The crazy misadventures of the TSA

Another fun TSA fail via Cory Doctorow (note, this is not Cory speaking, it is a letter from an anonymous soldier):

So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the Soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:

TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.

Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.

TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.

Soldier: Why?

TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.

Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.

TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.

Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?

TSA Guy: [awkward silence]

Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.

Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]

This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns-but nothing that could have been used as a weapon.

I say we get rid of all government programs that fit the “Truth is stranger than fiction” bill. As a guiding rule, it might not actually be that bad.

 

P.S.

Alex Tabarrok points to these recommendations on how to talk to your children about inappropriate touching from New York State’s Office of Children & Family Services:

  • You are special and important.
  • Your body is your own.
  • You have the right to say "NO" if someone wants to touch you in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable, afraid or confused.
  • There are parts of your body that are private. You have the right to say "NO" to anyone who wants to touch your vagina, penis, breasts or buttocks. You have my permission to say "NO" even if that person is an adult … even if it’s a grown-up you know.
  • Pay attention to your feelings. Trust your feelings about the way people touch you.
  • If someone bothers you, I want you to tell me. I promise that I will believe you.
  • If someone touches you in a way that does not seem right, it is not your fault.

Children need to know that the safety rules about touching apply all the time, not just with strangers … or with men … or with baby sitters. In many cases …children are sexually abused by people they know and trust [including] authority figures….

Also, abusers seldom need to use physical force…Unfortunately, abusers can use threats successfully because children are taught to believe and obey adults.

I agree with Alex. This is good advice for both children and adults. He writes:

Authority figures, for example, may also use threats of violence to engage in abuse against adults, for example, "you will be blown up unless you let me touch your genitals and take naked pictures of you."

P.P.S

Here’s Ron Paul on the TSA:

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22 thoughts on “The crazy misadventures of the TSA

  1. My brother was killed on 9/11, dude. I will never again eat Thanksgiving dinner at his house. An American soldier being bought nail clippers by Cory Doctorow is supposed to make that balance out somehow???

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    • Don’t pretend that what’s going on right now has anything to do with 9/11. I’m sorry for the loss of your brother, for everyone’s losses, in fact. But is your brother’s death avenged by violating the Constitutional rights of every citizen in America who chooses to fly?

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  2. What’s the TSA’s budget? Surely slashing that would be helpful. Alas there’s not a hope in hell.
    A- Politicians cut back on security in any way.
    B- Opponents characterize them as weak on defense.
    C- Some event occurs/ an attack happens (probably would have occurred anyhow)
    D- Politician is drummed out of office by a torch carrying mob.

    Vs

    A- Politicians don’t cut back on security.
    b- Some event occurs/ an attack happens
    C- Politician says everything that could be done has been done, accidents happen.
    D- Politician has a decent shot of keeping his job, may even get rallied around.

    The incentives are wildly against correcting this madness.

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  3. I can’t blame the TSA guy for following his training. If he lets those nail clippers on the plane and someone finds out, he’s fired.

    Try asking a McDonald’s burger-microwaver to give you one “medium rare”. This is exactly the same situation. It looks stupid because we aren’t thinking like the government bureaucrats who wrote the TSA procedures.

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  4. I wrote the TSA suggesting that they prominently display on their website the names of the many terrorists they were able to thwart as a result of enhanced airport security. This would reassure the public that their humiliation and inconvenience were not for nothing. No reply yet.

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    • So far random chance operating in our favor seems to be the primary successful method of thwarting terrorism. In any event there just are not all than many terrorists to thwart . When you consider the ratio between terrorists thwarted divided by number of airline passengers inconvenienced or even angered by invasive airline security procedures you must conclude even the most rigorous security procedures are not cost effective.

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  5. The posting that is sited is BOGUS

    First, the TSA does NOT take nail clippers, and NO ONE except Federal Air Marshals and Flight Deck Officers carry fire arms in aircraft cabins. Solders NEVER carry firearms on aircraft.

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  6. lets see you have a soldier in combat uniform carrying an a4 assult rifle.he has a gerber tool. HELLO dont they know he is on our team. its part of his t.a. 50.gear. these young men and woman are over there fighting a war on 2 fronts . the ones they are suppose to catch they slip right under the radar. it gets better every day.

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  7. Do you not understand?? This entire episode never happened. Nail clippers are ALWAYS allowed, guns are NEVER allowed, except for Federal Air Marshals and Flight Deck Officers. Period. No further discussion necessary. The conversation between the soldier and the TSO never happened. The person who posted this bit of fiction is a LIAR.

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  8. Bogus and fiction. 233 soldiers flying with full battle gear would almost certainly be flying under military authority on a military aircraft. I doubt if the TSA would have anything to do with them at all. If they were flying on a civilian aircraft with other civilians they would not be allowed on the plane with guns.

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