Thursday, February 09, 2006

Enemy of the State

This morning I got home from work with grand hopes for a really funny post about Barney Fife... I go to Google and do an image search for "Barney Fife" and this poster is what I got on the first try. If it wasn't so damn close to the truth it'd be a whole lot funnier. I don't know how many of you have flown recently and have experienced our country's illustrious TSA in action... Before moving to West Virginia permanently I flew a lot. I have enough frequent flyer miles now to go back and forth to Jupiter a few times, that is if the blackout dates are ever lifted.
Anyway, my last flight back to Charleston, WV from Phoenix had me stop over in Detroit, MI. And in changing planes I had to actually leave the terminal and re-enter at another gate. Which meant I had to go through security again. I was pulled aside for yet another "random" screening which included a full body cavity search and pulling apart my luggage. Yes, my checked luggage was pulled off the airliner, brought to the TSA screening area and unceremoniously dumped out and pawed through. A very efficient and humorless TSA agent going through my wallet noticed my police badge. Even though I'm off the job, my badge number was retired and I was given a wallet badge by my buddies on the job and I carried it for good luck. Holding the badge in my wallet was a medium-sized safety pin ... Well, on seeing this threatening safety pin, the ever vigilant airport security specialist called the bomb dogs and supervisor in. It was decided that this Two inch safety pin was deemed a Dangerous Weapon and it was promptly confiscated to ensure the continued well being of the United States of America.
While all this was transpiring, I'm allowed now to put my clothes back on I see four gentleman looking similar to these gentleman pictured below only in a less jovial mood than these guys waved through security with a wave and a cursory glance...

I get it now. The main threat to airline safety, homeland security, the good ol' USA, drive-in movies, cheeseburgers, barbaques, mom and apple pie isn't middle eastern men in their mid-twenties with two-year-old expired student visas from Saudi Arabia who loathe the west and the US in general, it's white Irish~German American guys in their late thirties with military haircuts. Like this dashingly handsome ex-cop, US Army veteran, divorced future novelist and railroad engineer pictured below.
Sleep well tonight America! TSA is on the job!

Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden


Dirk said...

Lo, these many years ago, a friend of mine flew back to Australia from London. There was a four hour stopover in the UAE, my friend decided to wander around the airport fort a while. He had to go through securiy. Being a headbanger, he had metal belt buckles, badges, etc. The alarms went off in the metal detector. Ni fuckin' around in the UAE: three armed security guys threw him to the ground and held him there with an AK pushed into the base of jhis neck hard enough that I could see the mark three days later.
We should do that.

Lindsey said...

That is completely rediculous. I would have been pissed.

berly02 said...

Are you holding a kittie?

They made ME take my flip flops off to go through security.
Do you know how dirty that floor is?
Seriously, I am a short catholic white woman.
I cause no body harm!

Okie said...

Timothy McVeigh was a white dude with a military hair cut.

They seriously did a body cavity search on you? I would be a tad bitter as well. When I had my grizzly adams beard I was "randomly" searched several times, but never to that extent.

Sherri said...

oh, cute kitty!

When I flew out of Detroit Metro I 4 years ago it was a nightmare. I was stopped at every check point, swear to God. At the one I had to take my sweatshirt and belt off behind a curtain while a guy with a gun and a woman waved one of those metal detector things around me. My underwire bra was literally setting the thing off. I was absolutely hummiliated.

Sherri said...

oops, that's only supposed to be a 4, not a 14.

Katie said...

that sucks..i would have been pissed...sorry about your

honkeie2 said...

I think a metal Monte Blanc(sp) pen would be a dangerous weapon in the right hands lol. I once had a cigar cutter taken from me, the blade wasnt even an inch long. And the only thing I could have cut was maybe a pinkie lol

Lisa said...

I've gotten stopped before but not to the extent of your experience. I mean, I'm a Midwestern, Stay-at-home mom, living in the burbs. ANd I LOOK LIKE ONE! YOu can't get anymore benign than that!

So sorry you had to go through all of that. That is horrible.

cmk said...

I am a short, overweight, grandmother of five, of Finnish descent--with red-dyed hair--so I guess I better stay FAR away from airports! Then again, I may be small, but I sure am mighty! :)

tsduff said...

Having just flown to and from the east coast from the west just last Friday, your story just adds fuel to my airline bonfire...although my disrobing wasn't as much of a violation as yours.

I think they actually derive great pleasure in making people strip and unpack their personal belongings.

Cute baby you are holding :-) You look so dangerous.

Jaelithe said...

The TSA people are absurd.

Of course, the only Muslim I've ever been personally aquainted with who I could ever imagine committing a terrorist act happened to be an Irish guy with red hair, green eyes, and adorable freckles whose Dad had converted the whole family to a militant branch of Islam when the kids were little. I went to high school with this dude (as well as several moderate peaceful Muslims of Pakistani and Arab descent who were less violent than most conservative Christians I've met). I've been waiting to see his name in the news ever since. He had some SCARY ideas. Particularly about women.

So, I'm glad whenever I hear about them stopping innocent-looking white people, SAHM moms, even elderly Chinese women during a randomized search, because I don't think racial profiling works, and I also think it's morally wrong to judge someone solely on the basis of appearance.

However, I don't think their current overzealous body-cavity-searching safety-pin-confiscating tactics help ANYONE. It's just a reaction to public paranoia to make it look like the government is doing something about the terrorist threat, when in reality all this program is doing is harassing oridnary citizens, raising the price of travel, and creating long lines. A bored college kid proved how easy it still is to smuggle bombs and weapons on planes, and here the government is taking small pointy objects away from the people who would probably be most able to act to stop a terrorist on a plane-- the ordinary passengers.

For the love of Pete, please stop trying so hard to save us from ourselves.

Ranger Tom said...

Dirk: In a perfect world... I remember my last time at Heathrow airport in London, and I'm going back a lot of years, the Londo Metroplotain Police were walking around the terminal with H&K MP5's... They didn't take any shit back then.

Linny: Pissed isn't the word for it.

Berly: It's a Golden Retreiver puppy. My Fred. And you never know what you migh have hidden in those flip-flops... A nuclear weapon might be cleverly spirited there!

Okie: I know Tim McVey was a white guy with a military haircut. But he was way fringe... And now, they didn't do a full body cavity search but it went almost that way after they found the deadly safety pin. It sure as shit felt that way.

Sherri: Puppy. And you never know, those evil underwires could be used as a weapon.

Katie: Just my luck shit like that happens to me.

Honkeie: Mont Blanc... Anyway, you're right. I think it's hilarious that when they serve meals, they give you a plastic knife now, and still give you a metal spoon and fork. With what I was taught in the Army, ALL flatware can be used as a weapon, plastic or metal. Fucking morons.

Lisa & CMK: You two are the worst kinds of attackers! Your type should be banned from all future air travel! Hahaha!

tsduff: I have to agree that there has to be some form of masochism required in the TSA...

Jaelithe: Thanks for stopping by. I do agree that profiling doesn't work to and extent, but as a ten year police veteran it CAN be somewhat usefull. Let's face it. Most terrorists who want to blow us up are middle eastern males in thier mid twenties to mid thirties. I'm not being racist at all when I say that, just facing the cold hard facts that most people on the left, especially the PC crowd refuse to see. We're so Goddamn woried about "offending" them when at the very same time we're stopping and wondering if we're going to offend someone before we act, those very same people we're trying not to offend are plotting to kill and mame men, women and children by the thousands. Do you really think that any one of those terrorists, if they had access to a nuclear weapon, would hessitate to use it on one of our cities? And all the while we don't want to offend them.

I'm offended by that.