September 30, 2006

Idiot Stirs Hornets - Seems Surprised at Result [Retired Geezer]
— Ace

I'm guessing that most of the morons who read this blog are upscale kind of trailer trash. I'll make a wild guess and say that a great percentage of you have indoor plumbing and have actually flown on an Airplane. Even with that common denominator, I'm not sure what everyone will think about this article.

"A traveler frustrated with recent changes to airport security procedures found himself detained in Milwaukee after writing a message critical of the TSA's leader on a plastic bag presented for screening.

The only thing I know about the TSA is what I've read on Michelle Malkin; the Air Marshals are now able to wear casual clothes. That's a good thing.
The message, which read "Kip Hawley is an Idiot," resulted in a confrontation with law enforcement, the traveler being told that his right to freedom of speech applied only "out there (pointing past the id checkers) not while in here [the checkpoint]."

Call me crazy but I'm thinking this guy just put himself on the short list for a full cavity search the next time he wants to go byebye in an airplane.
The story, which is detailed in a rapidly-growing thread on a discussion forum catering to frequent flyers, has attracted the interest of the ACLU, an AP reporter, and many others. The incident raises a number of interesting questions and concerns regarding just where our rights end."

It's like the guy who puts a "Don't Kick Me" sign on his back, gets kicked and then whines "But it says DON'T kick me".

From Slashdot.

Posted by: Ace at 05:28 AM | Comments (37)
Post contains 276 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Man, I mention this way back in this thread, and I don't even get a hat-tip?

Tough crowd, tough crowd.  I'll tell you, I don't get any respect.

(nervously pulls up tie)

Posted by: Xoxotl at September 30, 2006 05:57 AM (qUG21)


Funny enough, I agree with the ACLU on this one (words I never thought I'd say).

Saying someone is an idiot is an opinion (even if rude) and no threat to anyone.  "Joking" about having a bomb is the equivalent of shouting "Fire"--it's a serious disruption and danger.

The guy may be childish, but he did have a right to express his opinion.


Posted by: goddessoftheclassroom at September 30, 2006 06:04 AM (42Gwq)

3 As a very frequent flyer, I know that the TSA has ZERO tolerence to these types of jokes. In fact they make announcements in airports now saying that any kind of jokes or harrassment will result in your arrest and if you fly as much as I do, you have learned just to put up with the hassles and take it all in stride. We put up with this crap, because they are trying ensure our safety.

Posted by: Mr Minority at September 30, 2006 06:07 AM (gwfvN)

4 I just recently flew out of Salt Lake City, the screeners I dealt with were great. They had a sense of humor about the whole thing.

Here's a quote from that Frequent Flier thread, that I thought put it into perspective:
Before I came home yesterday I wrote this on my baggie:

"I appreciate you doing your best to support your family by working at a thankless job, the parameters of which you have little control over, in spite of some childish, self-important, publicity seeking morons trying to make it more difficult for you every day."

Took him a while to read it, but he thought it was funny. Have no idea if he had heard of this other thing or not. Told me to have a nice flight.

Posted by: Retired Geezer at September 30, 2006 06:08 AM (IjfHa)


Xoxotl - You were off topic.  That's probably why Geezer felt free to steal your idea.

Posted by: Michael at September 30, 2006 06:17 AM (LPlsm)

6 Don't the screeners have more important things to spend their time on than punishing a guy for his opinion?

This has nothing to do with security.

Posted by: adolfo_velasquez at September 30, 2006 06:17 AM (0/Pew)

7 ^
That whole comment should have been in italics.

Posted by: Retired Geezer at September 30, 2006 06:18 AM (IjfHa)

8 Get on your soapbox somewhere else besides airport security lines, Junior. Just because you have something *important* to say doesn't mean we have to drop everything and listen.

I don't fly much anymore, but when I did, there were plenty of those strutting, self-important frequent flyers types. Who cares how many effing miles you have, dipshit?

Posted by: kevlarchick at September 30, 2006 06:21 AM (otuOL)

9 adolfo_velasquez,
Oh, he has a right to his opinion, but what he pulled was a stunt, and he paid for it. If he really wanted to express his opinion of displeasure of the TSA and Kip Hawley in particular, he should have written a letter to him, not wite "Kip Hawley is an Idiot" on a bag that would be screened. The TSA is like the IRS, there are some people you don't screw with, because if you do, you will find yourself bent a table and some 260 lb guy with fingers like sauages probing your ass. Do they have too much power, probably, but then again, if you do nothing wrong, you won't have to worry about them.

Posted by: Mr Minority at September 30, 2006 06:30 AM (gwfvN)

10 I'm a frequent flyer and I hate those "I'm a frequent flyer" types.  You fly a lot. Big deal, so do I. I hate these arrogant assholes, especially when they try to get something through security that everyone knows is not allowed, then make a stink about how they fly with this item all the time.  Well, not today, sparky, move on.

I go out of my way to go easy on everyone I deal with at the airports, regardless of the situation.  A), it isn't their fault and b) I usually get treated much better than the loudmouths when it's decision time.

Posted by: wiserbud at September 30, 2006 06:40 AM (56ssE)

11 Please retail your detailed recollections of sex with Wonkette here:

Posted by: Dan Collins at September 30, 2006 06:41 AM (pYXRq)

12 Think.

Might be difficult for some, but go ahead, give it a try now.

What would the implications be if TSA people ignored such a comment written on a bag and then this guy turned out to cause trouble on the flight?

I suppose then there'd be another useless Congressional "investigation" purporting to blame the actions of an idiot (or two, or three, etc.) on the folks tasked with protecting others.

Just never blame the real perpetrators, that's not the leftist way.

The right of free speech must be tempered with responsibility or it won't work.

Then again, slander nor libel, as calling someone (who is not an idiot) an idiot in writing actually must be, is not a First Amendment right.

It is more likely a juvenile quest for attention.

He got what he was looking to receive, then.


Posted by: The Machine at September 30, 2006 06:47 AM (L/jMX)

13 I still think that the TSA people wasted time not dealing with real threats so they could go after this guy.

TSA are like cops, firefighters, doctors - they have a duty to perform that keeps people safe. If they are busy hassling customers who are not a threat, then they are derelict of duty and should be replaced with someone mature enough to ignore assholes.

Posted by: adolfo_velasquez at September 30, 2006 06:57 AM (0/Pew)

14 I've got to second goddessoftheclassroom on this one -- I think the ACLU has a winner if this actually happened. Doesn't mean the TSA guys weren't provoked, doesn't mean they might be forgiven for hassling the passenger, but they surely should not have started opining on constitutional law to justify their actions.

Posted by: Michael at September 30, 2006 07:04 AM (LPlsm)

15 This is jes' one more example of why my Scorn n' ContemptTM for the vast majority of the human race.

Posted by: franksalterego at September 30, 2006 07:09 AM (uK0Vd)

16 Everybody here is conveniently dancing around the 800lb gorilla in the room: Is Kip Hawley and idiot or is he not? That's the only issue as far as I see it.

Posted by: Sticky B at September 30, 2006 07:11 AM (Zy5nx)

17 When I saw the title, I thought it was gonna actually be about some idiot wacking a hornets nest with a stick and then sueing his neighbor or something because it was on his property.

I suppose if you want quality news, you have to make it yourself.


Posted by: Entropy at September 30, 2006 07:42 AM (Uh5fR)

18 Pretty sure the douchebags at Boing Boing were encouraging people to to this the other day. And by encourage, I mean, "What a great way to stick it to the man! maybe you shouldn't do this "

Posted by: sockpuppet in training at September 30, 2006 08:34 AM (JQFcC)

19 I am not the biggest fan of the TSA, but they have a job to do and I let them do it. Some are assholes and some are not, you are rolling dice when you think you can get away with crap like that. Smile, say "howdy", don't carry anything that is banned, and you will have no problems. But to pull a stunt like that guy did, you are just asking to yanked out of line. You can have a t-shirt that says "Bush is a Turd" and I don't think you will have a problem, but that dude wrote it on a bag he knew was going to be screened, just to provoke the TSA. And he paid for it. I am not shedding any tears over the dude, he provoked and he got probed.

Posted by: Mr Minority at September 30, 2006 09:08 AM (gwfvN)

20 Little by little, step by step.......

We don't want you to have any rights. If you have rights then you'll challenge us. If you challenge us, we can torture you.

Go get 'em Republiscum, go!!!!

Posted by: civilbehavior at September 30, 2006 09:46 AM (E6P5J)

21 Boo TSA for doing their job and following the law that has been in place since 2001! Yay one-lining nothing substantive lefties!

Fly responsibly...


Posted by: tmi3rd at September 30, 2006 09:57 AM (1oOYY)

22 OT: I was wondering, what do you think the percentage is of conservatives that troll over to the Left side and say crap like:
"When you liberals regain power, you are going to turn our nation into another Soviet Socialist Republic with Hillary Clinton acting as Stalin!!

Go get 'em Demopussies, go!!"

Is it me or does the Left have a high percentage of angry childish basement dwellers that love to comment on the Right side blogs to provote the Rethugs?

I don't know of anybody from this side doing crap like that, do you?

Posted by: Mr Minority at September 30, 2006 10:24 AM (gwfvN)

23 Ya know, if you walk to a cop in the middle of a traffic stop and start ragging on him about the chief of police, you're gonna be kissing the trunk.

Moron got exactly what he was asking for.

Posted by: richard mcenroe at September 30, 2006 11:36 AM (w+ipT)

24 This goes in the category of: Its bold, its funny, but it is not worth it.

Many years ago, while crossing back into the US from Canada, my car slowly arrived at the customs booth. Before I could say anything, a passenger in my back seat ordered two hamburgers and a coke, and "make it snappy."

