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An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2010-11-09 06:07
Subject: [travel] Dear TSA
Security: Public
Tags:funny, personal, travel
Dear TSA,

When you've diverted me for special screening and I am standing in a glass room where I cannot see my hand luggage or hear you asking whose bags they are, those are not abandoned bags. After all, you separated me from them.

Also, the new pat down procedures? I've had good dates with less action. I'm sure America is safer for you inspecting the inside of my underwear while I was still wearing it.


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Reynardo the Red
User: reynardo
Date: 2010-11-09 11:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
At least they didn't mistake you for a girl.
- After reading your passport.
- - Which they did to my husband.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Michael Curry: minifesto douglass
User: mcurry
Date: 2010-11-09 16:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:minifesto douglass
That's the worst part of it really. Your choice when flying is now overly invasive hand search done by minimally trained TSA staff or a radiation machine that hasn't been tested enough to satisfy many experts.

I especially like the bit where the USCF professors point out that the easiest way to up resolution is to raise the radiation dose, because that's exactly the kind of stupid change the TSA seems to be good at.

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User: eljaydaly
Date: 2010-11-09 12:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As a female flyer, I'm not laughing. I'm hearing concerns about the actual intention of the new rules (punitive) and that their effect can be quite devastating.

There's a story here.

Down in the body of that story are links to other reports, including one perspective from the Atlantic.

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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
User: fledgist
Date: 2010-11-09 12:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm getting on a plane tomorrow. This is making me feel very uncomfortable.
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User: ulfhirtha
Date: 2010-11-09 14:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What is even worse is how much of what the TSA does is "security theater" (as one friend aptly describes it)
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Nicosian: angry klaus fish
User: nicosian
Date: 2010-11-09 14:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:angry klaus fish
i was on a flight from Halifax to calgary for a funeral to attend, and at HFX, I got yanked into private screening, asked to remove my shoes ( this was pre shoebomber), and groped down most intimately, including buttock cup and separate.

At most other airports, my bra and belt set off security so I'd remove them pre security, jam them in my carryon and then go thru, which for some reason was OK! even if now i'd made the wire bits more accessible for nefarious deeds if I so wished.

In Vancouver, I was asked to lift my shirt and unzip my pants, so flummoxed by a metal fly on my pants ( aren't most metal anyway?)

Things have gotten less tetchy but having worked in the airport in security admin, they really do hire people unable to use common sense or logic or follow instructions in screening.

Comparitively, we had a laugh with the body scanners at Buffalo airport and delighted in the non invasive hokeypokey dance. At this point most of civil aviation has had a good look at me, though I do understand people's concerns over the scanners. I don't like em, but given some of the more rigorous pawings, ( travelling with blue hair raises flags?) i have to pick the lesser of my evils.

Alternately, travelling thru security with a bottle of water is a very good way for them to feel like they "found" something without giving me the going over. I don't care if they want to upend my bag.

do i think travel's safer for this "theatre"? not in the damn least. 2 years of working airport security doing paperwork for background checks and no, I am absolutely sure that the front end is for show, and some of the bumbling behind the scenes was downright LAUGHABLE.

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User: e_bourne
Date: 2010-11-09 15:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
There is very little about airport security that makes you safe, unless you are an incredibly stupid threat. I've done enough work that I know what nonsense it all is. But we are stuck with it unless we all decide to start traveling by train, or in some other way cause the airlines pain.

I won't be scanned. So far, I've declined the offer of a private room, since I suspect they are more inclined to be abusive in private. Since I travel for business and am in a business suit accompanied by other people in business attire, I suspect I may not get treatment that is as upsetting. I'm a frequent flyer, and I look it. Appearance makes a difference, I'm sorry to say.

