What Does the TSA Have Against Belts?


A recent TSA blog post cites several cases in which the agency's screeners stopped travelers from carrying guns or knives onto airplanes: "the passenger in Boston who had a steak knife in his carry-on bag; the El Paso passenger with a 6 ½-inch hunting knife in his carry-on bag; the LaGuardia Airport passenger who had eight rounds of 9 mm ammunition in his bag; the JFK Airport passenger who had a 6-inch butterfly knife in his bag; and the New Orleans passenger who had a loaded .380 caliber firearm—with a bullet in the chamber—in his carry-on bag." I'm not sure those eight 9mm rounds posed much of a threat, unless the passenger planned to hurl them at people. And as a commenter notes on the TSA blog, there is no indication that any of these passengers intended to harm anyone. But at least guns and knives are weapons (or potential weapons) that theoretically could be used to hijack a plane.

Not so the other contraband listed in the post: a "belt with [a] brass-knuckles buckle," a "cool western belt with bullets decorating the side," a "hand grenade belt buckle," or boots with "shiny bullets and handgun barrel heel." The TSA advises travelers to leave all such items behind to avoid confiscation. But what sort of threat do they actually pose? Brass knuckles themselves are banned from carry-on bags, and I suppose you could remove a set from your belt if you got into a brawl, but they do not seem like a practical weapon for a terrorist. The other articles of clothing feature either replicas, disassembled pieces, or inert versions of the real things that cannot actually be used to shoot anyone or blow anything up. The TSA's list of "prohibited items" includes "realistic replicas of explosives" and "realistic replicas of firearms," presumably to avoid confusion, but how realistic a weapon is a jeweled hand grenade attached to a belt or a gun barrel incorporated into a boot heel? "Here's an idea," says the first comment after the post. "Why doesn't the TSA start firing people who don't pay attention during the training, who don't know things they're supposed to know, and who don't know how to distinguish between a harmless object and a threat?"

Speaking of belts, if you have flown recently you probably noticed that the TSA is now requiring passengers at security checkpoints to remove their belts as well as their shoes. According to Salon aviation columnist Patrick Smith, the reason is that belts, even when they don't set off metal detectors, have been known to interfere with full-body scanners. Naturally, the rule is enforced even for passengers who are not selected for full-body scans and even at checkpoints where there are no scanners. For the sake of consistency. Furthermore, airline pilots such as Smith also have to take off their belts, even though they are entrusted to fly the very airplanes whose hijacking or sabotage the TSA supposedly is trying to prevent. And as Smith discovered, they have to take off their belts even if they opt for a pat-down precisely to avoid having to take off their belts.

Bruce Schneier observes that "European airports have made us remove our belts for years." Yet unlike the TSA, they do not make you take off your shoes. Go figure. Schneier says if you pull out your shirt tail to cover your belt you should be able to walk through with no problem, provided your belt does not set off the metal detector—as the one with the hand-grenade buckle probably would, so it's a good thing you followed the TSA's advice and left it at home. 

[Thanks to Mark Sletten for the tip.]

NEXT: Yet Another Reason Why It's Better for the Super Committee to Fail

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  1. Got my first nudie scan yesterday. I expect the royalty checks to start rolling in any day now.

    1. San Jose airport is doing nudie scans of every passenger. Every passenger. They don’t even bother turning the metal detectors on because no one walks through them.

      My first time through they pulled me over for a special grope. Turns out I left my plastic comb in my pocket, which being plastic showed up on the nudie scan. A four inch plastic comb.

      I think we have reached the point where the people who don’t despise the TSA are the oddballs.

      1. I fly through San Jose fairly regularly (2-5 times a year) and the last time through (mid Sept?) was the first time I saw nudie scanners exclusively. First time I had to affirmatively opt out. The first guy asked me if I realized that I would get a pat down – he seemed a bit confused when I asked if I had to buy anyone dinner or a drink. The actual pat down guy seemed to lose track of what he was doing when he asked why I opted out and I responded that, if you job is to violate your fellow citizens on a daily basis, you should have to get your hands dirty. We’ll see if it goes as smoothly next time as I’ll be flying out of there on Wednesday. I’ll just have to make sure to get there early – at least they have a bar where I can get semi-decent beer since, assuming it does go smoothly, I’ll have some time to kill…

      2. Well then there’s a shitload of oddballs in this country. Seems whenever you read the Comments section of an article discussing stories like this, half the goons there are chiming in that flying is a privilege, we’d change our tune in a hurry if a plane actually did get blown up, we need to be willing to give up some freedom to keep us safe from the evildoers, etc.

        1. Now that Obama’s in charge, those goons are typically leftists.

    2. Still flyin, eh? No wonder we still have the TSA – people refuse to give up flying no matter what they do.

      1. Sorry, not everyone has a spare week to spend crossing the ocean.

        1. “Sorry, not everyone has a spare week to spend crossing the ocean.”

          Because a lifetime of slavery is not worth a week of our time.

          The terrorists won, the National Socialists won, We the People lose again.

          All we need now are mandatory veri-chips, the human equivalent of cattle ear tags.

          We are slaves. Get used to it.

          1. the human equivalent of cattle ear tags.

            You mean, like this?

            1. +100-00-0000

      2. Business.

        I have roughly 300,000 frequent flyer miles rotting in an account that I may never use, because the TSA makes the travel experience so bad.

        1. donate them and you get a write off too

    3. I opted out of the scanner at Midway a couple months ago and the TSA agent pointed out that only the far right lane had the scanner so next time I should just go through a different security line. So what I don’t understand is, if the medal detector sans pat-down is okay for the rest of the airport, why is the pat-down suddenly necessary if I decline the nudie scan?

      1. See that? That critical thinking you’re doing. Just stop it.

    4. Episiarch wins the clusterfuck.

  2. complain about the TSA, even though they depend on government to enforce their precious land enTITLEments, which are after all nothing more than artificial restrictions on the free movements of peoples about the land. This is just a pernicious development of the agricultural city-STATE.
    Officer, am I free to gambol about forest and plane?

    1. +1 for me!

    2. No matter how much I beg for a cavity search, the TSA never gives me one.

      1. You too? Damn, I was feeling a little lonely today, owing to my…well, that’s personal. Suffice it to say that my rectum…

        Again, too personal…

        I’m conflicted. I want to share my innermost secrets with my bestest internet friends, and yet…and yet…

        1. Your desperation is awesome, rectal. Keep on trying. It’s DELICIOUS.

          1. Episiarch wins the clusterfuck.

    3. You can gambol about the plane when the fasten seatbelt sign is off, but I still recommend you remain seated and belted in case of sudden turbulence. Riding negative Gs into the overhead is not good for you.

      1. Of course, in your specific case I also recommend wearing the seatbelt around your neck and drawing it as tightly as possible.

    4. “. . .forest and plane?”

      Heh, kinda funny.

  3. Those are some sexy boots.

    1. I would totally want to fuck any woman who wore those pistol and bullet boots, no matter how she looked, because her ‘tude is totally awesome.

    2. yeah, I wanna party with that girl

      1. You’re assuming that a woman was wearing those boots.

  4. Bruce Schneier

    1. MATT DAMON!

  5. I trust you are being satirical regarding Government Security Drones to utilize sentient thought regarding determination of what may be threat or not.

  6. Yes, it is stupid for the TSA to be going bonkers over those things. But you have to remember that the TSA isn’t about stopping threats, it’s about making people feel safe. Short of explosives or blowtorches capable of cutting the cockpit doors, there really isn’t much you can carry on to endanger a plane with post 9/11.

    Of course, it’s also strange that people can’t make it through a few-hour flight without their locked-and-loaded boots on. People don’t put those on unless they’re trying to make a point.

    1. Of course, it’s also strange that people can’t make it through a few-hour flight without their locked-and-loaded boots on. People don’t put those on unless they’re trying to make a point.

      You’re going about this bass-ackwards. The point isn’t to let the government get away with whatever the hell they want so long as we can “make it through” despite their censorship. The point is that we should able to do whatever the hell we want so long as we don’t harm anyone else, and that includes wearing awesome locked and loaded boots to show off one’s sense of style and support for the 2nd amendment.

      1. protefeed*, this is Tulpa you’re talking to. For him, letting the government get away with anything they want gives him a boner.

        * lawsuit jokes are fun

        1. Thanks for the heads up. I get confused about who is supposedly libertarian here.

          1. who is supposedly libertarian here

            Not Epi. He’s an “anarchist-individualist.” He scoffs at ordinary “libertarians.” Right, Epi?*

            *I await your clever retort.
            Don’t ignore me! Feeeeed me!

            1. +1 protefeed, +.5 me

          1. Fuck it.
            +Infinity. For meeeeee!

            1. Spoofing me, rectal? This is new and pathetic. I get at least +5 for this.

                1. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup!

                    1. Stop spoofing me!


                    2. Episiarch wins the clusterfuck.

        2. Tulpa would make a great supreme court nominee. Writing multipage papers filled with contorted logic and dealing with obscure legalese to provide an ex-post facto justification of government overreach is right up his alley.

      2. The point is that we should able to do whatever the hell we want so long as we don’t harm anyone else, and that includes wearing awesome locked and loaded boots to show off one’s sense of style and support for the 2nd amendment.

        I agree in principle, but to paraphrase Rummy you have to deal with the airport security regime you actually have, not the one you should have.

        If one of your kids asked advice on whether they should wear such a boot to the security checkpoint, I sure as hell hope you’d say they shouldn’t. Not because they don’t have a right, but because it’s dangerous for them.

        I mean, I have a constitutional right to walk down the street in Harlem at 3 AM screaming “FUCKING NIGGERS!” but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    2. TSA isn’t about stopping threats, it’s about making people feel safe.

      God you are such a bootlicker.

      The TSA exists to control people’s behavior, provide wads of cash to selected government contractors, and give jobs to people that wouldn’t last 20 minutes working a register at McDonalds.

      “Making people feel safe” my ass.

      1. Actually that sentence you quoted was intended as a criticism of TSA, which I thought my explanation of why the stuff they do has nothing to do with actual safety made plain.

        And please note that until the groping / rapiscan fiasco came up, most people supported the TSA because they thought it made them more safe. Is that opinion stupid? Yes. But it is prevalent and that’s why TSA exists.

    3. TSA isn’t about stopping threats, it’s about making people feel safe

      I disagree. Its about the government asserting its dominance over the populace, showing it Means Business In The War On Terror. You Better Not Get In Our Way.

      1. Plus what Bingo said. It is all of these things. True safety really takes a back seat, as every actual threat was caught by passengers. The government would never have missed an opportunity to boast about Titty Scratching Assholes stopping a threat if it had ever done so.

  7. Of course, it’s also strange that people can’t make it through a few-hour flight without their locked-and-loaded boots on.

    Perhaps the boots don’t fit in their luggage, or they don’t want them stolen by the TSA goons who search luggage?

    People don’t put those on unless they’re trying to make a point.

    Such as “I think these boots are really cool”.

    Seriously, T, if you’re saying the TSA should be able to bar perfectly harmless bits of clothing, or even that such clothing is anyone else’s business, you really have gone over the edge.

    1. I’m saying everybody involved is stupid, the TSA for freaking over these things and the wearers for wearing them when it’s obvious the TSA is going to freak.

      1. So you’re saying it’s stupid to very loudly and publicly dissent to the TSA taking away our freedom?

        I say the more people fucking with the TSA and pushing the envelope as hard as they can, the better off we all are. The revolution to restore some semblance of a minarchy ought to start at a TSA checkpoint. But, perhaps you are into the submission to BDSM thing, and that’s why you discourage people challenging authoritarianism.

