Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quid Numis globe-trots, finds TSA clueless and annoying

Blogger Quid Nimis globe-trots to Hong Kong, regales with many insights, and finds our home-grown TSA the most clueless and annoying security force in her travels:

If I may extrapolate: no one else in the world thinks that shoe x-rays are a significant security precaution. In Austin, there are little handwritten signs at the security checkpoint that say, "Don't put shoes in the bins!" but since this is clearly not regulation, everyone ignores the signs and puts their shoes in the bins, only to have a TSA minder bark, "Put your shoes directly on the belt!" adding to the absurdity of the whole situation.

Is now a good time to mention that my aunt, who is 67 and uses a wheelchair, was told by an TSA person that she had to throw out her liquids (all 3 oz. or less) because they weren't in a QUART BAG? They were in a gallon zip lock bag. This was in Tulsa, where there is a significant risk of terrorism on the part of militant senior citizens in wheelchairs. To the credit of the other TSA employees there, they were embarassed and one intervened on my aunt's behalf, to the aggrieved grumblings of the jackass ("Right, I'm the bad guy for following the rules...")

I feel for her on this, having our own disabled grandma relative accosted by TSA in a very rude way. the is the dumb legacy of "let's not profile anyone", so we believe the lie that an incapacitated grandma is as likely to be a terrorist as a young guy named Ahmed.

Some TSA folks go beyond annoying into goon-like abuses of power: I know of someone personally who was harrased and then was put under arrest by TSA at Austin airport.

He's a father, family man, and business owner, on his way home to his family from a visit in Austin. He had some packaged food that he made the mistake of making a carry-on, and in the security line, he couldnt properly explain what the food package was to TSA; so they took him aside and harrassed him repeatedly over it, and kept asking if the food was a bomb, and when in exasperation after repeating goadings from one TSA employee, he said "yeah, it's a bomb" as a joke. Immediately, he was arrested, charged with Federal felony charge of false threat as well as a State charge, and sent to Travis county jail. Over a few words of exasperation relating to some food. It wasn't a false threat, it was the response of someone getting harrassed by TSA who got frustrated and gave a goon employee an excuse to do a power-trip on him. The key evidence video of the interchange mysteriously disappeared in the hands of police custody, probably because it would have shown the TSA was in the wrong here. Thousands in legal bills later, his case was dismissed.

Thankfully some people in the system realized the 'hoax' was the charge itself. Yes, I can recommend a good lawyer out of it, but I can also recommend this: Just be careful with those TSA goons.

UPDATE: The Police State comes for the pilots.

No comments: