Thursday, May 21, 2009

TSA, pt. III

(You are NOT going to believe this. I don't believe this....)

So, as you all know, I went through the TSA song and dance twice. I was inspected and patted down and it was really quite intrusive and embarrassing. But by the second time, I was resigned. I thought to myself, "Well, everyone's just doing their job and perhaps it will make us safer in the long run, so I'll just suck it up and deal with it. Assume the position and think of England." The TSA needed to make themselves sufficiently sure that my prosthesis wasn't made of plastic explosives or something and I just had to put up with it if I wanted to get on an airplane. Okay, fine.

But just now, not 5 minutes ago, I was unpacking. I was going through my little carry-on/Eee bag, looking for all of the assorted business cards I had picked up at the convention. The Eee bag has a bunch of pockets so I was investigating each one... and when I stuck my hand in the little cellphone pocket, guess what I found?

My Gerber mini-paraframe.

I had put my other knives in my luggage with my pistols but somehow had forgotten about the small one in my bag. Heck, I even put a small keychain knife in my suitcase because I was so paranoid about getting anything confiscated and the resulting hassle. Somehow, though, my little pocket knife was forgotten in the midst of packing - I even remember thinking I had left it at home while I was showing off my other knives in Phoenix.

So, that knife had been resting innocently at the bottom of the cellphone pocket the entire time I was traveling without me realizing it. The knife is entirely composed of metal, its blade is 2 1/4 inches long, and it went through TSA and onto an airplane not once, but twice.

When I discovered the knife it took a moment for the implications to sink in - I had been humiliated for nothing. Nothing. Part of me is bemused at finding the knife in my bag and being able to prove a point so beautifully and the other part is...

well...

...let's just say "pissed" might begin to cover it.

52 comments:

Mad Saint Jack said...

At least you didn't lose hundreds of dollars worth of ammo like Sebastian did.

(Joke completely stolen from his comments.)

Kevin said...

Now you understand why Joe Huffman says that TSA is backwards for "A Security Theater."

Andrew C said...

Hah! Proving yet again that the TSA is mostly for show. My wife has done something similar. She's unintentionally carried her pepper spray in her purse on over a dozen flights now. They've never noticed it.

I rather doubt that anyone with pepper spray or a 3 inch knife will be able to take over a plane these days anyway - time to get rid of the paranoid security restrictions.

The Saj said...

Let's just say... "We're making you feel safe by annoying the hell out of you!"

***

Granted, I think you might have a lawsuit, boobs touched. And they didn't even find the knife.

Is it worth such harassment when the harassers are so incompetent?

Linoge said...

If there was ever a perfect example of showing just how pointless, ineffective, and generally ludicrous the whole TSA is, this would pretty much be it.

Robb Allen said...

Many years ago (like, early 90's), I managed to walk right through the metal detectors with my Ka-Bar tucked behind my back (I literally forgot it was there).

A Ka-Bar - a fighting knife. 7".

I've never trusted them ever again, and this was before the TSA insanity.

Phil R. said...

Do I take it that this means you're not itching to attend the Gunblogger Rendezvous in September?

reflectoscope said...

What a bunch of clowns.

Jim

James said...

An ex girl friend, who also carries a Bersa Thunder BTW, flew to Seattle last year to see her son. She had missed a .380 hollow point in her bag and didn't know it. She got out there and it was never detected until she went to come back, then it hit the fan.

Lester said...

Assume the position and think of England."

With the TSA, thinking of Greece might be more appropriate!

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7AWw7t5zj0

Enjoy.

Joe Huffman said...

I believe it.

And note that was when you weren't trying to hide it. Had you been trying to hide something you could have gotten something much bigger and more "interesting" through.

It's all security theater.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Will you write a letter to TSA?

Moose said...

Wasn't there a guy that got arresting for doing a story on the TSA lack of security by bringing a knife on board and then publishing his story online?

Robb Allen said...

Moose, there have been so many stories of people deliberately busting through the TSA's security that it would be laughable if it weren't for the fact that they would GLADLY arrest Breda and put her in FPMITA prison just to prove they've got the power to do so.

Lorimor said...

I can't wait for .gov to take over health care!!

militant_marmot said...

I used to carry a Spyderco Police Model in my pocket everywhere I flew and never had a problem until after 2001. I have lost track of the people I have seen on flights who have discovered scissors, nail clippers, small knives in their carry on luggage. It's saddening.

dantesfiringrange said...

But she wasn't intentionally doing it. + we all know how we bloggers exaggerate *wink*. At least that's what I'd testify to if called.

lucky you weren't wearing the, "I'm the extremists the government warned you about" shirt. Think of the fun you’d have been in for then?

fast richard said...

The goal is not to keep us safe. The goal is to get us used to being poked, prodded, and inspected, like the good little sheep we are supposed to be. The illusion of security for the sheep is just a side effect. In that sense the TSA has the same purpose as gun-control laws.

shooter said...

In 2003, I had to fly from Houston to San Antonio on business. Only had my briefcase with me. Being as paranoid as the next person, I made sure ALL my toys were secured in my truck before leaving. Only when I realized that I couldn't find the Spyderco Endura I usually keep on me did I panic when I returned from SA. Turns out, it was in the outer flap pocket of my briefcase the whole time. That thing went through two x-rays face up and nobody said boo. That, and your story make me weep for the future of TSA.

theirritablearchitect said...

About a year before 9/11, I was traveling to San Antonio on business, going on Southwest.

I had almost always carried some sort of folder in the 3 1/2" to 4" range for years, and did so on this trip, but stuck it in my checked bag going out.

Coming back, I'd forgotten that I'd had it on me the whole trip, and went to the gate with in clipped to my pocket. Bags had already been checked when I realized the situation.

The security dude waved at me to come through after I'd emptied my pockets into the bowl...with my 4" Benchmade Emerson.

He opened it, examined it for about 3 seconds, and handed it straight back to me, and let me walk on through, no questions asked, as if he'd been looking at a bowl of fruit or something.

Times, they've changed, and not for the better.

Tam said...

I have a CRKT pocket knife called the "Urban Shark". A Greg Lightfoot design, it was introduced in early '01 with a 3" blade to specifically be legal on airliners.

Whoops.

Anonymous said...

My bro in law is a commercial pilot and he has told me repeatedly that the screening we go thu is window dressing for the sheeple. The real problem is what is going on behind the scenes. That is to say, the subcontractors that stock the plane with drink and food and do the cleaning. They go thru virtually NO screening, searching, checks. Pretty spooky.

Zdogk9 said...

Breda,
May I copy your posts regarding your experiences with TSA and forward them to the drones who "represent" me in Washington?
Z

Andrew said...

IIRC, prior to 1968 there were no laws against carrying weapons on airlines. There was also not ONE single successful hijack attempt before the law changed. Afterwards, there were many. Security does NOT make you safer, it just gives an illusion of safety.

Vote For David said...

^ What Anon said.

It is window dressing, so they feel safe. Offensive window dressing. I haven't flown commercial airlines since '99 because I don't like subjecting myself to offensive behavior. Drive or take a train.

You don't have to volunteer for humiliation.

SteveO said...

About three years ago, I was flying to Buffalo from Dallas. I missed something in my pockets and set off the metal detectors. I didn't have to undress, but they patted me down pretty thoroughly.

Seems like they would have gone through my carry-on luggage, doesn't it? It became obvious that didn't occur to them when I unpacked at the hotel in Buffalo and discovered I hadn't taken my STRAIGHT FREAKIN' RAZOR out of my shaving kit.

Ride Fast said...

[...] Security Theater cops a feel [...]

dave@pervasivelight.com said...

My wife has flown thrice (once internationally) with, near as I can tell, that exact same knife in her purse.

Not once has it been noticed.

Mikee said...

Oh my! I own the same knife as the one and only BREDA!

Made my day, that did.

Mine made it around the world in carry-on luggage, or my pocket, back in the 90's when I went from MD to India, Singapore, and Japan then back to MD on a business trip.

But it has never had its picture on a blog!

CTone said...

Nice knife. I used to have a paraframe like that. You should feel lucky they didn't take it from you.

Like Robb Allen, I also took a K-Bar through the TSA checkpoint in 2006, along with a Balisong, a couple of folding knives, and a multitool while on my long journey to Iraq.

Things didn't turn out so well for me.

After my release from jail, I made it to Iraq in time to call the courthouse from a satellite phone while sitting on a Hesco barrier in full vew of one of the most dangerous cities in the world. The triffling lady said that I would be arrested again upon reentry into the US if I missed my court date!

Somerled said...

TSA, agency of the federal government, which, according to the Prez and Congress, is now reforming your health care and running your bank.

Anonymous said...

I have an old money clip with a built-in folding blade about 2.5" long. Fly all the time with it...just throw it in the bowl with the cash still in it along with my watch and cell phone.

Never a problem.

steve

og said...

Having flown the better part of every week for years I have been subjected to the worst and wierdest, including a strip search where my genitalia were examined carefully by a rubber-gloved inspector (apparently anyone with a nutsack that large must be hiding SOMETHING in it) and I am surprised by nothing whatsoever. Instead of submitting to the horror I always make sure I have a good supply of horrible gas laid up, so the inspection is mere amusement to me while it is torture to the inspector. More genteel ladies might want to settle for horrible breath. Most of this is about remembering that your IQ during a hangover is better than any three of Minetas Morons, and humoring them until the time comes to fart, preferably directly in their face if such can be arranged.

Of course I'm a guy,a big fat hairy ugly guy, and getting someone to fondle me without paying for the lap dance is always a bonus. You could try to get a guy like myself to preceed you in line and make the TSAssholes life so miserable they just let you pass through.

If I didn't know how difficult this is (prosthetic orthotics is one of my customers)I'd be inclined to take the leg off and throw it in the X ray machine, and hop through insolently. And coat the leg with xray sensitive dye marker so it glows when it comes out of the machine, and start yelling "WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO TO MY LEG, YOU BASTARDS?"

I'm sorry you had to go through this, and I hope it's nothing you have to endure again. On the other hand, someone needs to have their asses handed to them. Wish I could tell you a good and easy way to do so.

Captcha: "Speak". Not kidding.

Squeaky Wheel said...

I rescind my earlier statement. That's just fucking ridiculous.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Please don't fly with pepper spray: If it should leak inside the airplane, bad things WILL happen to everyone - including the flight crew.

Cargosquid said...

Or you could end up at a checkpoint like this one.....


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYfeolkFoMg

David said...

A few years back I was going through security at Ontario Airport in CA, the weekend after the liquid explosives scare. They were hand inspecting all checked baggage. When the TSA agent opened my suitcare, then opened my toiletries bag and started sniffing the bottles of shampoo, mouthwash, etc she discovered my letherman multi-tool which is always in that bag, and the 5" folding belt knife that is usually on my belt.

She opened the belt knife, gasped, and immediately motioned for the manager. They both looked at me like I was crazy, the manager said "You can't take these on a plane."

I replied "That a checked bag."

The inspector (waving the knife in the air) "This is not legal."

I replied "That is a checked bag."

The manager (Still wide eyed) "You cannot take this onboard."

Again I replied (very slowly in case my midwestern accent was confusing them "That is a checked bag."

When they both started talking again, the armed national guardsman who was watching the whole theater shouted "What part of CHECKED BAG did you two morons not understand?"

Everyone in line around me started clapping. They packed up my stuff and sent it to the plane. 30 minutes later while waiting for my plane to board, I saw the same national guardsman (sans weapons)in line at a sandwich shop. I bought his lunch for him.

Smokey Behr said...

@ kevin: TSA is an acronym for "Thousands Standing Around"

Lone Star JW said...

There was a show on ABC last year called "Homeland Security" or something like that... one episode featured a teary eyed yutz (he got emotional because, his family flies, you know, and, this is serious) who had seen a movie about a stripper who had a machine gun attached above the knee after she lost her leg. He said, on camera! that there wasn't any regulation about it, but he was always extra careful about replacement limbs because of the movie. He didn't want someone to sneak a machine gun past him by using it to walk on.

I saw the local TSA shoe inspector down at the Jack in the Box last week. They are a real band of brothers. They trust each other so little that the stooge had to order everybody's happy meal separately and write down the change on the receipts.

They won't trust each other with lunch, but we are supposed to trust them. If they were competent, they would be too offensive to be tolerated.

Michael said...

When I was forced to use a wheelchair I was traveling a lot for work. Those goons would make me transfer out of my chair (because I was honest and said that I could) so they could pat me down and wand me.

Of course, another employee would just wheel the chair past security without lifting the seat cushion, inspecting the hollow tube portions or anything else.

It's insane. I used to avoid telling people about it as not to give bad guys ideas until the screeners took my wife's fingernail scissors & tweezers. Both items, incidentally were sold in the newsstand just inside the "secure area" on the way to the gates.

Anonymous said...

That's what happens when sNOballs rubs off on you. Bad JuJu....

Run while you can.

Alan said...

Ah, TSA. Government incompetence at it finest, on display for all to see.

Tam said...

"That's what happens when sNOballs rubs off on you."

That's pretty funny coming from a guy named "Anonymous".

Gun Shy Tourist said...

I had to link to your whole TSA "series":

http://aroundotown.blogspot.com/2009/05/people-who-keep-you-safe.html

Rich said...

I would advise against reporting to the TSA that you were able to get a knife on to an aircraft, even if it wasn't intentional. In fact, I'm not so sure it was wise to blog about it. The TSA takes that stuff pretty seriously and I believe they could bring you up on felony charges if you admitted getting a knife past their "security".

I read your blog a lot and enjoy it very much. Just want to make sure you stay out of the slammer so you can keep writing it!!

Thomas Paine said...

TSA - Too Stupid for Arby's

But that's kinda insulting to the Arby's workers, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

TSA is expanding into general aviation and wants to work buses and trains too!

I can see an acquaintance opening his hangar to wheel out his Cessna and being accosted by these clowns; he'd likely drop 'em all and go on his way...

Dammit sheeple, wake up.

Don Gwinn said...

I don't mean to brag, but I personally put a SIG P220 .45 and about 50 rounds of ammunition through a Reveal CT-80 scanner at the Norfolk airport last fall, and it didn't make a peep.
And the security guy told me I shouldn't worry about putting my firearm declaration form in, because it didn't set off the scanner, therefore it didn't exist.
And his supervisor told me the same thing.

Word verification: pretedb. Definition: using one's imagination while suffering from nasal congestion.

Gordon said...

Greetings, Breda. I remember you from last August's Appleseed (I was there w/ my wife; you may remeber us).

This is one of the most amazing and outrageous things I've ever heard. All the loss of liberty and diginity which the TSA embodies, FOR NOTHING!

In terms of law enforcement and government agencies, these people are pretty much at the bottom of the food chain.

Listen, I hope this story gets VERY wide exposure. Tell it around. That is, if you're willing to take the risk. Our Government's regard for constitutional rights and liberty is dwindling fast.

-Gordon

Anonymous said...

Two weeks. That is all it would take. Two weeks of no one flying would stop this foolishness immediately.

If you fly, you vote your support of this systemic harassment.

Anonymous said...

Its too late to complain the colective has traded liberty for security now we have neither.