Safely assured of a top spot in the Hall [of Shame], or so I thought, was the time I had a butter knife confiscated by overzealous TSA guards. I mean, what could be more ridiculous than taking a butter knife from a uniformed, on-duty pilot?
Answer: confiscating a fork from a uniformed, on-duty airline pilot.
It happened the other day in Mexico City, at the special crew inspection checkpoint at Benito Juarez International Airport. Yes, I’m dropping the “American” part and changing the name to the “Security Hysteria Hall of Shame,” since, as you’ll see, we are not the only ones who have lost our minds...
Every day, hundreds of thousands of stainless steel forks, not to mention knives, are handed out to passengers in the forward cabins of airplanes. (And why not? The hijacking paradigm exploited on Sept. 11 no longer exists.) Yet on-duty pilots are not allowed to carry them through the checkpoint?...
This is the lunatic world of security we now live in: one of blind adherence, stripped of reason and logic, in which even the stupidest policies are enforced to the letter of the law...
One day, flying from Dallas to Jacksonville, Fla., Goldring and her toddler son were refused passage through the TSA checkpoint because they boy was carrying … get ready now … his Star Wars lightsaber. A lightsaber, if you’re not familiar, is a flashlight with a plastic cone attached — or, perhaps more to the point, a toy in the shape of a make-believe weapon from a galaxy, and a line of reasoning, far, far away.
“I believe it was green,” says Goldring, “indicating my son’s future Jedi path. We were told by the TSA professionals that the saber, which technically is something that does not exist, was a weapon. We were escorted out of security and sent to the ticket counter, where I had to fill out paperwork in order to check the lightsaber in as baggage.”..
Like I said, you can’t make this up.
The saddest part is that few people seem to care. We grumble, we gripe, and sometimes we laugh, but there is little if any organized push to change this madness, neither by citizens nor their elected leaders. In the end, we get what we deserve.
16 March 2012
How is a fork like a lightsaber ?
Both are considered risks to aircraft security, as explained in an Ask The Pilot column at Salon: