Blood From a Stone: TSA Doesn't Play Gneiss

|

In the Hartford Courant, a rock-lover relives his tragic journey to an annual meeting of the Stone Foundation, an international organization of people "united by their love of stone."

To enhance my speech, I nestled one of my favorite specimens between my underwear and shirts in a carry-on bag because I never check luggage on business trips. My banded chunk of the Hebron Gneiss (pronounced "nice") resembled a broken slice of layer cake composed of licorice and cream cheese.

In retrospect, I suppose I could have put the grapefruit-sized specimen inside my sock, swung it around my head like a mace, charged the cabin and attempted to hijack the flight. This, of course, never occurred to me until the zealous inspector declared my rock a "dual-use" item…

"What, pray tell, is a dual-use item?" I asked. I'm afraid I chucked just a little, causing her to glare, withhold a satisfactory answer and call her supervisor. He hefted my rock, scrutinized it for a moment, and agreed that my specimen was indeed a dual-use item, meaning a potential low-tech weapon..

I thought dual-use referred to anything with potential civilian and military uses. Apparently, it now means anything a toddler can use to clock another kid in the head. Under such a definition of deadly weaponry, man and rock were forever separated. The author mourns:

If rocks had feelings, my beautiful specimen would have been crying as it was hauled away.

Via boingboing.

*Headline courtesy of pun-tastic commenter Matt L.

Advertisement

NEXT: With Partisans Like This...(Self-Hatred Edition)

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I suppose this means that “bombing ’em back to the stone age” won’t win the war on terror.

  2. Meanwhile , at Logan Airport, TSA is cracking down on dual-use crustaceans :

    http://adamant.typepad.com/seitz/travel/index.html

  3. I suppose this means that “bombing ’em back to the stone age” won’t win the war on terror.

  4. Huh. Aren’t there items in the worse-than-a-rock category just sitting on the plane? What on earth am I going to do with a rock? Make it into a sharp-edged tool and dig a tunnel into the cockpit? Threaten to give one flight attendant a nasty headache?

  5. Oh, I see how it is. More caveman discrimination.

  6. He hefted my Cock, scrutinized it for a moment, and agreed that my specimen was indeed a dual-use item, meaning a potential low-tech weapon

    That’s the way I read it at first, and since it IS a dual-use item…

  7. What I’m waiting for is for someone to attempt hijacking plan and using one of those in-flight safety cards as his weapon. Then they’ll have to ban those to keep us safe.

  8. Accepting that a rock can be used as a weapon, woulnd’t it have to have some other purpose to be “dual use”?

  9. What if the rock repels tigers?

    Anyway, for those about to fly with rocks, we salute you.

  10. Does this mean that Chuck Norris can fly, but he must leave his hands and feet behind?

    “Mr. Norris, we’ll be consfiscating your shampoo and conditioner as well. No, you are correct, they are less than the 3 ounce approved size, but without your hands, how could you wash your hair?”

  11. Accepting that a rock can be used as a weapon, woulnd’t it have to have some other purpose to be “dual use”?

    Paper weight?

  12. Yeah, and my ass is a dual use weapon too. Those stupid mofo’s.

  13. The last time I was in Chicago, I bought a Labatt Blue pull for a home kegerator. The TSA folks at O’Hare didn’t mind my taking it on as a carry on.

    Thanks to some weather delays, by the time I got to Dulles, I had missed my connection, and the airline paid for me to have a hotel overnight. When I got in the security line again the next morning, with my keg pull still in my backpack, the TSA screeners at Dulles told me it was a bludgeon that I couldn’t carry on to the plane.

    Then, when they took it from me (I didn’t have enough time to check it), they joked about how they’d be pouring a few beers that night with it. Assholes.

  14. The TSA is making it harder to play rock, paper, scissors.

  15. “Mr. Norris, we’ll be consfiscating your shampoo and conditioner as well. No, you are correct, they are less than the 3 ounce approved size, but without your hands, how could you wash your hair?”

    I am such a super bad-ass that last week I not only brought twelve ounces of hair-cleaning stuff through the TSA checkpoint, but I wrote a blogpost with all the details of how I managed to commit this Federal crime and get away with it. Am I afraid that the TSA will read this and come for me in the night? No, thanks to my aforementioned super-badassery.

    FOUR ounces of shampoo. EIGHT ounces of conditioner. SCREW the rule of three. Anyone interested in learning the fine points of the smuggler’s art should click on my name and get all the gory details.

    I am a super bad-ass with clean, shiny, manageable hair. To hell with the TSA.

  16. Dual use item – anything that has mass and takes up space

  17. Jen,
    I’m sure the idea for my post has it’s roots in reading your blog account of how to carry copious amounts of hair products on to a plane.

    BTW, Have you found a flat chested girl (aka the boob-a-bomber) willing to have silicon breast implants inserted and filled with contraband conditioner for your investigatorial journalism piece?

  18. Russ 200,

    Did they downgrade your software? Or are you just Russ 2000’s quasi-retarded younger brother?

  19. It’s funny…..in the detroit airport you can simply go up to any of the indoor plants and pick up one of thousands of rather hefty fist-sized rocks you could use to go “dual-use”upside someone’s head. In fact, this was brought to my attention by the female flight attendant on my plane who seemed to think it was pretty funny.

  20. Have you found a flat chested girl (aka the boob-a-bomber) willing to have silicon breast implants inserted and filled with contraband conditioner for your investigatorial journalism piece?

    After reading this piece Kerry Howley linked to, I’m more interested in seeing how TSA wouold handle the threat of some stupid testosterone jock with rocks in his head.

  21. What about Cans of Soda on the plane??

    A terrorist might grab them and threaten to throw them at the cockpit door!!!

    Those things can hurt.

  22. Russell,

    But lobsters *are* dual use according to Rosine (the only — I repeat: only — Jerky Boys character that I like).

    “I don’t even eat that shit, I lick that shit. I slap-ded that shit.” Classic!

  23. Suggested alternate headline.

    Blood From a Stone: The TSA Doesn’t Play Gneiss

  24. The week after the Dastardly Shampoo Plot was foiled in Britain, my family flew to Austin from Seattle. I managed to bring a large, heavy bag of shells and rocks collected from the British Columbian shore. The TSA people waved me through. Now, either the TSA had a lucid moment and figured out that taking my four-year-old’s prized shell collection would be FAR worse than the tiny chance someone could use the shells as weapons, or 2. no one noticed.

    I’m going for the second option.

  25. I’ve got a razor clam, and I’m not afraid to use it! – Karen Going Postal On The Plane

    Kevin

  26. the guy who this happened too, r. thorson,
    is my geology professor at the university of connecticut and we all had a big sob-fest in our seminar about how stupid the govt. is, which was wonderfully ironic for me, since all the kids there are liberals, as is the prof., but his story still made me laugh as being so ridiculous. he remarked to us if a geology professor can’t carry a rock, can a doctor carry, say a stethoscope, which u could use to strangel people? the TSA will continue to be a huge f***ing waste of time and resources until it is privatized

  27. Bazil:
    What about cans of soda on the plane?
    That’s an interesting point. In the movie Bad Boys, Sean Penn wraps four or five soda cans in a shirt and uses the improvised weapon to beat the crap out of the two teenage thugs who were hassling him, then he became The Man. Guys in prison make lethal weapons out of the most harmless looking items, I’m sure a determined terrorist could find all kinds of potential weapons on the average commercial flight.

    Jennifer:
    You are, indeed, a bad-ass.

  28. You are, indeed, a bad-ass.

    With clean, shiny, well-conditioned hair. Don’t forget that part.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.