"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Making The Suits Look Silly

Muslim TSA Guard Frisks Nun at Detroit Airport

Never make The Suits look ridiculous; it enrages them.  And there is nothing that makes a petty bureaucrat look more ridiculous than politely responding "I don't think so" when he seeks to impose some silly, meaningless but humiliating indignity.  Trust me on this, as one who speaks from personal experience.

John Tyner went to the San Diego airport last week for a flight to South Dakota, where he intended to do a bit of pheasant hunting.  Selected for special screening, John opted out of the high-tech full body scan and, when the pseudo-cop from TSA prepared to pat him down told the fellow, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested."  The short version of what then ensued is that TSA supervisors told him that if he refused to be groped, he'd not be permitted to board his flight.  That was OK with John, who chose instead to leave the airport.  He was polite throughout.  He asked if he was now permitted to leave. And we know he was polite -- if firm -- throughout because he recorded much of the incident.  You can see the recordings for yourself, and review the long version of the story, on his blog.

Having been escorted out of the security area by police, John was then advised (threatened, actually) that he could be subject to various fines and penalties for refusing to be groped. And today we learn that this is not a matter that The Suits at TSA are going to let fade away. When ordinary people do something that embarrasses them and makes them look ridiculous they keep quiet and hope that memories will fade, and everyone will forget how silly they behaved. Not so The Suits, who become enraged and vindictive when you cross them. Now we learn:
The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation targeting John Tyner, the Oceanside man who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan.

Tyner recorded the half-hour long encounter on his cell phone and later posted it to his personal blog, along with an extensive account of the incident. The blog went viral, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers and thousands of comments.

Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, called a news conference at the airport Monday afternoon to announce the probe. He said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.


TSA chief John Pistole was grilled about Tyner’s case Monday on CNN.

“The bottom line is, if somebody doesn’t go through proper security screening, they’re not going to go on the flight,” Pistole said.


According to Aguilar, Tyner is under investigation for leaving the security area without permission. That’s prohibited, among other reasons, to prevent potential terrorists from entering security, gaining information, and leaving.
We have no idea why terrorists, "seeking to gain information" about security procedures would draw attention to themselves by opting out of those security procedures. Nor do we quite grasp how imposing an $11,000 civil fine on such a terrorist scout heightens security. And, by the way, good luck tracking down the scout when it comes time to serve him with the civil complaint.

The only thing accomplished by that threat is to impose a high cost on regular people who would prefer not to be groped today, thank you very much. This is the way The Suits work: submit to their arbitrary power, or risk hugely disproportionate consequences. There is, of course, a certain kind of person who is drawn to such jobs: low self-esteem, mild paranoia, low intelligence, and obsession with rules rather than substance. And we see it daily in the surly DMV clerk, the aggressive state trooper, and the boss who checks your office every morning at 9:00 a.m. sharp.

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