TSA News readers will be well familiar with the following scenario. Sean W. Malone writes at Logicology that the TSA at LAX took his favorite belt buckle because they claimed it was a “replica” of a gun.
Photo at link:
What kind of a gun, you might ask?
A 1950s Flash Gordon-style RAYGUN!! A fictional weapon. A child’s toy.
Because he was running late, he didn’t have the time to battle up the chain of command, so he was forced to just leave it.
Previously, the TSA geniuses had almost taken it at DCA:
But this is honestly my favorite belt buckle, and I’m me, so – realizing I was speaking with a woman with the brainpower of a block of Parmesan cheese – I looked at her and said, “You understand that this is a belt buckle, right? It is not a danger to the safety of anyone nor is it against the law to carry. I have also traveled with this belt buckle all over the country and it’s never been a problem. So please explain to me how exactly you would justify taking it.”
Her response was to suggest a hypothetical scenario. “What if”, she postulated, “you take this object out of your bag and point it – like a gun – at a police officer? He would have no choice to assume that it was a gun, and take action against you.”
Now… Let’s leave aside for a second that the entire premise behind this argument is that police officers are too dumb and hopped up on their own power that they can’t recognize a dangerous weapon from a belt buckle in the shape of a 1950’s toy ray gun. I’m glad she recognized this reality, but I don’t think she really processed what it says about law enforcement in America. But leaving that aside… Why in the hell would I ever take my belt buckle and point it at a police officer?
To this, she had no answer.
She also had no answer to the point that even if I did that, it would represent a danger to me and not, say… an airplane full of people.
At this point, she got red in the face and loudly declared that she wasn’t going to argue with me or “have a debate about this”. “You have two options. That’s it,” she said. So I asked to speak with *HER* supervisor. Fine. She took the belt buckle and walked it over to some other guy far out of earshot and talked to him for a bit while someone else came over and talked to me. Also seemed like a fairly reasonable guy.
Eventually the woman came back, curtly handed me the buckle and said, “Here you go. Have a good flight, sir.”‘
He sums up:
But seriously wrap your minds around what this means. Our “Transportation Security Administration” cannot recognize the difference between the following things:
1. A belt buckle and a prop replica.
2. A fictional/toy gun that has never existed in human history outside of sci-fi & fantasy stories, and a firearm/weapon that actually exists.
3. An object that poses a danger to others… and… a goddamn belt buckle.
Yes, as he puts it, “The TSA is busy protecting you from the scourge of novelty belt buckles.”
TSA News readers won’t be surprised by any of this. As we’ve written so many times before, the TSA delights in stealing all sorts of innocuous stuff.
(Cross-posted at Advice Goddess)