Pop Culture

Idiot Teen Arrested After Making Terrorist Twitter Threat To American Airlines

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shutterstock_187210466I may sound like an old mom, but I’m to say it anyway—I’m so glad social media wasn’t around when I was a teen. I remember desperately wanting to do something bad or funny or dangerous with my friends, and the worst thing I did was prank call a random person or ring a doorbell and run away.

But this teen, man, she’s in a world of hurt. She’s using Twitter just like any other dummy 14-year-old would. Had I been left alone to my devices at that age, I probably would have thought to do something similar—though I can only hope my past self would have been smart enough not to hit “send.”

Sarah tweeted a fake terrorist message to American Airlines:

After tweeting the threat, deleting the threat, claiming she did not make the treat and then saying her account had been hacked, Sarah, who claims to be a Demi Lovato fan from the Netherlands, had gained over 30,000 new Twitter followers.

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Sarah from the Netherlands was later arrested—after basking in all the Twitter glory and thousands of new followers she gained as a result of her stunt:

A spokesperson for the Dutch police told Business Insider, “We’re not in a state that we can communicate any state of charges at this point, we just thought it was necessary to bring this out mostly because of the fact that it caused a great deal of interest on the Internet.”

Oh, Sarah. Once Sarah found out she was in hot water, she did what any young teen would have done. She tweeted a whole bunch of other dumb tweets in a flurry, such as: “omfg I was kidding.” “I’m just stupid okay.” and “Omg I gained 3k followers today.”

Derp. That’s probably not going to hold up in a court of law, Sarah. As a last ditch effort, Sarah cried woe as she tweeted her need for legal representation. Hopefully, the same Twitter that led to her demise will also come to her rescue. Maybe Sarah will find a Twitter lawyer who works pro bono fighting for troubled careless teens?

I personally chalk this one up to the stupidity of a teenager. I am not knocking teens, but I do remember my teenage years vividly. I had the desire to do a lot of crazy shit, and the only thing that stopped me was lack of access. I can bet you that if Twitter was around 15 years ago, someone in my high school would have done something exactly like this.

Though Sarah gained momentary Twitter fame, the Twitterverse wasn’t exactly supportive. Here are a few of the best Twitter responses to her plight:

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(Image: Vladyslav Starozhylov/Shutterstock)

50 Comments

  1. Aimee Ogden

    April 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

    This kind of stupid stuff happened before social media, though, too (since teens were just as dumb then). When I was on a Model UN trip (yeah, yeah, I know) in high school – so pre-9/11, too – one of the girls from our club said to another as she was picking up her things from the luggage scanner, “Guess they didn’t find the bomb you put in there this morning?” They weren’t arrested but they did get questioned by the TSA and no, they did not make our flight. GENIUS.

    • Bethany Ramos

      April 15, 2014 at 9:34 am

      I have memories pretty similar to this from high school…

    • Valerie

      April 15, 2014 at 9:42 am

      I totes joined Model UN so I could take the trips and miss class. 🙂

    • Surly Canuck

      April 15, 2014 at 9:58 am

      Yeah I was on a cross-border bus trip for a PE class (right after 9-11) and one of the girls kept joking that she was going to hold up the bus by claiming to be a terrorist (she really didn’t want to go skiing apparently). She laughed and laughed until the teacher pointed out that they wouldn’t stop the bus for long, but she would be removed and have a really bad day. Moreover, she also wouldn’t get credit for the trip, she’d have to retake a PE class and would always have a shit time crossing the border. Teenagers are stupid.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      April 15, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Sometimes it’s unintentional.
      My little bro was 9 when I was flying with him from Turkey back home after a weekend away, he turned and asked me- If I was hiding a bomb what would happen? Would it blow up everything or just the airport?
      This is in front of Turkish security guards with guns- and one of the heard the word bomb and came right over.
      I had to explain the situation with my little bro.

      He genuinely didn’t mean it, but I can guarantee, after a guard talking to him (very kindly I might add, explaining why he shouldn’t say that stuff) with a gun on his hip, my bro will never so much as squeak in an airport lol

    • AugustW

      April 16, 2014 at 9:57 am

      My nephew was that age right around 9/11, so they had to tell him not to talk about bombs at all when they got on a plane a few weeks later. Apparently it took quite a lot of candy bribes because he really wanted to ask a lot of people if they were going to bomb the plane.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      April 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

      lol darn kids and their mouths, they always say things at the WORST times!

    • CrazyFor Kate

      April 15, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      Same thing happened to my class when we visited a dam in 2005-ish. They actually pulled the bus over to the side of the highway and delivered a ten-minute lecture to us unwashed youths. You can bet we never made a joke about anything.

    • tSubh Dearg

      April 15, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Back in the times of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, all Irish citizens were asked were they members of the IRA or if they were carrying explosives when they flew into UK airports.
      A friend of my dad, sick and tired of this question, sarcastically answered yes and then spent hours being held and questioned by Scotland Yard.
      So even adults can make this kind of mistake.

    • Lackadaisical

      April 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm

      Stupid answer but the question was also insulting and pointless, and I say that as an English person who grew up in a town where all public bins were removed. Seriously, what purpose has a question like that but to harrass innocent Irish people who, like most Irish people, were not violent and had nothing to do with the violence.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      April 15, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Not to mention you’re not exactly going to answer “yes”.

    • Lackadaisical

      April 15, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      Absolutely, anyone who actually is a terrorist is far less likely to snap at the idiocy of it and answer yes than an innocent person fed up with being asked the stupid question and being looked at like he or she is going to explode little babies as soon as everyone hears their accent. An actual terrorist would be far to worried about being caught to let an annoyed “yes” slip but disgruntled people and cocky teenagers might (and did in tSubh Dearg’s example).

    • tSubh Dearg

      April 15, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      This is why I am always sooo tempted to tick the Yes box for the “Were you ever a member of the Nazi party between the years 1938 and 1945” question on the immigration form when we visit the US. With a birth date of 1981 it seems unlikely that I could be, but maybe I’ve been reincarnated!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      April 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

      Fine lookin’ filly for yer age lol

    • tSubh Dearg

      April 16, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      Thanks! I find that looking like bread is a timeless look 😉

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      April 18, 2014 at 5:40 am

      lol I still think it looks like a close-up of a peanut. =P

    • tSubh Dearg

      April 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      It was also quite confusing for me as a child when we went to London for the first time and I, being 7, was asked that question! Even when they got rid of that question, the security in Heathrow always seemed to find a reason to double check the bags of Irish passengers for years afterwards. Bloody annoying more than anything.

  2. Ursi

    April 15, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I think a 14 year old is old enough to know better than to post something like that online. My sympathy is at an all time low. I too did some stupid things as a child but none of it involved joking about national threats. This is kind of like shouting fire in a theater.

  3. K.

    April 15, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I’m with you on the “dumb kid.” Teens do this kind of behavior ALL THE TIME. And most of the time, there are few consequences, but there’s always the potential for really terrible consequences because most teens don’t think stuff through–they’re often lucky, though.

    One of the students at DH’s school figured out somehow what our home phone was and called with his buddies (on Halloween) to say, “We’re waaaatttching you…We’re going to kiiiiiilllll you….” He knew who these kids were and considered it a compliment they chose to prank him on Halloween, but when you think about it, it’s a really stupid thing to do: threaten a teacher? With death? leaving your threat recorded as a VM message??

    Other things people I knew as teens did:
    – drove drunk or drove high
    – flicked off the cops, ran across a busy intersection, then hid spread-eagle on the roof of an apartment building while the cops searched
    – tried to evade the cops in a car
    – “ran away” in protest, at 10:30 at night into a terrible neighborhood, no keys, no wallet, no ID, no phone
    – flung open the school security gate so hard (he had poached the security guard’s key–don’t ask) that it jumped the track, fell onto someone’s car, and crumpled the roof
    – released mice into a teacher’s car
    – spray-painted stuff onto the putting greens of a local golf course
    – trespassed onto private property (a lot)
    – threw a pair of socks off of an overpass
    – stole

    As an adult, the potential consequences of these things sound horrendous–what if a someone had been in the car that was crumpled by the gate? What if someone was so surprised by something falling off an overpass, they swerved and caused a car accident–and what if the teacher didn’t discover the mice until she was on the freeway, for that matter? What if a property owner grabbed a gun and shot at what they thought was a violent intruder?What if the country club decided to sue parents for vandalism–repairs could have been in the thousands?

    Yeah–teens do dumb shit. and most of the time it’s because they’re not very good at thinking through how their actions might affect others. Although the whole “I got 30 new twitter followers” or whatever is kind of disturbing, I’m pretty sure this kid’ll learn her lesson.

    • Bethany Ramos

      April 15, 2014 at 9:39 am

      Check, check, check – I have to say my brother was the best example of every dumb thing a teen could ever do. 😉

  4. Alex Lee

    April 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Of course, in a show of solidarity for stupidity, dozens more teenagers are now tweeting in threats to American Airlines.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2014/04/14/dozens-of-teenagers-are-now-tweeting-bomb-jokes-to-american-airlines/

    I mean, I hope none of these kids needs to make their flight on time EVER for the rest of their lives, because it’s (from what I’ve heard) really difficult to get taken off of a TSA Watch list.

    Seriously, I just can’t imagine missing the whole family’s flight to Disney World because of a tweet made 25 years ago…

    Patdowns are fun, though.
    So are Greyhound buses.

  5. Valerie

    April 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I was afraid of getting into trouble as a teen so I doubt I would have done something this public and dumb but I know plenty of friends who would have.

    • CMJ

      April 15, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Me too! I can’t even move seats at a baseball game!

    • Valerie

      April 15, 2014 at 11:11 am

      Hahahaha. I am the exact same way. Consumate rule follower.

  6. keelhaulrose

    April 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I heard this morning that there’s a slew of copy-cats, so I’m really not sympathetic to any of these idiots.
    At its base, this is a joke about killing hundreds of people. Perhaps I’m a bit stuffy, but I don’t really find it funny.
    And as I said yesterday, of course the authorities are going to take it seriously, because there will be hell to pay if they don’t and something happens. I’ve got a feeling a few people just earned themselves a spot on the coveted no-fly list.

    • Alex Lee

      April 15, 2014 at 9:47 am

      First rule of comedy: Know your audience

      Because law enforcement and government agencies are known for their generous senses of humor. /s

  7. Guets

    April 15, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Kids are stupid but I think at 14 this was especially stupid. You’re not messing around with your friend making these jokes…you’re making them directly to the company in front of essentially the whole world. Way to go derpy mc derp.

  8. Kay_Sue

    April 15, 2014 at 9:50 am

    This is why my parenting style is of the “Eat Your Children Before They Are Teenagers” variety. #FiguredItAllOut #Blessed

    • K.

      April 15, 2014 at 9:58 am

      🙂 I hope you tweet that with those hashtags.

      …you *might* get a call from Child Health Services, tho.

    • Kay_Sue

      April 15, 2014 at 10:01 am

      I think, if I give them the context, they will understand. I hope, anyway.

    • Robotic Socks

      April 15, 2014 at 11:09 am

      I think your hashtag is The Bomb!

    • Lackadaisical

      April 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      Nah, nothing so harsh. Lock them in a room and feed them via a hatch. When they are old enough see whether they are reasonable enough to rejoin society or just brick up the hatch. Posh people don’t have this problem as avoiding teenaged spawn is what boarding school was invented for. Now if you excuse me I have to set my prototeen writing lines, something like “my favourite musician is not the only one who understands me” or “sulking is not the same thing as being an enigma”.

    • Kay_Sue

      April 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      I love this. I am going to make you write a chapter in my parenting book.

  9. tk88

    April 15, 2014 at 10:47 am

    It is sad that stupid things you did as a kid, that in would be fun stories to tell over drinks as an adult, now have the potential to totally destroy lives. SHe was incredibly stupid…but she was just 14. I hope things work out for her.

  10. gothicgaelicgirl

    April 15, 2014 at 11:23 am

    lol “white girl”
    I love how she has to drag race into it

    • Robotic Socks

      April 15, 2014 at 11:25 am

      Why is a 14 yr old girl drag racing??? So dangerous!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      April 15, 2014 at 11:27 am

      You do know you’re my internet hero right?

    • Robotic Socks

      April 15, 2014 at 11:40 am

      😀

    • Bethany Ramos

      April 15, 2014 at 11:30 am

      Sometimes I wonder if you are my husband trolling me because you have the same sense of humor. !!!

    • Robotic Socks

      April 15, 2014 at 11:39 am

      I could only be so lucky 😉

    • Bethany Ramos

      April 15, 2014 at 11:44 am

      awwwwww – If you are my husband, please see the article regarding Nakey Night. 🙂

    • Valerie

      April 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

      Socks, sometimes you are so charming.

    • Robotic Socks

      April 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Why there gotta be a qualifier?

      >:(

    • Valerie

      April 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Can’t let your head get too big!

  11. gothicgaelicgirl

    April 15, 2014 at 11:36 am

    I knew one girl who kept cracking jokes about a teacher she had supposedly slept with, in order to improve her grade.
    She thought it was hilarious- he got suspended and investigated.
    She only admitted she lied after our entire class ignored her for a solid month, not one word said to her.
    Maybe we were harsh but this teacher was well-loved, well respected and treated us like proper people and not just another kid in a uniform.
    He helped every single one of us at one time or another, as he was also our class counsellor.

    She ended up getting expelled and he was allowed back to work, thank god.

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    April 15, 2014 at 11:40 am

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    • gothicgaelicgirl

      April 15, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Knock off stuff eh?
      Eve is he paying you for this advertising??

  13. Iwill Findu

    April 15, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Teenagers need hobbies to keep themselves out of trouble. Really between all my hobbies and school I didn’t have time to get into trouble.

  14. scooby23

    April 16, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    “I’m just a 14 year old white girl I’m not a terrorist pls”

    Yes, because being a 14 year old white girl means that you can do nothing wrong. Right.

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