“Your beverage appears harmless, let me throw it out anyway.” Caution: mini-rant ahead.
I went through a TSA checkpoint last Thursday with a water bottle that still had a couple tablespoons of liquid in it. The TSA ‘agent’ (I would say clown, but these people are just human beings who need employment… much like lawyers) in my lane flagged me down and sort of grunted and gestured towards me, asking if the bottle was mine. So with great reluctance, I said “yea, you can just dump it out or something.”
It should’ve been a 5 second ordeal. After all, they sometimes let you take it and drink it standing just behind the magical line of safety. What was the big deal?
Instead, I had to sit there as they put my bottle through what looked like a poor man’s mass spectrometer. After a minute or so, the TSA robot seemed satisfied that I wasn’t a threat, poured out my bottle like she could have from the start, and handed it back to me.
So here’s my question: If you just confirmed that the contents of my bottle were harmless, why even bother dumping it out? Furthermore, if what I observed wasn’t actually a chemical test of any sort and you just blindly dumped stuff in the trash, what’s to stop me from carrying a bottle with some bleach in it and my partner Ahmed* from doing the same with ammonia? Congrats, you just released toxic fumes into the air!**
* “It’s not stereotyping if it’s true!” If you’re an uptight, politically-correct joke-a-phobe, lighten up.
** I learned this in seventh grade. This is hardly sharing dangerous information.
*** Go home, TSA. You’re useless.
Whatever handbook the TSA is using, it seems awfully full of pointless, stupid procedures like what I described above. Can we please just take a page out of the Israeli security playbook and take a holistic approach to identifying threats, instead of perpetuating this silly notion that cookie cutter search procedures carried out by minimally trained federal employees make us any safer?
Alright. I’m done.