April 2014
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“Kip Hawley is an Idiot” vs. “You can’t write things like that”

I share the frustrations of everyone who goes through security nowadays. Unlike me, however, this guy obviously wanted to cause a ruckus:

“WASHINGTON (CNN) — A Wisconsin man who wrote “Kip Hawley is an Idiot” on a plastic bag containing toiletries said he was detained at an airport security checkpoint for about 25 minutes before authorities concluded the statement was not a threat. Ryan Bird, 31, said he wrote the comment about Hawley — head of the Transportation Security Administration — as a political statement. He said he feels the TSA is imposing unreasonable rules on passengers while ignoring bigger threats.”

This is how it went down:

“Bird, the vice president of a company that manufactures industrial equipment, said the encounter occurred at Milwaukee Airport on Tuesday [at 2:21 p.m], the day the TSA eased restrictions on carry-on liquids, gels and aerosols. Bird entered the airport checkpoint with a see-through resealable bag containing small containers of toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash and hair gel — in keeping with new TSA requirements.

“My level of frustration with the TSA and their idiotic policies has grown over 2 ? years,” he said. “I’m frustrated that poorly trained TSA people can pull random passengers out of line and pat them down like common criminals. The average traveler has no recourse.”

Bird put the marked bag in a plastic tray along with his shoes and cell phone. A TSA screener saw the bag and went to get a supervisor, who grabbed it and asked Bird if it was his. “It was obvious that he was already angry,” Bird said, adding that the screener told him, “You can’t write things like that.”

The supervisor told Bird he had the right to express his opinions “out there” — pointing outside the screening area — but did not have the right “in here,” Bird said.

The supervisor called a sheriff’s deputy, who checked to see if Bird had any warrants for his arrest, Bird said. Bird asked the officer if he was under arrest, and was told that he was being detained, he said. A supervisor said he was going to confiscate the bag, but after Bird refused, he just photographed it, Bird said.

Bird said he filed a complaint about the incident with the TSA.”

I’m sure Kip Hawley will get right on that complaint pronto.

3 comments to “Kip Hawley is an Idiot” vs. “You can’t write things like that”

  • It’s not as if the TSA is a government organization any more special than the Postal Service or the Public Zoo. The self-importance of the average government employee rises from 75%-300% once that employee is given a uniform and a tiny modicum of authority. These percentages can climb higher, depending on the individual employee’s starting self-worth quotient (which, on average, must be pretty low: why else would they have a government job).

    I have an equation that encapsulates this nicely:

    TSA SI=SSW + (U * GOGU) * 1000

    That is, Transportation Security Administration Employee’s Self-Importance equals his Starting Self-Worth plus a Uniform, multiplied by the Governmental Organization’s General Usefulness, multiplied by a thousand.

    It’s science.

  • Morgan

    In Kip’s defense, he’s not in every airport overseeing every single TSA screener and it sounded as if Ryan Bird was looking for trouble and a little publicity.

    The manager was, of course, wrong for denying Bird his free speech, but you would get attitude if you walked into Walmart with a t-shirt that said “Sam Walton is a moron.”

    I travel a lot for my company and I have been in a ton of these TSA lines. I found that most of these people are friendly, but firm when dealing with myself and the people around me. Then again, there are always a few bad apples everywhere.

  • Wal-Mart is a private company, and can do whatever it wants to within its walls, as long as it’s legal. Our tax dollars pay for TSA. Its employees are public servants. It’s been my experience that few of them act like it.

    Yes, there are some nice people at TSA and some not-so-nice. I also travel for business on occasion, and have had mixed results. What I’m not going to do is put a bunch of government timeservers on a pedestal just because they’re nominally in charge of security, which, I might add, has been proved to be a gigantic joke for the past several years now.