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87-Year-Old World War II Veteran Takes On the TSA

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the check-this dept.

Security 218

McGruber writes "Orlando Sentinel columnist Lauren Ritchie has written about how Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints handle her father Sam, an 87-year-old who has a propensity to question authority in a quiet way, and make his target feel stupid. Sam points to the signs that the TSA posts stating that those above the age of 75 don't have to take off their shoes for screening. Maybe the TSA thinks all old people wear floppy tennies, but Sam's favorite pair have metal. So every time Sam goes through the screening, an alarm goes off, and an officer makes him remove his shoes. And every time he feels compelled to test the TSA. Sometimes, Sam spots them a few points by warning them ahead of time that his shoes have metal.... it got to be a ritual for a while, ending with him throwing his hands up and remarking to the TSA person: 'Hey, something's not right here.'"

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218 comments

News for nerds (5, Funny)

philmarcracken (1412453) | about 6 months ago | (#45232655)

Stuff that mattressssssss

Re:News for nerds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232743)

I bet this guy's raves are more about the fact that they let ethnics on the force than they are about whatever injustices he imagines about having to take off his shoes like the rest of us.

Re:News for nerds (5, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | about 6 months ago | (#45232851)

I bet this guy's raves are more about the fact that they let ethnics on the force than they are about whatever injustices he imagines about having to take off his shoes like the rest of us.

You have slave mentality. The injustice is anyone having to take off his shoes at all.

Re:News for nerds (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232901)

Yea that level of injustice keeps me up at night. Whatever will I do about taking my shoes off.

Next you'll tell me about how it was a slippery slope and thats why Obama reads my emails now. Vote Robo-Ron Paul 2048!

Re:News for nerds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233061)

Why do you despise the fourth amendment, and freedom in general? The fact that you would try to trivialize this speaks volumes about your character.

Re:News for nerds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233283)

You think taking your shoes off violates your fourth amendment rights? I guess taking a gun onto a plane violates your second amendment rights too? Or maybe screaming "I have a gun everyone down!" on the plane as a joke would be a violation of your first amendment rights to free speech when they arrested you. This is the fallacy of modern America, believing somehow that that constitution and its amendments are implemented as you personally interpret them. This is why they are backed by a huge body of constitutional law IANAL, but its pretty clear you are not either.

Re:News for nerds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232961)

Yeah, I hate niggers too. Gosh damn Obama and his socialist policies. /republican-mode

Re:News for nerds (-1, Troll)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#45233167)

You have slave mentality. The injustice is anyone having to take off his shoes at all.

You have a suicidal mentality. The injustice is bombs on planes.

Re:News for nerds (5, Insightful)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 6 months ago | (#45233269)

You have a suicidal mentality.

Why, because he'd probably prefer to take the 0.0000000001% chance that a bomb would go off on a plane (most likely with or without the TSA) while he's on it than have everyone's freedoms be violated by slimy, worthless government thugs?

The injustice is bombs on planes.

But violating people's rights in an effort to keep people safe isn't an injustice?

Re:News for nerds (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 6 months ago | (#45233295)

The injustice is bombs on planes.

Which has what to do with anything? Oh, you thought that moron who had a small amount of explosives in his shoes could somehow bring down a plane? Maybe he should have asked the folks on Hawiian Air flight 243 what happens when almost the entire roof of a plane comes off [wikipedia.org] or the Southwest flight 281 which had part of its roof come off [go.com] .

Yeah, some moron with explosives in his shoes will be able to bring a plane down. It's not like he and others couldn't use their pens to attack people and cause havoc.

Re:News for nerds (5, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 6 months ago | (#45233663)

You have slave mentality. The injustice is anyone having to take off his shoes at all.

You have a suicidal mentality. The injustice is bombs on planes.

Which bombs are these that the TSA has prevented from being taken onto a plane?

Re:News for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233327)

"Injustice" is not a synonym for "bad". "Injustice" has a well-defined meaning. It is is about inequality. So if all have to take off their shoes, it's not injustice. Indeed, even if they'd do a cavity search on every single passenger in public, while certainly atrocious, it would not be injustice. On the other hand, if they just would ask every passenger in an extraordinarily friendly way if they are terrorists and accepted a "no" without further asking, but for certain people they waited a second longer before they accepted it, that would be injustice.

Re:News for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232769)

Stuff that mattressssssss

Stuff it so it becomes nice and fluffy.

Re:News for nerds (5, Insightful)

nickserv (1974794) | about 6 months ago | (#45232805)

This is a non-story.

