Monday, January 11, 2010

Airport romance never pays

Of course, it would help if a little common sense went with it. Friends describe Haisong Jiang as a hopeless romantic. They say he just wanted to say goodbye to his girlfriend one more time. They also say that he didn't realize what a flap he would cause. He's a doctoral student in molecular biology, which would indicate a certain amount of intelligence. But sometimes people do fit stereotypes. I knew a chemical engineering Ph.D. candidate who was incredibly book smart, but was the poster child for the uncommonness of common sense. So I'll give Haisong Jiang the benefit of the doubt on not realizing how much trouble he would cause by crossing that rope to go into the secure area with his girlfriend in Newark Airport January 3rd.

But I watched the video of the his transgression (well, I watched the 6 minute unedited video), and it is obvious that he did know what he was doing was wrong. He waited around for several minutes, even after the guard asked him to move on. And I would think his girlfriend should be held responsible as well. She waited until the security guard was gone and came back for her boyfriend, then walked with him to the 'secure area.'

The guard is also culpable in this fiasco. He should not have left his post unattended. If he had some serious business he needed to attend to he should have called for relief.

How much trouble should they be in? I'm not sure. Unless he's been an exemplary employee for a long time, I would strongly recommend firing the guard. There is too much relying on his vigilance to let a slip like that slide. The lovebirds? I'm a little torn. I think they need more severe penalties than the crime he is being charged with carries (she isn't being held responsible, AFAIK), but I don't really want to ruin to lives over what might have gone entirely unnoticed a few short weeks ago.

That's the kicker, of course. And perhaps the damning bit that's missing. These two have been carrying on a long distance relationship for a year or so. How many times have they played exactly this scenario when she visits? Or when he visits? As I said earlier, he was obviously waiting, and it appears that she was, too. It looked like they had either done this many times, or planned it very carefully.

His reaction when he found out the police were at his house is also interesting. Almost like he was expecting it eventually. According to a story in the NY Daily News, he said, "You got me." It doesn't sound like there was any surprise at all. That just leaves the question, why is he the only one being charged?

Why does the girl go free when she went to get him - knowing he wasn't supposed to cross the secure barrier? The guard is facing disciplinary action, the boyfriend is being charged, however lightly, and the girlfriend walks. Doesn't sound right to me.