What Happens If You Decline a Chat With the TSA? Get Ready for a Search

As a companion piece to yesterday's story of an ACLU attorney who was peppered with nosy questions at Burlington International Airport comes the tale of a Michigan journalist who took offense at this new approach to "security" and declined to play along. So, if you've been wondering just what would happen if you told TSA officers to take their 20 questions about your summer vacation and shove them where the sun doesn't shine, read on.

Steve Gunn, a former Muskegon Chronicle staff writer who now works for the Education Action Group, writes in the pages of his old paper:

At that point she asked me what my business would be in Grand Rapids.

"I'm headed home," I replied.

Then she wanted to know where home was. That's when the mental alarms went off and I realized I was being interrogated by Big Brother in drag.

I asked her why the federal government needed to know where I was going and what I would be doing. She explained that the questions were part of a new security "pilot program."

I then told her I am an American citizen, traveling within my own country, and I wasn't breaking any laws. That's all the federal government needed to know, and I wasn't going to share any more.

Not because I had anything to hide. It was because we live in a free country where innocent people are supposedly protected from unwarranted government intrusion and harassment.

At that point the agent yelled out, "We have another refusal." One of my bags was seized and I was momentarily detained and given a hand-swab, which I believe was to test for residue from bomb-making materials.

I passed the bomb test and was told I could move on, but I hung around a moment and told everyone within listening range what I thought about this terrifying experience.

Note the yelled "we have another refusal" which has also become characteristic of TSA reaction to anybody who declines a turn in the hey-it's-perfectly-safe-we-promise body scanners. It's a pretty obvious attampt to draw attention to the dissidents and use embarrassment as a weapon to induce cooperation.

Gunn, who I've never come across before but I like just from the content of this piece, thinks he might have been targeted for his "chat down" because he has Bell's Palsy, which prevents him from smiling and gives him a grumpy expression. There's no proof of that, but it makes as much sense as anything else, given that racial characteristics were used as reasons for chatting down travelers in Boston.

"I'm starting to wonder what separates us from Russia or Cuba," asks Gunn in his piece.

Well, our plumbing is still better.

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  • Pip||

    TSA Agent: "we have another refusal"

    Me: Fucking god damn right you do, you fucking fascist!

  • Pip||

    BTW, This is why I refuse to fly unless on a private jet.

  • jasno||

    Yep. Fuck flying.

  • Voros McCracken||

    Can you still take a ship across the ocean? And how much does it cost and how long does it take?

  • Scarcity||

    I'm sure there are cheaper, faster ways, but you can get on a sweet cruise ship when it repositions a couple of times a year and cross the ocean in a 7-12 days (IIRC) for about half of carribbean pre-day prices.

    But that's not much of a schedule, and let's be honest, you're gonna spend waaaay more than that on your bar tab.

  • Scarcity||

    *per-day*

  • Voros McCracken||

    Well since I mostly work from home, if the ship has Wi-Fi I can work on the ship and otherwise do most of everything else I'd do at home. So the extra-time isn't necessarily a deal breaker for me.

    The cost might be since I'm a cheap bastard (Scotsmen unite!). I don't think I have motion sickness, but I've never been on a large ship in the ocean so I suppose I don't really know.

    It's also something I've never done so that's one reason to try it.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    The last time I wondered about it, you could still book a trip on some cargo ships. You live where they live, eat what they eat, and so on.

  • Mainer2||

    When I refuse the rapiscan, I'm not shy about refusing, nor about making a production of bringing my stuff to the search area. Arms outspread in Christ-like pose, I make eye contact with as many other passengers as I can. I want them to see me being searched. Dont' look away folks ! this is your America.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    TSA Agent: "we have another refusal"

    Boy, if a situation ever called for "fuck off, slaver" this is it.

  • Juice||

    TSA Agent: "we have another refusal"

    Me (yelling to the crowd): "You hear that everyone! They've got another refusal! That's right. Another one!"

  • sarcasmic||

    Guilty until proven innocent.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Well. if you have nothing to hide. *Barf*

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    ...he has Bell's Palsy, which prevents him from smiling and gives him a grumpy expression.

    That's odd. My Security Theatre Palsy presents the same symptoms.

  • Coeus||

    Below this line is where John proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that he's never been to Switzerland.

  • John||

    This makes an interesting pairing with the post below about them not letting people keep their shoes on.

    There has to be some kind of airport security. Even if you got rid of TSA the airlines would never expose themselves to the liability of not screening anyone for anything. So there will be screening regardless.

    The reason why they have stupid rigid rules like everyone must take off their shoes is because TSA is too stupid and too PC to conduct risk based screening the way the Israelis do. But to do that, you have to ask people questions and find out who they are.

    So I ask, what the fuck does Reason want? Do you want to be able to not answer questions? Fine but then live with bullshit rules like everyone have to take off your shoes.

  • sarcasmic||

    Shorter Red Tony: "Submit. Obey."

  • John||

    Go fuck yourself sarcasmic you half wit.

    Do you not understand that there is going to be security screening no matter what? The reason why we need to kill off the TSA is because the airlines and the airports have every reason to do the security themselves because of liability concerns. So you are not getting rid of security screening.

    And how do you screen? If you can't ask questions, and figure out who to screen, then you just mindlessly screen everyone.

  • sarcasmic||

    Like I said...

  • Paul.||

    Except for the fact that this line of questioning is completely useless (if we're going to argue on practical grounds instead of 4th amendment grounds).

  • John||

    Then the problem is the questions they are asking not the asking in itself. Do they need to ask better questions? Hell I don't know. But if they can't ask questions and try to do risk based screening, then they are going to have to do stupid shit like screen everyone equally.

    So again, what do you want?

  • Chris Mallory||

    A return to pre 1965 America, before the opening of the immigration flood gates made this kind of bullshit necessary?

    Diversity kills.

  • sarcasmic||

    I saw something the other say that showed immigration rates haven't changed that much in the last hundred years. What has changed is the demographics of the immigrants.

  • Scarcity||

    Shhhh, you'll disturb Crhis' fantasy.

  • The Hammer||

    Fuck off, you one-note moron.

  • Randian||

    A return to pre 1965 America, before the opening of the immigration flood gates made this kind of bullshit necessary?

    Diversity kills.

    Racist Yokel is racist.

    Fun fact: before 1965, Mexican immigration was unlimited.

  • Paul.||

    Yes, John, they need to ask better questions. Questions pertaining to the business of the plane and nothing... NOTHING more.

    My relationship with my family is none of their business.

    And they admit as much by saying that refusal to answer doesn't bar anyone from boarding.

  • Ice Nine||

  • Ice Nine||

    Did someone ask someone about his relationship with his family??

  • Paul.||

    Did someone ask someone about his relationship with his family??

    Most of my flying is for family vacations. If they're asking me my whnat I'm going to be doing when I get there, I take that as a 'yes'.

    Regardless, I really don't care if he asks me what color my rental car is when I arrive.

    They have no business asking anything which doesn't directly pertain to the safety of the flight. What I do once I step off that airport (and I'll even give them 'leave the secure area of the destination airport') is off limits. Period.

  • Ice Nine||

    Hey, I hate TSA as much as you do but the questions about your destination and what you are doing there is very standard fare. I've experienced it a number of different places in the world. The paragon of intelligent airport security screening, Israel, does it. I'm pretty sure it has a proven basis in detecting bad guys.

  • Paul.||

    Hey, I hate TSA as much as you do but the questions about your destination and what you are doing there is very standard fare.

    How many times does this have to be placed into the proper context before people understand.

    For the third time (and this was covered in the previous thread an I even received at least one "oh, you're right, sorry").

    For the last time:

    Customs is a different animal. See a couple of postst below. But I'll re-re post.

    And as I pointed out in the previous thread, it makes sense with Customs. Customs is a broad, roving enforcement agency that stops people from bringing things or people in or out of a country which are not legal to be there.

    So this notion that the Transportation Safety Administration is also a broad law enforcement agency which is tasked with stopping or thwarting criminal activity that occurs outside the flight is strict B.S.

    In summation, Ice Nine, the TSA has no business asking my my business which will be occurring after arrival when I'm flying between Fresno and North Platte.

    As Randian said, have some pride.

    The TSA is not customs.

    Thus endeth the sermon.

  • kinnath||

    The twenty-question routine was developed by customs to spot smugglers. The questions are not seeking useful information, they are intended to make people uncomfortable so that a trained agent can spot evil-doers.

    The TSA jackasses do not have the skills, so the technique is pointless.

  • Paul.||

    The twenty-question routine was developed by customs to spot smugglers

    And as I pointed out in the previous thread, it makes sense with Customs. Customs is a broad, roving enforcement agency that stops people from bringing things or people in or out of a country which are not legal to be there.

    So this notion that the Transportation Safety Administration is also a broad law enforcement agency which is tasked with stopping or thwarting criminal activity that occurs outside the flight is strict B.S.

  • Hyperion||

    Here is a sampling of their questions, based on real life experience:

    Where have you been? They know GD well where the fuck you have been. Stupid question.

    What were you doing there? Ok, not as stupid, but STUPID.

    Where do you work? WTF?

    What do you do there? FTW?

    Why are you wearing that Google shirt, I thought you worked at .... FUUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU ASSHOLEESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anacreon||

    A couple of years back flying home from New Zealand we went through the usual security. Then, after milling about in the post-security airport area, we went to our gate for the flight. Imagine our surprise at having to go through another, identical security screening just for people flying to the USA -- and it was manned by our own goddam TSA!

    We all felt so much safer.

  • Hyperion||

    John, what the fuck does what I was doing on my vacation, where I work, and why I am wearing a certain shirt have to do with national security? I have to fly frequently, and I am GD sick of this shit. It is totally uncalled for and we shouldn't put up with it. It needs to be stopped now before it goes any further.

  • Tulpa Doom||

    I doubt anyone here aside from the radical ancaps would have issues with the pre-9/11 airport screening. Do recall the boxcutters weren't snuck through the checkpoint, they were allowed on aircraft at that time; and the biggest weakness exploited by the hijackers was the weak cockpit door and passenger sheepishness, neither of which had anything to do with checking passengers before the flight.

  • kinnath||

    The shoe bomber failed because you can't detonate plastic explosives with a fucking match. You need a battery, wires, and a detonator all of which can be detected with the old metal scanners and xray machines.

    The underwear bomber failed for the same reasons. So the logic behind taking off your shoes and being scanned so someone can see your underwear is total bullshit.

    So I object strenously to having my civil rights violated because of concerns that aren't even legitimate.

    And having been stopped on the streets of Moscow and given the twenty-question routine, I am outraged that the US has decided it should follow the same tactics.

    As an El Al pilot told me. "You Americans are stupid. You look for weapons. We look for terrorists."

    We're doing security completely wrong. The TSA is a make work program for dumbshits that merely presents itself as security theater.

    It's total bullshit.

  • John||

    As an El Al pilot told me. "You Americans are stupid. You look for weapons. We look for terrorists."

    You are absolutely right Kinnath. That is my whole point. We are complete morons. The El Al pilot is dead on. But to look for terrorists you have to ask people questions, which Reason seems to think shouldn't be allowed.

    And that goes back to my point, WTF does Reason want?

  • kinnath||

    The answer is profiling.

    And profiling starts with ticketing. Deep data-mining at the time the ticket is purchased.

    As I said upstream. The point of the twenty-question routine is not to gather data, but to stress the person being questioned. I have been grilled by customs, immigration, and gate security in many places around the world. This must be done by highly-trained individals.

    The TSA agents working the lines in US airports are morons in comparison to the people that have questioned me in the past. So this new policy is just more flinging shit at a wall to see what sticks.

  • jasno||

    Deep datamining? Fuck you. Now you're falling into John's trap.

    Metal detectors, explosives detectors, locked cockpit doors, and an aware, post-9/11 population are sufficient in my book.

    Just how many incidents of airline terrorism did we have before 9/11? We've let one event which can not be repeated define our thinking for the last decade.

  • wareagle||

    we've let one event shape a belief that anyone can be a terrorist. That's bullshit. In the modern history of terrorism, acts are limited to a very small segment of the global population.

    Pretending that the woman with a twin stroller is a reasonable threat is not security, it is an exercise in not offending anyone. Please. My wife is blond and native as can be; with marginal effort, I can look the part of a terrorist. Guess which one of us has gotten second looks and questions. Not who you think.

  • Scarcity||

    I'll play: the one who looks better in the full-body scanner?

  • kinnath||

    Did my engineering habit of describing a system that would actually work lead you to believe that I actually support imposing that system on the populace?

  • jasno||

    Well, this kinda implies that:

    "The answer is profiling.

    And profiling starts with ticketing. Deep data-mining at the time the ticket is purchased."

  • kinnath||

    If you believe that the purpose of security is to find terrorists, then the answer is profiling, cause that's the only way to find terorists.

    I personally don't believe that terrorism represents a large enough threat to the US to justify profiling everyone that flys domestically in the US.

    Is that clearer?

  • Randian||

    I don't have a problem with private profiling. It's the race-baiters and hustlers who would.

  • kinnath||

    I can live with the airline that sells me a ticket doing a credit check to see if I am a "normal" guy before completing the transaction. I can see an airline applying a lot of scrutiny to someone that walks up to the checkin in counter with a wad of cash tyring to get on an airplane.

    I cannot tolerate the idea of a government agency monitoring every ticket purchase in the US.

  • jasno||

    Would James Holmes have passed a credit check? Probably. So you still need to keep the bad shit off planes, not the bad people.

  • kinnath||

    See my response to john down below. keep bad shit off airplanes. secure the cockpit so that someone having a breakdown can't beat the shit out of the flight crew.

  • jasno||

    I don't believe the purpose of security is to *find* terrorists. That's LE's job. The purpose of security is to secure the plane. I don't give a shit if a known terrorist shares a row with me, as long as he lacks the tools to damage the aircraft.

  • kinnath||

    Yes. The London liquid-bomb plot was discovered through normal police work long before anyone got to the airport.

    That's the way the system is supposed to work.

    At least one plane (and possibly more) was crashed by a suicidal pilot. One plane was brought down by a disguntled airline pilot who was hitching a ride on a plane.

  • kinnath||

    I guess the thread I was working on with John was that if the government is going to impose a security system that violates our civil rights, they should at least pick one that works.

  • Loki||

    So this new policy is just more flinging shit at a wall to see what sticks.

    My own little conspiracy theory is that in a way we're the wall that they're flinging the shit at. It's possible that it's all just a game or a test to see how docile and compliant the population of the country has become.

    Think about it: if we're willing to let some goon with barely a HS education rapi-scan us and fondle our private parts just because they have a nice blue uniform with epaulettes on their shoulders, just imagine what we'll let people who actually have power and authoritah (LEOs, government agents, bureaucrats) do to us. IOW, maybe they're just trying to figure out how far they can push us before we push back. From the looks of things I'd say pretty damn far.

  • kinnath||

    I don't believe that the government is capable of a long con.

    The purpose here is just theater. The harder you make it for regular people to get on an airplane, the safer the regular people think they are. This is because the average person isn't capable of critical thinking to realize it's all bullshit and that a caterer could roll a cart full of bombs on a plane without much difficulty.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    John, you're being MuNG again. Please stop it.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    MuNG?

    The Mutant National Guard? Cool!

  • wareagle||

    But to look for terrorists you have to ask people questions,

    you also have to look at people, which means profiling and I know that makes some folks uncomfortable. But the stories about the 95-year old terminally ill woman and little kids being molested does not to instill a sense of security and everything to engender hostility toward screeners.

    They always look for things, determined to stop the last terror attempt from happening again. They never take into account the people involved. My preference would be to let the airlines do it since no one has a greater stake in safety than they do. Alternatively, let airports hire private companies who would be just as vested as carriers. No one is impressed by the TSA, not even teh guy who created it.

  • R C Dean||

    Dunno what reason wants, but here's what I want:

    (1) Abolish the TSA. Repeal any and all regulations on airport security.

    (2) Private sector comes up with its own security. If I don't like airline A or airport B security, I don't fly there.

  • John||

    That is nice RC. But you know what would happen? The airlines would collude. They would set industry wide security standards. They would do this because it would give them a shield against liability. If something happened they could say "hey we followed the agency standard". And they would all want to do this because it would keep people from dropping standards to get a competitive advantage.

    So you couldn't choose not to fly with airline A or airport B because they all would be following the same standards.

    It is amazing how Utopian Libertarians can be.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Of course you know this with your Future Vision, which none of us have.

    Thank Science for John's Future Vision! He knows what's coming in the future that's never going to happen cause TSA's never going away!

    What are the Powerball numbers for this weekend, John?

  • John||

    I know it because that is what they did before the TSA Almanian. They would just go back to the old system.

  • kinnath||

    There has been one and only one change made that was necessary to prevent another 9/11 from happening again. That was strengthening the cockpit doors to prevent force entry and then keeping the door locked at all times.

    I flew a lot of international flights where the cockpit door was always open and the flight and cabin crews conducted an ongoing conversation.

    Every fucking thing done by the TSA has been wrong and pointless.

  • John||

    I totally agree. But don't underestimate people's stupidity. If TSA disappeared tomorrow, I bet you good money that the airlines would set standards that are almost as stupid in the name of safety and caution. Since when are airlines not stupid? Since when are people not stupid? Hell most people think what the TSA is doing is great and would demand the airlines do the same.

  • kinnath||

    The TSA is a complete fuck up. And the average joe or jane walking about the street is an idiot. The fact they like the TSA doesn't justify the TSA's existence.

    About a year ago, an air transport pilot was crucified for commenting publicly that the TSA was wasted effort and that there were huge security holes on the tarmac.

    The TSA is not just bad security and a violation of personal rights, it is actually sucking resources away from real security issues.

  • John||

    I couldn't agree more Kinnath. TSA is a total fucking waste and a menace. I just think the people on here are kidding themselves if they think they won't be expected to answer questions and go through pretty crappy security screenings if TSA didn't exist.

  • kinnath||

    Yes, I fully expect that I shouldn't need to answer 20 questions to get on a fucking airplane.

    1) running people through metal detectors and x-raying carry-ons keeps deadly weapons off the airplane

    2) secure doors to the cockpit keeps passengers out of the cockpit where brute force is a problem

    3) sniffing checked luggage for bombs keeps them off the plane.

    4) real fucking security screening of ground support crews keeps weapons and bombs off airplane. (note this does not exist yet and is our biggest security problem right now)

    There is no functional purpose for grilling passengers trying to get on a domestic flight.