TFA says nothing like the guy ever challenged the TSA. It was his daughter he challenged pointing out the sign that people over 75 don't have to take off their shoes. He's just not taking his wallet out for anyone and therefore getting the full search but he doesn't resist or try to engage the TSA. The author / daughter even says he very likely can't hear a word the TSOs say to him. So, exactly how does that qualify as him taking on the TSA?

Newsflash /. editors, yes we have no love for the TSA but, we're not stupid and don't appreciate totally misleading story titles!

Re:News for nerds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233145)

Stories are voted on by users, ever heard of the firehose? And nobody made you click that link and make an offtopic, uninteresting, uninformative, and uninsightful comment. Who modded that stupid, offtopic comment up? Undo your mod by replying, dweeb.

Re:News for nerds (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#45233545)

Stories are voted on by users, ever heard of the firehose?

Straight plurality votes are what brought us the American congress with it's 5% approval rating. The "democracy == good" equation is not as straightforward as they teach you in school. In this case, a hot issue for a vocal minority gets upvoted, no matter how stupid the content, just to make a political point.

Must be nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232661)

...to have that kind of time to waste.

Glad I don't have to fly anywhere and just avoid the whole scam that is the TSA...

Its only a sensible precaution (-1, Troll)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#45232671)

You can bet there are some 87-year old Muslims out there who would love to take a shoe-bomb if they thought they could get through. After all everyone's 33 years old in muzzie-heaven [islamqa.info]

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (3, Funny)

Virtucon (127420) | about 6 months ago | (#45232725)

Damnit now you've given them another attack vector to explore! You've helped the terrorists win, are you happy now?

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (3, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 6 months ago | (#45232727)

Muzzie heaven, were all the terrorists are disappointed and all the virgins are male.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#45232763)

Muzzie heaven, were all the terrorists are disappointed and all the virgins are male.

According to "the innocence of Muslims" Muhammad wouldn't have been

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233079)

all the virgins are male.

When it comes to the Pashto terrorists the US loves to target with drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this wouldn't be so much of a disappointment. In their culture, it is not contrary to Islam to engage in anal sex with another male provided that one is the active partner and provided that the passive partner is a minor. Pederasty is historically very popular even among hardliners.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 6 months ago | (#45232849)

You can bet there are some 87-year old Muslims out there who would love to take a shoe-bomb if they thought they could get through.

Radical Islam specializes in young men for their operations, not old. It's only logical for a polygamous religion. Allowing men to marry as many women as they can afford means that you're going to have a lot of horny, angry young men on your hands who don't get ANY wives (or even get laid, since they don't like that either). So, assuming a equitable birthrate of males and females, you need some way to get rid of all those angry young men. So either you have a war or you con them into believing that they can have all the wives they want in heaven if they'll just walk into the nearest mall and blow themselves up. Sure, it's dumb as shit. But when you're talking desperately horny, poor, illiterate goat farmers--you can talk them into pretty much anything.

If someone has made it to 87 in this environment, odds are that they're one of the smart ones at the top of this big religious pyramid scam who actually have something to lose. Notice that Osama Bin Laden wasn't one of the 9-11 hijackers. He was sitting back safely in his bunker with his several wives, while the young saps killed themselves for Allah.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232997)

You can bet there are some 87-year old Muslims out there who would love to take a shoe-bomb if they thought they could get through.

But when you're talking desperately horny, poor, illiterate goat farmers--you can talk them into pretty much anything.

If someone has made it to 87 in this environment, odds are that they're one of the smart ones at the top of this big religious pyramid scam who actually have something to lose. Notice that Osama Bin Laden wasn't one of the 9-11 hijackers. He was sitting back safely in his bunker with his several wives, while the young saps killed themselves for Allah.

While OBL wasn't one of the 9-11 hijackers, some of the ones who were were university educated.

This meme that the archetypical Muslim terrorist is poor, illiterate, and has no other options needs to go away. We can't address the problem with incorrect presumptions floating around.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233077)

And most of the July 2005 London bombers were doctors.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233263)

While OBL wasn't one of the 9-11 hijackers, some of the ones who were were university educated.
 
Maybe because you can't exactly have dirt farmers who can hardly read and do any math beyond the 2nd grade level flying planes that they've hardly ever seen the sight of? By and large, most people fighting The West(tm) in the name of AlQuada are the same kind of ragtags that extermist groups pick up on everywhere else in the world. There are doubtlessly well educated, highly employable people in the Klan too, does that mean the core membership of the KKK has their BS or better? Hardly.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (4, Insightful)

Guru80 (1579277) | about 6 months ago | (#45233315)

Being university educated doesn't necessarily mean you aren't gullible and stupid.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233413)

Being university educated doesn't necessarily mean you aren't gullible and stupid.

But being University educated and still a Muslim does.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233607)

That's right. Let's get some correct presumptions, please.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233617)

"We can't address the problem with incorrect presumptions floating around."

But it sure helps if the intent is to demonize The Other as a scapegoat.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 6 months ago | (#45233635)

They actually go for engineers, from my understanding.

Here's my "theory" why: once they are convinced there is a problem, they have a need to fix it. All they have to do is make them believe there is a problem, and offer a convenient way to "fix" it.

Note: by theory I mean "thing that I just made up, now, on the spot"

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233117)

If someone has made it to 87 in this environment, odds are that they're one of the smart ones at the top of this big religious pyramid scam who actually have something to lose. Notice that Osama Bin Laden wasn't one of the 9-11 hijackers. He was sitting back safely in his bunker with his several wives, while the young saps killed themselves for Allah.

Odds are that Sam is more likely to be struck by lightning right outside the airport than be victim of a terrorist attack. The whole point of the TSA is to make a lot of noise about targets that are now hardened.

As for odds, what happens when old Ali bin Jihad's grandson's wedding party gets wiped out by a drone and he figures that before joining them all in Paradise, he wants to strike back?

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233297)

Not to mention all those virgins after you're done.

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233731)

You can bet there are some 87-year old Muslims out there who would love to take a shoe-bomb if they thought they could get through.

Radical Islam specializes in young men for their operations, not old. It's only logical for a polygamous religion. Allowing men to marry as many women as they can afford means that you're going to have a lot of horny, angry young men on your hands who don't get ANY wives (or even get laid, since they don't like that either). So, assuming a equitable birthrate of males and females, you need some way to get rid of all those angry young men. So either you have a war or you con them into believing that they can have all the wives they want in heaven if they'll just walk into the nearest mall and blow themselves up. Sure, it's dumb as shit. But when you're talking desperately horny, poor, illiterate goat farmers--you can talk them into pretty much anything.

If someone has made it to 87 in this environment, odds are that they're one of the smart ones at the top of this big religious pyramid scam who actually have something to lose. Notice that Osama Bin Laden wasn't one of the 9-11 hijackers. He was sitting back safely in his bunker with his several wives, while the young saps killed themselves for Allah.

Uhm, most of the top terrorists are well educated and previously lived fairly liberal lives. This is what makes it more scary (although still irrational).

Re:Its only a sensible precaution (3, Insightful)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 6 months ago | (#45233087)

Violating people's freedoms and the constitution is not and never will be "sensible." Even if this nonsense did make us safer (And it doesn't; secured cockpit doors and the willingness of passengers to fight back are the important things that have changed, and neither violate anyone's rights.), freedom is more important than safety from some bogeyman.

Missed opportunity (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232683)

The TSA missed an opportunity here for further insulting the general populous. They could have applied logic and come up with the reasoning that old people have less years to live, therefor less to lose and are therefor are more likely to be a suicide bomber. The logical consequence would be that old people need more and closer inspection. not less.

Re:Missed opportunity (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 6 months ago | (#45232787)

Yeah, but then someone would point out that old people just don't give a shit. It's what makes them so endearing.

Re:Missed opportunity (1)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 6 months ago | (#45233125)

Yeah, but then someone would point out that old people just don't give a shit. It's what makes them so endearing.

I am sure they give a shit, watching their nieces and nephews get blown to bits by remote control, from the link [youtube.com] :

A report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalists has uncovered Pakistani government documents suggesting the civilian death toll from US drone strikes is higher than previously thought. In a three year period 147 people were killed, including 94 children. Adam (@adamsich) takes a look at how many kids have been killed in Pakistan by US drones. See below for sources and extra links.

So yeah, I'd say old people are just as/more likely to want revenge (i.e a threat) [criticalcommons.org] as any other age range,,,

Re:Missed opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233207)

yeah I am sure it will no longer be funny if the US house blowing up scene shown towards the end of your second video link/Three Kings movie clip actually happened here due to some foreign invading imperial army... great movie BTW.

Aaaah TSA (1)

zippo01 (688802) | about 6 months ago | (#45232685)

I almost only read /. for its plethora of TSA stories and comments. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy i'm not the only one who gets love from the TSA. They love me so much that every time I fly, they give me a quick chop to the crotch and all I have to do is refuse the all seeing scanners.

OCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232687)

every time he feels compelled to test the TSA.

Obsessive Compulsive Order.

Read TFA, wtf slashdot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232695)

Why's this here? It's not news, it's barely a story at all - this isn't news, it doesn't matter, and it's not for nerds.

Why is this here?

Re:Read TFA, wtf slashdot? (2, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 6 months ago | (#45232801)

Why is this comment here? It's not contributing, it's barely a comment at all - this isn't a comment, it doesn't matter, and it's not for people.

Why is this here?

Re:Read TFA, wtf slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232871)

They have to space out the slashvertisements with something.

Exaggerated headline (4, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 6 months ago | (#45232697)

Here the headline led me to believe a member of the Greatest Generation was stepping up *again* to defend American freedom. You know, maybe filing a lawsuit or something. But no, TFA is just about the author's father being a passive-aggressive jerk in the airport security line. As if that helps anyone. If all you are accomplishing is to make yourself feel smarter than a TSA screener, you are not accomplishing much at all.

Re:Exaggerated headline (3, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 6 months ago | (#45232809)

The man might have dementia and think he's playing "Are You Smarter Than A First Grader?" at the airport. I can see how the TSA would fuel that delusion.

Yea (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 6 months ago | (#45232701)

Between 87 year olds taking on TSA and 90+ year olds storming the steps of the closed WWII memorial, I feel my rights and liberties are well protected. Well, at least until Social Security and Medicare run out of money then we're screwed.

Re: Yea (4, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 6 months ago | (#45232779)

What amazes me is that we have a raging younger generation upset about loss of freedom, but it is the oldest generations that are actually standing up to the system.

I guess you could count Snowden and Wikileaks as contributions from the tech generations.

Sign of the times and our culture. I'd certainly support more civil disobedience, as long as it wasn't me... and I feel that is why big brother is still doing what they are.

Re: Yea (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 6 months ago | (#45232829)

Blindly following the rules doesn't seem like standing up to the system.

He doesn't take his shoes off because the sign says he doesn't have too even though he must know that his shoes will set of the metal detector he is about to walk through. So he blindly obeys the commands on the sign - "yes sir, how high sir".

He then consents to the more thorough search without raising any complaints - civil obedience if anything.

Re: Yea (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 6 months ago | (#45233119)

What amazes me is that we have a raging younger generation upset about loss of freedom

What, you mean... a minuscule amount of the younger generation is raging about the loss of our freedoms? They're a vocal minority. They're right to be mad, but most people either are simply apathetic, or support this garbage because they think it keeps us safe, and safety is obviously the most important thing in the 'land of the free.'

Re: Yea (3, Interesting)

Pete (big-pete) (253496) | about 6 months ago | (#45233461)

I do my part, as a European I actively boycott travel to the USA. There have been several opportunities for both myself and others to take trips to the USA, and I have proposed and worked with alternative plans every time. It's not a lot, but it's what I can do.

As long as the USA has insane paranoid immigration policies and the TSA I will not travel there, and neither will my immediate family. (I did go to Miami many years ago for a conference, but that was back when things were still sensible)

"Visa Waiver" my ass, that's just a visa-lite. If I need to apply to enter, they can forget it. The last countries I needed to request a visa to enter were Mauritania, Mali, and Burkina Faso, and as far as I could tell that was just a glorified way of squeezing extra cash out of visitors - and at least they didn't demand fingerprints and invasive grilling by border-guards. Mauritania border guards just wanted a small cash donation, and the others were happy with a ballpoint pen, an apple (he actually wanted sweets, but all we had was fruit) and an empty fuel-canister.

-- Pete.

Re: Yea (2)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 6 months ago | (#45233591)

Let's be honest with ourselves, that generation doesn't have much to lose at this point. Who wants to be the guy that puts a WWII vet in jail for stupid shit like this? An elected official's career would be over at that point.

I'm 34 with a wonderful family and a good job. No one is going to care when they throw me in jail and charge me with a few lame charges.. and that will follow me around for the rest of my life. Even if the charges are dropped, they'd be associated with my name via the internet.

Also remember which generation most of the politicians represent. I feel that our country will continue going backwards until the baby boomers are gone... then we can start making positive change.