        1. Tulpa likes to play this game where he assumes that any and all government action surely has a rational, logical reason behind it. He will then go to massive lengths to rationalize government abuses. Only after he has failed to rationalize a government abuse does he deem it a bad thing.

          1. The Tulpa in your head is a truly hoary and disgusting creature.

          2. Tulpa likes to play this game where he assumes that any and all government action surely has a rational, logical reason behind it.

            Tulpa|11.11.11 @ 2:07PM|#

            I’m saying everybody involved is stupid, the TSA for freaking over these things

          3. It does have a reason..It’s called conditioning,getting you use to them being able to whatever they wish,regardless of laws or the so called constitution

        2. Yeah, things probably wont change unless everyone in the security line is planning on fucking with the TSA. Unfortunately, most people are OK with keeping their heads down and doing as they are told. A lot of them even think that all of this crap actually makes them safer.

          1. You think the TSA gives a shit if everybody misses their flight?

        3. There’s no evidence these people were bringing these items to the airport as a form of dissent or protest or whatever. If they were, it was an utter failure because no one heard about it except through TSA. So stop wrapping their stupidity in the first amendment.

      2. “the wearers for wearing them when it’s obvious the TSA is going to freak.”

        So the same logic as being stupid enough to open carry in a state where open carry is legal, because you should know the police are going to freak.

        Got it.

        1. Uh…yes? How is that bad advice?

          I did see someone with a rifle slung over his shoulder in the African Carry position walking down Forbes Ave a few weeks ago. I salute standing up for the 2nd amendment, and work for more gun-friendly laws myself, but he’s crazy. That’s not advancing the cause of gun rights at all.

          1. Like how gay pride parades don’t advance the cause of gay rights?

            Oh, remember all those uppity Negroes marching a few years back. What morons. What could that have possibly accomplished?

  8. I had to remove my belt for a pat-down last month. I think it was so they could check my waistband.

    I did notice signs with cartoon TSA agents telling the “good news” that kids don’t have to remove their shoes anymore. Very creepy, and I had a hard time containing the sarcasm.

    1. Yeah, I noticed those.

      The level of arbitrary stupidity is breathtaking.

      (1) Shoes worn by a 12 year old kid are harmless. Shoes worn by a 13 year old kid are a Threat to National Security.

      (2) E-readers are harmless. Netbooks are a Threat to National Security.

      (3) 4 three ounce bottles of liquid are harmless. Three 4 ounce bottles of liquid are a Threat to National Security.

      Et fucking cetera.

      1. I usually fly United but I picked up an American connection at LAX about a year ago. The checkpoint at that particular terminal had a sign specifically saying that netbooks no longer had to be pulled out of luggage. I’ve never seen that policy anywhere else since.

        I’d also like to pile on to the short-sightedness of the liquid policy. Anyone ever notice that the rejected liquids go right in the trash next to the screeners? Are we really to believe that we’re dealing with potential explosives here?

        1. Noted, X. I was going from memory. That actually makes it worse:

          (2) E-readers Netbooks are harmless. Netbooks Laptops are a Threat to National Security.

          1. No no, my point was more that for that one checkpoint that one time, apparently netbooks were OK. The policy seems to be completely incoherent. Now, I’m in a profession that deals peripherally with security and I understand that randomly implementing extra measures is a valid approach since it can – in theory – keep the enemy guessing. But randomly loosening your security measures?

    2. Same reaction when they handed out Jr. TSA screener stickers to my kid.

  9. Can someone explain to me why Bruce Schneier isn’t currently employed by Washington to bring some goddam sense to the TSA?


    A short history of airport security: We screen for guns and bombs, so the terrorists use box cutters. We confiscate box cutters and corkscrews, so they put explosives in their sneakers. We screen footwear, so they try to use liquids. We confiscate liquids, so they put PETN bombs in their underwear. We roll out full-body scanners, even though they wouldn’t have caught the Underwear Bomber, so they put a bomb in a printer cartridge. We ban printer cartridges over 16 ounces ? the level of magical thinking here is amazing ? and they’re going to do something else.

    This is a stupid game, and we should stop playing it.

    I would praise the Obama admin to the heavens if they made a move as sensible as this.

    I know, it makes too much sense.


    2. currently employed by Washington to bring some goddam sense to the TSA?

      That’s never been a mission of government at any level.

  10. Thank you for this timely and unusual information about the TSA.

  11. In a Post-911 World?, you can’t be Too Safe?. Therefore, anything that the TSA asks of us is worth it. Because, unlike all of you Libertardians, I don’t want to die at the hands of Teh Evul Tourists because of some “principle”.

    I’m pragmatic. There’s a reason that the Bible says, “Better safe than sorry.” I believe that, myself.


    1. I’m assuming this is sarcasm.

      If so, +1776.

    2. Tourrorism. Tourrorists.

      1. You’re not far from Disney World, you should know what happens when we let the tourrorists win. They walk around wearing fanny packs, taking pictures, wearing Mickey Mouse ears… *shudders*

        1. Disney is the ideal society planned by our tourrorist enemies.

            1. And beyond!

              1. There is no “beyond” past Infinity!

                1. Maybe kinnath’s infinity is bigger than yours?

                  1. Can rectal spoof me an infinity of times, though? Signs point to yes.

                    1. I think I’d get bored somewhere short of infinity, myself.

                    2. Yes, but you’re not a schizophrenic. The voices make her hang out here or something.

                    3. If I were crazy, I’d go hang out with the Stupefy crowd.

                    4. Are you busy tonight?

                    5. Episiarch wins the clusterfuck.

    3. Or even morons…

  12. When I fly, nothing beats the bedazzled pleather banana hammock.
    Really makes those TSA guys nervous.

  13. At any rate, thanks for linking to Patrick Smith who has consistently and passionately written about the stupidity of the TSA. He’s about the only worthwhile writer left at Salon.

