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At least it wasn't a nail clipper...
January 26, 2004 5:32 PM   Subscribe

A woman gets a stun gun and a knife past security at LaGuardia and actually alerts authorities after she discovers them in her purse. Anybody feel safer yet? Anybody?
posted by FormlessOne (35 comments total)

 
Anybody feel safer yet? Anybody?

yes, yes i do. thank you for asking
posted by clavdivs at 5:45 PM on January 26, 2004


At least they didn't arrest her this time.
posted by Tenuki at 5:49 PM on January 26, 2004


Arrest? No, she was taken into custody for questioning. No mention of how she was treated.

For that matter, clavdius, glad you feel safer because it's clear that the probulating is keeping this stuff off of commercial airliners. Oh wait, no it doesn't.
posted by shagoth at 5:59 PM on January 26, 2004


Wait wait. Is shagoth related to FormlessOne? Hmm?

In his house in R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu lies posting on MeFi.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:02 PM on January 26, 2004


Shouldn't this post be over at Metatalk in the "airport security" category?
posted by Cyrano at 6:06 PM on January 26, 2004


Shagoth:
She was released without charges.

"She did the right thing by giving up the items voluntarily, and she was never malicious," Bennett said. "We never considered her a threat."


She was taken into custody and let go, in other words. First time that's happened in one of these overblown scares since . . . well, 9/11 near as I can recall.
posted by Ryvar at 6:31 PM on January 26, 2004


Of course, if she were an arab man she probably would have been searched a little closer...maybe?
posted by Durwood at 6:56 PM on January 26, 2004


A friend of mine just got taken to task for bringing a box cutter through security.

It was a complete accident - he uses the damn things for his job and switched out carry-on cases last minute, leaving one in a pocket of the new case.

Despite being an accident and his record being squeaky clean, he's still got a court date for a misdemeanor charge.

Someone with the desire could do as much damage with a ballpoint pen.

The desire to hurt or kill isn't caused by the weapon.
posted by tomierna at 7:05 PM on January 26, 2004


I would damn well bring them to security as soon as I discovered my mistake... What if someone besides me discovered it? I'm sure security wouldn't be as polite.
posted by o2b at 7:23 PM on January 26, 2004


No, the desire to hurt or kill isn't caused by the weapon. The weapon just makes it easier. Sometimes, very easy. This is the entire "Guns don't kill people, people kill people," arguement. But it has to be admitted, a gun makes it far easier and quicker to kill someone than a knife.

I don't want other people to be able to kill me as easily as they could. I want them to have to work for it.
posted by stoneegg21 at 7:25 PM on January 26, 2004


Well, it's heartening that this woman wasn't charged with anything (or, for that matter, incarcerated without charges) for being honest enough to report it. Maybe things are looking up.
posted by hattifattener at 7:31 PM on January 26, 2004


Could've been worse. Could've been a fish.
posted by namespan at 7:37 PM on January 26, 2004


I don't feel safer, shouldn't have to, and don't plan to. I didn't feel unsafe 9/11 either. The people who "they" are protecting us from will still hurt us no matter what we do to prevent it.

I had a friend apprehended for carrying "too much cash" onto a plane. They made him miss his flight because of the questioning. He was going to buy a car in cash, thought he was doing the drdug thing. Ok, not terrorist, but the dea showed up. What a pain.
posted by tomplus2 at 7:42 PM on January 26, 2004


I will feel safer once the pilots are armed. That way if anything happens that annoys me, I can get the gun from the pilots and start firing away. Yee haw!
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:29 PM on January 26, 2004


And here I thought this whole "airport security" problem was fixed when they gave Alton Brown back his omelette pan.

Now
go
wash
your
blogging
hands.

And
get
permalinks.
posted by wendell at 8:38 PM on January 26, 2004


A friend of mine just got taken to task for bringing a box cutter through security.

Tomierna - your friend is a dumbass. Get smarter friends. Glad I could help.
posted by swell at 8:45 PM on January 26, 2004


This reminds me of then I had a had a layover in Washington DC (coming home from Vienna to Atlanta). The lady in front of me accidently left a swiss army knife in her carry-on bag that the security dude found. He was really nice about it, and just confiscated it without making a big deal about it (though I wonder what would happen if she was Arab or some "red-marked" ethnicity). I was the next person, and I had a really nice Habana cigar case. Being metal and cylindrical, it went off in the x-ray and the dude looked for the object...I even saw the damn thing they were looking for on the TV and I knew it was the cigar case. Alas, he only looked through the main pocket and didn't bother to look BELOW the main pouch in the smaller compartments where I had stashed the case.
Long story short: as with many people out there, I coulda' easily stashed something in that cigar case and got away with it.
Shorter story longer: Hate to say it, but if some terrorist wants to do something on a plane, its only a matter of time (then again, as my brother put it: If a plane is highjacked in the US again, you'll see a LOT of pissed of people who all know what happened last time a plane was highjacked over US skies...)
posted by jmd82 at 9:09 PM on January 26, 2004


I think hijacking as it was once done is over. At least for flights into or out of the US. People will swarm hijackers and die on their feet rather than be used as a flying bomb.

As for the security blunders. Hate to say it but people who "forget" to remove weapons should get the third degree. Its a new age, take some responsibility for not being stupid. Just like the densest of the bunch that still make jokes about bombs at security checkpoints. I understand some mistakes but a knife? What? If people do not accept the seriousness of the situation then they should either not fly or kow tow for now.

I get searched each and every time I fly. I'm a white 30 something man, I'm used to it but don't really like it and would actually probably travel by some other means if it were feasible.

Because, in between terrorist security measures, potentially hungover pilots, fatiqued aircraft and good ol' mother nature, flying has gone from fun to suck. We all know its just a matter of time before someone's successful and another plane is brought down or worse. Because, as several have already touched on, the most dangerous weapon of all is the will. And a determined foe will find a way. Even if its years from now.

Thats what sucks about terrorism.
posted by fenriq at 10:00 PM on January 26, 2004


We all know its just a matter of time before someone's successful and another plane is brought down or worse.

so fucking WHAT? it's just a matter of time, no matter what *anyone* does, before another plane falls out of the sky for no apparent reason, before another plane skids off a runway and explodes into flames or undershoots a runway and impales itself on radar or lighting pitons. they always have, and likely always will. christ, you people and your "it's a different world now" crock are nothing but patsies for the scumbags posturing and pretending to solve the problem. you even talk in coded little fear-bites: "the seriousness of the situation", "it's a new age". you don't realize you contradict yourself - " the most dangerous weapon of all is the will. And a determined foe will find a way". on this you are absolutely correct, and no amount of citizen harrassment, dumbass judgement-impaired "security officers" or even the complete absence of knives, boxcutters and sharpened objects of every kind from the face of the planet will prevent it. the entire country seems to have taken leave of its senses.
posted by quonsar at 10:24 PM on January 26, 2004


flying has gone from fun to suck

Actually, flying always sucked, but the illusion of it being fun, safe and easy was a little better pre-9/11, and the lines weren't quite so long. You think it's dangerous now, because some evil terrorist might hijack the plane? It's always been that dangerous, if not more-so before the added "security". It's just that no one ever really thought about it before.
posted by Orb at 10:46 PM on January 26, 2004


"It was an honest but odd mistake," Bennett said. "But it's true that people often don't think about what's in their luggage." By now if you don't think about what's in you luggage you are an idiot.

From namespan's link "no small pets, including fish, were permitted through security.” Since when??? I fly home from LA to Detroit every week and my flight continues on to NYC. There are always 2 or 3 older ladies from NYC with butt ugly dogs in their handbags.

“Anybody feel safer yet? Anybody?” Well yes I do. But not because of the federales, but only because I think most people would rather die fighting than go along with hijackers these days.
posted by arse_hat at 11:09 PM on January 26, 2004


i'm going to take a slice of quonsar's indignant pie and add my own wrathful ice-cream;

i am in my mid thirties. i have been carrying a pocket knife since i was 12 years old, i mean it was one of the first things you got as a boyscout and we were taught to 'always be prepared,' right? In the over 20 years that i have been 'armed' by airline security standards, i have stabbed exactly zero people. i have, however, used my pocket knife (or SAK, or Leatherman, or whatever) to open countless boxes, cut and strip wire, fix my car, and on at least one occasion to cut someone's seatbelt after a car accident.

The knife is one of the first tools that humans ever developed and i say this with no intent towards hyperbole; it has been carried and used daily by ever culture on the planet since the dawn of man.

It infuriates me that one of the most pivotal tools in the development of mankind has been co-opted, and that by carrying one i may somehow me in congress with the Devil himself. God lord, i'm a tool user, what are they going to take next, my fire?

As to the lady in the article, glad they treated her well, but aren't stun guns illegal in New York? i realize they got her in Denver, but still...

[deep breath, /rant over, sorry 'bout that]
posted by quin at 1:23 AM on January 27, 2004


A woman gets a stun gun and a knife past security at LaGuardia and actually alerts authorities after she discovers them in her purse. Anybody feel safer yet? Anybody?

