Last week Leigh Van Bryan, 26, and Emily Bunting, 24, were detained at the Los Angeles International Airport and had their passports confiscated because of what Van Bryan tweeted a week before traveling to the US.
Apparently Van Bryan had the bright idea of tweeting “[f]ree this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?” to one of his friends. This “destroy America” tweet landed Mr. Van Bryan on a potential threat list. His name was on a “One Day Lookout" list maintained by Homeland Security so when he and Bunting went through customs at LAX they were pulled aside and questioned.
Lost in Translation?
When Van Bryan and Bunting were asked about their intentions to destroy America, the pair realized there had been a huge mistake. Apparently “destroy” in England means to party so the tweet was not intended as a publication of actual intent to commit a terrorist attack on the United States.
Additionally, Van Bryan had tweeted a comment about upsetting people on Hollywood Blvd and digging up Marilyn Monroe. The saying is a quote from the American comedy television show Family Guy.
It looks as though the Homeland Security officers had not seen the show and did not care about Van Bryan’s explanation of his “destroy America” comment. The two were detained for 12 hours and sent home since they were denied entry into the United States.
Now, I have two comments about this situation. First, living in the world we live in today, shouldn’t Van Bryan have known that his comment could be misinterpreted? Second, I get that the entire point of Homeland Security is to find and stop terrorists’ threats on this country, but really? Deny entry to these two for stupid statements?
What do you think? Should the pair have been allowed to stay in the United States and enjoy their vacation or did the officer’s do the right thing by denying them entry?
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