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Home > War On Terror

Sam Marson: nothing to declare

"Hey be careful, I have three bombs in here".

20 January 2004

Poor Samantha Marson. All she wanted to do was nip back home from Florida for a new visa. One little quip about semtex later, and she’s inches from Camp Delta.


Surely this will all be sorted out in court, and her family will be able to stump up the cash so that Sam will be spared an encounter with a scary southern 24-hour bail bondsman (think ratty moustache, ulcers, cheap cigarettes, and a suspicious-sounding informality when talking to the local sheriff).

Meantime, there’s some random thoughts on the incident:

1. At least the exchange rate is in her family’s favour.

2. You know the strange urge you can sometimes get in church to stand up, strip nude and shout ‘Arse!’ at the top of your voice…? Samantha Marson should stay out of church.

3. Jokes about bombs aboard airplanes aren’t funny. They haven’t been since what was left of Pan Am Flight 103 hit the heather.

Q. Where do Americans go on holiday?
A. All over Scotland.

You see.

Okay, so it’s a bit funny. But not as funny as the Challenger jokes. And more to the point:

4. Customs and immigration people don’t have senses of humour. Maybe they’re born this way, maybe they undergo intensive deprogramming sessions. Whatever, these people just don’t smile, laugh or register normal human emotions the way the rest of us do. They're like traffic wardens, but without the twinkle.

5. Terrorists with bombs don’t tend to admit to the fact. Same as Nazi war criminals (a notoriously cagey breed). And people planning on murdering the president. When presented with one of those green I-94 US entry forms, no terrorist has ever thought: “Gee, I do intend to overthrow the government with violence – I’d better tick yes.”

6. It’s sad when student pranks go wrong. Indeed, Samantha's gaff may well be the most ill-judged student prank since September 11th – which, as we all know, started as a drunken bet – like all of the best Tony Hawks books.

7. The worst thing is that she's depriving a genuine terrorist of his place in jail - one who has worked hard to earn it; setting up a terrorist training camp, building a dirty bomb....

8. Yes, it’s sad that the world is run by humour-impaired monkeys. Unfortunately, we still have to play by their rules.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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