Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The TSA and John Tyner: $10,000 Fine? "That's the old fine"

Before getting into the latest chapter of John Tyner and the TSA's 'zap or be groped' options for air travelers: part of my take on airline security. I'm about as sure as I can be that -
  • Outfits like Al Qaeda and the Taliban haven't decided to stop trying to kill people they don't approve of.
  • Every last passenger, every pilot, and all cabin attendants in the entire United States of America are not equally likely to try smuggling a bomb or some weapon into an airliner.
The first point means that some level of air travel security is needed.

The second point may need some clarification, given assumptions I've run into from time to time. I don't think that everybody who gets onto an airliner is equally likely to be a terrorist. That is not the same as assuming that all Muslims look like they came from the Middle East. Or that all people who look like they came from the Middle East are terrorists. Or that Ron Paul supporters are terrorists. (You can't make this stuff up, folks. (March 23, 2009))

The TSA might do well to check out what Israel does to make commercial air travel in their country safer - unless there's some daft Federal regulation against doing that sort of thing.

John Tyler: He's a Suspicious One, All Right

Here's what brought me back to the TSA's probably-inadvertent encouraging of RV sales and webconferencing. Actually, traveling overland or using webcams is my suggestion. (Apathetic Lemming of the North (November 15, 2010))
"TSA to investigate body scan resister"
SignOnSanDiego.com (November 15, 2010)

"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 agents had told Tyner on Saturday that he could be fined up to $10,000.

" 'That's the old fine,' Aguilar said. 'It has been increased.'..."
I'm pretty sure that the TSA will finally decide how much money they want from Mr. Tyner. I even think that there may be a reasonable excuse for their 'investigation' of the man who put their "pat down" efforts on the Internet.

Mr. Tyner might - possibly - be some kind of spy or something.

No, really: It's (remotely) possible that John Tyner deliberately got in trouble just to undermine America's confidence in the TSA. Or something.

On the other hand, investigating the man who 'made them look bad' reminds me - slightly - of Iran's various official responses to the on-camera shooting of Neda Soltan. (July 1, 2009)

And, much closer to home, what was done to Steven Hatfill and Richard Jewell.

Conspiracy? More Likely Clueless Bureaucrats and/or Uniformed Nitwits

There's hope that the TSA may learn something useful from the John Tyner's jewels caper. They seem to have drummed it into the heads of the folks working with passengers that nipple rings aren't particularly dangerous. (March 27, 2008)

As for the current mess? I've said this before, but it bears repeating: I have some sympathy with anybody in the TSA who's actually trying to keep American air traffic safe. This hypothetical individual is working against:
  • A cultural disinclination to be 'unfair'
    • 'Fair' defined as treating everybody exactly the same way
    • No matter how crazy that is in a given situation
  • Prejudiced louts who made 'fair' rules seem sensible, in decades gone by
  • Terrorists
    • Real terrorists
    • Not some fellow with a cell phone
There's a very real possibility that whoever was working for the TSA in San Diego that day wasn't like the chap with a thing about nipple rings back in 2008. Whoever dealt with John Tyner could be someone who had the unenviable job of carrying out instructions dreamed up by some desk jockey.

Character Assassination: What I Hope Doesn't Happen

My concern right now is that whoever is calling the shots in the TSA will decide that John Tyner made the TSA look bad: and must be destroyed. Unlikely? I hope so.

On the other hand, we may soon be seeing 'leaked' accounts of John Tyner: how he doesn't pay his bills; cheats on his taxes; abuses rabbits; and burned down an orphanage.

'It can't happen here?' It'd be nice if Federal agencies never made mistakes, but we live in a world where really, really stupid, nasty things are done sometimes. (August 6, 2008)

I hope that John Tyner emerges from this with his life and finances intact.

Related posts:In the news:

4 comments:

Brigid said...

The record skipped? "The first point means that means that"

Also, uff da.

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Brigid,

"The record skipped?" Pretty much. Thanks for spotting that.

And, like you said, uff da.

Onmusique.info said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Onmusique.info,

English, please.

Romanian is a fine language - but it's unlikely that a majority of readers here understand it.

Also, I insist that comments relate to the associated posts.

It's nice to know that you write articles - but my interest in music has an at-best negligible significance with reference to the TSA and air travel security.

For this reason, I have deleted your comment.

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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.