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There is no "post 911". 911 did not change anything in a fundamental way. Terrorism has been there for centuries, and will be there in the future. Star wore a name tag, for the career fair/festival she was attenting. She had worn that hood several days before, and just grabbed it when hurrying to picking up her bf at the airport. The name tag blinked in a star shape. Thats all. Everything else only existed in the dirty minds of the onlookers. Now, policemen will be excused to be overly suspicous. But they have to keep their paranoia in check. And what happened here is anything but that. What should have been a few polite questions became a SWAT style arrest and an invented charge - there was no hoax bomb, neither intentionaly nor otherwise. I really wonder why Massachusetts, home of some of the most prestigious universities of the country, starts penalizing creativity and ingenuity upon display. Why so many commenters on so many blogs, in reaction to this story, despise art, have nothing but contempt for creativity, and generally wish the girl the worst. Why there is so much contempt in the public discourse for intellect, sophistication, creativity, academic achievement.
@Elizabeth - you start with a paragraph long smear, and it doesn't improve from there. That you consider the Church a criminal organization shows your true colors - so we Catholics are all criminals. Yeah. Go where you are heading to. @Sara - I think you look at it the wrong way. The "pre-warning" theory is basically armchair quarterbacking. You effectively demand that the Church 30 years ago should have shed society's and science's belief that such behavior is an illness that can be healed, and should have trampled its own teching that there is forgiveness for sin. You demand a revert to medieval - or even prechristian - ideas about ultimate evil and the futility of forgiveness. It was unreasonable back then and it's still inhumane today - we should refuse such beliefs. The church did what it thought was best in those situations. Furthermore - and that is the actual problem here - the state is unjustified and unreasonable to go after the church for failings of individual men. No church can operate on such a ground. Any organization sufficiently large has bad apples, and society will have to live with that. What is unaccpetable here is that by covert regulative acts ("punitive damages" and trumped up pain and suffering awards are exactly that) the state basically and sucessfully destroys the Church by denying its members places of worship and the ability to organize and build long lasting structures, to finance their activities and pay their clergy. The state levies a duty on Catholics it may not reasonably do and is not morally entitled to (namely, to guarantee a infallible clergy, and, failing that, to build prosecutable structures and paper trails). Lastly, there is an implicit understanding in the project of secularization, that believers and non-believers should be able to leave each other alone and do their respective thing. There is much worry in leftwing circles that radical christians try to revert to a time where christian belief was the only and absolute moral authority, and mold society accordingly. But in this case its the secular side which doesn't hold up its part - when our churches and schools get siezed, when the state holds us hostage for the actions of a few single men, then this is the ultimate power-grab by the non believers (for lack of a better word - I don't think atheists fits it).