  14. Grenade Belt Buckle > Tebow

    1. Grenade shoved up bunghole>Tebow

  15. Oh sweet Jebus I want those boots!

    1. I would be powerless against any woman in those boots. Those things are dangerous.

      1. I have some boots that have been fondly dubbed “the whore boots.” I honestly had no idea. I just thought they were cute. Didn’t mind that reaction one bit, however. No bullet embellishments, though.

        1. Women wearing fuck-me boots have gotten me into so much trouble in my life. Completely worth it.

          1. More women need to wear boots such as these so I can get myself into worthwhile trouble.

        2. Adult women. I want to make that perfectly clear.

          1. This is a strange thing to spoof me over, rectal. Jealous?

            1. Of course she’s jealous. People like you and everyone hates her.

              1. I know!
                But it’s lonely at the top.

                1. I know!
                  For both of us!

                  1. Stop spoofing me, you sand-in-vagina cunt!


                    1. Wait…was that real Epi or fake Epi?

                      +1 for me!

                    2. That’s +30 for me. Awesome. Beat that, Banjos!

                    3. Another +10 for me.

                    4. Warty for +1001

  16. My only question is where has Jacob been for the past (at least) five years. I’ve had to remove my belt when I fly (which I do at least three or four times a year) since I don’t remember when. This is nothing new. Stupid. But not new.
    Schneier occasionally interacts with the TSA, but it does him (and us) no good whatsoever. After all, he actually understands some basic principles of security, and I’ve learned an enormous amount from him. Unlike the TSA, who blindly follow procedures that make no sense whatsoever.

    1. I seem to recall that you used to remove your belt so it wouldn’t set off the metal detector.

      Now, I guess its any and all belts.

      1. Yes, having rtfa-ed, I see you’re right. Even non-metallic belts. Something to do with interfering with the scanners.
        Just remembered there was a horror movie called Scanners. Hmmmmm

  17. Off Topic vent.

    I was standing in line at the post office with my kid on my shoulder as I was filling out a form, and the cheery fat lady behind the counter tried to engage my baby in a game of peek a boo. I looked up at her and jabbed my pen her way. ‘Don’t you DARE teach my kid peek-a-boo.’ She stammered shocked that I would have an objection, so I explained, ‘I practically raised my nephew a few years back, and I was stuck in a peek-a-boo playing purgatory for several months. Game sucks, so stop doing that.’

    She told me I was a horrible, horrible man.

    1. You’re not horrible. You’re my hero. Good for you.

      1. Indeed, it would be a better world if all of us were dick-heads in real life.

        1. +1 to Mainer

        2. +1 for you, Mainer.

          1. Mainer did what us virtual dick-heads can only dream about!*

            *If it’s true.**

            **And it must be, ’cause he said so. On the Internets.

              1. That’s already old.
                The internets are cruel.

                1. Hey tarran, is this +1 for me, or +1/2?

                    1. I’ll go ahead and claim +1. Thanks for helping me get back into the game, rectal, you stupid whore.

                    2. rectal, you stupid whore

                      Swing and a miss!
                      Try again. You get two more.

                    3. Your attention, please…
                      Now batting for Warty…Number 0…*

                      *[insert liber-clown du jour here]

                    4. Not cool rectal, you are giving Warty the win.

                    5. Not cool rectal

                      Swing and a miss!
                      Try again. You get two more.

                    6. Thanks Rectal! +1 for Banjos!

                    7. God damn you Banjos!

                    8. While you’re thinking about it, “Banjos,” how about a topical link to a crappy YouTube video?

                      C’mon, it’s Friday afternoon.

                    9. +1 more for Banjos. Sigh.

                    10. I’ll take those! +4 for me!

                    11. I blame “chris.”

                    12. Hell, I’m just waiting for “Warty” and “Banjos” to step back up to the plate.

                    13. Still waiting…

      2. Thanks, Mainer.

        Fuck you Yeah, a.k.a. anonopussy.

        1. Fuck me? Why? Not enough cow bell obedient group-think?

          1. ’cause you are not worth anything else better than a fuck you.

            Seriously, fuck you.

            1. Oh “chris,” I’m obviously worth much more than that, because you keep responding to me! Hug?

              1. +2 for chris

                  1. +4.
                    For meeeee!

                    1. +1 for me and Warty!

                    2. +Infinity for all the dick-heads, public and private, from here to eternity! Duuuuudes!

                    3. I guess that’s +10 for me, +10 for Warty.

                    4. No, sorry.
                      A zero plus a zero equals…
                      Johnny, do we have some nice parting gifts for the zeroes?

    2. Off topic off topic vent:

      My wife was in a grocery store a couple weeks ago and walked by a mother and her 3 y/o sitting in the shopping cart. When the kid saw my wife, she said hello and my wife said hello back. The mom then went into a tirade about how it’s inappropriate for an adult stranger to talk to other people’s kids.

      Damn, I wish I had been there. My wife was so embarrassed she was rendered mute.

      1. Parents are odd birds, and I’m no exception. I don’t mind strangers talking to my kid. Strangers that try to keep off your radar screen are the ones to worry about. Not some random lady who says ‘hey’ to your kid in your presence. That woman was power tripping.

        I could have been a bit more polite, and told her, ‘we’re trying to raise our child in a peek-a-boo free environment and we only encourage games that are wholesomely sound ontologically speaking’, but that’s just not how I roll. Also that was really one of the conditions I placed when I agreed to have the kid. My sister had just moved out when my wife brought up the subject; the first thing I told her, ‘no more peek-a-boo!’

        1. I could not agree more! The other day I was walking down a public street with my adorable three-year-old (who is totally precious) and a random lady got all “power tripping” with her and said, “Hey,” and I said, “Dude! That’s not ontologically wholesome!” And she said, “Whatever,” and I just rolled my eyes at her and hit my 911 speed-dial, just in case. And then the nigger lady at 911 said, “911. What’s your emergency?” and I said, “This is no random missing McNugget emergency like y’all (I actually said “y’all”!) are accustomed to in your municipal ghetto. A stranger spoke to my child!” And she said (condescendingly, IMO), “Ma’am, what is your real emergency?” and I just disconnected her black ass. What is this world coming to?

      2. The opposite happened to me at the Salvation Army store a couple of weeks ago. I was going through the furniture display when a kid came up to me and said hello. I said hello back and his dad came over and started screaming at the kid for talking to strangers.

        He didn’t say a word to me, possibly because I’m sure I look more dangerous and menacing than your wife.

  18. Those Post Office TSA workers are stupid and smelly and they probably didn’t even go to college. Yuck!

    1. God my wife just said the equivalent of this about ten minutes ago.

  19. Has anyone else noticed the uniforms are snappier, with real badges ? Some of them wear black fleece vests to look all SWAT teamy.

    1. yep. but they all have mall-cop physiques.

    2. That’s funny! I’ll bet they used to work in fast food.
      Maybe that’s why they all smell like french fries. Yuck!

      1. You and/or a family member works for the TSA, amaright?

        1. You and/or a family member works leaches and gropes for the TSA, amaright?

          1. Amaright?

        2. You and/or a family member works for the TSA, amaright?

          Wrong! How could I be an elitist and publicly* admit to such shame?


        1. I claim +2

          1. Spoofing me, rectal?
            I claim +3!

            1. I…am not…a spoof!

  20. ALT TEXT: Talk about your well-heeled terrorists.

    Come on, Sullum. Put down the wacky weed and pick up your game.


    just a reflection
    just a glimpse
    just a little reminder
    of all the what abouts
    and all the might have
    could have beens
    another day
    some other way
    but not another reason to continue
    and now you’re one of us
    the wretched

    the hopes and prays
    the better days
    the far aways
    forget it

    it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to
    it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it, did it?
    it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to
    it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it, did it?

    “we’re meeting
    we’re meeting”

    the clouds will part and the sky cracks open
    and god himself will reach his fucking arm
    just to push you down
    just to hold you down
    stuck in this hole with the shit and the piss
    and it’s hard to believe it could come down to this
    back at the beginning

    it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to
    it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it, did it?
    it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to
    but it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to
    it didn’t turn out quite the way that you wanted it

    now you know
    this is what it feels like
    now you know
    this is what it feels like
    now you know
    this is what it feels like
    now you know
    this is what it feels like
    now you know
    this is what it feels like
    now you know
    this is what it feels like
    now you know
    this is what it feels like
    now you know
    this is what it feels like
    now you know
    this is what it feels like (this is what it feels like)
    now you know (now)

    this is what it feels like (you can try to stop it but it keeps on coming)
    (you can try to stop it but it)

    but it keeps on coming
    you can try to stop it
    but it keeps on coming
    you can try to stop it
    but it keeps on coming

    Nine Inch Nails
    The Frail (prelude) & The Wretched

    White Indian mocks your whining about Lockdown Nation. Now you know what it feels like. Now you know. It will intensify.

    1. …(civilization) and tell me how that works out.

    2. Nine Inch Nails – The Frail & The Wretched – NIN|JA Tour – 5.27.09

  22. ….Zombie any day now, and he’ll rapture us into voluntaryist heaven.

    1. …the voluntaryism of a Non-State sociopolitical typology.

      But you have to realize, there is no such thing as the Voluntary City-STATE.

      And incremental freedom within a prison — do we sell cigarettes among the prisoners, or have the warden give them to us — is damn silly when you won’t acknowledge the prison walls.

      1. I’m claiming +6 for me!

        1. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuup!

            1. Fuck you, Warty!
              +Infinity! For meeeee!

              1. +10 for me!

                  1. +12!

                    +12-+12-+12-+12-+12…do I hear +13?

                    1. That wasn’t me, by the way. Rectal’s tactic of embarrassing me, or something, by saying things that I would say anyway is…not so effective.

                    2. I don’t believe you, rectal.
                      For me!

                    3. Rectal, choose either me or Warty to give the win to, but not both, OK? You’re keeping our points neck and neck.

                    4. I claim the win…
                      For Me!

  23. Can someone with squirrel access please drop the banhammer on the shitposting asshole already?

    1. Is it all the same person? He seems to be having an incoherent conversation with himself. And by the looks of it, disagreeing.

    2. It’s not gonna happen, dude. The editors have made it clear that they’re perfectly happy to have assholes shit all over their property .

      1. That’s it, I’m going to start a White House Petition and get some real change on this blog.

      2. It would be nice to at least get an explanation as to why. Honestly I would think they’d be embarrassed at what they let it do to the weekend threads.

        1. …inability to argue any points, and playing childish games, and acting generally middle-schoolish about it.

          Or do you prefer an echo chamber to practice your religio-economic catechism?

          1. +1 for Dagny

          2. playing childish games

            Wait just a minute there, buster.
            Are you saying that The + Game? is “childish”? Childish?

      1. +1 for me

        1. +2!
          For meeeee!

    3. Can someone with squirrel access please drop the banhammer?

      No, and I’ll tell you why. You see, commentary, however insipid, drives revenue. Revenue is what makes this place possible. Without revenue, our ideas don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

      Hope this helps!

  24. there’s a specious assumption in this article.

    bans on stuff like brass knuckles are criticized because such items are seen as “not a practical weapon for a terrorist”

    assuming arguendo they are NOT a practical weapon for a terrorist.

    so fucking what?

    TSA’s only job is not preventing terrorism and.or only preventing weapons on planes that are practical for same.

    you can criticize them (god knows i do) as having bad policy, security theater over effectiveness, invading privacy irrationally, etc.

    but it’s a false assumption that the only weapons/items that should be banned on an airplane are those that are “practical weapons for terrorists”

    sure, they should ban those items, but not ONLY those items

    terrorists are not the only threat, nor are they even the most common threat (or annoyance) on airplanes.

    airlines (and TSA) have all sorts of policies about items that have little or nothign to do with terrorism, but have to do with safety, convenience, etc. of passengers.

    i think brass knuckles SHOULD be banned on airplanes. just like i don’t think people should be allowed to bring on a liter of everclear, pepper spray or any # of items that would be “impractical” for terrorists.

    poor logic from this article. they assume that TSA’s only function is to prevent/deter terrorism and based on this false assumption, criticize them for (and god knows a lot of what TSA does is NOT rational) doing stuff that is otherwise rational.

