The Lensman Blog
Saturday, August 30, 2003
Blaster Worm Suspect is "just a normal, fun loving teen" - who cares?

It appears that the authorities have their suspect responsible for the infamous Blaster worm (sounds like a 1980’s Atari game), which caused thousands of PC’s to shut down and caused millions of dollars of damage. Unfortunately some people seem to be in denial:

Mike Heldt, who once worked with suspect Jeffrey Lee Parson, 18, at a local movie theater, told Reuters he and Parson like to shoot billiards, rent movies, play video games and "just sit around and joke like other kids."

"I don't think he's really a hacker," said Heldt, an 18-year-old who works the overnight shift at a local gas station and lives in the same working-class neighborhood as Parson. "He's just a kid that got into something that's bigger than he is, that's all."

Okay, usual disclaimers that Parson’s is innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is entirely possible that he is innocent of the crime of which he is only being accused. In which case it is perfectly natural that people who knew him and weren’t aware of his (alleged) illegal activities would be in a bit of denial, especially if he seemed like such a normal kid.

However that doesn’t excuse people who are excusing his behavior who acknowledge that he is probably guilty from then trying to excuse his behavior with the “he’s just a kid” or “he probably didn’t mean to hurt anyone” line. Keep in mind the damage caused by this virus.

Microsoft, which says Blaster has caused millions of dollars of damage, helped authorities in the case.

It’ll be interesting when we finally know what the damage is when you calculate the productivity lost by having computer’s shut down, the opportunity costs of a day wasted with IT problems, the misery of people who were forced to reschedule their lives for this punk’s (assuming he’s guilty) sick idea of a joke. Some people fortunately have the good sense not to be blinded by the belief that youth = innocence:

"It screws up everything," said Leanne Damke, who lives down the street from Parson. The 32-year-old mother of two says she had trouble getting medication from a pharmacy due to the worm.

"I think he wanted it to get out of hand," she added. "When someone puts something like that on the computer, he's doing it on purpose."

I’m a staunch believer that people need to be held accountable for their actions. Assuming that Parson’s is guilty, I hope they throw the book at him (10 years in prison with a $250,000 fine) regardless of the fact that he’s an eighteen-year old White suburban high school student rather than an Arabian terrorist. This sort of crime does a tremendous amount of damage and harm to others and when a hacker is caught, make an example of him.

Monday, August 25, 2003
Arnold's the Third to Run

When Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to run for governor, inevitably comparisons were made between his candidacy and that of Formergovernor (thank G-d) Jesse Ventura, both of whom were in the movie Predator. However per Eric Pfeiffer at the Weekly Standard, Schwarzenegger is actually the third actor from the movie to run for governor:

The second phase of the Predator Effect emerged last summer when veteran character actor Sonny Landham filed his paperwork to run for the governorship of Kentucky on the GOP ticket. In the film, Landham portrayed "Billy," a Native American who picks up the track of the missing civilians and leads his team to the guerilla camp. Near the film's climax, Billy makes a sacrificial stand against the Predator, allowing his confederates to put some distance between themselves and the beast. However, a former adult film star and recently released convict, Landham didn't stand much of a chance in rallying the Kentucky conservative base to his campaign.

In fairness though, Landham's criminal conviction seemed to come out of a rather messy divorce and custody battle with his ex-wife and although he served three years, the conviction was overturned on appeal. Judging by his official website, his candidacy seemed to revolve around some of the issues which came up in his divorce.

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