How can one possibly feel safe when there are people walking the streets carrying knives and stun guns as a matter of course?
posted by biffa at 2:32 AM on January 27, 2004


biffa: How can one possibly feel safe when there are people walking the streets carrying knives and stun guns as a matter of course?

Not to single you out in any way, but thank you for making my point.
posted by quin at 2:46 AM on January 27, 2004


what are they going to take next, my fire?

Maybe. There are these limits:

"Up to 2 lighters or 4 books of safety matches are allowed in your carry-on baggage - NOT checked baggage. Disposable lighters and absorbed liquid lighters are allowed in your carry-on baggage. Lighters with unabsorbed liquid fuel are NOT permitted. Strike anywhere matches are NOT permitted."

And since the title tag here mentions nail clippers, remember that nail clippers are now allowed on flights again. The official Yes/No list for items on US flights can be viewed as a PDF file at http://www.tsa.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/Permitted_Prohibited_12_18_2003.pdf
posted by gluechunk at 2:53 AM on January 27, 2004


Anybody feel safer yet? Anybody?

It's getting better, thanks for asking.
posted by magullo at 3:37 AM on January 27, 2004


Could've been worse. Could've been a fish.

Now you can fly and no tropical fish can possibly be pointed at your head.

Wow. It's like a miracle of cloning--a Barney Fife for every airport:

If power corrupts, then petty power corrupts pettily.
posted by y2karl at 3:41 AM on January 27, 2004


Why do they still have duty free? Break a bottle and you have a pretty scary weapon. Unless they've switched to plastic bottles?..
posted by Mossy at 3:52 AM on January 27, 2004


Break a bottle and you have a pretty scary weapon. Unless they've switched to plastic bottles?

They haven't, plus they still serve wine in glass wine bottles which can be drunk from glass glasses on board.
posted by biffa at 4:08 AM on January 27, 2004


Why do they still have duty free? Break a bottle and you have a pretty scary weapon. Unless they've switched to plastic bottles?..

I've been wondering about that myself. Didn't ask it, because I didn't want to end up missing my flight.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 4:08 AM on January 27, 2004


swell,

My friend is most certainly not a dumbass. He flies about 60 days a year, and uses knife-tools every day he is not flying. That simply increases his chances of making a mistake.

I suppose you've never forgotten to take things out of your pockets before you wash your pants? This is the same problem. By the time you get to the security checkpoints, you've already checked the bags you can carry these "weapons" within. In the cases of other tools, like Leatherman or Gerber tools, they just confiscate them, which hurts financially, but for boxcutters - an arguably less vicious weapon than the serrated knife-saw in my Gerber - you get strip searched and an automatic misdemeanor court date?

Asinine.
posted by tomierna at 6:03 AM on January 27, 2004


Eh. I went to a pro football game this past fall and got the most cursory of patdowns by the obviously disinterested "security" staff imaginable. It would have been no trick whatsoever to smuggle in, say, a few grenades.

The people who "they" are protecting us from will still hurt us no matter what we do to prevent it.

You got it, which means it's absolutely pointless to live in terror; but the fearmongering that's going on now virtually ensures this. Which is, of course, politically expedient for those who claim to be most effective in protecting us from things for which there is, in the long run, really no protection.
posted by kgasmart at 7:05 AM on January 27, 2004


God lord, i'm a tool user, what are they going to take next, my fire?

Just be glad they don't want to confiscate your opposable thumb.

[btw, best rant i've read all day.]
posted by ilsa at 9:08 AM on January 27, 2004


It's a sad reflection that this woman, who is absent-minded enough to just forget that she just happened to be carrying lethal weapons around with her to an AIRPORT, gets more slack than pupils in zero-tolerance schools who are expelled for accidentally bringing a dinner knife to school, or for leaving a knife in their car or for any other number of asinine things. It seems paranoia in airports is not as rampant as that of paranoia in the classroom. Whether or not this is a good thing ...
posted by kaemaril at 11:40 AM on January 27, 2004


>>what are they going to take next, my fire?

>Maybe. There are these limits:

>Up to 2 lighters or 4 books of safety matches are allowed...


Not for long, apparently. I'm having a vision where everyone boards a 21st century aircraft only to find the interior replicates the state of the world, 2.25 million years ago. You won't be allowed to bring any anything on board that didn't exist before that time, including clothes(NSFW).
posted by bashos_frog at 5:59 PM on January 28, 2004


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