    1. Dude! We’re playing the “+” game and you’re getting all “specious assumption” on our buttocks! Dude, the real enemy is “rectal!” Dude!

      1. New rule: if rectal spoofs you, you get x10.

        +10 for me!

        1. +11 for me!

          *not really “rectal,” but I plays the game, in keeping with the situation. Who’s got deep-dish pizza and micro-brew?

          1. +1 for me!

            1. Oh yeah? Well…
              +2 for me!

              *not really “rectal,” but I plays the game, in keeping with the situation. Who’s got anal fissures? Epi? C’mon, admit it. We’re all anonymous here.

              1. +3 for me

                1. Oh man, that’s fucking +20 for me. Thank you rectal!

                  1. Fucking awesome!

                    1. Another +1 for me.

                    2. Dude! You’re worth at least a +2!

                    3. You hate this so much, don’t you, rectal, you schizophrenic whore? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

                    4. OK, I apologize for that. It’s Friday afternoon and I’m drunk. It’s what we do in Cleveland…It’s fucking dreary here! The gray, the cold, the gray, the hopelessness…the gray…


                      Nothing to do except masturbate and cry….
                      Masturbate and cry…
                      And commentate on the Commentate Machine!
                      Thank you, Cleveland Public Libary!




                    5. Looks like Warty’s pulling ahead. Damn.

                    6. Oh Epi, I think you should take The Pledge:

                      SugarFree|11.7.11 @ 9:06AM
                      The Pledge

                      I will not respond in any way to rather or any of her other thousand spoof handles in any way (White Indian, et al.) I have never spoofed her handle, and support no one else doing so. Spoofing her gives her cover for her various trolling activities. Let her post her retarded form letters and whining unmolested; she will hoist herself on her own petard as she has always done.

                      The Big Ignore begins today. Please do not feed any of the trolls.

                      Please, Epi. Do not feed me!

                    7. Oh, that’s a spoof! C’mon!
                      Everybody knows I’m the real fake rectal! I can do italics and shit! And bolds! Can the fake “rectal obviously” do bolds and italics? I think not! I call shenanigans! And shit. Dude!

      2. …competitors in the presidential rectal race.

        1. Thus saith the White Indian.

    2. Fuck that. I can bring goddamn screwdrivers and pliers on the plane and they’re gonna bitch about belt buckles? The rules are stupid, internally inconsistent, and make no goddamned sense, dunphy. But hey, keep running with the idea that there’s some logic to it. Cognitive dissonance is a big help in your line of work.

      1. actually, what i am running with is the truism that the bans that TSA enforces are not solely intended to deal with terrorism.

        i am simply correct on this. the article sets up a false premise, so it can knock it down.

        bans on many of these items have nothing to do with terrorism.

        false premise = poor argument hth

  25. Bringing anything looking like ammunition or a weapon through a TSA checkpoint displays either a lack of common sense or a desire to create a confrontation with the halfwits doing the screening. Beyond that, and beyond the usual stupidity of the TSA, fake weapons have been used in hijackings.


    The TSA is staffed, led, and administered by morons. In this, it reflects its progenitors.

    If Mr. Mark was called upon to fix this mess, Mr. Mark (who has taken to referring to himself in the third person in support of Herman Cain’s quest for the Republican nomination) would do the following:

    1. Shift the emphasis away from trying to harden targets such as commercial aviation. Attempts to make targets more difficult to attack are static – they generally don’t change often enough to be unpredictable, so the enemy has the benefit of studying the problem until he comes up with a way of defeating your security measures, and then he can make his attempt at a time and place of his choosing – if the attempt fails, he assesses what happened, makes whatever changes he thinks are required, and he tries again. Rinse and repeat. You can’t stop an adaptive enemy with TSA screeners.

    2. Concentrate more on detecting persons and groups who genuinely intend to carry out terrorist attacks, identifying their key personnel, and disrupting those threats before they ae ready to carryout whatever insanity they’ve come up with.

    3. When a guy walks into a U.S. embassy in Nigeria and tells you that his son might have taken up the popular sport of Islamic terrorism and headed off to Yemen to learn about jihad, Salafist Islam, and how to put a bomb in your shorts, then I’d say his son shouldn’t be allowed on any flights to the U.S. with a one-way ticket and no baggage until we’ve had a chance to sort out just what the hell is going on.

    4. For those passengers who don’t come from third world countries with immediate family members reporting them as potential terrorists to the nearest embassy, I’d say you can all keep your shoes and belts on and we won’t be doing anymore of these pat-downs.

    5. I would shut down the TSA, keep the Air Marshal program, but transfer it to the Department of Justice, and fire everybody else.

    1. Keeps the Air Marshals? They’re the least defensible of the entire TSA theater bunch. They’ve actually killed a person (mentally ill, not a terrorist) they shouldn’t have, and they are a non deterrent. Just do the math. There are how many flights per day, and how many marshals? Even if every single one of them flew every day,(and don’t forget in practice quite a few are going to be on leave, sick, desk duty, in training, on their day off, or somewhere other than an airplane) the probability of one of them being on the flight that gets hijacked is infinitesimal. I say dump that program too, and I’m not even a libertarian.

      1. Since they won’t let civilians fly armed, then I’d like somebody other than the terrorist to have a weapon.

        Also, the person they killed was Rigoberto Alpizar, who was claiming he had a bomb in his hand luggage. He was shot when he refused to comply with orders to get on the ground and instead reached for his bag (which he was claiming contained a bomb).