What's the "news"? (5, Insightful)

fatphil (181876) | about 6 months ago | (#45232703)

Am I right in thinking that whole jabbering mess could be condensed to "my deaf relative annoys TSA people in airports"?

Re:What's the "news"? (2)

Vozmozno (985521) | about 6 months ago | (#45232739)

The article reads like it was written by a 13 year old with a fuzzy idea for an "interesting" story...

She could have at least detailed *what* the man said to make them feel stupid, it would have at least been humorous.

Re:What's the "news"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232907)

"[...]it would have at least been humorous."

Maybe.

Re:What's the "news"? (1)

hduff (570443) | about 6 months ago | (#45232941)

The article reads like it was written by a 13 year old with a fuzzy idea for an "interesting" story...

She could have at least detailed *what* the man said to make them feel stupid, it would have at least been humorous.

I think it was -her- that actually felt stupid. Any dad worthy of the name can do that to his kid.

Re:What's the "news"? (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 6 months ago | (#45233631)

No. You'd be correct in thinking that her World War II veteran relative recognizes that the country for which he once fought is very different from the one that is feeling him up at the airport today, and refuses to make it easy on them.

Don't poke the peons (3, Insightful)

Drewdad (1738014) | about 6 months ago | (#45232713)

Poor schlub is just trying to take home a paycheck. He (or she) did not make the stupid rules; she (or he) just has smell feet all day.

Take the TSA to court, or send letters to your congresscritter, or something. Don't make life more miserable for the privates.

(Did I mention that the TSA is just a depression-era jobs program wrapped up in patriotism and fear?)

Re:Don't poke the peons (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#45232753)

Irony is these are the guys who were dodging bullets from Germans who were "just following orders" too.

Re:Don't poke the peons (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232803)

Poor schlub is just trying to take home a paycheck. He (or she) did not make the stupid rules; she (or he) just has smell feet all day.

People who mindlessly go along with abusive authoritarianism are part of the problem. Maybe not the largest part, but they do hold some of the responsibility for the problem.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Third_Wave
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/League_of_German_Girls
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler_Youth

Re:Don't poke the peons (1)

fnj (64210) | about 6 months ago | (#45233749)

People who mindlessly go along with abusive authoritarianism are part of the problem. Maybe not the largest part, but they do hold some of the responsibility for the problem.

Damn right. I'll take it further though.

People who go along to get along in the face of tyranny just make me sad. People who think tyranny is just fine are another thing entirely. They make me violently ill. They are true scum.

Re:Don't poke the peons (5, Interesting)

pngwen (72492) | about 6 months ago | (#45232821)

They did willingly sign up to work for the TSA. They have also witnessed and participated in violations of American's rights, and they remain at their posts. Therefore they are culpable as traitors to the cause of liberty. Should justice ever prevail, their heads will line the streets of our free cities!

Re:Don't poke the peons (2)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 6 months ago | (#45233129)

Poor schlub is just trying to take home a paycheck. He (or she) did not make the stupid rules; she (or he) just has smell feet all day.

"Just following orders" is not a valid excuse for violating people's freedoms and the constitution.

Big deal (3, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | about 6 months ago | (#45232723)

Cranky old man causes shit in lineups. News at 11.

WTF is this doing on Slashdot?

Re:Big deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232855)

If nothing else it can be said that this guy is actually doing what all the Slashtards claim they'd do in the same situation. A lot of jaw wagging around here about standing up to authority and their "draconian" ideas but not a lot of action.
 
If the average loud mouth from these forums would have 10% of the integrity of this old man we'd have more entertaining stories of this nature.

How exactly .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232737)

is that taking on the TSA? I was thinking more of a Rosa Parks moment

Save yourself and the tsa the hassle (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | about 6 months ago | (#45232741)

If he knows he's goin to fly, maybe just bring the metal shoes in the suitcase and get some 'flying shoes' for the trip.

Re:Save yourself and the tsa the hassle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233571)

Don't forget to bend over and drop your pants when they ask you to do so. With smile please!

He's wasting hiw time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232751)

But if it makes him feel better - whatever.

If your job is to wear a badge or gun, you are nothing but a grunt. You have to follow orders - as the TSA people do.

The folks who do make policy are exempt from the rules they create. They sail through security or get to use a private jet.

These policies are for us little people. Little people like us get the treatment from the badge wearing grunts.

Who is REALLY at fault? All those idiots who say, "We are in a different age now and I feel safer."

Those people cannot be reasoned with. They will never believe that security is all for show. They are to be treated with the contempt they deserve.

Bah!

Pro tip: Things people don't like (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about 6 months ago | (#45232765)

People don't like having pointed out the logical inconsistencies of the way the do things, and it has a tendency to piss them off. This is not limited to TSA personnel. However the consequences of pissing off certain people (especially those who hold power over you) is something that you need to take into consideration before you do so.

Re:Pro tip: Things people don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233455)

Exactly right. Besides, you are on stage. Act the part. This is security theater. And the director does not like it when the actors step out of character to narrate the story. The audience is supposed to be smart enough to get it without the narration.

It was a quiet night in the airport security line. Weary travelers shuffled through queue, removing various bits of outerwear from their person and electronics from there bags. In the background a beep sounds. Some rube had forgotten to take the change out of his pocket, holding up the impatient frequent flyers behind him. Two lines down a baby cried as her mother shuffled bags filled with 3oz liquid bottles. TSA agent Jorge Willis stared at her breasts, sure that they were carrying more than just baby's dinner.

Re:Pro tip: Things people don't like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233629)

Hell, if I survived serving my country in WWII like this tough old guy did, I'd be damned insulted for being treated so poorly this way by the later generations. Kudos to this man, in his own way he's still fighting the good fight for freedom in our country!

Father Sam vs Uncle Sam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232795)

Taking all bets!

Gotta search 'em all! (5, Insightful)

Chelloveck (14643) | about 6 months ago | (#45232867)

I'm all for baiting the TSA. Most of their security measures are just plain ridiculous. I swear that after the shoe bomber got them to make us take off our shoes, the underwear bomber was sent in to see if they'd strip search us. (And they responded with backscatter scanners. Discuss.)

But, applying the same security measures to everyone -- old, young, crippled, whatever -- is not among their failings. That's the only part of what they do that makes sense. Once you declare a "safe" class of passengers who get waved through the searches, you're tempting The Bad Guys to enlist members of that class. Do 90 year old guys get a pass? I'm sure The Bad Guys can find some disgruntled nonagenarian to stuff some C4 down his pants or carry the dreaded 3.1 ounces of liquid explosive. The only way security searches work is if they're applied to everyone.

Of course, the TSA can't even get that right. They introduced their Pre-Check program which reduces the checks to pre-9/11 levels for pre-approved travelers. So how hard would it be to recruit some guy who qualifies for the Pre-Check lane to be the bomb mule?

Psssst! Hey Bad Guys! Want to cripple air travel in the US? Just bomb a couple airport security checkpoints. Lots of people, tightly packed together, all standing in a nice line, and no chance of being discovered early. Hit a couple of those and we'll shit ourselves trying to figure out how to strip-search passengers without causing big, vulnerable holding areas. It's a pretty damned obvious target. The fact that it hasn't happened in the past 12 years is the best evidence that there really isn't a legion of Bad Guys out there just waiting for the chance to attack. They've had the chance. We've gift-wrapped it for them. Now let's just admit that the bogeyman is mostly in our imaginations.

Re:Gotta search 'em all! (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 6 months ago | (#45232933)

or carry the dreaded 3.1 ounces of liquid explosive.

3.1 ounces of liquid explosives actually is fine. It's when you cross the 3.4 ounces that they have a problem with it.

Re:Gotta search 'em all! (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#45233133)

I swear that after the shoe bomber got them to make us take off our shoes, the underwear bomber was sent in to see if they'd strip search us. (And they responded with backscatter scanners. Discuss.)

Yeah, there were even people who predicted that this would happen [newyorker.com] .

Re:Gotta search 'em all! (1)

jasenj1 (575309) | about 6 months ago | (#45233273)

I suggest Denver. Huge open area where people are herded into a giant square of snaking lines. And the queue of people is separated from the totally uncontrolled space by a few flimsy mobile walls.

It's a ridiculously soft target. To think that any real terrorist would risk getting on a plane rather than hit the juicy target the security screening line presents is stupid.

Re:Gotta search 'em all! (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 6 months ago | (#45233753)

Psssst! Hey Bad Guys! Want to cripple air travel in the US? Just bomb a couple airport security checkpoints. Lots of people, tightly packed together, all standing in a nice line, and no chance of being discovered early.

A thousand times this.

Pre-911 hijackings weren't a huge issue. You played along, kept your head down, and eventually you'd be released after the hijackers made their statement. It was a huge inconvenience and I'm sure scary at the time, but playing along meant you were safe.

