Monday, July 21, 2014

More fun with #TSA

That's Julian in the center waving at me to stop taking pictures.
That's Michael faced away on his right
Coming back through JFK, my bag was stopped in the x-ray. The examiner shouted "bag checked", and sat and waited. And waited. Nobody came. Finally, he shunted it aside to the special bag check area. Where it sat, and sat.

There was as TSA agent standing around doing nothing, except flirting with a cute passenger standing right next to me bag. Finally, I pointed out that my bag needed to be checked, at which point he talked to the x-ray examiner, pulled it out, and checked it (I had a spray can of foot powder I bought because omg I wore my workout shoes that stink to the convention).

So, of course, I asked to see his badge, which was turned away from me, and to talk to his manager. He refused to even tell me his name, but he did get the supervisor, who confirmed his name was "Michael Vails". The manager was quite rude, looking at me in disbelief as I pointed out the guy was standing around flirting with girls instead of checking my bag. He wouldn't let me see his badge either, but claimed his name was "Julian something". I forget the something because I'm not good with names and forgot it by the time I was able to jot down notes.

So, I stood out of the way of traffic and started taking pictures. At this point, Julian came up to me and threatened me with arrest. I pointed out I'd read the TSA rules, which say it's legal (here). He said he knew the rules too, and that it wasn't illegal.

Unfortunately, I couldn't press the point, because I was at 1% battery, and had an electronic checking, needing a charged phone to get on the plane. Otherwise, I woulda popped out live video then and there. So I sat down and charged for a while.

I went back shortly after 3pm. I say a bunch of non-TSA non-police "security" people. I asked them about it, and they said that the actual police guy was just around the corner -- the only guy authorized to arrest me and carry a gun.

I was "streaming" to UStream at this point (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/erratarob) -- or so I thought. You guys missed the conversation. I was very polite, saying sir, ma'am (as appropriate), please, thank you, and "have a nice day".

I found the cop, and talked to him. He confirmed that he'd read the TSA guidelines and knew it was legal. He further confirmed that when they called for an arrest, it'd be him, and no, he wouldn't arrest me. I shook his hand and left.

I headed back to the TSA to take UStream video, and after checking it, realized I hadn't been streaming. So I took new video, this time getting it right, but it's quite boring. Unfortunately, the 3pm shift change happened, and there were new TSA agents, and the new ones didn't care that I was filming.

Anyway, that's today's adventures going through TSA. By the way, always remember when pissing off the TSA: be polite, calm, nice, and make sure you aren't standing in the way impeding traffic.



This was an awesome tweet somebody sent me:



The case involved a guy going through security charged with all sorts of things. It shows how the police can charge me with things no matter what I do. Luckily, the jury found this guy innocent, but there's a good chance an otherwise identical case might find somebody guilty.



Update: Some people on twitter asked "what's the goal" of this, or "what I'm trying to point out". The answer is "violation of rights". We have the right to hold the police accountable. When they threaten us to stop taking pictures, if we are afraid to take pictures, then we live in a police-state. Whipping out your cell phone and filming the TSA is something all passengers should do every time the TSA displeases them for any reason -- as long as they are doing so in a non-disruptive manner out of the way of traffic.

Also, remember to always have phone charged before going through TSA :).

1 comment:

Ivo Blaauw said...

Heard this one at Dangerfields comedy club.

Stand up comedian goes through bag check at airport.
TSA: "Profession?"
"I'm a stand up comedian."
"Yeah? Tell us a joke."
"Allright then. TSA."
Only the people waiting in line laughed.