Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Signs: Part 1

As you may or may not have noticed, Leigh and I attended the Wizard World: Texas con this last week. This entailed that we get on a plane, which involves an elaborate ritual known as ‘going through security.’

Now, I am fine with all that. I will happily remove my shoes, belt, cell-phone, necklace, titanium skull plate, and Kryptonite toe (in case I have to fight Superman) and pass them through the metal detector like any other good citizen. This is not a problem, though I do take extra effort to ensure that my pants don’t fall down when I’m walking through the metal detector. Trust me, you only need to have it happen once, especially if you do it in front of a bus-load of Japanese schoolgirls on a vacation to the US. Schoolgirls who happen to have their cameras out and aren’t shy about pointing and laughing.

Moving on.

Anyhow, as Leigh and I were in the Disneyland-esque winding maze of partitions that lead to the metal detectors, holding up our pants with one hand, I happened to notice a sign. It read ‘Thank you for participating in security.’

This struck me as odd. The sign was somehow suggesting that we were voluntarily choosing to partially disrobe and allow strangers to wave metal devices at us (which I would do happily, assuming the people with the wands were attractive women).

It was just the idea that we were somehow not obligated to participate. Obviously, we didn’t have to, but we also wouldn’t be allowed to get on the plane. I would also bet that if we tried to get on the plane anyway, many hundreds of pounds of TSA agents would attempt to subdue us. Repeatedly.

So what am I saying? Let’s just call a spade a spade and point out that a more accurate sign would read ‘Thank you for cooperating with security.’ A sentence which happens to have the same number of characters (I checked).

Now, I am in no way shape or form suggesting that we shouldn’t have security in our airports. I am glad measures are being taken to prevent bad people from doing bad things while very far above the ground. However, let’s not mess around with an illusion of choice. You want to get on a plane? You allow security to do their thing.

Now I’m curious if the IRS building has a sign that reads ‘Thank you for cooperating in paying your taxes.’

Tomorrow: Part II: Texas bathrooms are more dangerous than they appear.


spasticfreakshow said...

whatever. tsa stole my work laptop, which had been backed up, but 6 months previously, so i lost 6 months of work and i work for a massive environmental non-profit. they are bad people and are going to hell. no, don't suggest some of them aren't bad, they are all aware of the rampant theft and they turn their heads. if they still work for tsa, they suck as people. they took me to a curtained area to search my person, assured me my bags, etc, would be safe, as they'd moved them to a special search area, which i witnessed. after searching me fairly thoroughly (ok, i carry a middle east passport, so sue me! i'm american, living in israel, they always do this to me in the u.s. now) then returned my possessions to me, minus my laptop. laptop, what laptop? they cried. i saw that they'd had it. cnn ran a special on tsa stealing people's laptops. i testify - they are doing this - and they are hurting people by it.

Gillsing said...

Yep. Without having read any comments, at "moving on" I took a little break where I imagined myself going completely postal as a TSA bully "confiscated" something from me. And I've never even been to USA, or flown in an airplane. But the stories I read on the internet sure make think of theft and abuse of power whenever I read about American airport security.

Though I also remember them being accused of being mean to some woman with a child, and then it turned out that it was the woman that was demanding special treatment, and reacting badly when she didn't get it. Of course, "special treatment" in that case was an everyday thing like keeping a bottle of water, which is bad, bad, bad, because of potential liquid explosives. (eyeroll goes here)

I'd like to think that even if I was fond of living, I'd still prefer to risk being blown to bits than to put up with the current security measures. It's better to live in comfort and die suddenly than to be hassled for a lifetime.

hartandhunter said...

"...many hundreds of pounds of TSA agents would attempt to subdue us. Repeatedly." ^________^

The sign should read "Bend over and smile."

Jason Janicki said...

Wow, that really sucks, spasticfreakshow! Did you lodge any sort of complaint or take it up with the airport? I would be willing to be they have all those areas monitored and could have checked to see if anyone took anything.

Yeah, all it takes is a little power for some people to go nuts. I just finished reading The Lucifer Effect by Phillip Zimbardo (of the Stanford Prison Experiment fame), which is all about abuses of power. Interesting and rather scary.


spasticfreakshow said...

thanks jason. i tried to file a complaint, but by then i was already back in israel. while in the u.s. i focused on trying to get it back. in total, i must have wasted 10 hours of my life on the phone on hold, on long distance calls, just so TSA could ignore me, ignore the theft and deny me filing a complaint. they should all go to jail, then we'll be safer. start from scratch. we have better security in israel. they psyche you out with questions, but don't search your person in a curtained area unless you really are a freaking terrorist drug smuggler.

my name is michelle, but i truly as pretty spastic, so the shoe fits, and the shoe is not hiding any plastic explosives, thank you.

Jason Janicki said...

Wow, sorry to hear that. I'm not a believer in karma, but hopefully, they'll get theirs one day.

How's the security handled in Israel? Better, worse, or just different?