stopped and searched for looking “different.”

        I wasn’t asking for that to happen, and I resented it. But I’m smart enough to know that if I wander round looking like a human bomb then I am indeed “asking for it”.

        You know nothing of me, therefore your allegations regarding my relationship to fascism do not merit a reply.

    • F
      October 1, 2012 at 11:38 pm

      A deterrent to what? Actual bombers? (Especially bombers with bombs strapped to their bodies.) That’s nuts. A deterrent to freedom is what it is, including the freedom to move about unmolested.

      I would hazard a guess that your position regarding internal flight security in your country is slightly more in accord with mine.

      No idea what your view is, and no idea what sort of flight security the UK has, but in the US, it’s all security theater. No actual security involved. Lots of money, lots of theater, though. Lots of molested people. Mostly unreasonable and unwarranted harassment because stupid people who apparently just crawled out from under rocks + power.

      You aren’t gonna see the bomb on a terrorist.

      Right here is stupid Americans and their “terrorism”:
      http://laughingsquid.com/aqua-teen-hunger-force-promo-causes-panic-in-boston/

      • stevebawden
        October 3, 2012 at 7:35 am

        “A deterrent to what? Actual bombers? (Especially bombers with bombs strapped to their bodies.) That’s nuts. A deterrent to freedom is what it is, including the freedom to move about unmolested.”

        I have covered this in my reply to M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati

        “No idea what your view is, and no idea what sort of flight security the UK has, but in the US, it’s all security theater. No actual security involved. Lots of money, lots of theater, though. Lots of molested people. Mostly unreasonable and unwarranted harassment because stupid people who apparently just crawled out from under rocks + power.”

        Firstly, I should apologise for not having made myself clearer: What I should have said was “I would hazard a guess that your position regarding internal flight security in your country is slightly more in accord with my position on people wandering around cities looking like they are wired up.”

        Secondly and in reply, I’m sorry to hear your security sucks: it shouldn’t after what you went through in 2001. Our security can be a pain in the butt, but it does achieve results. But the nub of this matter IS the stupid people who crawled out from under the rocks. Leaving aside the arguments as to why they are amoung us (and there are compelling arguments that they exist because of US/UK/Western foreign policy): the fact remains that they ARE here, and they ARE a threat, and we HAVE to deal with them. Deterring dumb-ass nerds from looking like them – via a public example of one dumb-ass nerd who did – allows us to not waste resources on the next dumb-ass nerd.

        “You aren’t gonna see the bomb on a terrorist.” – Do you not receive news from the Middle-East in your country?

        This is not a black-and-white issue. Just because Bush turned it into a “them-or-us” situation, doesn’t mean you have to automatically sit at the opposite extreme. The “war on terror” is ridiculuous (all wars against intangible concepts are ridiculuous), but the battles against the very tangible individuals who blew my countrymen (and yours) to fuck – and would do it again – are very real indeed. Allowing this individual to learn a harsh (maybe even unfair) lesson – and teaching others into the bargain – is not a curtailment of your rights. It’s just sensible under the circumstances.

  4. jj7212
    October 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I can relate to Mr. Tudela. And I’m a tall white American. Three months ago I got hasseled by the Japanese police in Ichinomiya City (near Nagoya) by the train station at 8:30pm. I was on the sidewalk in slacks and a collared shirt (typical English teacher fashion) when a cop car turned on the lights, did a u-turn, and two cops came up toward me quickly. In public and with everyone looking. They wanted to see some ID, but I faked not speaking Japanese and wanted to know ‘what the hell?’. Basically they were hunting foreigners who have overstayed on their visas. Apparently there wasn’t any crime elsewhere in the entire city.

    When they found out I was legal, had a Japanese wife, two kids, and owned my own home here, they became extra friendly and apologetic. I told them they were fucking assholes and yelled at them in front of everybody like the Marine Sergeant I once was.

    This was a one time incident, but I do know what it’s like to be a minority who often deals with stupid ass stereotypes. The Japanese are great people, but can be shady just like everyone else in the world. Oh well, I stood up for myself. And I’ll stand up for Mr. Tudela too.

  5. lorn
    October 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    It was years ago, when suicide vest first made the news, when a citizen saw a swarthy looking man wearing a loose jacket with something heavy underneath enter a shopping mall. The police and SWAT were brought in as mall patrons were quickly and quietly evacuated. The man didn’t seem to notice the crowds thin out.

    In front of a food court they confronted him, at a distance, with automatic weapons drawn. They told him to stop and he stopped. They told him to open his jacket and he opened his jacket. What was revealed seemed to confirm their worse fears. He had a dark vest on with wires, and lights, and it beeped quietly, and it had heavy boxlike pieces hung on it.

    The police demanded that he remove the vest. He declined. They demanded he remove the vest and he refused. They asked why and he told them that if he took off the vest he would die. When a guy you think is wearing an explosive vest talks about dying you know you’re in the shit.

    The standoff lasted some time until a nurse, who had been in a dressing room and was unaware of the situation, while being quickly shuffled out of the mall, shouted to the police that it wasn’t a bomb. It is a battery vest for an artificial heart. The batteries, and spares, were power for his artificial heart and removing them would kill him.

    After digesting this bit of information, and recruiting a ‘volunteer’ a single brave SWAT member approached the man close enough to really get an explanation and a good look at the vest. Once he returned, and after several long minutes of hand wringing, it was decided that perhaps, just perhaps, it wasn’t a bomb. So they allowed the man to sit in a chair and a member of the bomb squad went out. After several minutes examination he returned and related his findings. The command staff was brought together and in just five minutes they concluded that there was no bomb.

    After just a couple more hours of questioning, and interviewing over the phone several doctors, the man was released. The mall was closed for four hours. The man detained for about that also. The doctors in the artificial heart program bragged that their device held up well under the stress. The police considered it a grand training exercise.

  6. October 4, 2012 at 12:49 am

    The initial reaction is definitely not surprising. But the way they handled it at the end is a totally different story. I enjoyed this one very much, thanks for sharing it.

  7. poose
    October 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    MANY, many years ago (1980’s) I had built a small alarm clock (from Radio Shack parts) which travelled with me during our families trips from Chicago to Florida.

    Thing LOOKED like a bomb-security did’t even look sideways at it.

    Fast-forward to a a trip to New Zealand in 2005-a portable hard drive in my luggage triggers a security alert and a complete teardown of my luggage-which made me late for the flight, and the withering stares you get when you do the “aisle perp walk” on the plane.

    It’s a fraking hard drive, right next to my fraking laptop in my fraking laptop bag in my fraking suitcase…

    TSA-Terminally Stupid A$$#oles…

    To quote Ripley:

    “Did IQs drop sharply while I was away?”

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