        So, they shot him.

        No, there wasn’t a bomb, but it appears that confirming the man’s claims before deciding on the use of force was somewhat impractical at the time of the incident. (“Detached reflection…upraised knife…”)

        (I’ve read the Reason article on the incident, which offers only a reference to an editorial, and makes no mention of the statements of the pilots or the results of the state attorney’s office
        investigation. The author was as biased as those he accused of the same.)

        The man who was shot was mentally ill, had not taken his medication. His wife, who accompanied him, decided they would fly regardless of her husband having not taken his medication. She also decided not to inform the crew of the airliner of her husband’s problem before the flight.

        It’s bad that he is dead. Doesn’t make me want to shut down the air marshal program, though.

        I support using deadly force to stop someone who threatens to set off a bomb. I don’t expect air marshals to spend time figuring out if the man screaming about a bomb, refusing orders to get down on the floor, and reaching for his bag might be a kind, gentle, innocent man who is just off his medication. I expect them to stop the man screaming about a bomb from detonating a bomb.

        Too bad there weren’t marshals on four flights on 9/11/2001.

  26. they assume that TSA’s only function is to prevent/deter terrorism

    Uh, what else do they do?

    1. try reading the post. their responsibility is NOT only to prevent/deter terrorism. their responsibility is (generally) airplane security – specifically screening people and objects that people bring on planes.

      again, brass knuckles, pepper spray, a liter of everclear, a bullhorn, a 12 pack of beer and a beer bong, etc. etc. are all items that offer little practical value to TERRORISTS but are certainly items that airlines should restrict people from bringing on in their carry ons and thus TSA should enforce.

      again, it’s use of a logical fallacy. it’s a false premise that the only stuff TSA should be , or is, preventing people from bringing on planes is stuff that is “practical for terorrism” based on the false premise that the TSA is only supposed to prevent stuff that is “practical for terrorism”

      those are false premises.

      preventing stuff that is practical for terorrism is PART of what TSA should be, and is (granted poorly) doing, but not the whole extent of it

      the article sets up false premises, so it can knock them down

      that’s weak kung-fu

      1. ” a 12 pack of beer and a beer bong,”

        Why? If the airline wants to ban outside alcohol to force people to buy theres then thats fine but it has nothing to do with the government. What possible reason is there for TSA to prevent people from bringing beer on a plane?

        1. it has something to do with the govt. because the TSA is acting (in part) as agents of the airlines in enforcing this stuff

          also, the point with the “beer bong” example was there is every reason to ban such a thing since, while some people will use it responsibly, it would be stupid of airlines and TSA to allow people to bring shit like that on a plane. it’s a fucking plane trip where people are supposed to be relatively respectful of their (very close) neighbors, not binge drinking mass quantities, with the attendant risks (vomit, etc.) that accompanies the same

          the point is there are all sorts of things airlines and TSA should be REASONABLY banning on an airplane, all your “fight my right to party” bullshit aside.

          it’s not just about terrorism

          1. What if I want to start a party airline that flies people down for spring break or something? It is none of the TSA’s business and if you think the airline is stupid for allowing it then choose a different airline. There is no REASONABLE explanation for why TSA can ban alcohol. You can get loaded in the airport and loaded on the plane with alcohol you buy after security so it has nothing to do with preventing binge drinking.

          2. the TSA is acting (in part) as agents of the airlines in enforcing this stuff

            It makes me a little queasy that we are talking about using a government agency with some pretty extraordinary enforcement powers (‘cuz of the terrorism) to enforce company policy.

            1. You mean like when Walmart calls the police after you refuse to leave when they asked you to leave because you brought 16 items into the dressing room in contravention of their policy?

      2. again, brass knuckles
        So? If not illegal in the jurisdiction, who fucking cares?

        pepper spray,
        Falls afoul of the pressurized container thing airlines are paranoid about, so put it in your luggage in the unpressurized cargo hold! That’ll work even better!

        a liter of everclear
        The only one of these that makes sense. A liter of any flammable volatile liquid is a bad idea on a plane.

        a bullhorn
        So? Unless some jackhole pulls it out midflight and starts yelling, who fucking cares?

        a 12 pack of beer and a beer bong,
        Again, so what?

        etc. etc. are all items that offer little practical value to TERRORISTS but are certainly items that airlines should restrict people from bringing on in their carry ons and thus TSA should enforce.

        No, there’s really no reason to prohibit most of these things on an airplane. And guess what? Even if Delta does want to prohibit them, the TSA is not in the job of enforcing airline baggage rules, now are they?

        1. Seriously they don’t have cops frisk you going into the movie theatre to see if you’re sneaking in a flask in your pocket.

          1. and the fact that you would analogize a movie theatre, where if you are an asshole, they can respond to that and KICK YOU OUT with an airplane, that – once it takes off – you are stuck with people is entirely indicative of your shoddy level of thinking on this subject

            airplanes are unlike movie theatres in this respect.

            but, fwiw, movie theaters ARE entirely within their rights (if they want to) to have security and.or contracted “off duty employ” LEO’s frisk people entering a movie theatre (check their bags etc. for liquor)

            most don’t, because they see it as bad policy and most people would choose another theater.

            but again, it’s much easier for a theater to BE reactive once a problem starts, since they don’t have to fly back to their point of origin to get rid of an unruly patron

            again, it’s a stupid analogy

            movie theaters are not airplanes

            you fail to recognize the distinctions which are the entirety of why we treat them differently

            1. It’s a perfect analogy because they are both private property managed by a private entity. Your whole argument boils down to “it’s different because it’s a plane.”

              If they want to employ their own security to enforce their own rules fine but it has nothing to do with TSA.

              They shouldn’t have to fly back to the point of origin. Restrain them if they need to and ban the from future flights. How simple is that?

              1. Back when airport security was private, most of these items were still not allowed on planes.

            2. Why are brass knuckles, vodka, and pepper spray more dangerous in an airplane than a crowded theater?

        2. this is the kind of idiocy i expected.


          among other things, TSA *is* responsible for enforcing airline rules about stuff people bring in carryon baggage.

          and it’s also entirely reasonable 🙂 for TSA itself to have policies about (flying is and should be a highly regulated activity) this kind of thing.

          i realize this violates some kind of “fundamental right to party d00d” on an airline that god forbid people can’t bring on a 12 pack and a beer bong, but

          1) they can’t
          2) it’s reasonable that they can’t
          3) it has nothing to do with terrorism

          1. It’s not reasonable just because you say it is. TSA should not be responsible for enforcing airline’s rules. A passenger bringing on something against airline policy is violating a contract and that is all. It should have nothing to do with the TSA.

          2. flying is and should be a highly regulated activity

            Not so much, but since you’re starting with this mindset there’s really no point in continuing. Despite an libertarian inclinations you think you have, at heart you’re still just a jackbooted thug.

            But then we all kind of knew that…

          3. Considering I used to bring back cases of wine in carry-on, pre 9/11—like I was going to trust it in checked luggage!—and no one had a problem with it, I’m going to disagree with your claim that carrying alcohol in the cabin is per se unreasonable.

            I can see the flight crew not letting you imbibe, due to our country’s idiotic dram shop laws and accordant liability, but I don’t see why carrying on non-151 booze is the end of the world.

            And TSA has long ago morphed away from its intended mission. Too bad, as I used to really enjoy flying.

          4. this is the kind of idiocy i expected

            And yet you continue to comment here. Why?

            *why not?

      3. their responsibility is (generally) airplane security – specifically screening people and objects that people bring on planes.

        Yeah, and the reason why the TSA exists today is because of 9/11. They were created as part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, passed by the 107th U.S. Congress, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on November 19, 2001.

        They were created to stop terrorists from bringing bad things on to planes.


        Seriously dunphy, you are a terrible debater.

      4. Sprinkle some “purported”s through there (“their purported responsibility is (generally) airplane security”, that kind of thing) and it will be more accurate.

      5. “again, brass knuckles, pepper spray, a liter of everclear, a bullhorn, a 12 pack of beer and a beer bong, etc. etc. are all items that offer little practical value to TERRORISTS but are certainly items that airlines should restrict people from bringing on in their carry ons and thus TSA should enforce.”

        As long as my beer would fit in the available space for my carry-on and it isn’t going to leak, then what’s the problem?

  27. The TSA’s list of “prohibited items” includes “realistic replicas of explosives”

    I want to do a run of t-shirts with a “Spy-vs-Spy” -style bomb (a bowling ball with a sputtering fuse sticking out of it, for you poor deprived souls who don’t know what is) on the front. Since I decline to fly, I’ll have to let somebody else give it the TSA Official Seal of Disapproval test.

    1. i recall an article in wired years ago about a guy who got a tattoo of a strong encryption algorithm on his shoulder.

      strong encryption under the law (at least at that time) was regulated as a “munition” in regards to international transfer etc.

  28. Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart.

    Justice Robert Jackson, chief U.S. prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials

    1. and as soon as we have uncontrolled search and seizure, get back to me.

      does TSA go to excess in many areas? yes

      do we have uncontrolled search and seizure? no. not even REMOTELY close to true

      this is as much histrionic rubbish as it would be to say “unrestricted unregulated capitalism” is what caused the financial crises, since it’s ludicrous to argue (but some libs do) that our system was REMOTELY UNregulated

      1. You’re doing God’s work here, “dunphy.”

        But God doesn’t exist.


      2. do we have uncontrolled search and seizure?

        In airports, we do.

        And within a certain (absurd) distance of the border.

        Or am I mistaken in thinking that TSA and the Border Patrol can conduct just about any search they want, and seize just about anything they want, without any kind of warrant?

      3. Sorry, you’re wrong.

  29. Eventually these actions become completely unmoored from their original justif’n. Next they’ll have you remove suspenders because suspenders can substitute for belts. They’ll prohibit art supplies because they can be used to make realistic replicas.

    Don’t believe that? Consider the fact that they will arrest you for and confiscate other illegal items that have nothing to do with security — because, after all, they’re in law enforcement and they found them. Similarly for the jurisdictions that want to outlaw vaping because smokeless cigarets can substitute for smoking articles. Or when a substitute is found for a drug that you’re not allowed to have. Or when they wanted to outlaw virtual child porn.

  30. and it’s also entirely reasonable 🙂 for TSA itself to have policies about (flying is and should be a highly regulated activity) this kind of thing.



  31. TSA makes a big deal about finding guns that would have been readily detected by private screeners using the x-ray belts and walk through metal detectors in 1995.

    That security didn’t cost taxpayers a dime, being paid for by teh airlines. So TSA costs us $8 billion a year to do what private screeners did for free without sexually molesting us.

    Had the FBI and CIA not withheld information from the private firms on 9/11 it wouldn’t have happened and they would still be in the airport and we would have saved nearly a $100 billion.

  32. I’ve said it before, and will say it again. These guys are criminals. They are also incompetent. They are also criminally incompetent.

  33. You know that you can’t sue the TSA in a district federal court.The TSA sent a memo to the courts,all actions must go through the Washington D.C appeals court.No jury trials..
    The TSA has gotten jurisdiction over the ..federal courts !

  34. I hope you might have a wonderful day! Quite beneficial report, very well written and quite thought out. I’m hunting forward to reading far more of your posts inside the long term.

  35. A freind of mine sent me this article after I made this petition about the TSA. This petition asks the TSA to send items they confiscate from passengers to the lost and found instead of throwing the passenger’s property away. I’d love to have anyone here sign it as well.

  36. . And also stupidly broad because nudity is victimless

    Says you. I’ve been to that Fremont thing in Seattle. You stand facing the business end of a nude, aging hippie… and you tell me that nudity is victimless.

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