On 911 passengers played by the pre-911 rules assuming they would just be diverted to Mexico or something. The last plane got word of what happened to the previous 3 and fought back.

Post-911 security improvements have made another 911 virtually impossible. And by security improvements, I mean locked, reinforced cabin doors. Not TSA "security theater" checks. In addition, passengers won't trust any potential hijacker who says everyone will live if they just stay in their seats. A hijacker will quickly find himself outnumbered 30-1 by people who are facing death if they don't take him down and who, unlike the hijacker, don't want to die.

This isn't to say that no terrorist will ever bring a plane down again. Just that it will be extremely difficult for them to do so. They can get more bang for their buck (pun intended) by switching to other targets. Crowded airport security lines in major airports. (A few of these hit at the same time will ground all flights.) Crowded malls during the Christmas rush. Big sports events. These would all cause a lot of chaos and would be more likely to succeed than an airplane attack.

Of course, even then terrorism would be rare in the US. Look at the number of people who have died from terrorist attacks in the US over the last 15 years. Going by Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , that's about 3,038. This is only 203 people per year. If we don't count 9-11 (as it is obviously not a normal occurrence given the death tolls of the other terrorist attacks), we're down to 3 people per year. More people die from nut allergies each year (about 150) and I don't see us declaring a War on Nuts.

This terrorism-paranoia is ridiculous. We need to stay alert, yes, but we don't need to give up our freedoms to ensure our safety.

Profiling is smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45232953)

This may not pertain exactly to this story, but it needs to be said. All this PC crap is taking the intelligence out of our officials. Honestly, profiling is smart. To *not* profile is to ignore your instincts, years of training and intelligence. We don't ask our Police detectives to ignore their intelligence, why do we ask the TSA?

There is no reason to pull over a 90 year old grandma and search her just for the facade of looking random. And I'm sorry to our law abiding Muslim brothers, but if you look like a terrorist, it would be stupid for the TSA or Law enforcement to let you pass in favor of searching a mother with her children.

This dumbing down of America has to stop.

Re:Profiling is smart (1)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 6 months ago | (#45233195)

Honestly, profiling is smart.

No. You know what's smart? Leaving people alone. Government thugs should not harass everyone, and they shouldn't selectively harass people, either; just leave people alone. I want the TSA gone, and I don't want it replaced with more government thugs; I want it 100% gone.

So ..... (1)

hymie! (95907) | about 6 months ago | (#45232965)

Old guy with nothing better do harasses TSA agents over loophole, wasting the time of innocent people trying to catch their planes.

Re:So ..... (3, Insightful)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 6 months ago | (#45233179)

wasting the time of innocent people trying to catch their planes.

Blaming the victim, are we? Who's really wasting everyone's time here (and violating everyone's freedoms)? The government thugs who harass people who simply want to get on a plane, or the innocent people who... simply want to get on a plane. Heaven forbid anyone even do so much as slightly question evil authority figures; that might inconvenience the people in line behind you! Woe is them!

Haters will hate. (1)

Fuzzums (250400) | about 6 months ago | (#45233011)

It really shouldn't matter what you are. If the metal detector goes off, you have to take off the shoes and every thing else that could cause the alarm. I don't see any reason for exceptions. What's the point of having a metal detector if you're not acting on an alarm...

You can hate the TSA, but at least they're doing their job.

Re:Haters will hate. (0)

sI4shd0rk (3402769) | about 6 months ago | (#45233163)

You can hate the TSA, but at least they're doing their job.

I'd rather them not do their job at all. In fact, I want them to simply vanish and stop violating people's rights. These people are lower than pieces of trash.

Score one for hacking the TSA. (3, Informative)

pholus (127383) | about 6 months ago | (#45233025)

The guy has a point about his wallet. I "lost" a $10 watch (really nice looking, but a cheap birthday gift from my daughter, bought with her allowance money) on their belt. When I complained, everyone claimed ignorance and with the clock ticking and the line stopped I became aware of one interesting social feature in the security line system design: With the level of inconvencience already high, the impatience of your fellow travellers is a very effective cudgel that the TSA uses as a resource.

As I tried to plead my case I noticed the uninvolved TSA folks were playing to the crowd with how they talked and their body language -- "look guys, it's THIS guy who is gumming up the works and making you late." And I could certainly feel the love...

In the end, regardless of the sentimental value it was just a $10 watch. I think the entire affair lasted a bit under a minute and a half, but I knuckled under and the TSA thief won. I sometimes wonder how much of this was anticipated by the thief -- that at some set rate you can just snag an item of not much consequence and let the time pressure work for you...

