Friday, November 4, 2011

TSA Week In Review: Do Not Let Your Grandson Pack Your Bags

Grenade
The Gift of Grenade (BHM)
Grenade
Grandma's Grenade (SLC)
An inert grenade was found in a passenger’s bag at Salt Lake City (SLC). It turns out that the passenger’s grandson had packed her bag. I’m sure you can imagine grandma’s surprise! Moral of the story: Do not let your grandson pack your bags! Another inert grenade was detected at Birmingham (BHM) and in this case, it was a gift for the passenger’s father. Read here and here why even inert grenades at the airport are a problem.

Stun Gun
Stun Gun (CRW)
 A stun gun resembling a smart phone  was discovered at Charleston (CRW). 

A passenger traveling through LaGuardia (LGA) reported his wallet missing to a TSA Supervisor. After searching around the checkpoint and double checking his bags, the wallet containing approximately $1,000.00 and 5 credit cards did not turn up. But wait! A call came in from the Airport Police Department... After reviewing the camera footage, it was determined that the passenger dropped his wallet and another passenger picked it up and kept it. Airport police met the culprit at the gate and placed him under arrest returning the wallet to its rightful owner.

Notable News This Week: Senator Lieberman took to Twitter to defend TSA! Also, take a look at Lisa’s post from earlier this week about some interesting items we found on Halloween. Some people have been really vocal as to how they believe TSA should profile. Well… while this wasn’t aviation related, I don’t think these gentleman would fit any of the suggested profiles we’ve been given as the type of person we need to look out for. 

Stun guns, firearm components, ammunition, an asp, brass knuckles, a switchblade, butterfly knives, a belt buckle knife, a brass knuckle belt buckle, a 4” belt buckle knife, and other knives with blades up to 6 ½” were among some of the dangerous items found around the nation by our officers in passenger’s carry-on bags this past week. 

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. On the other hand, there are artfully concealed items. 

Artfully Concealed Items: Artfully concealed means that the item was intentionally concealed with the intention of sneaking it through security:
Knife
Knife Found In Bag Handle (EWR)
  • Something didn’t look right about a bag that was screened at Milwaukee (MKE). After rescreening a jar of peanut butter in the bag, it was determined that there was a mass in the center of the jar. The mass turned out to be a lighter, glass pipe, and marijuana. We’re not looking for drugs, but you can probably imagine how this might look dangerous to us and why we took a closer look.
  • A passenger at Santa Barbara (SBA) alarmed the walk through metal detector and an anomaly was detected in her groin area during a pat-down. The passenger eventually admitted she had a tube of toothpaste concealed in her groin area. While we’re not looking for toothpaste, it was concealed in an area where explosives can be hidden and we had no idea what it was until we resolved the alarm. We should have known what it was though, right? Isn’t that where all the cool kids are keeping their toothpaste nowadays?
  • As I stated last week, contrary to popular belief, the lining of a bag is not X-ray proof. A passenger at Milwaukee (MKE) had their knife concealed under the bag lining. We found it.  
  • “I always keep them in my shoes” is what a passenger at Philadelphia (PHL) stated after two razorblades were found under the insole of his shoes.  
  • A knife was found concealed in the handle of a bag at Newark (EWR). I guess you could say our officers “handled” it. 
Our officers found 12 loaded firearms in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday. (Not counting the unloaded and replica ones we found). Here’s a rundown of the loaded weapons we kept off of airplanes this week:
  • 10-28: TSA Officer at SAT detects a loaded .40 pistol.
  • 10-28: TSA Officer at ATL detects a loaded 9mm pistol.
  • 10-28: TSA Officer at IAH detects a loaded 9mm pistol.
  • 10-29: TSA Officer at ICT detects a loaded .25 pistol.
  • 10-30: TSA Officer at RNO detects a loaded 9mm pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-31: TSA Officer at MSY detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 11-1: TSA Officer at BNA detects a loaded .380 pistol.
  • 11-1: TSA Officer at CVG detects a loaded .380 pistol.
  • 11-1: TSA Officer at DFW detects a loaded pistol of unknown caliber with a round in the chamber.
  • 11-1: TSA Officer at BDL detects a loaded .38 pistol.
  • 11-2: TSA Officer at JAN detects a loaded .25 pistol.
  • 11-3: TSA Officer at PHX detects a loaded .32 pistol.
You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. 
    Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items in their bag. That’s why it’s important to check your bags before you leave.

    We also look for explosives and bomb components as well, but thankfully those are extremely rare and we're happy to keep it that way.

    TSA Blog Team

    If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.


    48 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    You forgot to mention that this is 30% of the items that were brought in, you still missed 70% of them.

    And no planes fell.

    How many of these items were found by your naked scanners? None it seems.

    Anonymous said...

    Anonymous said...
    [[You forgot to mention that this is 30% of the items that were brought in, you still missed 70% of them.

    And no planes fell.

    How many of these items were found by your naked scanners? None it seems.]]

    Your “Assumption Percentage”, 100%. Well done.

    Nadav said...

    As always, the Friday post is a fascinating one. It never ceases to amaze me what people try to sneak through security when it can be safely carried in the checked-in luggage (most of the times).

    The surprise grenade is a lesson for everyone - pack your bags yourself, or be ready to be delayed at security.

    Nadav

    A.L.Pagella said...

    Seems like Anonymous is intent on bringing up the 70% missed issue. Even if that was the case sir, as you stated "no planes fell" and thats a good thing no matter how you look at it.
    And just for clarification could you please explain the term Naked Scanner. This must be some new piece of equipment unique to your area only.
    And secondly why do you hide behind "Anonymous" since you seem to be so well versed in TSA procedures.
    Please state your real name just for the record. After all it would be nice to know who we are conversing with...

    A.L.Pagella

    Anonymous said...

    Any chance you'll reflect on how your idiotic liquids policies are the only reason anyone would try to smuggle toothpaste? Your policies don't keep anyone safe, they make you a laughingstock and give innocent people cause to try to circumvent them. You're a pack of hysterical clowns carrying out bin Laden's work for him. Shame on you.

    Anonymous said...

    Thank you Bob. Your post has assured me that my family and I will be safe from pot smokers and tooth brushers next time we fly. I feel much safer now.

    James said...

    ”A passenger at Santa Barbara (SBA) alarmed the walk through metal detector and an anomaly was detected in her groin area during a pat-down. The passenger eventually admitted she had a tube of toothpaste concealed in her groin area… …We should have known what it was though, right? Isn’t that where all the cool kids are keeping their toothpaste nowadays?” Yes, that’s a new trend actually that’s started now that you have to criminalize yourself to take your toothpaste tube with you on the plane. Maybe you want to brush your teeth after you eat lunch at your connection? Maybe you could just carry a trial-size tube under 3.4 oz and put it in a baggie, or maybe you just resent not being able to carry harmless items with you in the name of ridiculous, reactionary security policies.

    I keep wondering when it is going to “click” with the TSA that most reasonable Americans really do support what you’re trying to do, but you’re alienating us as your allies in this fight against terrorism because you are making us, your allies, your adversaries by criminalizing the harmless acts of innocent people. I do understand the challenges you face, for example, in trying to quantify, in terms of policy, what is “reasonable” and what is not, hence the whole thing about you can’t let me take my water bottle on, lest someone else cry, “but why can’t I have mine?” I get it, really. Personally, I’d rather be singled out and denied something on the basis of an individual’s suspicion that I’m doing something wrong. At least then I have the opportunity to defend myself with reason, if nothing else. These policies however are completely reactionary and exist only to make the public “feel safe”; Most of them are non-productive at best, nonsensical at worst. Personally, I’m glad someone isn’t bringing their brass knuckles, switchblade, or whatever else on the plane, but I can’t say I’d be afraid to fly with them, even if they did. I just don’t think they need to be carrying that kind of stuff around… Well, unless they’re flying to Detroit or something, and then maybe.

    I’m not impressed by, and I don’t think most people here will fall for, the “bandwagon” approach, where you try to position yourselves as the public’s hero by highlighting all the dangerous things you’ve found. It’s a fun and colorful way to gloss over the fact that you’re inspecting the personal belongings of law-abiding citizens (for the most part). I guess the thing that I want to underscore here is that I, personally don’t object to the “looking”. It’s not unreasonable to want to know what’s in people’s bag when you’re getting on a plane. My issue is with restricting law-abiding citizens from bringing things that “might’ be things that they are probably not. A gun is a gun; A knife is a knife; A fake grenade still looks like a grenade, even if it’s fake; You don’t need it in a public airport or on a plane; Put it in your checked bag. A bottle of water or my gel orthotics though are most likely just that, and I should not have to justify myself to someone for wanting to carry them on an airplane.

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    Anonymous said...

    TSA - keeping us safe from stuff that looks like weapons.

    If they actually cared about how dangerous items really are no one would be allowed to bring a laptop on board - even in checked luggage. They are very complex devices and every model looks different. No one would notice if there were a few extra parts inside. Since prohibiting them would make too many people mad, they are allowed.

    Anonymous said...

    Why no mention yet of the TSO who illegally brought a firearm into the secure area?

    Anonymous said...

    Your blog mentions that Senator Lieberman took to Twitter to defend the TSA. Who is defending average Americans against the unwanted intrusion of the TSA?

    Moreover, your "week in review" conveniently forgot to highlight that Mr. Pistole will commission another study on the health impact of some advance imaging technology after millions have already been subjected to the effects of this technology.

    Chris Boyce said...

    I have to hand it to your boss, Ms Kristin Lee. She obviously directed that you fill up the TSA blog with the same drivel we find in local newspapers in the "police logs" sections: the number of drunk guys who were arrested on Friday night for disorderly conduct.

    Is this an overt decision designed to make sure you never have to address a real issue on the blog?

    Are you tired of the people on "Flyertalk.com" making fun of you all the time? (The screening clerks in Detroit obviously believe that Flyertalk.com are a bunch of troublemakers.)

    Rest assured, Ms Lee and the rest of the TSA public affairs staff, we have the weapon you fear the most: the digital video camera. We know how to use them and you never know where we will strike next.

    kimm said...

    Why do you say you don't profile, when you pull most disabled people out of line, especially those in wheelchairs, with braces, casts, implants, canes, etc.

    Seems to me that you DO profile, but just pick on a certain group.

    Anonymous said...

    It is not stated whether those inert grenades were confiscated. Presumably not since they are not dangerous.

    One huge problem with airport security is the separation of checked baggage from the TSA checkpoints. What we need is a CONVENIENT and QUICK way to transfer items from TSA security checkpoints into our previously checked baggage.

    It remains the case that TSA security has rendered virtually all airports obsolete in their design. NOTHING should be confiscated--that is out-and-out theft of personal, private property by the Federal government.

    Anything that is prohibited in carryon baggage should be transferred to checked baggage.

    If the TSA persists--and hopefully it will be dismantled one day--then the next generation of airports must be designed to link security checkpoints with checked baggage directly.

    I still want back my 2-inch blade pocketknife that the TSA stole from me 18 months ago. Why can't I get it back? And if it was so dangerous to bring into a TSA security checkpoint, why wasn't I arrested on Federal terrorism charges?

    Jack said...

    Moral of the story. If you want to take a grenade on the plane, you may do so, as long as it does not LOOK like a grenade.

    This is obvious, being that looks are what matters, which is why toy grenades are not allowed. Not because they are dangerous, but because TSA says they look like a grenade.

    Jack said...

    "I still want back my 2-inch blade pocketknife that the TSA stole from me 18 months ago. Why can't I get it back? And if it was so dangerous to bring into a TSA security checkpoint, why wasn't I arrested on Federal terrorism charges?"

    TSA claims that they do not confiscate anything. You gave it to them.

    Second, you weren't arrested because TSA is not a law-enforcement agency (despite what their toy badges lead them to believe).

    You could have a bomb in the checkpoint area and they do not have the power to arrest you.

    In fact, if you do bring a bomb, or a gun, or whatnot, and they find it... just run. They are not authorized to even give chase. They have to call a real law-enforcement agency.

    Anonymous said...

    anon said:
    "One huge problem with airport security is the separation of checked baggage from the TSA checkpoints. What we need is a CONVENIENT and QUICK way to transfer items from TSA security checkpoints into our previously checked baggage."

    there actually is, check all of your bags and dont carry anything on. and all the info you need is posted ahead of time in a number of places so for you to not know what you can or cannot bring should be on you not the tsa. lets take some responsibility for ourselves.

    Anonymous said...

    anon said:
    "I still want back my 2-inch blade pocketknife that the TSA stole from me 18 months ago. Why can't I get it back? And if it was so dangerous to bring into a TSA security checkpoint, why wasn't I arrested on Federal terrorism charges?"

    i think that this is an excellent idea! i wish all bloggers had this type of rational

    Anonymous said...

    id like to ask this question to the bloggers please and get some feedback, it related to the 'why are replica items not allowed'. if a person on a plane was to have a realistic replica of a gernade and stood up on board and said that he was hijacking the plane what do you think would happen?
    some possible answers but please fill in your own:
    a. all people would realize that it was obviously a replica
    b. the person would be phyiscally assulted by people that didnt know that it was a replica
    c. mass chaos would ensue on board
    d. if fams are on board they would step in and take control, if the person responded to the fams requests.
    please provide your feedback if this allowed to be posted. and you can insert a replica firearm in the place of the gernade. how many lawsuits would take place?
    please think about what you would do if you were on this plane and this were to happen.

    Anonymous said...

    So, what you're telling us with the wallet incident is that the TSA at the checkpoint doesn't really have any way to insure that any particular piece of baggage or other detritus belongs to a particular passenger.

    In other words, someone can still pull off a "handoff" at the checkpoint because the screeners don't bother to match anything to a person - it's just a pile of stuff that anyone might pick up and run with.

    Anonymous said...

    Why can't your naked scanners handle shoes? And why don't you just profile like they do in some of the world's most safest airports?

    Anonymous said...

    None of those are an actual threat to airline safety, and none were found using a full body scanner or voodoo-science behavioral detection.

    rmc46123 said...

    First, I'd like to thank the TSA for having a blog that doesn't require approval for citizen's to post. Although I disagree with some of the way the agency has handled security matters, I respect them for allowing their agency to face the full brunt of the public's criticism.

    Reading through the comments, I understand where a lot of people are coming from. Yes, it's an inconvenience that we cannot bring "prohibited items" (ie bottled water or toothpaste) with us onto the plane. Going through security is usually not an enjoyable experience.

    When we fly, we know that there are rules that we have to abide by. Am I upset that I cannot bring a bottle of water through security? Yeah, I even find it a little asinine, but we know that flying is not a guaranteed right. To me it's no different than a policy that some stadiums have against bringing DSLRs to sporting events; as someone who enjoys amateur photography, it annoys me but, at the same time, nobody is forcing you to go the event.

    As I said, I am not the biggest fan of the TSA, so do not label me as a plant. I think full-body scans are a bit ridiculous and reporters of TSA screening children under nine (which I understand is not going to be the case anymore) deserves equal scrutiny. But can we not recognize the good that these employees are trying to do? I at least applaud the employees of the TSA trying to get the thousands upon thousands of passengers through are airports as quickly as possible with the precision necessary to detect the threats that we've seen in this post. At least they made one guy happy in finding the thief that took his wallet.

    Anonymous said...

    It's funny how anti-TSA all these comments always are. The only ones who seem supportive on closer inspection turn out to be spammers.

    Ironically, the TSA scanners are probably going to kill more Americans with cancer than terrorists do.

    Anonymous said...

    kimm said...
    Why do you say you don't profile, when you pull most disabled people out of line, especially those in wheelchairs, with braces, casts, implants, canes, etc.

    Seems to me that you DO profile, but just pick on a certain group.

    November 5, 2011 11:42 AM

    So people with disablities are now their own race? Times have changed. What makes me laugh is that all the people you just listed have to go through the extra screening because they either alarmed the metal detector or they couldnt go through the metal detector.

    I guess some people complain to complain.

    Saul said...

    Bob, care to comment on this story?

    http://www.foxcharlotte.com/news/nc-news/Charlotte-TSA-Fails-to-Detect-Knife-in-Carry-On-133335723.html

    "Charlotte TSA Fails to Detect Knife in Carry-On"

    Your employer states the following --

    «We took Flouhouse's concerns to the TSA, which tells us, in part, "...in today's post 9/11 security environment, intelligence tells us our officers' greatest focus needs to be the biggest threat to aviation today - explosives and explosives components. While items such as sharp objects and a single bullet remain prohibited, they will not cause catastrophic damage on an aircraft."»

    This seems to be the standard reply whenever the TSA misses knives.

    http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=%22in+today's+post+9/11+security+environment,+intelligence+tells+us+our+officers'+greatest+focus%22&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    Since you're so proud of all the artfully concealed items your TSOs find (all using screening technology that existed ten years ago: walk-through metal detectors and baggage x-rays), and crow about them in weekly blog posts, perhaps you should also write some posts about the items the TSOs have missed? And if these knives are not your focus, then why even post about them?

    I look forward to your reply. Thank you.

    [Screenshot of preview saved.]

    Adrian said...

    With the exception of the razor blades in the insoles, all of the potentially dangerous items found this week could have been detected with pre-TSA procedures.

    And, in fact, things like toothpaste smuggling wouldn't happen if it weren't for the TSA's ludicrous ideas.

    Adrian said...

    Perhaps for these weekly summaries, you can tell us how many people weren't able to take the flight they paid for because of identity checks (either actual terrorists you stopped or regular passengers blocked because of identity troubles).

    RB said...

    Bob, you have censored several comments asking why you don't mention any of the TSA employee illegal activities.

    It is a fact that TSA employees have been charged and arrested for everything from murder of a fellow TSA employee, for rape, for child molestation, child porn, drug involvement and numerous other issues yet not one single word from TSA about these matters.

    I have to ask: Who is watching the watchers?

    I say enough with TSA's weekly body count postings until TSA addresses the criminals infesting our airports.

    Screen shot captured!

    RB said...

    Exactly who in DHS/TSA has the appropriate education to make a determination that wide scale exposure to radiation is safe?

    The name of the person and educational degrees please of the government employee who made the determination that radiation at even very low levels is safe.

    Anonymous said...

    It's funny how anti-TSA all these comments always are. The only ones who seem supportive on closer inspection turn out to be spammers.
    ________________
    Not spammers--employees.

    Anonymous said...

    " Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide."
    Sorry Bob, but you are wrong about this. As far as I know the Separation of Powers still exists in this country. I think what you meant to say is "that's for law enforcement to 'investigate' and the courts to 'decide'.

    Anonymous said...

    "So people with disablities are now their own race? Times have changed. What makes me laugh is that all the people you just listed have to go through the extra screening because they either alarmed the metal detector or they couldnt go through the metal detector. "

    kimm said nothing about profiling based on race. She commented that TSA profiles based on disability.

    "I guess some people complain to complain."

    And some people can't follow a simple argument.

    Anonymous said...

    "...but we know that flying is not a guaranteed right. "

    Do we? Can you cite the appropriate law or court decision that documents this? Could flying be denied, say, on the basis of race, flying not being a guaranteed right?

    Anonymous said...

    "id like to ask this question to the bloggers please and get some feedback, it related to the 'why are replica items not allowed'. if a person on a plane was to have a realistic replica of a gernade and stood up on board and said that he was hijacking the plane what do you think would happen?
    some possible answers but please fill in your own:
    a. all people would realize that it was obviously a replica
    b. the person would be phyiscally assulted by people that didnt know that it was a replica
    c. mass chaos would ensue on board
    d. if fams are on board they would step in and take control, if the person responded to the fams requests."

    B. No group of passengers is going to stand by and allow the aircraft they're on to be made into a WMD.

    JoJo said...

    "November 5, 2011 11:42 AM

    So people with disablities are now their own race? Times have changed. What makes me laugh is that all the people you just listed have to go through the extra screening because they either alarmed the metal detector or they couldnt go through the metal detector.

    I guess some people complain to complain."

    ---------

    Here's a newsflash: racial profiling is only one way to profile. Nowhere did the OP say anything about race, only about profiling.

    Anonymous said...

    I used to keep a fairly large but legal knife in my briefcase. Pre-9/11 FAA rules allowed it but Japan, after someone tried to hijack an airplane with a knife, banned knives in carryons.

    When Japanese security found the knife in my briefcase they very politely informed me that it wasn't allowed in carryon luggage and gate checked it for me. I still have that knife.

    I'd love to hear stories about the TSA like this.

    Anonymous said...

    rmc46123 said...
    First, I'd like to thank the TSA for having a blog that doesn't require approval for citizen's to post.

    I guess you missed that big ol' "Delete-O-Meter" on the front page that shows 23% of posts never make it to these pages.

    And lest you think they are all profanity-laced rants- I, myself, submitted several posts that were denied, and none of them broke any of the rules. Of course, they did make some very embarrassing points, facts that the TSA would rather ignore....

    Anonymous said...

    Anonymous said...
    if a person on a plane was to have a realistic replica of a gernade and stood up on board and said that he was hijacking the plane what do you think would happen?

    Well, if the TSA ACTUALLY DID IT'S JOB, and accurately detected actual weapons, instead of missing them up to 70% of the time, then:

    a. all people would realize that it was obviously a replica

    kimm said...

    Anonymous said...
    November 5, 2011 11:42 AM

    So people with disablities are now their own race? Times have changed. What makes me laugh is that all the people you just listed have to go through the extra screening because they either alarmed the metal detector or they couldnt go through the metal detector.

    I guess some people complain to complain


    Hmm.....don't think I mentioned ANYTHING about race. Profiling has NOTHING to do with race.

    And FOR YOUR INFORMATION, I went through a scanner, set NOTHING OFF, and STILL was pulled out due to my brace, which can hide NOTHING. This happens EVERY TIME! I can't go through without it either. And when I asked the TSA person point blank if I was pulled only due to the brace, I was told they had to pull out ANYONE with a brace, even if they set off no alarms or obvioulsly cannot hide anything in it. It didn't matter.

    I have seen people with canes go through a scanner, set nothing off yet pulled out due to their cane (oh gee something may be hiding in it).

    And don't say to drive, as I can no longer drive long distances. I have no choice but to fly and take the abuse.

    We have a better chance of getting run over in our own neighborhood by a car than going down in a plane due to terrorism (and TSA has nothing to do with that). Personally, I'm getting damn tired of living in a police state!

    James said...

    Anonymous said (in response to, “One huge problem with airport security is the separation of checked baggage from the TSA checkpoints…”), “there actually is, check all of your bags and [don’t] carry anything on… …[Let’s] take some responsibility for ourselves.”

    You make a good argument, but there is an important fallacy with it that I’ll get to in a moment. It’s true that you can make life a lot easier on yourself by checking some things, such as your gun, that you CLEARLY don’t need on the flight, in your checked bags. But then there’s a huge grey area where a lot of subjectivity exists, enter the notion, “Well, that all depends…” when asking if something say, for example a knife, is inappropriate to bring aboard.

    Let’s say that I’m flying from Florida to Ohio to do a cooking demonstration this evening. I bring my set of chef’s knives with me in my carry-on. Partly because I don’t want to entrust a $1,500 set of my most useful kitchen utensils to the baggage handlers, and partly because of the fact (hand-in-hand with the aforementioned), in the unlikely event they are lost or misdirected by the airline, I may not be able to procure a suitable replacement in time for my appointment. You may think this argument sounds ridiculous, but it is equally as substantial as your argument for carrying your laptop on board because you are giving a PowerPoint presentation that day to your important international client. Both my set of knives and your laptop are tools; either can be used innocuously or to cause harm. You could, after all, use the battery in your laptop (very easily) to start a fire on a plane. Arguably, maybe even easier and more covertly than I could with my knives (since it would be very obvious from the minute I got up out of my seat wielding it.)

    The fallacy in your argument is rooted in the false assumption that security and freedom are at odds with one another; that as one is increased, the other inherently decreases. Using this fallacious assumption, we wrongfully assume that a heightened threat necessitates us trading these liberties in the interests of the public good (keeping us safe from terrorists.) The basic notion of “innocent until proven guilty” (derived from, though not explicitly stated, in the 5th Amendment) was architected specifically because security and freedom are interdependent upon one another, not mutually exclusive. Law enforcement, bearing the burden of proof before being able to execute a search, is spared the inefficient waste of resources by pursuing leads that are not likely to yield useful evidence; those resources instead are diverted to the paths most likely to yield useful evidence, which, in turn leads to the arrest and conviction of the guilty, thus removing them from the population, keeping the population safe. E.g., freedom and security are symbiotic; you cannot truly have one without the other. A society that is not free is a society that is not safe, and a society that is not safe is a society that is not free.

    It is very convenient to sacrifice the freedoms of the innocent, who will often not object at first, because of their innocence, in the name of the greater good. The cost, and truth however, behind this practice, is decidedly inconvenient.

    James said...

    Kimm, I don’t want to steal your thunder here…

    I think that one of the points Kimm is trying to raise here is that she does not like being singled out, every time, for additional screening, a consequence of having a disability. Ironically, she is using her experience to challenge the TSA’s claim to not use profiling. In fact, the TSA is correct, they don’t, and Kimm’s experience is a classic example of why they SHOULD use profiling—In order to identify persons who represent an eminent threat to security to detain those individuals, not the innocent, for further screening.

    I, like Kimm, have a disability. Unlike hers, which is visually obvious, mine is not. I’m legally blind. From a technical standpoint, that means I can see, but not well at all, especially by the standards of someone with “normal” vision (if you woke up with my eyesight, you’d think you went blind.) The problem is that I don’t “look” blind, or in any way disabled. I usually am walking faster than most people, don’t crash into the barricades, and can (with moderate difficult) find my way through the airport, especially when I’m familiar with it and don’t need to be able to read the signs to know where I’m going. So, when TSA people start gesturing, pointing to me and motioning for me to go into a particular line (or the “fishbowl”, as my wife likes to call it, a little waiting area at MCO where I’m detained while they tear apart the orthotics in my shoes, disassemble my laptop backpack, ham radio equipment, etc.)… If I don’t go where they are motioning me to go, they just assume that I’m being disobedient or not paying attention. Granted, most of the time if I start the whole process out by saying, “I’m blind…” then I will usually get “special” treatment. The reality in my case, and presumably Kimm’s case, is that as disabled people, we really don’t want that special treatment until or unless it is needed in order to cope with our disability. Yes, I would very much appreciate the assistance in finding my way to my gate if I cannot read the signs; I’m sure Kimm would appreciate the offer of a wheelchair if she couldn’t physically get herself to her gate for whatever reason. Beyond that, we value our independence and don’t like to be made to feel as though we have to draw attention to ourselves, singling ourselves out for, and being identified on the basis of, our disabilities. In the VERY same sense that Dr. Martin Luther King dreamed of the day when a person would be identified by the content of his character and not the color of his skin, we too wish to be identified on the same merits of our individuality, not the physical shortcomings we have.

    Kimm, I hope I have not misrepresented your viewpoint in any way. Clearly my experiences and views are not representative of everyone with a disability, and I do not in any way wish to imply that they are.

    James said...

    Anonymous said (in response to, “One huge problem with airport security is the separation of checked baggage from the TSA checkpoints…”), “there actually is, check all of your bags and [don’t] carry anything on… …[Let’s] take some responsibility for ourselves.”

    You make a good argument, but there is an important fallacy with it that I’ll get to in a moment. It’s true that you can make life a lot easier on yourself by checking some things, such as your gun, that you CLEARLY don’t need on the flight, in your checked bags. But then there’s a huge grey area where a lot of subjectivity exists, enter the notion, “Well, that all depends…” when asking if something say, for example a knife, is inappropriate to bring aboard.

    Let’s say that I’m flying from Florida to Ohio to do a cooking demonstration this evening. I bring my set of chef’s knives with me in my carry-on. Partly because I don’t want to entrust a $1,500 set of my most useful kitchen utensils to the baggage handlers, and partly because of the fact (hand-in-hand with the aforementioned), in the unlikely event they are lost or misdirected by the airline, I may not be able to procure a suitable replacement in time for my appointment. You may think this argument sounds ridiculous, but it is equally as substantial as your argument for carrying your laptop on board because you are giving a PowerPoint presentation that day to your important international client. Both my set of knives and your laptop are tools; either can be used innocuously or to cause harm. You could, after all, use the battery in your laptop (very easily) to start a fire on a plane. Arguably, maybe even easier and more covertly than I could with my knives (since it would be very obvious from the minute I got up out of my seat wielding it.)

    The fallacy in your argument is rooted in the false assumption that security and freedom are at odds with one another; that as one is increased, the other inherently decreases. Using this fallacious assumption, we wrongfully assume that a heightened threat necessitates us trading these liberties in the interests of the public good (keeping us safe from terrorists.) The basic notion of “innocent until proven guilty” (derived from, though not explicitly stated, in the 5th Amendment) was architected specifically because security and freedom are interdependent upon one another, not mutually exclusive. Law enforcement, bearing the burden of proof before being able to execute a search, is spared the inefficient waste of resources by pursuing leads that are not likely to yield useful evidence; those resources instead are diverted to the paths most likely to yield useful evidence, which, in turn leads to the arrest and conviction of the guilty, thus removing them from the population, keeping the population safe. E.g., freedom and security are symbiotic; you cannot truly have one without the other. A society that is not free is a society that is not safe, and a society that is not safe is a society that is not free.

    It is very convenient to sacrifice the freedoms of the innocent, who will often not object at first, because of their innocence, in the name of the greater good. The cost, and truth however, behind this practice, is decidedly inconvenient.

    James said...

    Anonymous said (in response to, “One huge problem with airport security is the separation of checked baggage from the TSA checkpoints…”), “there actually is, check all of your bags and [don’t] carry anything on… …[Let’s] take some responsibility for ourselves.”

    You make a good argument, but there is an important fallacy with it that I’ll get to in a moment. It’s true that you can make life a lot easier on yourself by checking some things, such as your gun, that you CLEARLY don’t need on the flight, in your checked bags. But then there’s a huge grey area where a lot of subjectivity exists, enter the notion, “Well, that all depends…” when asking if something say, for example a knife, is inappropriate to bring aboard.

    Let’s say that I’m flying from Florida to Ohio to do a cooking demonstration this evening. I bring my set of chef’s knives with me in my carry-on. Partly because I don’t want to entrust a $1,500 set of my most useful kitchen utensils to the baggage handlers, and partly because of the fact (hand-in-hand with the aforementioned), in the unlikely event they are lost or misdirected by the airline, I may not be able to procure a suitable replacement in time for my appointment. You may think this argument sounds ridiculous, but it is equally as substantial as your argument for carrying your laptop on board because you are giving a PowerPoint presentation that day to your important international client. Both my set of knives and your laptop are tools; either can be used innocuously or to cause harm. You could, after all, use the battery in your laptop (very easily) to start a fire on a plane. Arguably, maybe even easier and more covertly than I could with my knives (since it would be very obvious from the minute I got up out of my seat wielding it.)

    The fallacy in your argument is rooted in the false assumption that security and freedom are at odds with one another; that as one is increased, the other inherently decreases. Using this fallacious assumption, we wrongfully assume that a heightened threat necessitates us trading these liberties in the interests of the public good (keeping us safe from terrorists.) The basic notion of “innocent until proven guilty” (derived from, though not explicitly stated, in the 5th Amendment) was architected specifically because security and freedom are interdependent upon one another, not mutually exclusive. Law enforcement, bearing the burden of proof before being able to execute a search, is spared the inefficient waste of resources by pursuing leads that are not likely to yield useful evidence; those resources instead are diverted to the paths most likely to yield useful evidence, which, in turn leads to the arrest and conviction of the guilty, thus removing them from the population, keeping the population safe. E.g., freedom and security are symbiotic; you cannot truly have one without the other. A society that is not free is a society that is not safe, and a society that is not safe is a society that is not free.

    It is very convenient to sacrifice the freedoms of the innocent, who will often not object at first, because of their innocence, in the name of the greater good. The cost, and truth however, behind this practice, is decidedly inconvenient.

    Anonymous said...

    anon said:
    "B. No group of passengers is going to stand by and allow the aircraft they're on to be made into a WMD."

    so your saying that you want to rely on marshall law, if this is the case then the airlines are in serious trouble as i dont think that people will get on planes knowing that they are the first line of defense.
    as to the other part of your statement, use of a plane as wmd, you forget about checked luggage. the act of a terriorist is to inspire fear. and by blowing up a plane with a bomb or real gernade can cause terror. just because the 9/11 hijackers used the plane as a weapon doesnt mean that they wont start to use bombs to take out planes and get people to stop flying. tsa isnt just there to stop hijackers. they stop item from going into the baggage areas of the plane where people dont have access.

    Anonymous said...

    anon said:
    "Well, if the TSA ACTUALLY DID IT'S JOB, and accurately detected actual weapons, instead of missing them up to 70% of the time, then:

    a. all people would realize that it was obviously a replica"

    please provide me with another alternative to tsa in which the screening will detect 100% of all threats. I would like to investigate this company and/or technology that takes out the human error factor. id also like to know the percentage of missed weapons that pre-tsa companies had. this is not the same as saying that they didnt do their jobs on 9/11. id like to know the facts first and look into this as an alternative. dont forget that a large percentage of tsa employees are/were incumbants of the private companies that ran the screening pre 9/11.

    Joe Arlington said...

    When I read memoires of the officer of US Army Marcinko I was astonished realizing he and his soldiers travelled incognito by public airlines with guns and other weapons. It seems it´s quite easy to pass the control for weapons and explosives. Luckily there are nearly no events of misusing them on board of airplanes.

    beptucaocap said...

    Any chance you'll reflect on how your idiotic liquids policies are the only reason anyone would try to smuggle toothpaste? Your policies don't keep anyone safe, they make you a laughingstock and give innocent people cause to try to circumvent them. You're a pack of hysterical clowns carrying out bin Laden's work for him. Shame on you.