TSA can put a damper on holiday travel

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Monica47, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member


    This must be one of those "determined" threats Rugape talks about:

    Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 8:29 pm
    Douglas French Special to the News
    Tis the season to be jolly. But then there’s the TSA. No government agency inspires “Bah Humbug” like the Transportation Safety Administration. For those who travel, the agency is 65,000 employees dressed in blue to make airline travel as aggravating as possible.
    The TSA screening area is a logic-free zone as my wife and I were reminded over the Thanksgiving holiday. Grandmothers never like to arrive empty-handed when they visit grandbabies. A wooden flintlock toy cap pistol for a little boy in New Jersey was tucked away in our carry-on luggage.

    The gun was not detected by the x-ray, but two bottles of hair product spurred the TSA agent to action.
    His pawing through the luggage uncovered the wooden flintlock and he gingerly pulled the toy out of from under some clothes. He nervously said he didn’t know what to do and needed a supervisor’s opinion.
    We waited for a supervisor while the clocked ticked closer to our departure time. A young woman finally appeared. She asked what the toy was. “What’s it look like?” asked the exasperated grandmother. “I don’t know what it is,” the supervisor shot back, “and I won’t touch it until you tell me.”
    “It’s a piece of wood carved in the shape of gun.” The young supervisor picked up the toy carefully and said she needed to consult her bosses. In the distance, I watched her hand the toy over to a group of TSA higher ups hanging around the central command post located behind the inspection lines.
    Eventually the offending item was passed up to what looked to be a metro cop, who looked it over and passed it back with no conversation. The gathering of supervisors then looked over the wooden pistol again. Finally, one of them threw it in the trash.
    While this pow-wow was taking place, a discussion ensued about us returning to the airline counter and checking the bag. The TSA screener supported that idea until the supervisor returned, with another supervisor. “The gun can’t be taken on an airplane.”
    We calmly pointed out that the toy was not a gun. The supervisor countered that it was a replica of a weapon and TSA rules don’t allow replicas to be carried on planes. “OK, give us the replica back and we’ll go back and check our bag.”
    The supervisor thought quickly because they had already thrown the toy away. “You can’t store a replica of a weapon in luggage unless it’s in a hard case that’s locked.”
    At this point my fellow traveler threw up her hands. “You deal with these people,” she fumed. “I can’t do it anymore.”
    The supervisors then tried to convince me that they were really giving us a break. They should be writing us up for this offense and that we could be fined.
    After even more screening and a close inspection of some plastic curlers we were finally allowed to proceed.
    Sadly this story isn’t unusual and actually pales in comparison to stories of molestation and theft by TSA employees. It was just an average day with the TSA.
    “TSA has become the butt of countless jokes,” Charlie Leocha, director of the Consumer Travel Alliance told the House Aviation subcommittee last week. “TSA is set up like the Maginot Line, the poster child for generals fighting the last war.”
    Now the war is on us.
    Douglas French is former president of the Mises Institute in Auburn.
  2. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    My train trip today was really pleasant. I talked to people at lunch and dinner -- all of them were on the train because they didn't want to have to deal with the TSA. One of them was a retired first responder (seemed to do a job similar to what TravelnMedic does). They just won't fly anymore.
    CelticWhisper likes this.
  3. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    That actually sounds like an over-reaction. Replicas have no requirement to be declared in checked baggage. Now if it looks enough like a gun to be easily mistaken for one (that is what they mean byreplica in the carry on baggage), then it is not able to come through in carry on, other than that, this sounds like it is an over reaction.

    *Disclaimer* I have not seen the item in question, so I can't make a true call on whether it is a replica weapon or just a toy that should have been left alone. Now, if it was a "cap" pistol, there may be some question about the actual caps as they have flammable material in them (and yes, you can make something that goes boom with rolls of caps).
  4. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    <sarcasm>That can't be true. We've been told repeatedly that the TSA doesn't confiscate anything, they only "accept the voluntary surrender" of "prohibited items."</sarcasm>

    Rugape, why do we continue to see reports of TSA employees confiscating things and throwing them in the trash? It should be painfully obvious to even the dumbest among your cow-orkers that if an item is "dangerous," it merits more careful handling than being stolen from the bearer and being thrown into the trash.

    Is it a lack of training, poor training, or an inability to absorb training?
  5. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Of course it was an over reaction. Typical TSA. As reported TSA confiscated the item. This story is no different than the report of TSA screeners confiscation plastic Disney toy swords, going to GQ over an image of a pistol of a gun on a purse, or confiscating a toy plastic hammer from a mentally challenged man.

    TSA, if it can be done wrong TSA will do it wrong every time.
    Doober likes this.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Seems to be par for the course when one is dealing with TSA's legions of mental midgets hired from ads on pizza boxes and gas pumps.

    Just keep it up, I can't get enough of stuff like this! :D

    Keep that up, too! :)
  7. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    From the sounds of it, they didn't "confiscate" the item. They stole it. The owner was not told it was being "confiscated" until after it had been thrown away.
  8. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    The TSA didn't discover the toy by the X-ray screening, they missed it. It was discovered when they were going after shampoo and opened the bag and rifled through it and THEN saw the toy. If the woman hadn't had shampoo in her carry on there wouldn't have been an issue with the so called "toy" which could have been a real gun which would have potentially gotten through. Look at how many supervisors were called over one little wooden toy which was my point on another post regarding if the TSA would even recognize what a truly credible threat was and what they would do about it. If someone had an explosive at the checkpoint which was unrecognizable but "suspicious" by the TSA and say it was on a timer, by the time all the supervisors were called and all the time spent on discussing what it might be or what it might not be and what they should do about it ............
    KrazyKat likes this.
  9. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Several coordinated explosives at checkpoints around the country would bring this country's air traffic to a grinding halt, as happened on 9/11/2001. And not a damn thing the TSA does at checkpoints would prevent this attack scenario.
  10. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    not sure if that is a fair comment. I'd like to know how many times the right thing is done. Perhaps a lot. Reward those guys, tally up the losers who can't get this right, and fire their *sses. Zero tolerance for stupidity. Same thing for groping people. Passenger complaints against a groper should result in warnings followed quickly by terminations. If you demand professional behavior, you will get it. Right now, it looks like another entitlement program for people not able to get a decent job. Rugape, professional behavior and true respect for passengers (not words in TSA press releases) will be reciprocated by passenger respect for the job function and for the persons of TSA screeners. It's not a hard puzzle to solve. The reason it has not been solved, IMO, is the problem starts all the way up top the TSA.

    btw, hands in the crotch, rubbing the butts and breasts cannot be done professionally. That's simply evil behavior and you folks need to lose it.
    Doober, phoebepontiac and KrazyKat like this.
  11. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    simple coordinated threats would do this. you don't need the actual explosives. the fact that there is no apparent interest in these types of disruptions indicate, IMO, the low level of actual threat (vs imagined threat) that currently exists.
  12. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Rugape, assuming that TSA employees can read why do issues with the SOP's continue unabated?

    Also, can you put forth a reasonable answer as to why TSA will not answer a simple question from the public such as "do TSA employees have to identify themselves if requested? I am not asking you to answer the ID question but why TSA might ignore or refuse to answer simple questions that have no impact on security.
  13. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Given the observed behavior at ATL, PHX, and AUS, that's a mighty big assumption.
  14. RB

    RB Founding Member

    You left our Dallas (handgun missed by screeners on every attempt by tester), FLL (thieves), and MIA (Negrin, they could use pictures) and pretty much any other airport you wish to list.
  15. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    I almost didn't read this thread, thinking from the title it started from some 'don't pack the cranberry sauce' story.
  16. Frank

    Frank Original Member

    And I'm the Duke of Cambridge.
    TravelnMedic likes this.
  17. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    "Voluntary Surrender" is a euphemism for more than toy confiscation. Her hands were up, her feet were spread...
  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Would that be the 3rd, 4th or 5th Duke of Cambridge? Hopefully your affairs are better ordered than those of the 5th Duke of Cleveland. :D
  19. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I did have sarcasm tags on that.
  20. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    Thank you very much. First Responsders (we are a odd bunch... in a good way) can cover the gamut, but if he's retired most likely firefighter .

    I will say that I will have my first amtrak trip next year, and Im looking forward to it and having a relaxing journey taking photos from the lounge car and needing a few drinks to deal the BS between the curb and gate. My ultimate bucket list train trip is to start in Seattle and do a loop around the country once in the fall and the other in the spring with the photogrear in tow.

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