Just remember, while you arguably benefit from their services, these people are not actually on your side here (you *are* the suspect after all) and it's not like their uniform implies any particular level of integrity.

I fail to see the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233199)

I am not in any way defending the TSA, here, but I kept waiting for the point in that story where anyone-- except maybe the daughter-- is made to feel stupid by the 87 year old guy causing all the delays.

Can we mod the article down? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 6 months ago | (#45233209)

This has no geek content whatsoever. In order to keep myself from slashing my wrists out of boredom I had to wonder about how hearing aid technology could be improved.

Common Sense, you just can't legislate it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45233265)

Okay, so, generally we give old people a pass; they don't have to take their shoes off, in general.

Until the old guy with metal in his shoes comes along. he sets off the metal detector, and he has to take his shoes off.

I don't see what the big deal is.

Now, discriminating against me on the basis of my age! Because I'm not old, I always have to take my shoes off? WTF is up with that shizzle?

And maybe someone should make the TSA watch Gran Torino. Maybe. Just maybe there's some old people around with nothing much to live for and who have a cross of some kind to bear.

Removing shoes was never about safety (1)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | about 6 months ago | (#45233567)

The removal of shoes was never about safety and we all know that. It was and continues to be a tool used by the TSA to cow the American public into submission. It is a successful tactic in that the "think of the children" crowd will always side with more and more intrusions all in the name of some vague notion of security. If 9/11 did anything, it turned the U.S. into a nascent police state.

Pick a better battle... (1)

Biologist (625020) | about 6 months ago | (#45233641)

So, harassing low paid workers at the bottom of the food chain who are performing their jobs in good faith, slowing and inconveniencing all the other travelers with energetic 3-year-old kids and crotchety 85-year-old grandparents who all have to pee, and further diluting an already strained and minimally beneficial system to "buck authority" just doesn't seem to be the best way to address this. Sure, this reporter got to write a really "witty" article. But, this kind of episode just seems really self-serving and inward focused. You want to gum up the system? Spend some time organizing and do it in a concerted, organized fashion where it could actually make a change. Haphazardly slowing things up just ticks people off and makes many more complacent about "let's just get on with it so I can get on my vacation/get home/get to my meeting." Separate issue: Since when does having served in any military capacity provide carte blanche for any behavior and imbue one with near mystical wisdom about life?

Fun with the TSA and similar clows elsewhere (4, Interesting)

Confused (34234) | about 6 months ago | (#45233747)

Those passenger screenings are as we all know a big charade. Here's an anecdote of Munich Airport in Germany - probably the most idiotic airport in Germany I had to travel through.

While most airports in Germany don't care about cameras, Munich airport has a special fetish for controlling cameras. 2 times out of 3 they want me to take my dSLR out of my Backpack to finger it. Usually they want me to turn it on and look through it, but my friendly offers to take an image to prove it works usually ends it panicky horror. Whatever.

So I got a little pissed of and decided the next time to take out the battery of the camera. And sure enough they wanted to to search it again and asked me to turn it on. As usual, I turned the Power switch to on, but without battery nothing happened, and handed the camera to the goon. I don't know what he ascertained with his ritual, but after looking through it, he was happy the camera without power is real.

As at that time I was playing around with long-exposures during daytime, I carried with me an ND1000 filter. This is basically a piece of black glass that lets through only minimal light. It's about as dark as welders glasses or those things you used to observer the sun during an eclipse. In the rather low light at the airport, you don't see anything through that filter. So evil me removed the battery again and screwed that filter on in front the next times I flew out of Munich. Out of about 5 manual checks, here's the breakdown:

2 checked the camera after the power-up without battery and the black glass in front of the lens the usual way by looking through it and doing their magic ritual. The fact that the camera was dead as a brick and the didn't see anything didn't faze them to hand it back satisfied without comment.

2 wondered why the didn't see anything and looked if the lens-cap was still on. After they saw that no it isn't on and the front is some kind of glass, they relooked through the camera - without seining anything more - and were happy with the results.

Only one out if the 5 asked why he can't see anything and when I told him, that this is a special filter for long exposure was also happy to let me pass. Asking to remove it for the check wasn't in his book.

So 5 out of 5 weren't bothered by the fact that turning the camera on has no visible effect and the same 5 in the end were also happy that they didn't see anything when they looked through the camera.

What a strange world we live in!

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