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Security Theater

If there are any of my readers who have not yet realized that the entire existence of the Transportation Security Agency is a complete waste of time and money, I have a pair of examples for you.  Examples that, sadly, are not the exception, but seem to be the rule.

First, we have Breda's experience of flying with a prosthetic leg: groped on the trip out, groped on the trip back, but the TSA missed her pocketknife on the way back.

Second, we have a more serious case of Security Fail: Don, the Armed School Teacher, flew legally with a handgun and ammunition.  This involves declaring the firearm to the airline and, depending on the airport, jumping through a slightly different set of security hoops.  Sometimes, though, the security doesn't quite work the way it is intended.  In Don's case, the fancy new and expensive scanner did not detect a standard steel firearm and ammunition in an ordinary handgun case.

I wonder how much we the taxpayers paid for that expensive piece of worthless equipment?  (Yes, I know: too much.)

To make things worse, though, even after Don declared the firearm to the local agents (since he needed to put the declaration tag into the case after they inspected it), one of the other agents tossed it into the back room to be loaded into the airplane.  Without his declaration form.  It took Don arguing with two different agents (one a supervisor) in order to get the bag retrieved so he could put in the form that would protect him from being arrested for trying to smuggle a handgun onto a plane.

To make this clear: two TSA agents, one a supervisor, were initially quite happy to have a declared firearm loaded onto a plane illegally.

Now, I'll grant that the declaration form is sort of silly.  It's basically a way for the owner of the firearm to prove to the authorities "See, I told you this was here" to avoid getting in trouble.  It won't actually make the gun less dangerous, although the requirement that the gun be unloaded probably helps a bit... assuming the security staff know how to verify that.  But it's the sort of silly that involves serious consequences to ordinary folks if it's not followed. 

Finally, we have another example of airline security becoming a voluntary form of humiliation for the amusement of government employees: the urinal flush sensor that doubles as TSA security camera.

This entry was published 2009-06-04 09:04:29.0 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2009-06-04 09:04:29.0. [Tweet]

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