Way back in December of 2002 I wrote a small entry on Nicholas and Mary Monahan and their run-in with airport security. I was appalled at their treatment to say the least. Now I get word that a fellow blogger has had a less outrageous, but still very upsetting encounter with Federal TSA screeners as well. John of John P. Hoke’s Asylum warns us that the TSA Screeners apparently are allowed to use their discretion in determining which of your personal belongings they can steal… er… I mean “confiscate.”
I arrive at the airport, check my bags and head on down to the Security Screeners, these supposedly well trained, well mannered Federal Employees. I took both of my laptops out of their bags, and along with my shoes, jacket and carry on bags, placed them on the conveyor belt to the x-ray machine.
One screener asked to manually inspect one of my bags, knowing that I had nothing in it that was prohibited based on the TSA’s own site I allowed the search. This inspector found a lighter that I was given by my step daughter for our first Father’s Day together. It was a cigar lighter that did not run on Liquid Fuel, but gas. (Unabsorbed Liquid fueled lighters are prohibited based on the above PDF). He looked at it and exclaimed, “Wow I have always wanted one like this”. Then proceeded to tell me that he had to confiscate my lighter.
John challenges the screener’s judgment and proceeds to ask to speak with a supervisor. The supervisor pretty much tells him to fuck off and tries to dissuade John from filing a formal complaint via an attempt at physical intimidation. John took the form, got on his flight, and plans to follow up his initial entry with more as the story progresses. I’ll honestly be very surprised if he gets any justice out of this whole ordeal, but I fully support and encourage him to try.
This is the sort of crap that the Bush administration has brought us. When you can’t carry fucking fingernail clippers on an airline flight because it might be a weapon you know we’ve descended to new levels of silliness. Seriously, what the fuck is a terrorists going to do with fingernail clippers? Threaten to give the flight crew a really bad manicure if they don’t comply with his demands?? Man, I’m glad I don’t fly anywhere these days. I probably would’ve gotten arrested.