Saturday, May 17, 2008

No wonder we hate you

Did you know that the Transportation Security Administration has a blog. Well, they do.

It's called Evolution of Security: Terrorists evolve. Threats evolve. Security must stay ahead. You play a part.

And that sounds all very serious and worthy, but hardly what exercises and excites most of the blog's readers.

Like myself, most people are het up about the long lines and the confiscated Swiss Army knives. Our little family alone has lost at least three knives - though in the win column we've managed to get a knife onto one domestic (UK) flight and one international flight (London to Amsterdam). And I have also lost several lighters, including a lovely orange one in Nashville to a snickering TSO who was probably a Vandy fan (and that was following the season of shame).

Yes, the lighters are what really got me mad. For years I carried lighters on planes and through checkpoints without concern. I needed my little incendiary device at the ready so I could smoke again at the very.first.available.opportunity. It was really was vital to public order and security that I be allowed to do so. But suddenly - halfway through my last trip to the US, the lighters started getting taken up. It was a-OK to have the lighter coming in to Vegas - but suddenly they were Al Qaeda's weapon of choice as I was leaving. Trying to hold on to my lighter (I would let them find one and try to stash another - usually a pretty successful strategy) just meant I was clearly in league with the devil.

So, when I discovered the TSA blog - I clicked immediately on the HOT TOPIC nail clippers, lighters and lithium battteries. (What's the deal with lithium batteries??)

Lighters were allowed starting in July 2007, (not including torch lighters) and nail clippers, as well as smaller scissors and tools, have been allowed through the checkpoint since December 2005. Unlike improvised explosives devices (IEDs), these items do not present a significant threat to an airplane.

Yes, that's right. Lighters - AS I HAVE SAID ALL ALONG - "do not present a significant threat to an airplane".

And the comments section on this post is full of people (160 comments and counting) who point out the inconsistencies of the TSA rules. Including this one, which cracked me up:

You still haven't explained why a sharp scissor with 4" long blades is allowed but a 1.5" tiny Swiss Army knife isn't. All I have to do is pop apart the 2 scissor blades and I now have TWO very sharp 6 inch or longer knives with convenient handles. Usually these blades are stronger and sharper than that found on the small S/A knife.

ALL blades of ANY size should be prohibited, including those found on scissors. If the TSA isn't worried about terrorists taking over planes with blades, why aren't Swiss Army knives allowed?

Why are baseball bats or other bludgeons not allowed? Gonna take over a plane by swinging a bat? Not likely (especially since I'll have scissors). Yet, I can bring my heavy camera tripod, pop off the 3 legs and have 3 nice sized bats for me and 2 other friends!

I'm a TSO by the way and even we are sick of all the inconsistencies and looking like fools when we try to explain them to the passengers. No wonder they hate us!

1 comment:

Bangkok Expat Mama said...

Oh, it's so annoying but you made me laugh -- and after a morning like mine (baby refusing to nurse, has ear infection; eldest son acting like an ingrate; spouse off playing golf in Spain at firm's worldwide partners' meeting), that's no mean feat. I also liked the comment from the irked TSO you included. He or she was so spot-on; if there were more sensible folks like that TSO at TSA, perhaps their rules wouldn't be so confoundingly inane!

Spouse has also lost many lighters while travelling. You brought up the spector of TSOs sometimes confiscating items they might personally enjoy using (ie Vol fan taking your orange lighter). Since so many people hate Dook, I'll suggest to spouse that he get a lighter from his alma mater. Blech, who but delusional alumni would want that?! (Coach K's glory days seem over at last, but Duke's reign in the 90's permanently traumatized me!)