But, like any unpleasant situation, it helps to set aside your anger and make a connection with your TSA person. Ask them how their day is going. Comment on the weather. Look them in the eye and smile. It makes a difference. They may hate their job and really wish you had gone through the scanner. Touching people may irk them. You don't know. For them, it's a job where they are on their feet 8 hours a day looking into people's luggage and people don't like them. So, be pleasant, and it can make a difference, or so I have found, and I travel a lot.
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User: barbarienne
Date: 2010-11-09 15:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I agree with your strategy. I'm always friendly to the TSA people. They've usually been friendly back to me.

I'm sure it helps that I'm a white woman in early middle age.
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Elizabeth Coleman
User: criada
Date: 2010-11-09 15:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I am so freaked out by all the stories I've been hearing. I really don't want to fly again.
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User: twilight2000
Date: 2010-11-09 15:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
um - wow? And you're one of the guys who knows how to travel - imagine the "trip once every 10 years" folks!

just wow...
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Jim Hetley
User: jhetley
Date: 2010-11-09 15:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My sister has reported amusing things about traveling with her metal knee. You'd think the TSA people would be able to recognize the scars by now . . .
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User: tillyjane
Date: 2010-11-09 16:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My nephew has an artificial leg with no sculpture over it...that is you see the rods and mechanisms. He travels in shorts to try to make it easier. This doesn't help. Not only can they not see your scars, they cant even see his metal leg. He gets the full treatment every time he flies..

I too can see nothing but theater in the whole TSA thing. In fact I remember reading a quote from the head of TSA "Our mission is make the American public feel safe when they travel." Notice, Not BE safe, just FEEL safe. I think he was speaking nothing but the truth that time.

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User: deborahjross
Date: 2010-11-09 15:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm flying up to Portland tomorrow. Should I brace myself for a fun time?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-11-09 16:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Try not to, you know, look suspicious. And hope they're not profiling whatever flavor of the month you resemble...
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User: maurinestarkey
Date: 2010-11-09 16:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We were flying from Boston to San Jose after SMoFcon. It was my companion (with early onset Alzheimer's) who they were targeting. It was humiliating. They took her aside to a seating area, told her to sit down. I asked if I could join her (I was going to have to wait anyway) and they refused. So I had to stand at the side of their 'inspection' area. She got up and merrily started reorganizing her pockets and throwing stuff into the garbage. Immediately I caught a guard moving towards her with his hand on his gun. I shouted from across the room, "SIT DOWN!" She immediately plopped in the closest seat in time to keep from being man handled by security. A sixty two year old, confused woman and they were going to draw a gun on her? Ridiculous.

I had noticed as we were going through the line and afterwards as we started for our gate, they were pulling the same 'type' people out for inspection. They were all over fifty, generally white and mostly female. Six in all, including my friend. My guess is they were profiling old white people so they wouldn't be accused of profiling Mediterranean types.

Sorry you went through all that. It was despicable. I do miss the days when getting on a plane was as easy as getting on to a bus.
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User: farmgirl1146
Date: 2010-11-09 16:56 (UTC)
Subject: The illusion makes airline travel less safe
The illusion of safety is the least safe alternative. Remember the Maginot Line?

If all TSA employees are as bad off as my niece who was apparently just hired by them, calling TSA employees monkeys is an insult to monkeys. This niece, generally ok, has huge debt, can't finish and AA degree, and has no center at all, not even a squishy one.

I know that you travel a lot, so this must be extra distressing.
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User: keikaimalu
Date: 2010-11-09 17:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm a pretty seasoned flyer, though I've flown less in the last few years for various reasons.

I'm finding all this highly alarming.

Is there any word on a grassroots backlash having any sort of temporizing effect?
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User: yourbob
Date: 2010-11-09 18:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Not even major news organizations reporting repeatedly on all the crap and uselessness has had any effect. But then certain congressmen believe Gilligan's Island was a documentary.
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User: martianmooncrab
Date: 2010-11-09 18:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
maybe everyone should start asking the TSA people how long it takes operating the new machine to become sterile?
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