William Hamilton: TSA travel rules, comply like a terrorist
May 29, 2012
For air travelers over age 75 and under age 12, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is working toward making your screening experience less troublesome.
Already children under 12 no longer have to remove their shoes. At Chicago, Denver, and Portland seniors older than 75 no longer have to remove their shoes, belts, and jackets. Soon JFK International, La Guardia, and Newark Liberty airports will be added to that list.
One of the nice things about the TSA is that you can go on their website at: http://www.tsa.gov and find detailed lists of what you need to know to be allowed on board an airliner in this country. Savvy travelers read all that information and do their very best to comply with whatever the TSA wants them to do. With practice, the experienced traveler can get very good at pleasing the TSA and sail right on through TSA screening with minimum hassle.
Unfortunately, the Islamic jihadists and other terrorists read these same instructions from TSA and learn them by heart and possibly know them even better than the frazzled TSA screeners at the nation’s 499 commercial-service airports. No self-respecting terrorist is going to try to board an airliner in this country without having made sure that he or she is in strict compliance with the instructions available at: http://www.tsa.gov.
So, the next time you board an airliner, you can take comfort knowing that every last person going on board along with you has had to comply with the TSA’s pre-boarding instructions. On the other hand, there are untold numbers of innocent, non-terrorists who are ignorant of the rules or, even if informed, do not follow them. For example, just last week, the TSA intercepted 30 loaded pistols that were inside carry-on baggage. Famous sports and entertainment celebrities have been caught with weapons in their carry-on briefcases or bags. Since TSA screening went into effect, hundreds of thousands of prohibited items have been confiscated by the TSA. In fact, the TSA has had to hold auctions to get rid of hundreds of swords, meat cleavers, spear guns, cattle prods, brass knuckles, and box cutters, to mention only a few prohibited items.
Needless to say, the TSA needs to do as good a job educating America’s non-terrorists about how to go through TSA screening as the TSA has done with the terrorists. If the rest of us would comply the way the terrorists are complying, the work of the TSA would be a whole lot easier.
Getting ready to depart the Nashville Airport last September, this writer encountered a female TSA screener with a keen sense of humor. Running late, Wonder Wife and I hurried to catch a flight back to Denver. We take pride in having our little 3-1-1 bags in perfect order. Our shoes, jackets, keys, cell phones, watches, and other metal items placed just right in those little plastic tubs. We can pass through the magnetometer without setting it off.
Having strictly compiled with TSA rules and sailing on through, I was collecting my belongings off of the conveyor belt when the TSA lady posted there said, “You obviously take pride in being ready for inspection and in following our rules; however, I want you to know that we really do not go that far.”
“What do you mean you don’t go that far?” I asked.
With a benevolent smile, the nice TSA lady said, “Your fly is unzipped.”
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