Normally, I don't have much of a problem, personally, with TSA folks. I'm polite to them and they're polite to me. (Being white and male helps an awful lot, too.) But last week I was in Dallas. On the way home, I was behind behind a non-English-speaking visitor from Italy. And I got just a peek at how ugly TSA folks can get.
The guy made two mistakes. First, he jammed both his laptop and laptop bag into a single bin, so the laptop was angled partially out of the bin. Well, one TSA guy caught it before it went through. He basically yelled at the poor guy "I goes like this!" while rearranging it correctly, slamming the laptop down into the bin.
Now, I could understand getting stern if there was a big line. But this is Dallas, where there are separate security lines every half dozen gates. I was the only one in line. (I do love how Dallas is set up. You walk out your gate and baggage claim is right there. You step out of baggage claim and you're outside. Even the Newport News airport makes you walk further than that.)
The visitor's second mistake was to leave his boarding pass in his bag. While most of the TSA agents shouted at him to produce his boarding pass (although none thought to actually show him what they were talking about), another simply muttered "why'd ya come here if ya didn't speak English."
I was this close (fingers held 1 cm apart) to saying something like "Fuck you, you provincial asshole." But since this was Texas, I didn't raise a fuss. (Didn't want to get shot. No, really.)
But I did wait around at the end to make sure he got through okay.
In other idiots-at-TSA news:
TSA puts commercial pilots on no-fly and terrorist watch lists. Note that one of the folks is, at the same time, cleared to carry a gun on board.
Commuter Flights Grounded Thanks To Bumbling TSA Inspector (via Boing Boing, of course)
In the second story, an idiot at TSA decides to climb up the side of airplanes using external instruments as hand-holds, breaking them in the process. The
hand-hold is called a TAT probe. And, yeah, breaking it endangers the plane. Forty planes had to be grounded and checked out. Forty!
Holy crap! Scrap the TSA. I'll take my chances with the terrorists. Seriously. Look at the odds:
Airplanes endangered by terrorists: 3 (4 if you count the shoe bomber)
Airplanes endangered by idiot at TSA: 40
Keep in mind that there are a crap-load more idiots at TSA then there are terrorists boarding planes in the US.
I mean, honestly, think about it. When TSA tested their own security, they were able to smuggle in bomb materials 60% of the time. (It's in a USA Today story from last week.) Frankly, if someone wants to blow up a plane, they'll manage to do it. There just aren't that many people trying to do it.
And the final kicker? TSA spent boatloads testing their own security, but didn't keep track of why various smuggling attempts worked. So they know they suck, but they don't know why they suck. So they can't fix the problems and stop sucking. Idiots!
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