Today’s completely stupid security story brought to you by LAX

I’m a few hours away from getting on a plane myself, so David Gagne’s post about his recent encounter with the TSA folks at LAX (that I just read on BoingBoing) has a little extra special connection for me. Of course I’m flying (mostly) hassle free thanks to my friend Bob Hope. David writes:

I laughed. I did. I couldn’t help it. It was absurd. I looked at the LAPD officer and said, “Is he serious?” The policeman looked at me as if he was very sorry and trying to not laugh himself. He walked a little bit closer towards us but said nothing.

“Dude. It’s water. I’ll drink it right now.”

“I can’t let you do that. You have to throw it away.”

“What? Why? I’m going to drink it. I’ll drink the whole thing. Right now. Right in front of you.”

“You can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“It’s against the law.”

“What law?”

“You can’t drink in the security area at the airport.”

Now this is where I got mad. “There is no law that says I can’t drink water in the security area of the airport!” I looked at the cop, “Is there?” The cop said, “I have no jurisdiction where you are. You’re not on LA property.”

This seemed pretty silly to me. What the hell was he doing there if he wasn’t allowed to do anything? But whatever. He was a cool cop and I didn’t have any beef with him. I looked back at the TSA guy and said, “Show me the law.”

6 Replies to “Today’s completely stupid security story brought to you by LAX”

  1. I’ve had several stupid run-ins with TSA personnel at LAX and Burbank and other airports. They seem to get off on petty displays of arbitrary authority.

    A couple of months ago, one TSA guy at the Burbank airport took literally 15 minutes to unpack my toiletry kit in front of everyone, holding up each item (e.g., my toothpaste, my comb, my bar of soap) with his index finger and thumb and rotating them around in the air in front of his face. He was especially giddy when he pulled a Trojan condom packet from my kit and held that aloft and scrutinized it. “Hm,” he said loudly, as if that was supposed to mean something or imply something.

    I was boiling mad at first because his treatment of me clearly had no bearing on “security” or “risk”. It was purely some poorly paid, ill-trained, disrespected 20something go-nowhere-shlub getting his jollies on having one over on me, a businessman dressed very well carrying an expensive Tumi case.

    And that’s when my anger subsided completely. When I realized how pathetic his job was and how utterly awful it must be to be him.

    Did it excuse wasting my time and, perhaps worse, diverting his attention from someone who might truly be a risk? No. But it completely deflated my anger toward him. I just shrugged inside, let him waste my time and finger all my personal items, and then smiled and said “thank you” and caught my flight.

    If the government were really concerned about really stopping terrorist action in the airways, TSA people would get decent pay and decent training and then the market would take care of who sought the jobs.

  2. Please throw out your water so that, 20 feet away, you can re-purchase it for 4 times the price you originally paid. We will remove all unopened beverages and resell them to the unsuspecting public.

    It’s a racket! Mark your waters with a sharpie!!!

  3. Last week when I flew out of LAX I had a bottle of water on me at the security check point. The guy said drink it or throw it out. I drank it. I think some of these motherfuckers just power trip at times.

  4. A couple months ago when my boyfriend and I flew out of long beach with our two cats and the TSA agents at the security check point actually made us take the cats out of their carriers to walk them through the metal detector. Nevermind that the doors behind us we’re open and our cats were already terrified. I couldn’t believe that they would make us do that. Like we would stick bombs in our cats!

  5. Brenda – that isn’t new and has been standard for a long time. The issue is more that they want to XRay the carrier and don’t want to run the animals through the radiation in the machine, so you carrying them through the metal detectors makes the most sense.

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