airport security: the stupidity mounts

March 26th, 2007

I was on a flight a few months ago and I needed to bring my tennis racket. It's a bit awkward to take if you only have a backpack, cause there's no way to pack it. And no way to conceal it, unfortunately. As I'm going through security, this woman stops me. "That's a strike weapon, you have to check that in." What now? Oh, my racket? No no, it's just a racket, it's not a weapon. It's for sports. She made me check it in and I was a little panicked cause I wasn't prepared for this. Well it turns out I was still okay on time, so no big deal.

But the stupidity of it is annoying. A tennis racket is now a weapon? "What about that guy over there, he's carrying a laptop! Have you seen those youtube videos, you can maul a guy with a laptop!" (No, neither have I, but youtube has everything so I bet you could find people beaten with laptops as well.) I mean a tennis racket, that thing is made to be really light, it would be a terrible weapon. A baseball bat I could understand.

Somehow when I get into these situations with the security people, there's always someone else who comes out of it unscathed. On the very same flight there was a guy that had a racket on the plane. A badminton racket. Even worse for a weapon, would probably break that thing. But if mine is a strike weapon then his is too. What, you couldn't hit someone with a badminton racket if you wanted to? They won't take our laptops, cause that would really piss off the business travelers, but it's actually a more potent weapon.

Another time I'm going through security at Schiphol, again with just a backpack. I had a pair of scissors in there, not that I even remembered, I had them in my pencil case since junior high. But sure enough the guy pulled me over and stole them. "You can't take these on the plane." Right next to me there's another guy being examined and he's carrying a first aid kit in his backpack. In there, yes you guessed it, a pair of scissors. The security guy takes them out, looks at them, puts them back in. I think his were actually bigger than mine (and probably sharper on account of a first aid kit having to be in good condition). So apparently I'm a terrorists, because I have scissors, but the guy next to me, pretending to be medical personnel, couldn't possibly be faking, right?

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2 Responses to "airport security: the stupidity mounts"

  1. erik says:

    I think it's cause they can only get dumb people for those jobs. Face it, none of us would even consider to consider applying for that bs

  2. Boyo says:

    I had a corkscrew in my bag once, one of those flexible folding things. And sure enough, at the security check at Schiphol they searched my bag and took it away. Seems it was a 'stabbing weapon' because it had a sharp point. I told him it made no sense, because it was flexible and would simply bend upon impact. But no matter, they had to seize it.

    When I got on board, the shopping booklet had various scissors for sale and even a corkscrew. Perhaps the ones the take away from passengers? They also served a steel knife and fork with the meal.

    The way they apply the security measures are completely counter-productive. To nitpick on insignificant things like nail clippers and needles just serves to annoy people and develop a negative attitude towards airport security.

    If they really want to prevent a hijack, they should give Mike Caracciolo's idea a try and arm the passengers instead of disarming them. Give each passenger a baseball bat. Imagine if you're a terrorist, you walk on board the plane and see 350 people equipped with baseball bats. That'll make you think twice about pulling off your hijack.