As someone who puts these things on every morning except the Sabbath and Jewish holidays, I still agree with the poster who said that in our crazy world, where most people are not familiar with this custom, it’s not surprising that people would be at least interested and maybe frightened.
I do think it’s also worth noting, though, that the fellow who had these on in the news story was completely cooperative, and didn’t get angry our threaten to sue anybody or cut anybody’s head off.
The same thing happened a number of months ago in the U.S., on a USAIR flight from New York to one of the southern U.S. states — a young man, 17 years old, traveling with his sister to visit their grandmother on a morning flight, put on his tefillin while on the airplane so he could say his morning prayers, and was thought to be donning a bomb. He (and his little sister, I believe) were both arrested. But he never lost his temper or threatened to sue anybody, and the whole thing was straightened out after a few hours.
Can anyone imagine what would happen if the adherents of the Religion of Peace were menaced in this unconscionable way??
That is because Judaism is a religion and not a criminal organization with delusions of grandeur.