Nathaniel Heatwole: Hero or Villian?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mat_M, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Check this out guys:
    http://www.cnn.com/2003/LAW/10/20/ai...are/index.html

    What do you think of this? Is Heatwole in the right or wrong? Are the airline lawyers claiming he's a 'bad guy' because bringing those items on a plane and then leaving them there for a month is a huge slap in the face for security? What do you think?
     
  2. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    While I don't think he deserves a full 10-year sentence (perhaps a suspended one), I do consider him guilty, regardless of the fact that he was trying to make a point. Every time I see a magazine/paper/TV network loudly proclaim they managed to get banned items onto an airplane, I shudder. Might as well give any potential terrorists a call and say "hey guys, the coast is STILL clear".

    If they truly want to help, they should conduct their experiments and then notify authorities of the results, rather than printing them for everyone to see.

    EDIT: Reading the entire article, I realize he did contact the airline privately. In that case, allow me to change my initial judgement. They should actually be grateful to this guy.
     
  3. Joe McCabe

    Joe McCabe Second Unit

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    Definately an American hero!

    He has single handedly shown that these so called inspectors still aren't doing their job correctly.
    How does a little C-4 in the hands of a terrorist, on *your* next flight sound??
    Doesn't sound too good to me.

    It's very apparent that another 9/11 is still a very strong possibility. Although, I am putting good faith in the passengers being brave/smart enough to rise up against anyone who would stand up and suggest that they are going to take over the plane.

    I'm pretty sure that the beat down of a lifetime would soon follow any such action.
     
  4. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    Why did he do this.....? He had no right to do what he did. He broke the law and regardless of his reasons, he should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
    There are those who push the envelope of the law, there are those who push the envelope of morality, and there is this guy who pushed the envelope of stupidity.....

    Wonder who is gonna pay for his 15 minutes of fame.........???
     
  5. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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  6. David Williams

    David Williams Cinematographer

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  7. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    They should hire him. The guy had to have his shit together in order to pull that off, He could find other holes that need to be plugged, and get them fixed.

    Yes, he did break the law, and anyone can say that jail time is needed to correct his actions, but if our system does that we will look like the fools. Sure, let us put him in jail and bury our mistakes.

    Hero.

    Glenn
     
  8. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    The thing that really burns me up is the apparent discrepency this country has about crimes such as these.

    I should note that this topic has been brought up on the half a dozen or so forums I visit so my comments are not just directed at the discussion here, but is a cumulative summary on all the discussions I've read.

    In this case, you have a college kid who broke security measures and left evidence to show everyone how lousy security really is. People are eager to let this guy go or have them work with the authorities to highten security.

    You don't have to look far to find comparable computer/technology crimes. A college kid could break into a government network with full access to sensitive data, but not actually do or take anything, instead leaving behind evidence of his presense. He/She could tell them exactly what was exploited and how to patch their systems, and yet this person is locked away with the key thrown out. In the past these white hats may have been employable but in the past few years there has been this mass frenzy and anyone is labeled as "evil".

    Now, a crime is a crime and punishment should be given. I do not think the guy should serve a life sentence but I don't think he should go unpunished either. It just makes me feel disheartened knowing that the computer crime folks are looked upon so harshly when their counterparts have the general public pleading for their release.

    As a side note, this story reminds me a bit of "Catch Me If You Can". I just saw this movie this past weekend (for better or for worse). The interviews with the real Frank Abagnale were quite interesting, especially now that's he's been working with the FBI for the last 25 years and is regarded as a top couterfeit expert.
     
  9. Mike Wladyka

    Mike Wladyka Supporting Actor

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    Why is it his job to challenge security?

    He should go to jail for as long as possible for his crime. Everyone knows the holes in security and unless every single person getting on the plane is willing to be strip searched and to have their bags completely opened up and gone through, then there will always be holes in the security. If you spend an hour inspecting every person then this wouldn't happen. Hardly anybody would be willing to do that. The point is, there will always be holes in security. Wow! he proved what everyone already knew...
     
  10. Chet_F

    Chet_F Supporting Actor

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    "The interviews with the real Frank Abagnale were quite interesting, especially now that's he's been working with the FBI for the last 25 years and is regarded as a top couterfeit expert."

    Yes. I find this example to be a good view of how incredibly F'ed the system has BECOME. He definately needs to be reprimanded. Years in prison. Absolutely not. A few months...maybe. Forget about the kid for a second. Who REALLY needs to be thrown in the clink are these so-called secure airlines. The airlines security is simply a smokescreen for the general public to 'feel' safe when they fly. If they have the illusion they are safe, they will fly. If that illusion is shattered, i.e. 9-11 then people will not fly and the economy suffers. The Gov't flips the bill and EVERYONE pays. Hence the scenario we have now. An illusion of safety. Are we 100% safe? Obviously not and we never will be. Do people have the illusion of being safe? Apparently so, as you can see, the airlines are starting to report positive numbers. I think this guy did what any 14 year old could have done. Airline security is a joke. There will ALWAYS be a way to sneak something in. The only possible solution is the Total Recall X-Ray scanners. But then you have human error. They would have to be used for EVERYONE. The flight attendants, airline cleaners, etc, etc, etc. They will probably throw the book at this kid to set an example. The airlines do not want the general public to know security is lax. People won't fly if they feel they are not safe.

    Just my 2 cents
     
  11. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    They'll come down on him hard for causing embarrassment to the Machine. At least they're focusing on the important things, like patting down Granny at the airport.
     
  12. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure exactly how I feel about this. I guess he should go to jail for a while but 10 years seems a little over the top here.

    While he did help point out what I have thought for a while, that security at airports is and always will be (at least until some really advaced technology comes along) an illusion, I'm not sure that anyone using a razor knife or box cutter will ever be able to take over a plane again after people saw what happened on Sept 11, 2001. Also the clay he used might have been shaped like a plastic explosive used in a movie but since plastic explosives are moldable, I'm not sure that the shape is really that important anyway, a terroist is hardly likely to use a big block with the letters C-4 stamped on it for all to see. Plus, the explosive detection devices use sniffers, specially tuned x-rays and electronic means to scan for the signature of explosives. It is entirely likey that the clay he used does not duplicate any of these characteristics so he proved nothing in that regard.
     
  13. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    Joseph- you mentioned that you had some sort of negative experience on your last flight. What happened?
     
  14. JustinCleveland

    JustinCleveland Cinematographer

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    The only problem is, that I can forsee, that someone with malicious intent will get caught and, using Heatwole as precident, will claim he was, "just testing security."

    Dangerous. This kid should have known better.

    I read an analogy comparing his actions to a secret shopper... the only difference is that the secret shopper is sanctioned. The Airlines should secretly test themselves, everyone else should just do what they are told, they are doing nobody any good.
     
  15. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    This is such a complex situation. I say this because:

    If there is another attack, it won't be 9/11 style. 9/11 happened because, in the past, everyone knew that in the case of a hijacking, you stayed calm, didn't do anything stupid, landed in Cuba or another non-extradition country, and then were rescued.

    Trust me, if those passengers had any idea what was the true intent of the hijackers, they would have done anything and everything to take over the plane. I'd bet my last dollar that passengers would do that now, with 20/20 hindsight. And 4 terrorists with boxcutters won't stand a chance against 150 angry passengers determined not to let them have their way.

    So Heatwole's motivations may be right (to show the US still has a ways to go with airline security). But the reality I think is that a boxcutter getting onto an airline would not spell the doom that it did back on 9/11. As long as they're keeping immediately dangerous items like firearms out of airplanes they are doing their job (and no, I think someone on an airplane would pick up someone trying to wire the "explosives" that Heatwole said he was able to get on the plane).

    What then to do with Heatwole? Well that's one where I'll gladly put my faith in the U.S. judicial system.

    My personal opinion is that although his intentions might have been in the right place, his methods were pretty stupid. As someone said earlier, if another person does try to bring a dangerous object and gets stopped, he can use the "Heatwole Defense" that he was just checking out security. It's a dangerous precedent to set, and for that I'd be in favor of a light sentence, but definitely he should be made an example of [what not to do].
     
  16. Drue Elrick

    Drue Elrick Stunt Coordinator

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    I think people need to put his crime, the effects of it, and the perspective of the crime & punishment versus other crimes.

    Technically, what the guy did was against a law. He had noble intentions, did not seek to hurt anyone (beyond some bruised egos and embarassment), and in fact has brought alot of attention to a problem that should have been resolved but hasn't been.

    Contrast that with a few facts. Carrying a knife onto a plane was not illegal until recently. Banning in order to maintain safety is meant for situations where there is an unstable person. Knives being banned but not things like lighters or flashlights or laptops and such leaves one questioning the motivation of the ban in the first place. Alot of stuff can be used as a weapon. This stuff that has been banned is pretty selective. Also keep in mind that alot of airliners have items like this on hand - cutlery, matches, first aid kits (which I'd guess contain an alcohol of some type and other dangerous items), etc. It just boggles the mind.

    Also, compare his "crime" versus other "crimes" that get similar sentences. Aggrivated assaults, murders, capital crimes, etc. I want to know how why those Enron execs aren't in jail for life for having ripped off so many people. They certainly haven't paid for their crimes. They are getting off fairly scot free from my understanding, IMO. So, why are people demanding worse punishment for this guy?

    From what has been described, I definitely do not see him performing "crime that had the potential to cause serious risk to the individuals on the plane". Far from it.

    In my opinion, the airlines and the government are simply looking for a scapegoat. Someone that they can point to and say to the public, "Hey, we caught a criminal/terrorist! We did good! Our policies and procedures worked!" when the reality is far from it.

    I applaud the guy. They should let him go and then hang their heads in shame.
     
  17. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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  18. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Regardless of his intentions, you condone illegal actions by not punishing illegal activities. As stated above, you are opening a loophole for a bad guy to walk right through....

    Popularizing this guy's actions may also give motivation to those with less-than-desirable motives. You just can't make it legal to test the law.
     
  19. Chris Derby

    Chris Derby Second Unit

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  20. James T

    James T Screenwriter

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    He made his point. But he should not have done that. If the FBI/NSA/CIA were smart enough, they would have tried that stunt to see how far they would have got.

    He shouldn't get jail time, but something like this should not be duplicated again.
     

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