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TSA Log Shows Passengers Say the Darndest Things 427

Posted by timothy
from the save-your-rapier-like-wit-for-the-clamdiggers-back-home dept.
coondoggie writes "There is no humor in an airport. It's a fact. And while most travelers business or otherwise know that, there are a few out there who haven't gotten the message or perhaps the choose to ignore it. Either way the 'People Say the Darndest Things' or 'What Not to Say at an Airport' section has become one of the more popular destinations on the TSA Blog site." The collected wit and wisdom of airline passengers linked unfortunately does not distinguish between stupidity (claiming that you have a bomb to get through security faster) and seemingly sensible questions that get at the heart of the problems with the current and long-running engagement of Homeland Security Theater. (It's also hard to know whether some passengers might have innocently thought their tone, facial expression, body language or context would have served as notice that they weren't actually threatening murder.)
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TSA Log Shows Passengers Say the Darndest Things

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 04, 2013 @02:14PM (#43360003)

    You really expected them to react to that line?

    My last experience involved a pat-down with a TSA agent at MIA. He asked me, "May I ask what your objections are to the scanner?" I said, "No, you may not."

    Didn't go over well. Got a 20 minute lecture on why I should just trust the scanner. I didn't really react which made him angry.

    He was a Cuban guy and he was starting to make me angry. I caught myself about to make some potentially racist remark along the lines of "This may be acceptable where you came from, but it's not here." Instead I took a deep breath and asked him if I was free to go.

    The guy was going full jerk by now and yelling at me to remove my items from the area. I had them in my hands and was stepping away before he could even finish the sentence.

    Flying again in a week. Joy joy.

  • It's all just CYA. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TsuruchiBrian (2731979) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @02:20PM (#43360079)

    Yeah, yeah, it's really dumb to suggest you have a bomb at the airport. But, in reality, if a terrorist was trying to detonate a bomb at the airport or on a plane, they wouldn't tell anyone. The whole reason for the overreaction from the TSA is because they think if there really was a bomb they would look extra dumb if it turned out the terrorist told them about the bomb and they still didn't find it.

    If some guy says he has a bomb, but he clearly doesn't, he's either an idiot or trying to create a distraction. By closing down the airport, you either allow his idiocy to cause real damage to the economy and inconvenience people. If he was trying to create a distraction, you allowed him to succeed.

    Obviously if someone might actually be a real threat, you do what needs to be done to keep people safe. But in every single one of these cases, it seems that it could be ascertained fairly quickly that they pose no real threat even if they suggested they might. I don't mind questioning these idiots in the back for a few hours, but let everything else continue normally.

  • Re:Cool story bro. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @02:40PM (#43360367)
    And a number of those were caused by what I've been told by officials is a federal crime (having checked baggage travel without the owner on the plane).

    If I were Emperor of the Universe, I'd declare that anyone whose luggage goes "missing" be given a free ticket to wherever it landed. Going to HI and your luggage ends up in Cairo? Free trip to Cairo.
  • Re:Cool story bro. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Solandri (704621) on Thursday April 04, 2013 @04:14PM (#43361783)

    Detaining the person whose bag you just searched because s/he asked if you're looking for "a bomb or something" is not "being thorough"; it is "being a thug."

    I suspect the agents have very little say in the matter. It's probably TSA policy that any statement about a bomb, even if perceived to be in jest, is supposed to be treated as if serious. The point isn't really to single out people who make jokes about a bomb. It's to single out people who aren't behaving normally. And joking about a bomb in your bag simply isn't normal behavior (as witnessed by how few cases have been recorded). It wouldn't be the first time a terrorist used social engineering [wikipedia.org] to get a bomb aboard. And TSA policy is probably to detain anyone who might be using social engineering.

    Disclaimer: I think airport security is security theater which provides no benefit aside from keeping the masses calm, and the TSA is led by people who don't realize this and take their jobs way too seriously. But if you accept that they're going to take their jobs seriously, then treating jokes about bombs as a potential threat is consistent behavior.

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