A Lincolnite’s Scuffle with the TSA

October 25, 2007 at 1:40pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Lincolnite Jake Rhymes with Cake had a bit of a run-in with the TSA at Pittsburgh International Airport. I’ll say this first: his comparison of his incident to the movie Rendition is way over-the-top. Let’s be honest, the two situations aren’t even close.

That doesn’t mean Jake’s experience isn’t serious, however. The relatively minor damage to his laptop isn’t the issue. Accidents happen, and it sounds like the guard who dropped his laptop just goofed. But then the guard did not respond properly according to Federal regulations. He should have either told Jake how to file a claim, or he should have directed Jake to the supervisor. The supervisor also responded contrary to Federal regulations. She should have told Jake how to document the damage and whom to contact. Taxpayers are out a few bucks for the damage, Jake goes home satisfied that the problem is in the resolution process (but not happy about the damage), and the guards go on about their day. Problem avoided.

Of course that’s not how events unfolded. If you follow TSA-related stories in the news and around the web, you’ll know that TSA officers are not known for their competence, their consistent adherence to regulations, or their desire to protect civil liberties. (Or, for that matter, their desire or ability to ensure travelers’ security.) Sadly, Jake’s situation is but one of countless similar situations, and it will be quickly forgotten as a result. He may end up being reimbursed for the damage, but that’s beside the point at this juncture. Law enforcement and security personnel have to get these things right the first time. Getting it right only after the victim spends hours forcing the issue is morally equivalent to never having gotten it right at all. In this case, what could have been a complete non-event instead becomes yet another example of TSA officers on a power trip.

Now, to put a local spin on this, my interactions with TSA in Lincoln to date have been, at worst, neutral. Some of the officers have an unnecessarily customer-unfriendly demeanor—I’m not looking for Cold Stone-style singing, but “Good morning” would be nice—but I haven’t experienced anything resembling misconduct. The officers appear to do their job, and they do it relatively efficiently.

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The Comments

Mr. T October 25, 2007 at 5:56pm

Best of luck to Jake in resolving this situation, though given TSA’s track record, I am not optimistic.

Dave K October 25, 2007 at 7:05pm

By the way the story was written, I was sure someone was getting tased before the end of it.  But it looks like nothing more than a bad experience with a federal employee and service (something that shocks me about as much as the Huskers losing to USC). 

Was the TSA employee an idiot? Probably.  Does life go on? Apparently.  Would I buy a t-shirt that said “What were you thinking dropping my laptop, bro”?.  Yes, I would.

jake rhymes with cake October 25, 2007 at 7:43pm

where can i buy that t-shirt? lol.

beerorkid October 26, 2007 at 3:42pm

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