  • John||

    You should have one or the other Kinneth not both. I agree with you there. And yeah, number 4 is the biggest issue. And it is probably going to bring down a plane at some point in the future.

  • Rasilio||

    Uh John prior to the TSA Airport Security Screeners were not Airline employees, they were Airport employees and every major airport in the country is property of a city, town, or county and the rules they operated by were a combination of local ordinances and FAA Guidelines.

    The security procedures were NOT defined by the Airlines.

  • Loki||

    They would just go back to the old system.

    Feature, not bug.

  • Scarcity||

    THIS IS NOT AN ARGUMENT TO CONTINUE GOVERNMENT CONTROL!!

    Is that clear? Did yelling help?

  • Randian||

    John in 1980:

    "Well, you're still going to have to go through AT&T, so what's the difference?"

  • John||

    Yeah Randian,

    I still have to pay my phone bill today. It just doesn't go to the same people

    And when you get rid of TSA, there will still be security screening. There will just be an industry wide body setting the standards instead of the feds. And the airports and airlines will be doing it instead of TSA.

    Will that be better? Probably. But it will still be screening. And they still be facing the same choice of asking questions or having rigid rules.

    Libertarians are as brain dead as liberals claim they are if they think getting rid of TSA is going to mean the end of airport security bullshit.

  • Randian||

    And they still be facing the same choice of asking questions or having rigid rules.

    From someone who only sees two colors, it surprises me little that you persist in promulgating a false dichotomy.

  • John||

    It is not a false dichotomy you idiot. You have two choices. You can selectively screen people or you can screen everyone. To do the former, you have to ask questions and figure out who people are. If you don't ask any questions, then you have no way to profile people and you are stuck screening everyone.

    That is just the reality of security.

  • Scarcity||

    Libertarians are as brain dead as liberals claim they are if they think getting rid of TSA is going to mean the end of airport security bullshit.

    Who thinks this again?

  • Rasilio||

    You do?

    Apparently you have never heard of Skype or Magic Jack and tell me, when exactly is the last time you had to pay for a long distance call again?

  • ||

    There will just be an industry wide body setting the standards instead of the feds. And the airports and airlines will be doing it instead of TSA.

    But there will be a financial incentive to make the process as tolerable and unobtrusive for the flying public as possible. And unless there's some sort of stipulation that legally binds each and every individual airline to the standards set by your "governing body," then there will always be a market for an airline that offers "hassle-free security," should it come to pass that security under private control becomes too rigid.

    In any case, getting government (an entity that has no incentive to please the flying public and no liability if someone bad does manage to sneak through) out of it completely and giving it over to the airlines is what needs to happen. A financial incentive to do it in a manner that doesn't offend the flying public - coupled with a liability incentive to do it effectively - will ensure that whatever the private sector chooses to replace the TSA with will be infinitely better.

  • R C Dean||

    You do realize that the collusion on security (a) resulted in much less intrusive security than what we have now, and (b) arose when the airlines were regulated as a public utility, openly colluded on price and service, and were not nearly as competitive as they are now?

  • John||

    (a) resulted in much less intrusive security than what we have now,

    Before 9-11. You really don't think the airlines would have overreacted after 9-11? You don't think their customers wouldn't have demanded it?

    (b) arose when the airlines were regulated as a public utility, openly colluded on price and service, and were not nearly as competitive as they are now?

    Oh yeah RC, the DOJ is really going to bring a collusion suit because international airlines got together and formed industry wide security standards.

    Come on RC. You can't believe that.

  • R C Dean||

    Its not about the DOJ bringing a lawsuit, John, its about an industry that was, fundamentally a cartel and is now very competitive.

    Cartels collude. Very competitive industries do not.

    Sure, the airlines would have overreacted, and in a competitive environment, would have been incentivized to be more reasonable.

    Why is that so hard for you to see? That the incentives now all run one way, and that way is a very bad way, but the incentives sans TSA just might give us something better?

  • John||

    It would give us something marginally better. But libertarians still wouldn't be happy with it.

  • Heedless||

    We're libertarians. We're used to being unhappy. But better is still better.

  • ||

    "You really don't think the airlines would have overreacted after 9-11? You don't think their customers wouldn't have demanded it?"

    No. Spending themselves into oblivion is and always will be a shitty business model.

  • jasno||

    No, John already figured it all out. There are only two options, and that surely isn't a false dichotomy. God, why are you all so stupid?

  • John||

    Then how do you screen people? If you are going to treat the old lady from Kansas different than the young guy making his fifth trip to Pakistan this month, you have to be able to figure out who is who. And you can't do that if you can't ask anyone any questions.

    Jesus H. Christ, have Librarians decided reality doesn't exist?

  • jasno||

    Why do you need to figure out who is who? You don't. You need a system that doesn't care who is who.

    How do you do that? You use metal detectors and explosives detectors. You keep threats off the plane.

    Don't forget - there are still many ways to harm an aircraft despite spending, what, 3 times the annual budget of NASA on rapescanners and professional molesters. The 'butt-bomb' is a very real threat, yet no one has tried it. A metal detector or explosives detector just might detect it, while removing your shoes, being groped, or being naked-scanned will not.

    The cost vs. benefit of committing another air-related terrorist attack is quite low. We're still scared shitless after a decade, so there isn't much reason to terrorize us further.

  • John||

    How do you do that? You use metal detectors and explosives detectors. You keep threats off the plane.

    And those are rigid rules that result in body scanners and people taking off their shoes and such. And Reason hates those too.

  • Randian||

    And those are rigid rules that result in body scanners and people taking off their shoes and such. And Reason hates those too.

    Slippery slope + strawman.

    Nice John.

  • jasno||

    Its hopeless... John already figured it all out.

  • John||

    That is not a strawman at all. The post right after this is Reason complaining about making people take off there shoes. And God knows Reason hates the body scanners.

    So what explosives detectors are we talking about? There is no magic wand to find this shit. It is really hard to detect.

  • jasno||

    Chemical sniffers, and, soon, laser spectroscopy.

    Remember though, the underwear and shoe bombers failed because they lacked detonators because they were too scared to take them through security.

    Also, I should add that most of us probably wouldn't have a problem with being scanned, provided the scanners had FDA(hah) approval, the specs were open, humans didn't do the analysis, and they only checked for explosives. We're not too far away from a scanner that can give a binary answer to the question of whether someone possesses enough chemically energetic materials to harm others.

  • Hyperion||

    Yep, the airlines would collude, unlike what would happen if the government was more involved, because nooooo way any collusion happens if the government is involved, no sirreee, never, not ever.

  • Rasilio||

    Uhhh following an industry developed standard would in no way protect you from liability. In fact it is a wonderful way to find every player in your industry facing a massive class action lawsuit the first time something bad happened.

    Further Airlines would likely end up with very similar security schemes not because of collusion but because it wouldn't take very long for them to figure out the optimal balance between security and convienence.

    Honestly I can think of 1 long lived cartel in history which was able to survive without specific government protection of it's status and that is Debeers and even their cartel monopoly has been effectively eliminated in the last decade or so.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    This^^ Win Nar

  • Zeb||

    I don't know what Reason wants, but I want to put the responsibility back on the airlines to screen as they deem necessary. They certainly have every incentive to do it well.
    Of course some screening will be necessary. The problem is with idiotic top down rules that are completely process oriented and don't really accomplish much.

  • AlmightyJB||

    You know they had the masking technology for the rapescan machines before they were rolled out, and decided to not use that technology instead to go with the pervert version. They could avoided a lot of problems just by making a non-fuckface decision in the first place. Unless you are leaving or entering the country it's none of their freakin' business why you are traveling. Why am I going to Cincinnati? To masterbate you fucks, that's why.

  • John||

    All you are telling me JB is that security is hard and it sucks. And yes the scanning machines are worthless. Sure kill TSA. We totally should. But don't think for a moment the airlines are not going to be shitty too.

  • Rasilio||

    Well how about this one.

    Get the government the fuck out of it and let the airlines do it.

    There is absolutely no reason why airport security needs to be a federal task and there is no Constitutional ban on corporations asking you questions as a necessary precondition to using their service, where there is one on the government doing it as a precondition to exercising your rights to travel.

  • Paul.||

    As I said before in the previous thread, they ask me that question, my answer:

    Hangin' out, high-fivin', knuckle bumpin and sayin' "woohoo" to the lllladies!

  • Mainer2||

    shouldn't llladies be laaaaaadies

  • Paul.||

    Nope... Llllladies. You linger on the 'l' not the 'a'. If you linger on the 'a' it sounds ghey.

  • ||

    No, it makes you sound like Jerry Lewis.

    Rock Me Jerry Lewis

  • sarcasmic||

  • Paul.||

    Pick your poison. If you want to sound like a genuine skeezbag with a gold pinky ring, you linger on the 'l'.

  • Mainer2||

    I just tried that.
    Llllladies.
    Damn, you're right

  • Paul.||

    Thank you.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I might try out "Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool, And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school".

  • KDN||

    All they'll hear is "shooting" and then it's off to Gitmo with you for 3 Halal meals per day and a shiny new Quran.

    Actually, that don't sound half bad. I'll have to keep it in mind should I ever end up homeless.

  • Paul.||

    At that point the agent yelled out, "We have another refusal." One of my bags was seized and I was momentarily detained and given a hand-swab, which I believe was to test for residue from bomb-making materials.

    By the way it's not. It's a swab for dugs. Admitted me by a TSA agent shortly after 9/11 when they were swabbing shoes.

    I asked what the swab was for. Her response: "Drugs".

  • Scarcity||

    In a sad comment on, well, pretty much everything, I don't believe her.

  • Paul.||

    It was the one fleeting moment where I felt like I believed my government.

    We had just had the shoe-bomber incident, and the agent said they're swabbing for drugs. It made sense on so many levels, I knew it was the truth.

  • DEG||

    Once I set off the metal detector. Since my pockets were already empty and my shoes were off, the TSA agent pulled me aside and had me sit down in a chair. After a few minutes another agent came by and swabbed my hands. When the machine processing the swab apparently didn't register anything, he sent me on my way. I have no idea what he thought he accomplished.

  • jasno||

    I think you must have spoken with an uninformed TSA agent(surprise!). There is much evidence supporting the notion that those sniffers are for explosives(nitrogen) detection.

    Yes, the hidden agenda of the TSA is to stop drugs, but they don't have equipment for it yet. They will soon, in the form of portable laser spectroscopy, but that's a few years out.

  • Pip||

    "in the form of portable laser spectroscopy"

    I used to take public transportation (now I refuse to fly commercial). Who can say what my clothing and hands can pick up on the bus and the train on the ride to the airport? I think this idea will not work out well. Far too many false-positives.

  • jasno||

    Sure there will be, but you set reasonable thresholds and you eliminate them. You're not trying to keep fertilizer dust off the plane, you're trying to keep explosives off the plane. I get what you're saying, but I think it's really just a technical issue.

  • Pip||

    I'm thinking in broader terms here too. From what I've read about this, there will be uses far beyond airport screening. You employer could use it on you and if you're a pub-tran rider like me, whose to say they won't pop me for trace amounts of cocaine or whatever the hell else is on the bus?

  • jasno||

    If you can make a laser spectrometer, you can make one that takes readings over an area and determines relative concentration. Sure, they might be able to detect molecules of cocaine on your shoes, but they also might be able to detect cocaine residue all over your upper lip and based on the degredation products conclude how long ago you took a nosedive.

  • sloopyinca||

    So I ask, what the fuck does Reason want? Do you want to be able to not answer questions? Fine but then live with bullshit rules like everyone have to take off your shoes.

    I can't speak for reason in general, but what i want is:
    The right to freely contract with a private company without government interference. Those companies are free to establish whatever security measures they deem necessary and I'm free to either accept or reject them and utilize another carrier.

    Why the hell is the government involved in a private transaction any fucking way, John? So people like you can have a place that pays them to sit on the computer all day and fuck about is my guess, because it sure as fuck isn't to make flying safer, as proven by the people that routinely get through security and the lack of credible stories where the TSA did something of value.

  • John||

    The right to freely contract with a private company without government interference. Those companies are free to establish whatever security measures they deem necessary and I'm free to either accept or reject them and utilize another carrier.

    You can totally do that. It is called chartering an airplane. It is real easy. It just costs a lot. But hey, you get what you pay for.

    If you got rid of TSA, the airports and airlines would be doing the same thing and facing the same problems. Sure they would do it better. But they still had metal detectors in airports and still had security screening before TSA.

    In the end, the airlines are never going to take the risk of not screening people. So your choice is answer questions or have stupid and rigid rules.

  • Paul.||

    Strangely, John, no one here questioned the old security rules where your bags were subject to xrays for weapons. But when some asshat in a periwinkle uniform wants to know my fucking business on arrival which has fuck all to do with the business of the airplane itself, he can go fuck himself sideways.

  • John||

    Then you just want to get rid of TSA. And you are probably right about that. But I don't see a whole lot of difference between airline goon asking me questions and TSA good doing so. They both can kick me off the flight.

  • Drake||

    The airline goon will be paid by people who want you to fly as often as possible without highjacking any of their planes. The TSA is run by Homeland Security - who only want your obedience and submission.

    I'll take an airline goon any day.

  • John||

    The airline goon is going to be working for a company who is terrified of something happening and being held liable. There is no guarantee that the airlines wouldn't be worse, especially if they could all get together and collude by creating industry wide standards so no one gets a competitive advantage by being lax in their screening.

  • Paul.||

    The airline goon is going to be working for a company who is terrified of something happening and being held liable.

    Sounds like a great incentive to be concerned with what I may be carrying on the plane that could kill the other passengers and seriously temper a demand to know what beach I'll be sitting on and for how long when I get there.

    You know, incentives which drive them towards a specific goal instead of a fishing expidition.

  • Paul.||

    For instance, John, you do realize that this is the core of why people object to being detained because they're carrying a large amount of cash. Carrying a large amount of cash has absolutely nothing to do with bringing down and airpline. Unless they're going on the theory that I might start a small bonfire with it. Which given our modern boys in periwinkle, I wouldn't be surprised.

    The TSA is not a broad law enforcement agency, doing roving investigations for the purpose of thwarting all criminal activity that may occur as bookends to a domestic flight.

  • John||

    Again Paul. Get rid of TSA. let the airlines do security. But when they do, you are still going to be faced with the dilemma of how do you do security screening.

  • Paul.||

    I'm up for a compromise, John. Let's keep the TSA, but make them responsible for what their name implies: Transportation Safety Administration.

    They are to be concerned with the safe transportation of Americans, and in this particular instance, the transportation that pertains to the flight upon which I'm about to embark. Beyond that, they have no authority to seek any further information.

    Once we get that hammered down, we can then go back to the normal debates about how deep the cavity search can be when I'm engaging in transportation.

  • Paul.||

    Yes, I'd like to get rid of the TSA, but the TSA, as horrible as it is, should be concerned with the business of flight. Not with the business of my family vacation after the flight terminates.

    That, in my opinion, constitutes a broad search that goes way beyond even "papers please".

    Sure, I'll hand you my papers. You may see what's on them. But now you want to know the extent and quality of my free time or business when I'm not in your presence?

  • Scarcity||

    Do you see a difference between the security guy at Target and a cop?

  • John||

    Ever deal with a mall cop? A lot of them are assholes. Since when is private security guaranteed not to be assholes?

  • Scarcity||

    Did they put you in jail?

  • John||

    Sarcacity,

    Fuck yeah they can. They just call the regular cops and tell them to hall you off.

  • Randian||

    Sarcacity would make a good band name.

  • Pip||

    So would Deaf.

  • Scarcity||

    Fuck yeah they can. They just call the regular cops and tell them to hall you off.

    And while they're calling the cops, I'm politely walking to my car and driving away. I have done it when I set off their hyper-sensitive alarms.

  • John||

    And scarcity they politely tell the cops you were disturbing the peace and said cops pull you over and haul you to jail.

    And the TSA doesn't have the power to arrest. They don't have LEO authority. They want it. But they don't have it. They just call the airport cops who do.

  • Scarcity||

    And scarcity they politely tell the cops you were disturbing the peace and said cops pull you over and haul you to jail.

    In my experience that did not happen.

    And I have a hard time believing any police force is going to go after someone, without evidence other than Paul Blart's whine, for public disturbance. And if they do they will have a wrongful arrest lawsuit on their hands.

  • ||

    Blatantly negligent and inappropriate behavior is way more likely to result in termination of employment for a mallcop. Scaring or intimidating your customers isn't exactly a winning business strategy.

  • ||

    And you don't think the professional demeanor or courteous and polite attitude will be competitive traits when airlines can no longer rely on apathetically bureaucratic and jaded government officials? Travelers are going to seek the carrier that provides the least hassle. Your 'goon' problem would not be a problem.

  • ||

    I don't see a whole lot of difference between airline goon asking me questions and TSA good doing

    Come on John. The airline doesn't have guns. The airline doesn't have the capability to send me to jail. If I don't like the airline, I voluntarily choose another.

    Are you really going to sit there, and in broad daylight, tell me you don't see a difference? This is about FORCE.

  • John||

    The airline doesn't need guns, Francisco. They can just not let you on their plane. And they totally can put you jail. They will just ask you to leave and when you don't have you arrested for trespassing.

    Would private security be better? Sure. But you still will be answering questions and submitting yourself to things that you don't like.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    And they totally can put you jail.

    Stop being intransigent, MuNG - no they can't. The COPS may put you in jail - the airline can't. The airline may ASK the cops to do something, but they can't do it themselves. It's an important distinction.

    I wish you'd stop being willfully stupid, but I guess it's Friday, so have a nice weekend.

  • ||

    And they totally can put you jail.

    AAAAAAHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGG!

    NO! They can only HAVE YOU arrested and then ONLY if you don't leave when they ask you to.

    They also CANNOT have the FBI investigate you. They CANNOT get a warrant to search your property. They CANNOT have the IRS investigate your finances. They CANNOT hold you in jail for 24-48 hours without evidence. They CANNOT pass laws affecting your life and livelihood.

    All they can do is not let you on their airplane and call the authorities if a law has been broken.

    GET IT? Their power is limited by the scope of their authority.

  • John||

    They can only HAVE YOU arrested

    That sounds like putting you in jail to me. And yeah, if you leave immediately they can't arrest you, provided of course they don't just tell the cops you were disturbing the peace.

