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21 Years Later, We’re Still Taking Our Damn Shoes Off at the Airport Because of the Shoe Bomber

I’m about to go on a trip in the very near future, and one thing I will have to do before boarding the airplane (since I have applied, but have not been interviewed or approved for the Global Entry program) is take my shoes off and run them through the metal detector at an airport security checkpoint. Before Global Entry, everyone, regardless of who you were, had to take their shoes off and run them through the metal detector. It’s an inconvenience that came to life thanks to the man above – Richard Colvin Reid, also known as the Shoe Bomber.

On December 22, 2001, Reid boarded a Miami-bound flight from Paris wearing his special shoes that were packed with plastic explosives and a detonator cord that he would have to light. After he was reported to be acting strangely on the flight, Reid grabbed a woman who was curious about what he was doing (he was attempting to light the detonator cord attached to his shoe). Reid, a large man, was 6′ 4″ and weighed 215 pounds, was subdued by several passengers who used plastic handcuffs, seatbelt extensions, leather waist belts and headphone cords to restrain him. A doctor on board gave him a sedative from the emergency medical kit of the plane and they diverted course to Logan Airport in Boston, where he was immediately arrested on touchdown.

Apparently, the explosives didn’t detonate because of rainy weather in Paris – the detonator cord had become too wet in the Parisian rain.

So, the next time you’re stressed and late for your flight and have to take your shoes off at airport security, curse the name of Richard Reid. It’s all his fault.1Of course, if he’d been successful, this would have been a tragedy. Fortunately, fate decided to not cause anybody harm that day. Except for Reid, who was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences and 110 years with no possibility of parole.

Published inHistoryInteresting Reads

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