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The Price of Freedom is Worth the Cost

Teacher Arrested After Bookmark Called Concealed Weapon

POSTED: 10:17 am EDT September 17, 2004
TAMPA, Fla. -- A weight may soon be lifted off a Maryland woman charged with carrying a concealed weapon in an airport.

It wasn't a gun or a knife. It was a weighted bookmark.

Kathryn Harrington was flying home from vacation last month when screeners at the Tampa, Fla., airport found her bookmark. It's an 8.5-inch leather strip with small lead weights at each end.

Airport police said it resembled a weighted weapon that could be used to knock people unconscious. So the 52-year-old special education teacher was handcuffed, put into a police car, and charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

She faced a possible criminal trial and a $10,000 fine. But the state declined to prosecute, and the Transportation Security Administration said it probably won't impose a fine.

Harrington said she'll never again carry her bookmark into an airport.

"She was actually probably arrested because she was going to read on the airplane."
   —Jim "Sweetcheeks" P.