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Transportation Government Idle

TSA Reminds You Not To Travel With Hand Grenades 378

coondoggie writes "Some of the travel recommendations posted on the Transportation Security Administration's blog seem stupefying obvious. This week's, entitled: 'Leave Your Grenades at Home' seemed like a no brainer, but alas. The TSA wrote about grenades in particular: Year to date, the agency's officers have discovered: 43 grenades in carry-on baggage and 40 grenades in checked baggage."
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TSA Reminds You Not To Travel With Hand Grenades

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  • Complete Failure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @07:57PM (#44825015)

    The TSA:

    1) Allows ex convicts to grope your children.
    2) Takes and stores full 3d scanned naked images of you using tech for which the cancer-risk has not been adequately assessed.
    3) Steals valuables from your luggage.
    4) Costs taxpayers a fortune.

    and in return:

    5) Has foiled exactly zero terrorist plots.
    6) Fails to make you safer in any way.

    Just sayin'.

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @08:07PM (#44825085)

    A majority, but not all.

    Of course, once in the air, circumstances may arise where the only way to tell is to see if it will go off. Not many people want to do that.

    Hijacking using bombs, or a threat of a bomb (what's a fake?), was a popular pastime in the 1960s-70s.

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdfl[ ]com ['at.' in gap]> on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @08:10PM (#44825105) Journal

    Actually, they might have foiled a terrorist plot without our ever finding out about it, because if or when a system is working as intended, the tendency is only natural to not notice what it is doing. The lack of any evidence to show that they have foiled any terrorist effort, therefore, is logically insufficient basis to presume that they have not actually possibly done so. You may be right, but since stopping such things is what they are supposed to do, there's no way to be certain, if only by their very presence, that they are not having some impact. (Indeed, technically only definitive ineffectiveness can be shown if or when a terrorist attempt that in hindsight should have been detected by the systems in place occurs).

    You'll get no argument from me on your other points, however.

  • Re:What about (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @08:14PM (#44825151)
    Anything below 40 watts should be fine.
  • by cavreader ( 1903280 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @08:24PM (#44825229)

    Hijackings were pretty rare in the US at the time of 9/11 and the security at the time did make it hard to smuggle in a gun or bomb. Before 9/11 I never heard of case where a gun was successfully smuggled onto a plane in the US. The hijackers on the planes on 9/11 bluffed everyone with threats of a bomb and box cutters for weapons. If this same scenario happened today the first people who stood up and announced they have a bomb and brandish a little knife would most likely get the ever living shit kicked out of them by the passengers. It was passengers who subdued the guy with underwear bomb. The guy who tried to light his shoes on fire to set off an explosion was also subdued by the passengers. Sure some passengers could get injured or even killed in the fight but that's still a whole lot better than killing everyone by crashing the plane.

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@carpanet.PERIODnet minus punct> on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @08:47PM (#44825405) Homepage

    Why not have them? Why have bunny slippers? Since when should people have to justify why they want to have their own personal items?

  • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) <sjc@carpanet.PERIODnet minus punct> on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @09:08PM (#44825525) Homepage

    Because terrorists are so rare that they are not even worth worrying about, and never were.

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @09:12PM (#44825547)
    This is what armored cockpit doors are for. You can detonate a bomb. You cannot take the plane over and fly it into populated areas or buildings. That is 99% of the airplane security we need, because no matter what, if someone wants to get explosives on a plane, they will.
  • by DaHat ( 247651 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @09:17PM (#44825587) Homepage

    It was passengers who subdued the guy with underwear bomb.

    Correct... but only AFTER the detonator failed to ignite the explosive material... but instead ignited his pants and resulted in no boom.

    The guy who tried to light his shoes on fire to set off an explosion was also subdued by the passengers.

    Correct... but only AFTER he was unsuccessful at lighting the fuse.

    In both cases it was not the passengers subduing the attackers which prevented the deaths of those onboard... but instead luck that neither device went off.

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @09:30PM (#44825675) Homepage

    Besides passengers fighting back instead of sitting back and letting a hijacking happen, the only worthwhile security that happened after 9/11 was the locked, reinforced cabin doors. That ensures that the hijackers can't get into the cabin before the passengers take them out. Other than that, pre-9/11 screening (checking for guns, knives, etc) would have been enough. Yes, it let the hijackers through, but the "increased TSA security" has also let through people with weapons.

  • by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @10:34PM (#44826107)
    That is 99% of the airplane security we need, because no matter what, if someone wants to get explosives on a plane, they will.

