The world of air travel continues to get more bizarre by the day as the restrictions on travelling - bordering on all-out hysteria – as a result of a terrorist threat seemingly gives leeway to officials to forgo all attempts at decency and intelligence.
It was recently announced that air passengers would be told they would be the stars of their very own peep show for the benefit of customs officials every time they wish to board a plane, with the introduction of backscatter technology. It is a move which has been strongly contested by the Allied Pilots Association and just about everybody in the world who is not a member of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Thankfully for those who would rather not have such images taken of themselves the production of the charming “revolutionary flexible, attractive, lightweight, Lead (Pb) free, radiation shielding garments for individuals,” which can aid covering one’s modesty are available at rockflatsgear.com.
But while this massive contravention of one’s privacy is highly controversial, it pales in comparison to other instances of staggeringly offensive stupidity on the part of the TSA.
In the Youtube video there is the sickening image of a small child being strip searched by a number of officials in full view of the other travellers waiting to pass through security. Although the TSA could argue that they have to treat all passengers the same and presume that anybody may present a potential risk, there is no excuse for treating a small child to such a frightening experience in full view of a mass of strangers.
Unfortunately the TSA seem oblivious to the fact by resorting to such inhumane tactics due to the fear caused by terrorism, we are indeed letting those who seek to inflect terror succeed.
But unfortunately the stupidity of the TSA jobsworths does not stop here. A soldier recently recounted the rather hilarious experience he and a friend had with the TSA on his return from service in Afghanistan, describing it as “too absurd to be untrue”.
“When we were on our way back from Afghanistan, we flew out of Baghram Air Field. We went through customs at BAF, full body scanners (no groping), had all of our bags searched, the whole nine yards.”
“Our first stop was Shannon, Ireland to refuel. After that, we had to stop at Indianapolis, Indiana to drop off about 100 folks from the Indiana National Guard. That’s where the stupid started.”
“First, everyone was forced to get off the plane–even though the plane wasn’t refueling again. All 330 people got off that plane, rather than let the 100 people from the ING get off. We were filed from the plane to a holding area. No vending machines, no means of escape. Only a male/female latrine.”
“It’s probably important to mention that we were ALL carrying weapons. Everyone was carrying an M4 Carbine (rifle) and some, like me, were also carrying an M9 pistol. Oh, and our gunners had M-240B machine guns. Of course, the weapons weren’t loaded. And we had been cleared of all ammo well before we even got to customs at Baghram, then AGAIN at customs.”
“The TSA personnel at the airport seriously considered making us unload all of the baggage from the SECURE cargo hold to have it re-inspected. Keep in mind, this cargo had been unpacked, inspected piece by piece by US Customs officials, resealed and had bomb-sniffing dogs give it a one-hour run through. After two hours of sitting in this holding area, the TSA decided not to re-inspect our Cargo–just to inspect us again: Soldiers on the way home from war, who had already been inspected, re-inspected and kept in a SECURE holding area for 2 hours. Ok, whatever. So we lined up to go through security AGAIN.”
“This is probably another good time to remind you all that all of us were carrying actual assault rifle, and some of us were carrying pistols.”
“So we’re in line, going through one at a time. One of our Soldiers had his Gerber multi-tool. TSA confiscated it. Kind of ridiculous, but it gets better. A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a apair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers. The conversation went something like this:
TSA Guy: You can’t take those on the plane.
Soldier: What? I’ve had them since we left country.
TSA Guy: You’re not suppose to have them.
TSA Guy: They can be used as a weapon.
Soldier: [touches butt stock of the rifle] But this actually is a weapon. And I’m allowed to take it on.
TSA Guy: Yeah but you can’t use it to take over the plane. You don’t have bullets.
Soldier: And I can take over the plane with nail clippers?
TSA Guy: [awkward silence]
Me: Dude, just give him your damn nail clippers so we can get the f**k out of here. I’ll buy you a new set.
Soldier: [hands nail clippers to TSA guy, makes it through security]”
“This might be a good time to remind everyone that approximately 233 people re-boarded that plane with assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns – but nothing that could have been used as a weapon.”