You have to love the TSA……

January 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm 5 comments

by Tony

……if for nothing else but the pure entertainment value they provide on what seems like a weekly basis.

Last week they were forced to defend the actions of a Las Vegas TSA crew that confiscated some cupcakes.

In their defense on the TSA Blog (who knew there was such a thing but I guess if I can have a blog why not the TSA), Blogger Bob (again I’m not making that up, he’s a real guy that is part of the TSA Blogger Team), defended the cupcake confiscation citing the 3-1-1 rule that limits the amount of liquids, gels or aerosols you can bring on a plane.

Ok, I felt Blogger Bob’s explanation stretched things a bit, and despite agreeing with the passenger in this case, who suggested the TSA used “terrible logic”, I guess a rule is a rule, and I was all set to let this TSA incident slide without comment.   That was until I read that the TSA had issued an apology for strip searching a couple of granny’s at JFK.

In these cases all logic went right out the window when on separate occasions TSA agents at JFK asked two 85+ year old women to strip because they saw something unusual (turned out to be a defibrillator and a colostomy bag).  Ok, now picture yourself as the TSA agent involved in the colostomy incident.   Do you really think that agent is checking the next 88 year old woman after witnessing the first colostomy bag?  CarryingOn says “NO WAY”!  That woman is clearing the security area faster than you can say “get her out of here before anything starts leaking”.

CarryingOn thinks these stories taken together illustrate the problem with the current TSA procedures.  Going forward, what prevents the 88 year old woman from taking explosive fluids in her colostomy bag, or a coordinated team of cupcake makers from taking only a portion of the needed ingredients thereby circumventing the 3-1-1 rule, and then coalescing while onboard to create an explosive from what appeared to be the ingredients of my all-time favorite cupcake, the Yankee Doodle?

Nothing, I would argue, other than the fact that an 88 year old women and the unassuming cupcake baker have no reason to.   No one who fits their profile ever has, and nothing about them would suggest they are getting on that plane for any other reason than to get from point A to point B.    Yet the TSA continues to confiscate stuff and breach personal barriers because of some rules intended to make us feel safer.  Sounds kind of silly if you ask me, and it doesn’t make me feel any safer.   How about you?   Are you feeling safer?  If not, go get yourself a Yankee Doodle and a glass of milk.   You might not feel safer, but I guarantee you’ll at least feel better :).

Entry filed under: Security, Tony D'Astolfo. Tags: , , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alan Minton  |  January 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm


    An entertaining article that poses a good question about percieved safety as an outcome of overreaching procedures. I have a question for you.

    Is a Yankee Doodle a northeastern version of the Ho-Ho?

    • 2. Tony D  |  January 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      No Alan, that would be the Yodel, another favorite of mine from Drakes.


  • 3. Isaac Bowman  |  January 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Its all just ‘security theater’ and a sad waste of time and money. Think about it, they limit travelers to 3oz but don’t prevent that same traveler from re-entering the same check point 8 more times. And if in some fantasy land the whole process actually worked, the very best outcome is a terrorist shifting to some other soft target like a mall or school. So in the end it’s a waste of money without any net security benefit.

  • 4. Tom  |  January 24, 2012 at 9:42 am

    My favorite are the nudie scanners, which even Chairman Napolitano admitted – on television – were not even designed to find explosives in the process of taking an anatomically accurate picture of every traveler (love to hack that database). Actually I think the only rationale for upgrading the old magnetic scanners is that they are slower, more expensive, and give the screeners an excuse to yell at people who forget to take off their belts.

    Thank you for this opportunity to vent.

  • 5. Henry Harteveldt  |  January 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Valid points, Tony.

    Air travel security should be more proactive. 10 years after 9/11, it’s embarrassing that we apparently have not been able to develop adequate solutions that allow us to identify potential terrorists before they ever get to an airport. To TSA’s credit, the new “pre check” program that links with databases such as airlines’ frequent flier programs and Global Entry offer hope.

    Years ago, I advocated that if we want to fly, we should get the equivalent of an “air traveler’s license.” I’m not in favor of unnecessary government regulations, and I am not a fan of the DMV in California, where I live. I certainly don’t relish the thought of creating more bureaucracy. But if such a program would mean a more efficient airport screening process, I’d be all for it.

    Finally, thank you for citing Yankee Doodles. You brought back a moment form my long-lost youth.



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