« From Ebonics to Obamics, Liberals Are The Hate Speech Party | Main | Denial In Boomtown Washington »

Bus Bomb Bust Wrapup

Well, the great Portsmouth, New Hampshire Bus Bomb Scare is over, the dust is settled, the details have come out, and -- guess what? -- it was much ado about nothing.

Here's what went down, as of the latest news.

A Greyhound bus left Bangor, Maine for New York City, making many and sundry stops along the way. In Portsmouth, one passenger heard another passenger -- a black man wearing camouflage pants -- speaking into a cell phone and thought the guy with the phone say something about a bomb on the bus. So they used their own cell phone to call the police.

When police arrived, the driver fled the bus with the keys, immobilizing it. Then police surrounded the bus, evacuated the area, and began slowly getting everyone off the bus.

Two passengers made asses of themselves. One guy, Calvin Segar of Brooklyn, gave the police two different fake names after leaving the bus. He thought he was their target, as he suspected he might have some outstanding warrants. He also refused to give his fingerprints. That quickly became irrelevant, as they busted him for "obstructing government administration" and is being held on $7,500 bail.

Another passenger, John Smolens of Lewiston, Maine, got a bit belligerent with the police as he left the bus. He was tossed in the clink after refusing to give his name, struggling with the police, and impeding the electric current of a Taser (two charges). He was released on $2,500 bond personal recognizance.

But back to the alleged bomber (whose name is not being released). It turns out that one of the passengers was from Burundi, and didn't speak English. Apparently, the phrase "Nothin', just chillin' and rollin' through New Hampshire, which is the most awesomest place in the universe," when spoken in Swahili sounds a bit like "I have a bomb." The passenger had no idea what was going on, but was seriously freaked by the whole drama.

Eventually, police brought in authorities from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI. They managed to get a relative of the guy down to Portsmouth to talk to him, tell him what was going on, and persuade him to get off the bus.

Once it was established that the guy didn't have a bomb, didn't say he had a bomb, and had not the slightest idea why all those guy with guns were looking at him so intensely, he was released.

That's it for the facts. Now for my own theories.

The initial reports of a white man being detained would seem to refer to Mr. Smolens, who at 68 really ought to know better than to be a pain in the ass to police when they're dealing with a potential emergency.

The attention Mr. Segar received was most likely the product of several factors. First up, the initial reports said the would-be bomber was a black man, and Mr. Segar was black. Next, he was carrying almost $3,000 in cash on him. Then he gave conflicting stories and names and identities.

Finally, the unnamed Burundian. The story doesn't spell out that he is a political refugee, but the conclusion is hard to avoid -- here in the country legally, from a country that was the site of a massive civil war (it had a bit of the Tutsi-Hutu conflict that led to genocide throughout central Africa, most prominently in Rwanda) living in a part of Maine that has a lot of political refugees from Africa, and doesn't speak English. I feel sorry for the guy -- he did nothing wrong, and still got caught up in a huge mess. I'm glad he was released, and that his name wasn't.

But it does reaffirm a belief of mine: if you're going to spend a bit of time in another country, you should make the effort to learn at least a few key phrases in the language of that country. The incident probably would still have occurred, but had he been able to understand the police, it would have resolved itself a lot quicker.

Finally, I made one error in an earlier piece. I referred to a Massachusetts guy with a fake bomb taking hostages in Hillary Clinton's campaign office in 2008. I said it was in Portsmouth, like this incident; it actually was in Rochester. In my defense, I tend to lump "the Seacoast" into one area, and haven't spent much time over that way.

Coincidentally, the guy who did that -- Leland Eisenberg -- had been out on parole, with a monitoring ankle bracelet. Recently, he cut it off and went on a drunken bender. He's going back to prison.


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/39011.

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Bus Bomb Bust Wrapup:

Comments (15)

Three guys with legal "Issu... (Below threshold)
glenn:

Three guys with legal "Issues" on one bus?
Tells you maybe more than you wanted to know about Greyhound's customer base.

Glenn, to be fair, only one... (Below threshold)

Glenn, to be fair, only one had previous legal issues -- the Brooklyn street hustler. The cranky old coot from Maine was just a dumbass, and the poor Burundian did nothing wrong and had no idea what he'd inadvertently caused.

J.

"...impeding the electric c... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

"...impeding the electric current of a Taser"?

There's a charge for that? Never heard of it and it sounds a bit bizarre.

Sorry, Jeff. That's just my... (Below threshold)

Sorry, Jeff. That's just my (apparently overly) flippant way of saying the guy got tasered twice while being subdued.

J.

But what about the bus driv... (Below threshold)

But what about the bus driver who ran away? What was his problem?

There really are times when... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

There really are times when it's best to 'do what the nice man with the gun says'; and things get resolved much more quickly. Unfortunately there are always those 'independent minded' people who believe that these are the perfect moments 'to stand up for their rights', thus dragging out a situation far longer that it need be.

Too bad this the one thing about Europe we DON'T copy is their insistence on learning THEIR language if you want to live in THEIR country.

I'm sure some lib will soon be screaming about the lack of Burundi speaking police officers and their lack of racial representation on local police forces.

Mark, the driver got out of... (Below threshold)

Mark, the driver got out of the bus, disabled the engine, and got the keys away from the vehicle. In other words, he made damned sure the bus went nowhere. Some might call it "abandoning his passengers," but I think it was the right call. It's at least defensible.

J.

Thanks for this post. Hilar... (Below threshold)
meaghan:

Thanks for this post. Hilarious presentation and great writing. I just read it out loud to my family and we're all cracking up. Well done and thanks for the report.

If his name is being withhe... (Below threshold)
914:

If his name is being withheld rest assured its probably a muslim name.

"...impeding the electri... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

"...impeding the electric current of a Taser"?

There's a charge for that?

Yup. About 100,000 coulombs.

Three guys with legal "I... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Three guys with legal "Issues" on one bus?
Tells you maybe more than you wanted to know about Greyhound's customer base.

I had the same thought. As Jay Tea points out, only one had legal issues, but change that to "two guys with issues regarding authority figures" and the statement holds.

Increasingly, the main "iss... (Below threshold)

Increasingly, the main "issue regarding authority figures" that contributes to bus ridership these days is probably nothing more than an unwillingness to go through airport security.

I enjoyed your post. If it... (Below threshold)

I enjoyed your post. If it wasn't so serious it would have sounded like something out of keystone cops! The poor Burundian. I hope he is ok and that he can learn a few phrases of English. It is always smart to learn a little of the language when you travel to foreign countries. It makes the trip more pleasant and it could even save your life.

I enjoyed your post. If it... (Below threshold)

I enjoyed your post. If it wasn't so serious it would have sounded like something out of the old keystone cop movies! The poor Burundian. I hope he is ok and that he can learn a few phrases of English. It is always smart to learn a little of the language when you travel to foreign countries. It makes the trip more pleasant and it could even save your life.

Jeff Blogworthy says being ... (Below threshold)

Jeff Blogworthy says being charged with impeding the electric current of a Taser sounds a bit bizarre.

Nope, just fun - an indicator of an elevated IQ.

But surely a charge of 'obstructing government administration' is positively bloody Orwellian?




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy