I fly all the time and when I go through airport security (search) I have the TSA drill down cold.
I have nothing in the pockets, the belt comes off, shoes are off, cell phone stuffed in the jacket. Shoes, belt, briefcase, jacket and coat go through the X-ray and I go through the magnetometer smooth as silk. I do this all the time and I always walk through without a hitch.
Nonetheless, I have heard horror stories and I've been watching, ever alert for that moment when the Transportation Security Administration (search) person gives in to the temptation to hassle and delay as punishment for some annoyance.
And Friday it happened to me.
I had to make one of those back and forth trips to Washington, D.C. and coming back I noticed the line wasn't moving, because TSA was training a new person on the X-ray machine. Can't we do training at a training facility?
Evidently not. The TSA approach is: We'll just train you to look for stuff that shouldn't be on airplanes by putting you on duty inspecting real people trying to make it on real flights.
So I complained that the line was unreasonably delayed.
Have you ever noticed that most people are afraid to speak up? Here's why: The TSA people said, "OK, you're in a hurry? Come on up to the head of the line."
And then, step over to the secondary inspection. And let's just take our time taking everything out of your briefcase, your jacket, your topcoat, your shoes. We even want to look in you wallet. This umbrella you have here, how does this open again?
And they all stood around giving me that look — see what happens when you bother us? We will make you miss a flight.
This is what happens when a bureaucracy gets to the point that it can justify whatever it does: We just want to make sure you have a safe flight, we have our procedures, sir, you must have set off the machine.
No, I must have made some miniature Napoleon mad and they decided to exercise their power. I missed the flight, just as planned.
So what's the difference between me and another poor slob who gets the same treatment? I can speak up and I'm going to.
That's My Word.
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