“In Balitang America’s daily online poll Isyu Ngayon, 80 percent of viewers believe that Casquejo is a fool and that what he did was careless — a crime that could get him a year’s sentence in jail.
On the other hand, 20 percent of the voters described Casquejo’s act as amazing. Not many people have the courage to even attempt what this kid has done.”
16-YEAR-old Filipino-American Justin Casquejo made headlines last week, for managing to sneak through the supposedly tight security of the 104-storey One World Center in New York City – one of the sites of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
Despite the state-of-the-art security system (which has been reported as worth tens of millions of dollars), the Fil-Am teen managed to climb his way to the top and take pictures.
How did Justin Alexander Casquejo do it? Accounts made public by investigators stated that at 4am on March 16, Casquejo found a way through a one square foot hole in the fence surrounding the One World Trade Center.
The 16-year-old climbed scaffolding onto the 6th floor, took an elevator to the 88th floor and took the staircase up to the 104th floor.
At the rooftop, he climbed a ladder all the way to the spire – One World Trade Center’s antenna.
As Balitang America New York Correspondent Don Tagala reported, Casquejo (who is from Weehawken, New Jersey) snuck past a sleeping security guard (who has since been fired).
After 2 hours of capturing the view from the spire through photos, NY Port Authority Police arrested Casquejo on his way out at 6am. His camera and cellphone were confiscated.
Casquejo was charged with third-degree criminal trespassing and another trespassing violation. If found guilty, he could face up to a year in jail.
Tagala further reported that Casquejo took to Twitter to “apologize to those who may have been insulted or [who] felt disrespected by his actions.” He also said that “it was not his intention to do so.”
The Casquejo family declined Balitang America’s request for an interview, while the case is being investigated.
Digging deeper, Tagala reported that being a parkourist, Casquejo considers himself a daredevil.
Tagala found posts of the teenager on Twitter, showing photos of himself on top of a Hoboken, NJ crane and hanging from a crane without any safety precautions.
He also tweeted that the last thing he wants to be is a normal person, because it is boring. He also intimated via Twitter that he needs help.
This news elicited mixed reactions, not only from Filipinos, but also among mainstream Americans from different parts of the world.
Some berated the teen for breaching security and violating the law. Others believe that Casquejo needs help, because such reckless and dangerous behavior is indicative of a psychological disorder.
There are also those in social media who think that what the kid did was amazing and totally awesome. Still, others compared his sneaky skills to those of the “barefoot bandit.”
There are some who even argued that Casquejo need not apologize, because they deem him a hero. They contend that he only revealed the inefficiency of the security at One World Trade Center.
New reports about a previous breach support this argument further.
According to police, 4 men, accused of organizing a parachute jump from the top of the 104-storey One World Trade Center in New York City in September last year, were arrested after they turned themselves in at a city police station.
Based on media reports, security cameras around the World Trade Center recorded at least two figures in black suits and black helmets landing and walking off into the night with their parachutes (at about 3amET on September 30).
After 6 months, Marko Markovich, 27; Andrew Rossig, 33; Kyle Hartwell, 29; and James Brady, 32, arrived with their defense lawyers at a police station on Monday and were arrested on charges of burglary and reckless endangerment, police said.
They were also reportedly charged with breaking a local law, which bans jumping from structures. The tallest skyscraper in the United States, which is still under construction.
“They’re professional thrill-seekers,” Andrew Mancilla, a lawyer representing Brady, said in a telephone interview, adding that all four men would plead not guilty.
And how did they do it? According to police, Brady was reportedly employed as a construction worker at the World Trade Center site.
Just like Casquejo, the four men gained access to the site by sneaking through a hole in the construction fence, Mancilla said. Could the security guard on duty be sleeping as well?, we ask.
So what do you think? Is Filipino teen a hero or a fool?
In Balitang America’s daily online poll Isyu Ngayon, 80 percent of viewers believe that Casquejo is a fool and that what he did was careless — a crime that could get him a year’s sentence in jail.
On the other hand, 20 percent of the voters described Casquejo’s act as amazing. Not many people have the courage to even attempt what this kid has done.
What do you think?
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos