My brother is planning an airtrip in the next few days and had posted an email about packing for his journey. When my sister reminded him about the new security rules, I recalled my own woeful experience along the lines of unreasonable search and seizure just last fall. Here is a shamefully un-American tale of brutality and insensitivity at the hands of an airport security zealot:
I brought some canned pork and beans to Los Angeles back in October, flying out of Baton Rouge right after the new security rules. I did my research on the Internet and checked with the airline clerk at Baton Rouge about permissible foodstuffs before I went up to security, and she assured me I’d have no trouble. And sure enough, I didn’t. Walked right on through and enjoyed my snack during the layover in Dallas.
I repeated the procedure in reverse on my return home, passing my canned goods through LAX (even though they emptied my bag completely of its contents to inspect, but let me put all the stuff back in and go through after they saw the innocuous cans of pork and beans). Again, I enjoyed my “Country-Boy-Cheapskate-Can-Survive” lunch in Dallas on the way home. “Hey,” I thought, “No problem. What a wise consumer and exemplary citizen I am!”
So then a few weeks later flying out of Lafayette on another trip, assuming the pork and beans were OK since they passed the test in Baton Rouge and LAX, I packed a few cans for a snack in Memphis.
But I bet you’ve guessed it already– the Lafayette security yo-yo took me out of the line, ransacked my backpack, and stole my lunch. I wasn’t happy with him, and I guess I behaved in a risky manner b/c I did little to throttle the outrage that erupted within me. I believe I was quite reasonable, but at the same time, I was brazenly frank, especially considering this guy held the power of life and death more or less over me. But I felt a lofty principle was at stake. Besides, the guy had just ripped me off.
I was upset not so much that he was enforcing a rule–I had researched the rule carefully a few weeks earlier before the Los Angeles trip. But the fact that the standard was obviously not uniform from one airport to the next roused every consumer impulse within my bosom. I think the guy realized I had a point when I kept asking him for an explanation (of the inconsistency), because he didn’t arrest me, in spite of the indignant tone and persistence of my protest. The small-minded dude never would directly answer my question as to WHY the same stuff was OK in Baton Rouge and Los Angeles but contraband in Lafayette. He just kept quoting the new liquids regulation like a mechanical idiot.
So that’s my testimony to the perils of airport security and my life’s lone experience with unreasonable search and seizure. Now I know how those German dissidents must have felt in the 1930′s when the Nazi Gestapo came poking around.