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April 12, 2003

The various winners of Privacy International’s “Stupid Security Contest” range from apalling to amusing, but I think my favorite was this:
MOST COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE
RUNNER-UP: SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Shortly after Richard Reid’s attempt to light his shoes, I boarded a flight from San Francisco to London on British Airways. Travelling alone, I was singled out by the computer for further inspection. The polite inspector informed me that he had to check my shoes for explosives. I dutifully removed them and handed them to him. He picked them up one by one and slammed them down on the floor with full force.

Apparently, as they hadn’t exploded, they were not dangerous, and he handed them back to me to put back on.

Let this be a warning to future terrorists. Your explosive shoes may go off in the crowded departure lounge instead of on board the plane.

UPDATE: It was bound to happen. [04:21 PM]
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Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on The various winners:

James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2003, 05:51 PM:

The magic hasn't gone out of your marriage....

Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2003, 06:58 PM:

Nope. The internet's just running out of interesting topics. We're heading to the Grand Unification Post, where all the bloggers in the world will post, at the same time, the last interesting bit left unblogged on the internet.

pi ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2003, 07:15 PM:

just don't get P.I.S.S.C. about it.

dermot ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2003, 02:34 AM:

Just after Richard Reid's shoe-bomb attempt, I flew from Amsterdam to Chicago. Being the only passenger wearing sandals in February, I got to walk straight on - some unlucky security guy got to stick his hand in countless sweaty shoes. I swear he smiled a sad 'thankyou' as he saw my sandals and waved me on....

Bill Shunn ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2003, 03:18 PM:

I always wear sandals onto planes these days, at least when it's warm enough. Unfortunately it hasn't been warm enough for many months.

I also take off my rings, watch, and belt, and remove my keys, change, and cell phone from my pockets well before reaching security, and stash them all in various compartments of my shoulder bag. It's much less hassle to send it all through the X-ray machine in a discrete bundle that can be picked up quickly at the other end than to play the snatch-and-stuff game while the queue presses on you from the rear.

Loren MacGregor ::: (view all by) ::: April 26, 2003, 02:52 PM:

Apropos of nearly nothing, Lauryn and I have been attending some therapy sessions, largely because the stress of pennilessness has been getting to us. The experience is somewhat surreal, because we were assigned to a very nice young woman whose clientele are generally at each other's throat, and we're not. She likes us, she really likes us!

She is also of Hawaiian background, and travels frequently for business and school reasons. As a result, she is frequently on airplanes -- and always, apparently, "randomly checked." She explained this with humor and gusto when Lauryn and I reacted with -- surprise? No, not really, because it is not unexpected. Say rather, "Disfavor."

"Look at me," she said. "Of course they're going to pull me out of line and search me."

Dark skin. Dark hair. Young. Obviously a threat to our national security.

Aargh.

-- LJM