The 6 Most Ridiculous things Banned by Airport Security
A few years ago some crazy religious fanatics crashed planes into buildings. The authorities were quick to step in and step up security in airports. Unluckily for us the authorities at the time happened to lead by this guy:
So what we’ve gotten is a big mess of silly little rules and a mass of power-happy security screeners who can ruin your vacation with the flimsiest pretext. It’s not all bad, the shoe removal part makes us all a bit more humble and security theater makes most people feel safer. But now it’s time to celebrate the stupidest reasons to ban people from planes.
#1 – 3.2 Ounces of Toothpaste. This one has probably gotten a few of us in trouble, ever since government scientists discovered the formula: “> 3oz. toothpaste = bomb lol”. It even happened to everyone’s favorite geek Wil Wheaton in 2006.
…my deadly, deadly toothpaste was taken away from me, because it was “way bigger” than the three ounces our government protectors arbitrarily-designated as safe. (For those of you scoring at home, “way bigger” is .2 ounces) I didn’t mention that my relatively expensive (to its size) Crew hair goop was also taken away from me, because it was 3.4 ounces, even when I opened it up and showed them that it was less than 1/2 full, and therefore well under the deadly 3 ounce threshold.
“Well, we don’t know what’s really in there,” the TSA lady said.
“It’s about1 ounce of hair goop,” I said. “Would you like me to put it in my hair?”
They’re lucky he didn’t reroute their main power through the deflector dish and reverse the magnetic couplers. Damn it! I really thought I could make it through a post involving Wil Wheaton without making a Star Trek joke.
#2 – A MacBook Air. I knew that Steve Jobs was up to something evil when he pulled that laptop out of the manila folder. Michael Nygard made the mistake of owning one when he tried to get on a flight. It completely baffled the airport security personnel because it looked slightly different from the usual Dells. They finally called in a technology expert (someone under the age of fifty) to examine it.
A younger agent, joins the crew. I must now be occupying ten, perhaps twenty, percent of the security force. At this checkpoint anyway. There are three score more at the other five checkpoints. The new arrival looks at the printouts from x-ray, looks at my laptop sitting small and alone. He tells the others that it is a real laptop, not a “device”. That it has a solid-state drive instead of a hard disc. They don’t know what he means. He tries again, “Instead of a spinning disc, it keeps everything in flash memory.” Still no good. “Like the memory card in a digital camera.” He points to the x-ray, “Here. That’s what it uses instead of a hard drive.”
#3 – Your Own Breast Milk. Fighting terrorism isn’t a conventional war – we have to fight terrorists at home and abroad and keep them from infiltrating our society. And our mammary glands. That’s why in 2002 airport security forced Elizabeth McGarry to drink her own breast milk before letting her on the plane.
McGarry and her daughter were pulled out of the boarding line for a random search. Guards examined her shoes, searched her baby and went through her diaper bag, Kuby said.
“None of that bothered her,” Kuby said. “Only when she was ordered to drink the breast milk did she fail to see the connection to stopping terrorism.”
#4 – A Novell with Cartoon Dynamite on the Cover and/or Harry Potter. Neil Godfrey should have known better than to try to sneak a work of fiction past the keen eyes of airport security. They detained him from his flight. When tried to fly the next day (this time with the evil Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) he was again detained.
When Godfrey arrived at the airport around 1:15 p.m., his luggage was again searched. But as Godfrey passed through the metal detector, a police officer recognized him from the commotion just a few hours earlier. The cop pulled Godfrey aside and made a few phone calls. Ultimately, he declared that everything checked out fine. But a National Guardsman standing nearby vetoed that decision.
“This time, they took my Harry Potter book and about four people studied it for 20 minutes,” Godfrey says.
#5 – A Blinky LED Pin. This is not the first run in that Boston has had with “bomb hoax devices” that turn out to be more accurately described as “obviously not a bomb you moron.” Last year an MIT student attempted to leave Logan airport while wearing a homemade LED pin in the shape of a star (her name is Star Simpson, so it’s kind of a nametag). I’m guessing that the TSA has really had their hands full since Walgreens has started selling those blinky angel and teddy bear pins near the checkout.
“She said that it was a piece of art and she wanted to stand out on career day,” Pare said at a news conference.
#6 – A T-Shirt with Optimus Prime on it. Here’s a little shout out to Europe, since the U.S. has not yet cornered the market on stupidity. I’m not making this one up – this dude got in trouble for wearing a T-shirt with a 50-foot-tall fictional robot that turns into a semi truck. Why? Because his fictional, cartoon arm is a fictional, cartoon laser gun.
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