It was less humorous three hours later as we were reassembling the car.

Posted by: robert at September 30, 2006 11:50 AM (Rb4Qc)

25 You don't tug on Superman's cape,

You don't spit into the wind,

You don't pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger,

and you don't mess around with Jim.

Posted by: robert at September 30, 2006 11:57 AM (Rb4Qc)

26 This is bullshit. This guy has a right to express his opinion, even if he is a dick.

If he were creating a disturbance or interfering with their ability to provide security, it would be different, but writing something on a baggie? Come on.

Posted by: Warden at September 30, 2006 12:08 PM (rZ5uY)

27 Mr. Minority -- Is 100 a high percentage?

Posted by: richard mcenroe at September 30, 2006 12:34 PM (w+ipT)

28 Boo TSA for doing their job and following the law that has been in place since 2001! Yay one-lining nothing substantive lefties!

Were, in this law in place since 2001, does it say a traveler has no right to criticize the institution and its minions? If he had stopped in line and prevented the guards from doing their job by stating that Kowely is an idiot over and over, I could see it as actionable, but this, not so much.

Posted by: Brass at September 30, 2006 12:37 PM (6TLEO)

29 The TSA has a tough, tedious, and thankless job with little room for error. However there are almost no check and balances against any TSA abuse of power, which is the real problem here.

The guys expressed an opinion - not a threat. It would have reasonable to search his bags thoroughly and maybe question about him about the statement on the bag. But the reaction of the TSA oficials seem to be more about showing off their absolute authority and putting the guy back in his place than preventing a threat getting aboard a plane. Granted that the guy was probably looking to provoke some kind of response, this doesn't justify the TSA's response. Part of being a professional is dealing with jerks and idiots reasonably while staying focused on your primary responsibilities. I agree with the poster above that provoking cops and IRS agents is generally a dumb thing to do, but that doesn't make their abuse right. I'm prepared to give the TSA a quite bit of leeway in what they can do, but there have to be known limits. It may take an ACLU lawsuit to set these boundaries.

Posted by: Maetenloch at September 30, 2006 01:26 PM (tC+rZ)

30 If Bush himself should order that this guy be fired, how would the Democrats respond?

Posted by: Steve O at September 30, 2006 02:58 PM (Tbfxo)

31 Many people's heads would explode from internal contradiction. Which, as far as I'm concerned, means Bush should do it; such people are improved by such shocks.

Posted by: jaed at September 30, 2006 04:56 PM (Wz8D0)

We don't want you to have any rights. If you have rights then you'll challenge us. If you challenge us, we can torture you.

Along with rights comes responsibility.  You want to tweak the nose of the system, you should be ready to deal with the consequenses.

Maybe the TSA went over the top here, but look at what they face every day.  One mistake and hundreds of people are at risk.  Do you honestly think their job is simple?  These people have to 100% vigilant at all times and the last thing they need is some joker who wants to play around.

There is a time and a place for this kind of statement.  When dealing with security agents who's job it is to protect you, maybe you should think twice before being a dick.

Posted by: wiserbud at September 30, 2006 06:48 PM (56ssE)

33 It may take an ACLU lawsuit to set these boundaries.

Uh, I've seen them in action. I don't want them setting *my* boundries.

Posted by: Retired Geezer at October 01, 2006 09:39 AM (IjfHa)

34 And lo, the seventh seal was broken, and I agreed with the ACLU.

I'll preface this by saying that the guy clearly did know it would get him into trouble, and it was a stupid stunt. But in proving the point he set out to prove, he threw light on an actual problem (IMHO).

The TSA are being reactive instead of proactive, and it's assinine to just say "Oh, well, it's for *security*; that's all right then." There obviously exists a point where the abuse of extra measures is no longer worth it, and it's worth debating where the line should be drawn. Read the article -- the sheriff (I think) actually equates writing "Kip Hawley is an Idiot" to yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Seriously.

The TSA has other problems, and it's no good when any instrument of the government becomes a "sacred cow" -- "Mustn't criticize the TSA, they may get it wrong every once in a while but you know their job is *hard*, and security is *so important* and how would *you* like to get blown up and...". Critical discussion of any beaurocracy is undeniably vital to its success.

And their policies? Maybe they didn't get the memo, but once somebody has tried a given weapon, they know we're on to them and they try something different. 9-11 happens, and they ban sharp objects? OK, shoe bombs. Scanning my shoes? OK, liquid bombs in drink bottles. Banning liquids? Maybe I'll hide it in my ass. Gonna give everybody a colonoscopy?

We're screening for last month's attacks. I've suggested that their motto should be "TSA: Closing the barn door after the horse has gone since 2001", but nobody has yet made the t-shirts. I'd love to see *that* going through the metal detector.

Check out the entry over at (warning: thar be Moonbats here) for more info.

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