    Their power isn't limited by jack shit. You people live in a fantasy land. Do me a favor go down to the airport and go up to some gate agent and tell her to go fuck herself and make a big scene. You will find out real quick whether the airlines can throw you in jail

    What fucking planet do you people live on?

  • ||

    Yeah because Southwest Transit Police is going to throw the cuffs on and put you in the back of a reasonably-priced-but-lacking-in-amenities squad car, and then take you to airline prison...

  • John||

    Sy,

    The airport police, who are real cops, will.

  • ||

    "The airport police, who are real cops, will."
    Yes, REAL COPS. Not private employees, like you are implying.

  • Coeus||

    Does no one here know about the 10,000 dollar fine for non-compliance? It's civil. That's why there's one on buses and trains in houston. The cops with him do the work, but you can tell them to fuck off and get a warrant. If you say that with the TSA there, you get the fine.

  • John||

    And need I remind you nearly every airport is publicly owned in this country and they have their own airport cops who are actual cops. TSA doesn't arrest anyone. The airport cops do and they are not going anywhere.

    What the hell got into you people today?

  • ||

    I have been kicked out of many a mall in my teenage days, and no, the mall cops do NOT have the cops follow you and arrest you for disturbing the peace. Or if they asked, then the cops never obliged them.

    What planet do YOU live on where people are pulled over on their way home after being kicked out of a mall?

  • Scarcity||

    Seriously, what Gojira said.

    Where's Dunphy when you need him to answer what a cop would do if Target security called with a license plate number of a guy he claims, with no evidence or witnesses, to have disturbed the peace?

    What's the Dunphy signal? Will a gratuitous and insincere "fuck the police" do it?

  • sloopyinca||

    What's the Dunphy signal? Will a gratuitous and insincere "fuck the police" do it?

    Only if it comes from me or sarcasmic.

    Seriously, though, why would you need to ask him to find out? I can give you his answer:

    if target called the police, the police would investigate as if any other civilian called. if the target security guard had detained a person and made a claim that they had stolen and itfpapic, then the policeman may arrest the perp. however, if the policeman had not been properly trained by his department, he would then be free to crack open the head of the perp OR the target employee up to and until that correct training on how to deal with a shoplifter had been administered.

    hth

  • John||

    Airports all have their own cops. An airport is not a Target guys.

  • Scarcity||

    Airports all have their own cops. An airport is not a Target guys.

    Exactly! John: this subthread started because you said

    But I don't see a whole lot of difference between airline goon asking me questions and TSA good doing so.

    And I responded:

    Do you see a difference between the security guy at Target and a cop?

    That is, do you understand the difference in a private company and a state actor? By coming around to the fact that airport police are not Target security, I think it is clear that you do.

  • ||

    Actually, I was pulled over and detained after being kicked out of a mall when I was a teen. Luckily, that mall has been demolished and turned into a Target. Go fuck yourself, Richardson.

  • ||

    Ha, I was working at that Barnes Noble when Richardson Square was finally shut down. What a piece of shit.

  • ||

    Some friends of mine worked there around that time, too. Only good thing was that cheap, greasy ass pizza joint once they added that food court.

  • Rasilio||

    Um, because if I tell airline goon "looking for hookers and blow" I'm not likely to be interfered with or detained. If I tell that to government agent goon I am.

  • Adam330||

    The screening before TSA was barely anything. You walked through a metal detector. There were no patdowns, no shoes off, no taking away your liquids, no questions, no bomb swabs, no see-through-your-clothes machines. I'd take that any day over TSA.

  • John||

    But after 9-11 that is never coming back. If the airlines went to that and someone got a box cutter on a plane and brought it down, they would be subjected to huge liability.

    There is a reason why the airline industry loves the government doing this shit. It keeps them from assuming the responsibility and being liable for the fuck ups. If the system went private, there is no guarantee the screening would be better. It might be worse out of liability concerns.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    If the airlines went to that and someone got a box cutter on a plane and brought it down, they would be subjected to huge liability.

    If someone got up with a box cutter they'd be beaten into a coma within 3 rows, not to mention he couldn't get through the cockpit door.

  • ||

    If someone got up with a box cutter they'd be beaten into a coma within 3 rows, not to mention he couldn't get through the cockpit door.

    THIS!

    The TSA is a solution to a problem that SOLVED ITSELF not more than 60 minutes after the first airplane crashed into the first tower. It took less than an hour for the passengers on Flight 93 to realize all the government security programs in the world could't save them and they were going to have to do it themselves. Ask the shoe bomber or the underwear bomber or the idiot who tried opening the passenger door who foiled their plots. Wasn't the fucking government. It was ordinary people acting in their own interests.

  • Adam330||

    I'm not too concerned with what the airline industry loves. If the TSA went away, and United had a bunch of disrespectful goons feeling up all their passengers, then I'd have the choice to be able to fly Southwest. And so would everyone else. Which would stop United from doing that really quickly.

  • Scarcity||

    1) No one will ever bring down a commercial flight with blades again, even if you are allowed to open-carry knives onto the plane.

    2) Yes, corporations love corporatism. That doesn't mean we should encourage it. We should be heaping more scorn on the airlines for not fighting to retake control of security.

    3) I will never accept the argument that something the government currently runs would run just as bad in private hands so let's just let it ride.

  • John||

    You miss the point sarcisty. For the fifth fucking time. YES WE SHOULD GET RID OF TSA

    But when we do, there is still going to be security screening. And you are still either going to have to answer questions or be subjected to bullshit rigid rules. That is just reality.

  • Scarcity||

    I did not miss the point. And the closest you have come to saying we should get rid of TSA before this post was "Then you just want to get rid of TSA. And you are probably right about that." I cannot read your mind and you are repeatedly arguing that things would likely be no better and quite possibly worse under private security.

    And I never said there would not be screenings under private security.

    So we agree - get rid of TSA and let private actors handle their own security. Good.

  • Randian||

    Get rid of the TSA and let the market decide whether your (likely false) dichotomy is borne out.

    That said, there is a moral component to "Destination, Citizen! Purpose, Citizen!" that you are deliberately missing.

    John, we are Americans. Have some fucking pride.

  • R C Dean||

    But when we do, there is still going to be security screening.

    There is a difference in principle between getting screened by a private organization, which you have contracted with and for which you have true, substitutable options, and getting screened by government goons.

  • John||

    If that makes you feel better RC, bravo for you. But don't fucking kid yourself into thinking you can just contract your way out of security screening short of renting your own airplane.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm not trying to get out of any and all security screening, John.

    Just the current overreaching, incompetent clusterfuck.

  • Zeb||

    Someone got a box cutter on a plane because security used to let people take small knives on the plane. The only policy that would have had to change to keep the box-cutter off the plane would be to stop allowing people to carry small knives onto the plane. I'm pretty sure that I once carried a box cutter onto a plane.

    And in any case, the real things that prevent another 911 are locking the cockpit door and having passengers who realize that the hijackers might want to kill everyone instead of just flying to Cuba.

  • Randian||

    Anyone sufficiently motivated can perform serious acts of terrorism.

    I could concoct something and leave it on a public bus, for example. Or outside in a busy downtown.

    Terrorism must be fought, but acts of criminality are the price we pay for a free society.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Anyone sufficiently motivated can perform serious acts of terrorism.

    I could cut the holy hell out of you with a sharpened credit card and I'm not aware of anything damned thing TSA does to prevent me from getting on a plane with one.

  • Loki||

    I could cut the holy hell out of you with a sharpened credit card and I'm not aware of anything damned thing TSA does to prevent me from getting on a plane with one.

    Don't give them any ideas.

    Seriously though, there are about a million things that you can still carry onto an airplane that could be used to murder someone, or multiple someones with the right kind of training. Shit, you don't even need a makeshift weapon if you're a well trained martial artist.

  • Spoonman.||

    In the end, there's more people waiting at the checkpoint than there are on a plane. You've got a larger concentration of people before screening than you do afterwards. Which really shows the pointlessness of the whole exercise.

  • Rasilio||

    You do realize that you could put a single armed guard on every airplane for a tiny fraction of the cost of even the old screening system and achieve 10 times the security benefit.

    Hell you could train and arm every flight attendant with tazers for less and make the concept of hijacking a plane effectively obsolete.

  • MisterDamage||

    But what would we need government parasites for then? If people went around taking responsibility for their own safety, they might start getting dangerous ideas about the utility of government.

  • Drake||

    911 demonstrated the need for some improvement. Instead we went fucking crazy with "Homeland Security" and these unionized assholes.

  • Adam330||

    911 demonstrated the need for closed and armored cockpit doors. We have that now.

  • ||

    9/11 demonstrated the incompetence of government security. Instead we went fucking crazy with more government security.

  • Randian||

    9/11 demonstrated the incompetence of government security.

    No it did not.

  • ||

    Yeah, if you manage to overlook 220 stories worth of mangled bodies and steel, you're right.

  • DEG||

    I was in Australia a few months ago. They still have that type of security today for purely domestic flights (they enforce liquids restrictions for international flights). Oh, sure, every now and then someone gets pulled out of line so an agent can swipe the person with an explosives swap. But otherwise it was sane and like America used to be.

  • R C Dean||

    You can totally do that. It is called chartering an airplane. It is real easy. It just costs a lot.

    Not responsive, John.

    What I want is to contract with an airline for single seat on a regularly scheduled flight.

    The fact that I can contract for an entire plane is not a subsitute.

    This is the same fallacy that allows violations of Constitutional rights on any and every mode of transport, because you can always choose another one:

    Don't like getting groped for A? Use B.

    Don't like getting randomly searched on B? Use C.

    Don't like getting stopped, delayed, and questioned on C? Use A.

    Round and round it goes. Where the Constitution is, nobody knows.

  • John||

    So you will feel better RC when the airlines do much the same thing TSA does? I will because they will do it cheaper. But if you think it will let you live in a world where you can tell the people flying your plane, fuck off, you are kidding yourself.

  • Randian||

    John continues to assume the airlines would be forced to do the exact same thing TSA does.

    For one, the airlines would be able to implement a Trusted Traveler program more effectively and more quickly than DHS has managed to do.

  • John||

    John continues to assume the airlines would be forced to do the exact same thing TSA does.

    No. That is not what I am saying at all. I am saying they would face the same problems that TSA does. Would they solve them better? Sure. But you are still left with the choice of collecting a lot of information about your passengers or mindlessly screening all of them the same way.

    Trusted traveler is a good example. To make the system work, you have to basically make passengers submit to a security clearance. Good luck selling Reason on that. But if you don't do that, how do you know who you don't need to screen?

    That is the whole problem and the point I keep making. Reason bitches and moans about scanners and making people take their shoes off. And then bitches and moans about asking questions and trying to discriminate by risk amongst travelers as well.

  • Randian||

    You are right, John, there is a lot of complaining without supplemental suggestions on how to make things better, I will give you that.

  • R C Dean||

    That is not what I am saying at all. I am saying they would face the same problems that TSA does. Would they solve them better? Sure.

    Since you seem to agree with us on all points, why are you arguing with us?

    Perhaps because you see absolutely no difference whatsoever between voluntarily entering into a security clearance with a private company to get on their Trusted Traveller list, for example, and having the government investigate you for a list?

    If you really think there is no difference between the government doing something and a private organization doing the same thing, then I don't see why you would have any principled objections to the government doing anything at all.

  • John||

    RC,

    So I guess if someone stuck a probe up your ass in return for flying you would think it was great provided that it was a private company does it?

    I am going to hate and be annoyed by it even if it is the airlines doing it. Just because a company does it, doesn't make it wonderful.

  • MisterDamage||

    Government has far more interest in anal probes and far less incentive to abstain than a private body does. Much of the shit that goes on in TSA checkpoints is less about flight safety than about _other_ problems that government wants to solve. Like drugs. Like people having large sums of (anonymous, untraceable) cash on their person. private organizations don't care about these things. They don't want to know about them because finding out about them does not fulfil any significant portion of their mission. Government OTOH _does_ care about these things, and many other things that private organizations don't care about besides.

  • ||

    You keep assuming that the TSA's methods are going to be the ones used by private security, absent any fucking evidence.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    I will probably die remaining amazed at how mentally-challenged the vast majority of Americans are who take jobs with the federal government and then proceed to become willfully party to the massive citizen harassment scheme called federalized security and law enforcement.

    Bureaucrats have clearly designed a system wherein abject fools can be put to work and their wages skimmed by the various capitalist and governing institutions.

  • Pip||

    Why the fuck cant I post?

  • Paul.||

    That's like those emails I get from my users asking me to fix their email.

  • Pip||

    It only allows a few through.

  • Pip||

    I'll try it with IE instead of Chrome...

  • Paul.||

    The problem I'm having is logging in. Takes about 15 tries.

  • Pip||

    Why do the squirrels hate Alex?

  • Adam330||

    Why do we need screening at all? The risk of terrorism is so infinitesimally small that I'd be quite happy to fly without any screening. Create a small fund through a ticket surcharge to pay for the rare instance of terrorism and be done with it.

  • sarcasmic||

    I agree.

  • John||

    My risk of being murdered is really really small. Yet somehow having a police department capture and convict murderers is still a really good idea.

    Maybe your risk is low because it is really hard to smuggle a bomb on an airplane and thus nuts find some other way to be nuts.

    Regardless of what the truth is, the people who run airlines think otherwise. If you got rid of TSA tomorrow, screening would get better, but it wouldn't go away.

  • Adam330||

    Well it's easy to get a bomb on a train or subway, and you could do similarly large damage, yet no terrorist has done so yet in the US. That makes me think we have far fewer potential terrorist out there than the government seems to assume.

    Your chance of being murdered is hundreds of times higher than your chance of being subject to a terrorist bombing. And having a police department looking for murderers doesn't involving giving up civil liberties.

  • sarcasmic||

    Police do not prevent crime. They investigate it.

    Airport security is supposed to prevent terrorist attacks.

    Definitely a false equivocation (Red Tony fallacy).

  • John||

    So deterrence plays no role? People don't refrain from committing crimes because there is a real risk of being caught and going to jail?

    Jesus did you take stupid pills today?

  • sarcasmic||

    Dig in your heels there Red Tony. I would expect no less.

  • ||

    Again a false equivocation. There is some deterrent effect of being caught and going to jail. But as sarcasmic points out. The purpose of the "police" is to bring those guilty of a crime to justice. Preventing crime doesn't and cannot EVER work without infringing upon the civil liberties of the innocent.

    And preventing crime is the sole purpose of the TSA.

    How about, we just punish the guilty instead of punishing the innocent in the hopes that if we punish the innocent enough, we might prevent people from becoming guilty?

  • Rasilio||

    Um, generally speaking no they don't.

    Typically someone who would be deterred by threat of prosecution would be equally deterred by the shame of being revealed as a criminal to his friends/neighbors.

    People who actually commit crimes tend to fall into 1 of 3 groups...

    They lose control over their mental faculties for a brief moment and commit a crime of passion and the consequences of their actions never occur to them.

    They are narcissistic or sociopathic enough to believe they will not get caught

    They don't believe or know the action in question is a crime.

    In none of these 3 cases is threat of punishment an effective deterrent.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Police do not prevent crime. They investigate it.

    I don't do cocaine precisely because I don't want to get caught. The existence of the law, the police, and the chance I'd get caught absolutely prevent me from doing it.

  • AlmightyJB||

    So if coke were legal you would do it?

  • Randian||

    I'd at least try it, I'll tell you that. I am sufficiently paranoid that I wouldn't even ask around about it right now, though.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Yes, definitely.

    I did it when it was illegal, but I didn't have assets and a family at stake at the time.

  • Scarcity||

    I'd consider giving it a shot, sure. Currently the risk of legal consequences coupled with unknown strength and purity are the main barriers to me trying it.

    Once you understand how terrible alcohol is for you, you either quit drinking or acknowledge that lots of currently-illegal drugs might be preferable in a perfect world.

  • Zeb||

    But they still most likely couldn't prevent you from doing cocaine if you decided you wanted to.

    I don't do cocaine because it is boring and expensive and you have to get it from sketchy people.

  • Randian||

    But they still most likely couldn't prevent you from doing cocaine if you decided you wanted to.

    They are already preventing me from doing cocaine even though I do "want" to give a shot*. That is not that difficult to grok, is it?

    * unless you are going to argue that I must not want it all that badly, but I don't believe in the theory of Automatic Self Interest, or whatever it's called.

  • ||

    It may be a semantic quibble, but I don't believe they are preventing you from doing anything you want to.

    Your fear of them is preventing you. But they are not standing there, forcably preventing you from doing anything you want.

    I don't think we can say that 1) the existence of the police doesn't prevent crime at all, or 2) it does prevent crime.

    Some people, like me, do what they want regardless of the police, and are just careful. Some people choose not to out of fear of the consequences. But the fact that we both exist make it impossible to make an absolute statement on the subject one way or the other.

  • Randian||

    Your fear of them is preventing you. But they are not standing there, forcably preventing you from doing anything you want.

    I don't think we can say that 1) the existence of the police doesn't prevent crime at all, or 2) it does prevent crime.

    Jimbo, if you want to say that, then there really is nothing other than your fear preventing you from refusing to pay your taxes.

    If you are saying that all things are cost-benefit analyses and that in an existentialist sense no one can make me do or refrain from anything, that is strictly true, but that rapidly devolves into meaninglessness and an inability to talk about a person's relationship to the State.

    After all, you should have no objection to wars, taxation, regulations, Obamacare...anything, really, because no one is "standing there, forcibly ensuring compliance with these laws / funding these policies"

  • ||

    I just don't think it pays to make absolute statements about anything regarding human nature, and policing and its effects upon the populace fall into that category.

    Thus, police do not prevent crime, nor do they fail to prevent it. Sometimes it's one, sometimes the other.

    I realize that makes it a meaningless statement, but it's true.

  • ||

    Oh, and I have objections to all of those things on principal, much like my objections to the police. No, a cop isn't standing in my home preventing me from shooting up...but I object to the mere fact that his existence implies that he might have that power.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    It may be a semantic quibble, but I don't believe they are preventing you from doing anything you want to.

    Your fear of them is preventing you. But they are not standing there, forcably preventing you from doing anything you want.

    By that logic, the armed robber isn't preventing you from doing anything you want to, either. Only your fear of getting shot is preventing you. Unless the robber is physically restraining you such that you are physically unable to act, only your fear is preventing you from doing anything.

    That may be true in a particular, hyper-literal philosophical way, but that's not how people usually think of the issue. Hell, a cop driving behind you isn't forcibly preventing you from speeding but it takes a very strained outlook on the situation not to acknowledge that this almost always prevents people from speeding.

  • Pip||

    "Police do not prevent crime. They investigate it."

    Everyone here knows I hate the fucking cops, but there is one thing I hate even more -- That stupid sentence. There are plenty of examples of the police preventing crime.

  • RBS||

    Care to give us some examples?

  • Pip||

    I live in the ghetto. I have called thew cops over people walking down the street looking deeply into every car window. The cops pick them up. That, at least for awhile, prevents them from the smash and grab.

    My violence-pron neighbor is getting verbally abusive to his wife. I call the cops, they come out to their house before he moves through his rage-pattern into the physical violence stage. She don't get beaten bloody, (Ibut she did move to Atlanta to get away from the guy).

    Need I continue?

  • sarcasmic||

    Those are examples of police responding to complaints.

    That's their job.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    I don't do cocaine because of cops and the law. Doesn't that count as prevention?

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't do cocaine because of cops and the law. Doesn't that count as prevention?

    What actions did the police take to prevent that crime from occurring?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    What actions did the police take to prevent that crime from occurring?

    Arresting other people such that I was deterred from risking it myself.

  • Pip||

    Oh fuck you. They stopped the crime of smash and grab and stopped the crime of assault. Again, fuck you. And can I get an agreement that "cunt" would be acceptable here too as in Fuck you cunt?

  • Adam330||

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....ml?hpid=z2

    Of course it appears they shot 9 people in the process, but they did stop the guy. What's a little collateral damage?

  • RBS||

    They didn't really stop the guy from shooting his coworker did they?

  • Adam330||

    In case it wasn't clearly, I was being sarcastic.

  • RBS||

    In case it wasn't clearly, I was being sarcastic.

    Sorry, I've been arguing with Auric Demonocles about the relative fantasy value of QBs vs RBs. My sarcasm detector was apparently damaged in the process.

  • WTF||

    That kind of trigger discipline and target verification is why only cops should be allowed to have guns.

  • Adam330||

    No kidding. They managed to turn the murder of one person into an 11-person shooting spree. After watching that video of the NYPD shooting the crazy guy with the knife a week or so ago, I can't say I'm surprised though.

  • WTF||

    Kelly's Keystone Kops.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    From the AP articel:

    "Kelly said authorities believe police may be responsible for some of the injuries because of the limited capacity of the gunman's weapon."

    Wait, what?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    It was an unmitigated shoot for dunphy-good.

    More training, higher salaries would prevent this!1!111!one!

  • John||

    RBS,

    The threat of going to jail keeps me from smoking pot. It probably keeps me from getting drunk one night and going over and blowing up my neighbor's kid's car that makes an enormous rackets at all hours.

    Do you really think that every time someone refrains from committing a crime it is out of the goodness of their heart?

  • sarcasmic||

    John, those are not examples of police preventing crime. The police did nothing to prevent you from committing a crime.

    I believe what RBS is looking for is where the actual actions of the police, like the actual actions of airport security, prevent crime.

  • John||

    Those are examples of the existence of the police and an effective law enforcement system preventing me from committing crimes. IN the same way, perhaps the fact that it is really hard to get a bomb on an airplane explains why so few bombs end up on airplanes. Who would have thought?

  • sarcasmic||

    IN the same way, perhaps the fact that it is really hard to get a bomb on an airplane explains why so few bombs end up on airplanes.

    Maybe the reason so few bombs end up on airplanes is that not too many people are willing to die in an act of terrorism. Who would have thought?

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    If you're the police - you didn't prevent that crime.

  • ||

    and gun-control laws prevent your neighbors from putting a couple rounds through your heart when they see you making an attempt to destroy their property and endanger lives. So what?

  • Randian||

    I have to say my fear of getting caught has prevented me from doing a few illegal things. For instance: doing 90 mph on the freeway. I'm with John and Pip here.

  • sarcasmic||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C......_Gonzales

    I believe this is a case where someone tried and failed to sue the police because they did not prevent a crime.

    It's not their job.

    Does fear of getting caught prevent people from committing crimes? Absolutely.

    But that happens not by any direct action of the police, but by their existence.

    They don't have to do anything to prevent those crimes, because preventing crime is not their job.

    Their job is to investigate it.

  • Randian||

    They don't have to do anything to prevent those crimes, because preventing crime is not their job.

    Yes, they do. If the police never enforced/investigated the laws, then no one would be afraid of getting caught, because there would no reason to be afraid.

    Example: if the police were notorious for never pulling over speeders no matter what, many, many more people would speed.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    But that happens not by any direct action of the police, but by their existence.

    If the police existed but never acted, I'm thinking deterrence would be about 0.

    What you're arguing is tantamount to saying that the mob didn't cause the 4th witness to refuse to testify by killing the first 3 witnesses but not taking direct action against the 4th.

    I get that you like to say that cops don't prevent crime, but it's really not a tenable position even if they don't prevent every crime or even if it isn't their primary function or even if they don't have a legal duty to do so. By any reasonable definition or measure, cops do prevent at least some crimes.

  • sarcasmic||

    If the police existed but never acted, I'm thinking deterrence would be about 0.

    If they did not investigate crimes that have already occurred (do their job), then yes there would no longer be an incentive to think twice before committing a crime.

    That's not the same as saying that their job is to prevent crime. It's not. Their job is to investigate crime that has already occurred.

  • Randian||

    That's not the same as saying that their job is to prevent crime. It's not. Their job is to investigate crime that has already occurred.

    You originally said the police "do not prevent crime", not that "their job is not to prevent crime". Two different things.

  • sarcasmic||

    Semantic error.

  • Randian||

    Semantic error.

    I know, but it's the root of the whole subthread.

  • sarcasmic||

    My bad. Miscommunication sucks.

  • Pip||

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    That's not the same as saying that their job is to prevent crime.

    That's some John-level goalpost moving, there.

    No one said it was their job, just that it happens in the emanations of the penumbras of their doing their job.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's some John-level goalpost moving, there.

    It's what I meant in the first place. I thought it was implied. Semantic error on my part.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Well, hell, man, then I agree with you.

  • Pip||

    Talk your way out of this one, cunt. A jumper is on the 50th floor of a bank tower. If he jumps, he not only commits the crime of suicide, but possibly manslaughter when he takes out the baby in the buggy on the sidewalk. Cop on the beat sees a bunch of commotion on the ground. People are looking up and pointing at the guy on the roof. The cop goes up on the roof and talks him down, thus preventing a crime and maybe two (or three if the splat could be considered littering).

  • ||

    More likely scenario...

    Cop sees jumper and sprints upstairs knocking bystanders down steps. Cop kicks in door of jumper's neighbor, shoots neighbors dog, cops partner arrests neighbor for obstructing justice. Cop attempts to talk jumper down, but decides to shoot him, when the jumper gets mouthy and doesn't respect his authoritaah. Jumper falls and takes out baby buggy anyway....

    ...cunt!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Your forgot to add something about camera confiscation, but otherwise, nicely done.

  • ||

    Needs 2 apostrophes. Hate not being able to edit.

  • ||

    "If he jumps, he not only commits the crime of suicide, but possibly manslaughter when he takes out the baby in the buggy on the sidewalk. "

    In the US, suicide is no longer a crime, I think. a jumper on a roof is already creating a public disturbance and violating peace ordinances. A police officer wouldn't be responding to the situation if it hadn't already created a disturbance in the first place.

  • ||

    Never stopped me from doing 90.

  • Randian||

    Yes, but it does me, so therefore the police prevent crime.

    At least the one.

  • ||

    Goood sheeep.

  • Randian||

    Whatevs. You have a different cost-benefit analysis in your head than I do. I prefer not to have points on my license and to pay $125 to get to my destination 20 minutes sooner. If my time were way more valuable, I might evaluate that differently.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't drive 90 because around here that would mean driving about 25mph faster than the rest of the traffic. Very unsafe.

    A few times in Mass I've driven 90, only because going 65 would be 25mph slower than the rest of the traffic. Very unsafe.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Never stopped me from doing 90.

    Even when he was driving right behind you?

  • Randian||

    Never stopped me from doing 90.

    Even when he was driving right behind you?

    Excellent retort.

  • ||

    Okay, okay...qualification time... Never stopped me from going 90 when there appeared to be no cops around and I wasn't in the act of being pulled over.

    But perhaps you would argue we need to hire enough cops to follow each of us around at all times?

  • Randian||

    But perhaps you would argue we need to hire enough cops to follow each of us around at all times?

    Please note that a positive observation need not imply a normative prescription.

    In Objectivist terms, my description of this "is" does not mean that I am asking for an "ought"

  • ||

    Seeing as how the SCOTUS has repeatedly ruled that it is NOT a cop's job to protect citizens and prevent crime against them..

  • R C Dean||

    Crime prevention via deterrence is an ancillary or side effect of our justice system.

    It is not, legally or operationally, a prime mission of the police.

  • RBS||

    Analogy fail.

  • Chris Mallory||

    How much time does your police department spend catching and convicting murderers and how much does it spend increasing revenue for the jurisdiction? My safety would not decrease one bit if every law enforcement agent in the nation dropped dead of heart attacks at the same moment. In fact, my safety would probably improve.

  • John||

    Fine lets make murder legal. Lets stop prosecuting it. And see what happens

  • sarcasmic||

    Most people don't commit murder because it is wrong, not because of words written on paper that authorize agents of the state to chase them down.

  • sarcasmic||

    Additionally you can bet that there would be some vigilante justice if murder was not prosecuted by the state.

  • Adam330||

    Although I don't subscribe to the 'police don't prevent crime' line being peddled above, I don't think that murder laws actually prevent much murder. Most people recognize murder as just about the most wrong thing you can do, and don't do it for that reason. There might be a small uptick if it weren't illegal, but I doubt it would be much. Also, if it were legal, then murderers would have to worry about retaliation, would be a pretty strong deterent in many cases.

    I think the police are more likely to prevent other crimes- like drug use- via deterence where many people don't view the activity as morally wrong.

    Terrorism is more similar to murder in that case- a very very small portion of people would commit terrorism, even if TSA/DHS were abolished. Nearly everyone considers is morally abhorrent.

  • sarcasmic||

    Most people who get caught for murder do so because they talked about it to someone who then dropped a dime, or because they're terminally stupid and left a trail behind them.

    Don't give the police too much credit.

  • R C Dean||

    My risk of being murdered is really really small. Yet somehow having a police department capture and convict murderers is still a really good idea.

    To really get this analogy to roll, you need to go from "capture and convict" to "random searches without cause, intrusive questioning without cause, poorly maintained databases of secondclass citizens with diminished rights, and checkpoints scattered throughout the country for enforcement of all of the above."

  • Adam330||

    Precisely. If the choice were between: 1) legalized murder, and 2) the state gets to exercise any and all power to prevent murder, including random searches without cause, intrusive questioning without cause, poorly maintained databases of secondclass citizens with diminished rights, and checkpoints scattered throughout the country for enforcement of all of the above, then I'm going to go with legalized murder.

    Fortunately, that's not actually the choice we face for either murder or for terrorism.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: John,

    My risk of being murdered is really really small. Yet somehow having a police department capture and convict murderers is still a really good idea.


    Uh... no, it is not a good idea.

  • Aresen||

    Well, our plumbing is still better.

    TBS, I would rather NOT have the TSA 'check my plumbing'.

    (I am flying to the US next month and will probably just shut up and take it because, you know, they might decide I am a DANGEROUS FOREIGNER.)

  • Drake||

    I would working on my story about traveling to get my hyper-contagious STD's treated. Care to pat me down?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    If it wouldn't get me kicked off the flight, I'd make up some cock and bull story about going to see a specialized shrink to help me with my explosive rage issues from PTSD...

    "care to exert control over me now, Mr. TSA guy?"

    /gives best 1000 yard stare

  • CampingInYourPark||

    If we get rid of the TSA what is the person whose job it is to point at the empty line at customs and say "go over there" going to do?

  • Tim||

    Resistance is futile.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Not for John it isn't

  • sarcasmic||

    And often fatal.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    STOP RESISTING!?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If the city didn't do garbage collection, somebody else would have to. So we might as well turn it into a government monopoly.

  • sarcasmic||

    Wrong. If the city didn't do garbage collection, the no one else would.

    No one would pay someone to take their trash away. They'd just let it pile up.

    Therefore it must be a monopoly.

  • califernian||

    If there was an airline that conducted NO screenings whatsoever I'd prefer that one. I'd fly it every time and bring my gun and worry about nothing. There is NO need whatsoever for airline security. None. Or, I should say, no reason related to airline security at least. TEAM BE RULED has their own reasons.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    There always will be security screening. I am fine with this as long as the screening is worked out by market demands involving travelers preferences, private airlines, and private airports. There should be no mandatory government screening. Fuck John.

  • Hyperion||

    We have to change the rules for our elected officials. That is the only route to real change and to sustain liberty. If you are going to serve the people as an elected official, you play by certain rules. Rule 1, you use public transportation unless you are driving. Public airlines only, no private jets or charters, for as long as you are serving. And if you vote in favor of war, your ass serves in that campaign, and not at a desk in DC, but in the country where the action is going on. Unless you are disabled, your ass goes on the front lines. Want real change, this is the ticket. Otherwise, all of us who are not politically connected, we are all going to wind up as serfs or slaves of the state, nothing more than that.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm kinda late to this party, but to respond to John's question about what I would do if the TSA was gone and the airlines took over security and started doing similar screening:

    I'd deal with the airlines' screening however my mood struck me. It would be a totally different situation dealing with private security than with the TSA.

    If I tell private security to fuck off, they can't detain me in a holding area for however long they feel like.

    If I tell private security to fuck off, they can't put my name on a list that gets me detained by immigration / border personnel every time I enter or leave the country.

    Having this type of security run by the government directly makes it a police operation. My interactions with police are all of a fundamentally different character than my interactions with paid security.

  • Gray Ghost||

    What is with the fucking squirrels today? This is like the second post in a row they ate.

    Anyway, regarding the NYC shooter, the AP is claiming that: the shooter had an 8+1 capacity pistol, that he shot his victim 5 times, and that one bullet was left in the mag. Even assuming he knew enough to reload the mag after he dropped the slide, that still only leaves 3 shots to wound 9 people. Not impossible, but I think it's a whole lot more likely that the NYPD just sprayed down the area.

    Those guys are giving Egyptian counterterrorists a good name...

  • jj11news||

    I would much rather have a private airline or the individual airport run airplane security instead of the federal government, even if the security measures stayed the same(although I'm pretty sure these dumb ideas would be discarded much faster by a disgruntled public that isn't worried about being seen as a dissenter of the the feds). The big difference between a TSA worker and a private screener is that the private screener does not have legislated IMMUNITY that prohibits you from seeking recourse in a court of law for having your rights violated or being assaulted, etc. No wonder TSA agents are so damn smug and self-righteous in their groping and questioning.

    Abolish the TSA

  • YangFooo||

    The TSA is a JOKE. Biggest WASTE of an agency there is.

    www.Anon-PCs.tk

  • DenverJay||

    I have an even better idea....how about NO SCREENING at all? I mean, come on now, the 9/11 hijackers took control of the planes with BOX CUTTERS for Christ's sake - BOX CUTTERS!
    I don't remember the part of the second amendment that says "unless a person is boarding an airplane"
    If just one person on each of those flights had been packing, it would have ended very differently.
    "Just like a stupid third world jihadist to bring a box cutter to a gun fight"

  • Cdr Lytton||

    No shit. Forget pre-9/11, I'd like to see a return to early 1960's screening. Show up at the last minute, throw a wad of cash at the clerk, go directly to the plane, and have my wife meet me at the gate when I return. As many have observed upthread, 9/11 has been fixed for over 10 years now. It's ridiculous to add more security theatre when it should be moving to even less. But as with financial failures, the government response is to pile on with more whether it's regulations or "security".

    Go hunting in Montana? Bring the rifle in the cabin. You might have to leave it at the front with the garment bags because it won't fit in the overhead.

  • DenverJay||

    "As many have observed upthread, 9/11 has been fixed for over 10 years now. It's ridiculous to add more security theatre when it should be moving to even less. But as with financial failures, the government response is to pile on with more whether it's regulations or "security"."

    Well, of course, that is the nature of government and government workers, to gather more and more power to themselves.

    As much as I loath government lackeys, no sane person is going to say "Oh look, my job is not needed".

    As for the second amendment issues, I am no gun nut, haven't owned a fire arm in over 7 years, but I still savy what others miss: The second amendment is the ultimate check and balance on the power of government.
    Thomas Sowell has some columns discussing the history of the second amendment as it relates to black Americans using firearms to secure their liberty and safety in post civil war America, a great example for how the right to be armed keeps not only hostile civilians, but also government employees in check (not government itself, just the people on the ground, you know, the ones who might be shot for busting in my door at 3 in the AM)

    But try to bring this up in polite conversation; try telling people at a party "We should let everyone carry a gun onto a plane"; see what happens. The sheople are brainwashed and will not listen to reason.

  • Public Citizzen||

    Actually we don't need loaded guns on planes given the vulnerability of several critical flight systems to stray round penetration causing a catastrophic failure.
    That said there is a very old fashioned and highly effective security measure that will achieve a high level of ~real~ security [instead of the kabuki theater we have now], is usable by almost all airline passengers, and would be relatively cheap to install.
    Equip each seat pocket with 2 marlinespikes in addition to the usual barf bag and mandatory safety card.
    The marlinespike is that wooden pin that is seen lining the rails on sailing ships. You know, where they wrapped the ends of the ropes to secure a line, or when used as a convenient "noggin' knocker" for the occasional unruly seaman.
    It is a tool that is usable by almost anyone to subdue an unruly passenger and has the advantage of being a well balanced throwing weapon as well as the obvious use as an up close and personal invitation to stop being a nuisance and inconveniencing all of us by requiring the flight crew to declare an emergency, without the above noted side effects from more energetic chemical propelled projectiles.
    I'm sure a moments consideration will convince you that this is a viable alternative to firearms in this special case situation.

  • Public Citizzen||

    "Vee Haff veys uff magking zhu co-opervate."
    Where have we seen this scene played out before and what color shirts were they wearing?

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