So, Jose L. Gonzales, you think it’s a bomb. Well, that don’t impress me much. And here’s why. According to Webster, there are eight conventional definitions for the word “bomb.” Of those eight definitions, only one actually implies an explosive device:
Main entry: bomb
Etymology: French bombe, from Italian bomba, probably from Latin bombus deep hollow sound, from Greek bombos, of imitative origin
1 a : an explosive device fused to detonate under specified conditions b : ATOMIC BOMB; also : nuclear weapons in general usually used with the
2 : a vessel for compressed gases: as a : a pressure vessel for conducting chemical experiments b : a container for an aerosol : SPRAY CAN
3 : a rounded mass of lava exploded from a volcano
4 : a lead-lined container for radioactive material
5 : FAILURE, FLOP *the play was a bomb*
6 British : a large sum of money
7 British : a great success : HIT
8 : a long pass in football
Readers will recall that last week Seventh Day Adventist Pastor Jose L. Gonzales was arrested in Nashville, Tennessee on federal criminal charges because, when already being unreasonably searched by federal screeners at the airport, he casually referred to his Bible, as he handed it to them,
as a “bomb.”
“Here is my ‘bomb,'” Pastor Gonzales intoned, as he reached for his Bible.
It seems obvious that the Pastor was speaking in a colloquial sense, a common English language
device. Maybe he was even being sarcastic, also a common application of the English language.
Specifically, Pastor Gonzales was referring to his Bible in a synonymous sense. Webster’s Thesaurus also lists fully sixteen additional references for synonyms of “bomb,” eight of which have a positive connotation, and eight of which have a negative connotation, and none of which
have an explosive connotation. Additionally, Gonzales would have been correct in his
English usage if he had referred to his Bible as a “balm,” pronounced the same according to
Webster, and which also carries five definitions none of which have an explosive device
It also seems reasonable to suggest that Pastor Gonzales was so obvious in his meaning, that
no one around him, or around the screener, or anywhere in the airport, was incited to panic
or riotous behaviour. Just one screener who chose to act irresponsibly, as a result of Homeland paranoia, and the
terror incited by the thought of losing his job if he didn’t.
Oh, the screeners had reason to be suspicious! He had with him an undeclared laptop computer!
To begin with, the screeners have no right to search at all, it IS unconstitutional in and
of itself. Secondly, it’s none of their (Howard Stearn expletives) business if he has
a laptop or not, and finally, he actually made no threat any damn way.
A suspicious laptop. I have it on good word that there are homeless tramps in Nashville running around without supervision and with laptop computers tucked away in the knapsack on their back. Isn’t there something in the United States Constitution about the right to free speech? (Sans theatre related panic, which didn’t occur anyway.) Aren’t there some Geneva conventions on the right to travel freely?
For exercising his right to free speech as guaranteed by the United States Constitution, Pastor
Gonzales had to post a ten thousand dollar bond to get out of jail, and he can go to federal prison for five years if he is convicted.
But, Jose L. Gonzales isn’t the real victim here. You are. I have a question for you.
Assuming that you are familiar with the original story, you probably remember all the facts as
stated here so far. Fair enough, but do you remember that Gonzales isn’t even a United States citizen? He’s a Spanish citizen living in Deltona Florida. (He was attempting
to fly from Nashville to Orlando.)
What you do remember as a result of this Federal Act Of Domestic Terrorism is that you cannot travel freely without unreasonable search and seizure, you cannot take personal affects or belongings with you if you do attempt to travel, and you may not say anything jokingly (no matter how obvious), you cannot use sarcasm or flip flops, and by no means will your sins be anonymous to federal screeners or Big Brother.
Oh, I can hear the nay Sayers now! You’re missing your own point, that
guy wasn’t even a United States citizen. Oh, I got it all right. Jose L. Gonzales doesn’t have constitutional rights because he isn’t a United States citizen. Well my friend, neither are you anymore.
If you see the light and you’re feeling inspired when a federal screener asks you for information, just tell ’em your name is Eric Blair, and if they want to see your laptop … tell
’em to “kiss my (more Howard Stearn explitives) ASS!”
©2004, 2013 – Jim Casey
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