TSA: Freeze, or else

by Lisa Simeone on September 28, 2012


We have another not-a-new-story but one that many people still haven’t heard yet and for which there’s a new video that’s making the rounds. And lucky us, we can see the TSA’s foray into Saturday morning cartoon territory.

The UK newspaper The Daily Mail has picked up a story that the New York Times reported last year; namely, that TSA agents occasionally order people to freeze on command.

In a first-person account aptly titled “Playing Simon Says at Airport Security,” the NYT’s Joe Sharkey related the surreal experience of watching countless obedient people freezing in place while the TSA barked commands. Even more surreal, another passenger, through clenched teeth, commanded Sharkey to freeze when he didn’t immediately comply.

So we have fellow citizens doing the TSA’s dirty work for them.

In case you’re wondering, TSA agents do not have the authority to order you to “freeze.” Yet in the two times Sharkey experienced this little game and in the video published by the Daily Mail, everyone dutifully froze in place, including people who were already well past the checkpoint but were merely within hearing distance.

Obedience training, anyone?

I try to be sympathetic to my fellow human beings, but it’s getting harder and harder, when they demonstrate so clearly that they’re willing to do anything and everything an authority figure tells them to do, no matter how abusive, egregious, or just plain stupid that thing is.

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/A. Roger Davies)

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