I'll admit it, I can be extremely petty. I hold grudges, I'm passive-aggressive, and it's something I need to work on. But there's a man in Clackamas, Oregon who took petty to an entirely new level, and I don't know whether to be impressed of terrified.
Family politics are always tricky, and now Sonny Donnie Smith definitely knows one way NOT to deal with them. It's pretty simple: don't report your brother and father to airports as terrorists.
Smith's brother and father had been invited to a family wedding, which apparently Smith felt he should have been invited to as well. Instead of contacting the person getting married, the 38-year-old called the airports his father and brother would be flying out of to report them as suspected terrorists. He called security offices at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas as well as the Midland International Air and Space Port in Texas, and both travelers were detained.
The brother and father were extensively questioned by investigators, but eventually authorities realized neither posed a threat to public safety.
"Thanks to the FBI agents and partner agencies who worked this case, Mr. Smith quickly found his harassment was far from anonymous," Loren Cannon, Oregon's FBI special agent in charge, told The Oregonian.
But aside from most likely being banned from every family reunion the Smiths throw from now until eternity, Sonny is facing some more serious consequences.
In the United States, reporting a false terrorist threat is an extremely sensitive topic. The issue of "swatting," or calling in a false threat in order to bring in a police presence, has been deadly over the past few months. An innocent 28-year-old father was killed standing in his front door by police after someone called in to police, after a prankster called 911 and said the man had killed his father and was holding his mother hostage.
While Sonny Smith's calls didn't cause any injuries or death, it's still a serious offense. It takes up resources, and can make it harder for authorities to assess legitimate threats made to the United States.
"The safety and security of our nation's airports and travelers are of paramount importance to law enforcement, and we will continue to swiftly and thoroughly investigate all threats of terrorism,'' said Billy J. Williams, Oregon's U.S. Attorney, during Smith's trial.
Sonny Smith pleaded guilty to calling in false terrorism claims, and faces up to two years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and one year of supervised release. Not to mention he's also never going to be invited to another wedding ever again.