Sure, the UK is but a hollow shell of what it once was, but maybe we can take a lesson from their recent experience. When Border Agency passport control workers struck to protest government cutbacks earlier this week, travelers at airports and channel ports found that things actually run much more smoothly with the usual “public servants” walking a picket line. Who knows? This may be exactly what the TSA needs to improve security and keep the flow of passengers moving in this country. It’s hard to see how replacements could do any worse. As an example…
Vanessa Gibbs was returning Florida from a trip to Virginia and carrying a purse worthy of one of our “What could possibly go wrong?” posts. That’s when the ever-vigilant TSA squad at the Norfolk airport detained her. From dailymail.co.uk:
Gibbs said she was headed back home to Jacksonville from a holiday trip when an agent flagged her purse as a security risk.
She was like, “This is a federal offence because it’s in the shape of a gun”,’ Gibbs said. ‘I’m like, “But it’s a design on a purse. How is it a federal offence?”‘
After agents figured out the gun was a fake, Gibbs said, TSA told her to check the bag or turn it over.
By the time security wrapped up the inspection, the pregnant teenager had missed her flight, and Southwest Airlines sent her to Orlando instead, worrying her mother, who was already waiting for her to arrive.
Scary, huh? Thank God the TSA was on duty and intervened. Who knows what she could have done with that thing.
Vanessa and her mother said it’s hard to believe anyone could mistake the design on the purse for a real gun because it’s just a few inches in size and it’s hollow, not to mention Vanessa has taken it on planes before.
‘I carried this from Jacksonville to Norfolk, and I’ve carried it from Norfolk to Jacksonville,’ Vanessa said. ‘Never once has anyone said anything about it until now.’
TSA isn’t budging on the handbag, arguing the phony gun could be considered a ‘replica weapon’.
The TSA said: ‘Replica weapons have been prohibited since 2002’.
Judging from the Brits’ experience, the age of government cutbacks and austerity can’t get here soon enough.
[h/t Patrick Brown]