A pilot alerted me to this story. In Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, a loudspeaker announcement includes this threat: …“you are also reminded that any inappropriate remarks or jokes concerning security, may result in your arrest.” I believe I’m correct in saying that those inappropriate remarks might not be a threat to the security of the airport, but simply something, perhaps rude but not illegal, about a particular TSA agent. You know how they joke about how we look? “Sir, you’re unzipped” might get you arrested. “Wow! Where’d you get that red hair and massive freckles?” might get you arrested. Look at this photo. Hubby and I have been patted down numerous times at various airports, but neither of us have ever had such an obvious grope. What happened to the much-touted “back of the hand” grope? But it goes beyond groping. AFTER you have already cleared security, your Starbuck’s or Evian might be checked for explosives (video below) and demands that you “Freeze in Place,” for up to, at least, two minutes, might be part of your airport experience when you least expect it — a definite threat to a last minute run for the bathroom:
IN general, I don’t take orders from anyone except (as a matter of prudence) my wife. So the last time I was in an airport and security agents started bellowing, “Freeze!” I simply carried on with my business of buying a box of chocolates at a pushcart a few dozen feet away from the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint area.
I was immediately upbraided, not by a security officer, but by a fellow passenger. Like dozens of other travelers near the checkpoint, he had abruptly halted in place, on command, as if playing a children’s game.
“You’re supposed to freeze!” the guy growled at me as he stood motionless in the frozen tableau of the reflexively compliant.
But wait a minute: Am I really supposed to freeze? At many airports, T.S.A. officers conduct occasional drills in which the agents suddenly start screaming things like “Code Bravo! Freeze!” The drills, which the T.S.A. tells me happen only once or twice a year at any given airport, are intended to give the officers experience in what happens if there is a security breach. The goal is to train them in how to quickly shut down a checkpoint and, once the potential threat is resolved, get it up and running again in a timely manner.
“These drills are generally conducted during off-peak hours to minimize disruption, and generally last a minute,” said Kristin Lee, a spokeswoman for the agency. The agency conducts a range of security exercises, not all of them in public, to train checkpoint officers, she said.
Understood, I said. But still, am I, a citizen, required to stop motionless when the T.S.A. officers yell “freeze”?
Actually, no. The agency has “wide-ranging legal authority to carry out security-related responsibilities,” Ms Lee said. But in these specific drills, she added, “passengers are not required to ‘freeze’ in place like statues.” But if they are within the checkpoint security area, they may be required to remain there until the drill has ended, she said. Source: Joe Starkey @ The New York Times
The question is, how does a traveler know it’s a drill. If there is a reason for a freeze, as in, ‘hey someone dangerous is here and we need to find him/her, so stay stationary and silent while we get this pinned down,’ that’s one thing. None of us want to thwart that mission. We do not have to freeze, so each and every time, we should be told that the freeze is a drill — every time.
You endure the security check and head for your departure gate but stop to pick up a little snack, maybe a Starbucks, and this happens (second video below):
The TSA has also provoked controversy by implementing other preposterous policies which have a tenuous security justification, most notably a procedure where TSA agents test travelers’ drinks for explosives after they have already passed through security and purchased beverages inside the secure area of the airport. Source: InfoWars
Airport Loudspeaker Informing That Travelers Can Be Arrested for Inappropriate Remarks or Jokes (video)
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