    Obviously, that is not true. There are thousands of people worldwide who want to get on an explosive on a plane, but have failed. Even the shoe bomber got nowhere.
  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @10:44PM (#44826153)

    You're right -- liquids over 100ml are still not permitted through the checkpoint.

    Can't you just see the hilarity that would ensue if a passenger (or nearly all passengers for extra "Keystone"-factor) urinated into a >100ml container (besides the onboard holding tank) while in-flight, let it be known to the attendants/crew, and video recorded what happens?

    So sick of the security theater. Even a good number of the people who, up till a couple of years ago, have been supportive of the TSA silliness are waking up and becoming ever-more disillusioned, angry, and disgusted. Hopefully enough will finally awake to change things sooner rather than later.

    I say that, instead of putting all those TSA employees out of work, we simply re-task them to a more useful and productive role in society.

    Picking up litter along all public roads, streets, and highways. Hell, have 'em clean alongside passenger railway lines, too. Take away their security toys and give them trash bags, buckets, rakes, & brooms. They wouldn't even need to change the agency initials.

    "Trash and Sanitation Authority"

    Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

    I bet those fleets of nifty huge TSA SUVs and armored vehicles can move a lot of litter!

    I'd even thank them for their hard work in that case, unlike now. At least it would be a respectable and useful job that actually benefits everyone and the environment at the same time it puts low-skilled people in stable jobs. It could also be a way to immensely reduce inmate recidivism rates by transitioning paroled prison inmates through such a job to a non-criminal, employed, and productive life with hope & opportunity.


  • by Imrik ( 148191 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:05PM (#44826291) Homepage

    Because you didn't read the line that immediately follows the one you highlighted.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:06PM (#44826299)

    The 9/11 tragedy became possible for two reasons: easy access to cockpit and expectation that the hijackers will be using hostages for negotiations (as it was before 9/11). However, 9/11 showed to everyone that the 21st century hijackers might not be interested in negotiations. This immediately changed the rules of the game for everyone on board the plane. Now it became safer to fight the hijackers than try to follow orders hoping for a release after negotiations. This is the biggest reason why underwear or shoe bombers failed: passengers took an active role in fighting them and succeeded.

    And yes, armored cockpit doors helped as well. Sad that you can't watch pilots flying anymore though.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday September 11, 2013 @11:26PM (#44826429) Homepage Journal

    Plane hijackings and bombings are so notable because they're so exceedingly rare. I think in the entire history of flight the total number of documented cases is under 100. Worldwide.
    Hyping up a climate of fear over something that's less than a rounding error isn't productive, but I congratulate you on your patriotism.

  • by mdielmann ( 514750 ) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @12:31AM (#44826761) Homepage Journal

    I also think you picked a rather ironic day to make that statement, the anniversary of an attack that killed 3,000 people and did $100,000,000,000 damage to the US economy.

    Every year, ten times more have their lives abruptly cut off from car accidents alone. That means, as of this anniversary, the deaths from the greatest terrorist attack on American soil cost 1% of the lives as the outcome of something people happily (and not-so-happily) do every day, with little or no concern for their safety. If each of these people had $100,000 insurance, we would be about a third of the way to the same economic cost as the terrorist attack, assuming the only burden their death brought was the insurance payout.

    Face it. There are only two reasons you care about this event. First, it's an affront to your (false) sense of security. To assuage that, you do other things to improve your sense of security. The evidence indicates they only return you to that false sense of security. Second, they all died in one small area over a short period of time. Kill each of them, with 9 of their friends each, over the span of a year, and it's just a somewhat upsetting fact of modern living. That's an emotional response with no logical basis on the safety of the average citizen. And yes, that means that a vehicle safety improvement that reduces risk of death by 10% will save more lives than those lost in the Twin towers. Each year. So, which one seems a better use of our resources, and yields a better quality of life?

    Contrary to the myopic view of some people, the point isn't to spread fear, or to get people to live in fear, but rather to take reasonable precautions. Keeping hand grenades off planes is a reasonable precaution.

    Well, I can hardly disagree. So that explains about 70 confiscations per year that the TSA has performed. Now, please explain to my why this applies to nail clippers, but not a nice pen [cross.com] with a reasonably sharp tip and a nice long metal body? Or 3 ounces of fluid? Even breast milk in a baby bottle, accompanied by said baby?

    I'm not saying 9/11 wasn't a tragedy. It certainly was. All the daily activities in my life stopped for about 2 hours, as it did for everyone else in the office where I was working. And I was half a continent and a different country away. And I'm not saying reasonable precautions shouldn't be taken. It's the myriad unreasonable ones I'm frustrated with, and the attitude that there is no such thing as too much intrusion in order to stop the next really big terrorist attack, even though it took about 40 years of hostage takings on planes to get one of this significance. I swear, people won't be happy until airplanes look like they did in The Fifth Element (which was actually a spaceship, but the form factor and purpose was identical).

  • by osu-neko ( 2604 ) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @12:33AM (#44826771)

    If you want to see what a country looks like where it isn't under control, think back a few years to Iraq.

    Picking a country essentially in the midst of a civil war is naturally going to paint an unrealistic picture. If you want a picture of how big a threat terrorism is to the average American air traveler without all the extra security precautions we added after 9/11/2001, look at the average number of deaths per year caused by it up until those additional measures were implemented. If you want to talk about terrorism in general, leave out the "air travelers" part. Even if you just look at the stats for 2001 alone, a banner year for terrorism in the US, it was a less serious cause for concern than a lack of rubber mats in bathrooms. Anything that kills people is something we ought to look at reducing, the question is how do we prioritize our resources to most effectively save the most people without wasting inordinate amounts of money on problems that don't warrant that level of expenditure when more serious problems could use the money more effectively to save more people.

    I'm interested in keeping the incidents of terrorism & hijackings under reasonable control which is a rational goal.

    Good. And the person you're replying to is pointing out that the problem is under reasonable control and always has been. You can cite all the examples of successful attacks you like, the facts are that it all adds up to an actual problem of significantly smaller proportion that a few hundred other potential causes of loss of life or injury that we spend far, far less time and money worrying about today. To pretend otherwise is fear-mongering.

  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @12:52AM (#44826863)

    You go mourn your few thousand. Those of us who try to not let logic override our sense will fight the bigger threats to society,... Please stay the fuck out of our way.

    So, you are one of those people then? Lets test that.

    More people died that day 12 years ago in car crashes than have died in all terrorist attacks within the USA *ever*.

    In the US in 2001 there were 42,196 traffic deaths. Averaging that out it comes to 116 deaths per day. 9/11 killed nearly 3,000 people, so you didn't get that right.

    The TSA has killed more people than the terrorists did by making flying less pleasant so people take the far less-safe option of driving

    It appears that it wasn't the TSA that did it, but people's reaction to the attacks. The law authorizing the TSA to even exist wasn't signed until November 2001 and the excess deaths started earlier. So, it looks like you didn't get that right either.

    Driving Fatalities After 9/11: A Hidden Cost of Terrorism* [cornell.edu]

    We show that the public’s response to terrorist threats can have unintended consequences that rival the attacks themselves in severity. Driving fatalities increased significantly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, events that prompted many travelers to substitute road transportation for safer air transportation. After controlling for time trends, weather, road conditions, and other factors, we find that travelers’ response to 9/11 resulted in 344 driving deaths per month in late 2001. Moreover, while the effect of 9/11 weakened over time, a total of about 2,170 driving deaths may be attributable to the attacks.


    How many people have died as a *direct* result of the US's response to those terrorist attacks, huh?

    US and coalition forces have been responsible for only a minor percentage of civilian deaths in these conflicts. Most of the civilian deaths are a result of terrorist attacks or various forms of internecine warfare, such as the tribal and faction based warfare in Iraq. So, I don't think you've got a good understanding of that either.

    Now, let's look at the damage to the US economy from the 2008 sub-prime mortgage collapse.

    A big part of the sub-prime scandal was a political problem. A string of US presidents and other US politicians tried to use the regulatory power of government to force public and private lenders to make more loans to various poor and minority groups to try to increase home ownership under the theory it would benefit society. Unfortunately that meant forcing the lenders to make loans to people that couldn't pay back the loans, but the lenders didn't have much choice. The government regulators made it clear there would be consequences to the lenders if they didn't make the loans. That resulted in a lot of bad loans which were ultimately going to damage the lenders. Spreading risk is traditional way of managing risk in business. Unfortunately there were enough bad loans they were a big problem. The problem got worse when the loans were bundled and sold as securities. Add to that the craze for house flipping and real estate speculation and even more fuel was added to the fire. It was a huge problem. Although you don't directly state a view, since you are focusing on the bankers so heavily it seems likely to me that you probably don't have this right.

    The terrorists are all dead, and we spent a fuckton more money to go hunt down everybody connected to them.

    Actually no, they aren't all dead. Al Qaida and its affiliates were badly damaged, but they keep trying to rebuild and will be around for a long time to come. The more general problem of Islamic extremism won't be going away soon. The unrest the in the Middle East continues to add fuel to the f

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell