You may be shocked to learn that the TSA’s website brazenly lists its thefts from passengers. Indeed, this lawless agency brags about plundering us in a feature it calls “Week in Review.” Its current “Find [sic for ‘Robbery’] of the Week” is “6 lbs. of Black Powder, Detonation Cords, and Timing Fuse Discovered in Colorado.” Other “finds” for “9-14-12 through 9-20-12” included 47 “Firearms,” of which “38 [were] loaded,” and “1 artfully concealed prohibited item.”
The TSA no doubt hopes we’ll assume, as do its flaks in the press, that ferreting out and robbing passengers of these belongings has somehow saved American aviation from imminent disaster. One such breathless account begins, “Piled on a table in a quiet conference room at the central terminal of Miami International Airport is a dazzling collection of items that could be used to bludgeon and stab one’s way through a crowded airplane.” Among the inventory are “a pair of metal telescopic nunchucks, a silver Rambo knife sharp enough to plunge straight through an adult torso, plenty of box cutters, and a lead hammer that could crack a human skull like an egg…” And as if that weren’t enough to prove we need the TSA, another airport’s haul yielded “a sword disguised as a cane, a fueled-up chainsaw, and the ‘explosively viable’ shell of an 18th-century cannonball…”
I don’t know about you, but it’s been a very long time since I read of any bad guys plotting catastrophe with an intact, functioning 18th-century cannonball, let alone its shell. And unless Leatherface has joined Al Qaeda, chainsaws aren’t high in a terrorist’s catalog of weaponry, either.
In fact, sane people realize that nothing more sinister is at work here than a passenger’s trying to ship home a memento of his scuba-dives in Florida or a tool he bought there. Others, such as the gentleman with a “sword disguised as a cane,” simply hope to defend themselves while traveling in unfamiliar surroundings.
But most folks, including the owners of those 47 “firearms,” are just forgetful. “It was inadvertent. I’m not a terrorist or anything,” said one “embarrassed” man packing – literally – a “loaded… .40 caliber handgun” in his carry-on. And “Republic Airlines flight attendant Jaclyn Luby … told authorities that she had a permit to carry a gun” when the TSA caught her with one at Philadelphia International Airport “but forgot hers was in her handbag.”
Victims aren’t the only ones who blame their poor memories. Their accusers at the TSA do, too – repeatedly. “Blogger Bob” Burns, the agency’s propagandist whose salary we pay, admits in one of his tirades, “Unfortunately [discovering weapons on passengers is] all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. …[E]ach time we find a dangerous item, … a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. … Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions … In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items.”
Another of the TSA’s spokes-sponges echoes Booger-sorry, Blogger Bob. Sari Koshetz told the Sun Sentinel, “We know most people who have brought guns to checkpoints did not have evil intent.”
Punishing people for mere mistakes is the height of heartlessness – but what else would we expect from the TSA’s pedophiles and sexual assailants? Like police-states everywhere, the US no longer requires us to harm anyone, nor even to harbor any intent to do so, before it ruins our lives. Neglecting to obey government’s interminable and often confusing or contradictory orders is sufficient to incur its vengeance.
But the TSA demonizes absent-minded passengers for other purposes as well. First, given the dearth of unofficial terrorists in American airports (there are plenty of official ones: you can identify them by their blue shirts and gloves), the agency must somehow justify its existence. So it paints preoccupied passengers as dangerous.
Second, Congress first began tyrannizing aviation’s security in the 1970’s when it empowered the FAA to order checkpoints in airports and minutely mandate their operations – though no studies or research anywhere had ever suggested that checkpoints were necessary or effective. And since politicians and bureaucrats set the policies rather than experts in security, they translated to the skies the agendas they pursued on the ground, including their battle against an armed populace able to resist them. Again, though no research anywhere declared that passengers stripped of all defense are safer than those who can fight off attackers, the FAA barred travelers from carrying guns aboard planes.
This animus against the Second Amendment has so permeated aviation that after 40 years almost nobody questions it; rather, most folks swallow the government’s implication that guns aloft guarantee murder, mayhem and crashed jets. In fact, the myth that shooting a hole in a plane’s fuselage will depressurize the cabin and kill everyone aboard flourished – until a pilot in the Federal Flight Deck Officers’ program accidentally fired his pistol mid-flight while following the TSA’s asinine regulations for stowing guns. (And this after pilots had warned the agency that its rules would sooner or later produce just such an unintentional discharge). Not only were there no casualties, the plane landed safely.
Meanwhile, in the absence of any data that recommends disarming passengers, how differently might 9/11 have ended had anyone on those four doomed flights carried heat? The knowledge that at least some passengers could defy them would probably have discouraged those plotting that murderous attack – and if they proceeded anyway, victims able to fight back would have dramatically decreased the carnage.
Were the TSA sincere about protecting transportation, it would never render us sitting ducks – especially since it claims “passengers” as one of its “layers of security.” But the agency’s actual goal is vastly different: training Americans to obey their rulers while making them helpless to do otherwise. So it will continue disarming and demonizing us, one forgetful serf at a time.
Becky Akers is a free-lance writer and historian. Her novel of the American Revolution is available in paperback or for Kindle, Nook, iPad, Sony, or your computer.
Copyright © 2012 by Americans for Travel Freedom. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.