Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Zero Tolerance and TSA Wannabes


Picture credit[1]

Does looking at that picture make you just want to surrender and hand the controls of an airliner to a terrorist?

3 inches long.

Plastic.

No moving parts.

Not even a trigger.

But it is a replica gun, so it was banned from a flight, not by the American TSA (Transportation Security Agency), but by the British security people at Gatwick Airport.

It is true that a replica can be used to hijack a plane, but is anyone going to surrender a plane to an attempted terrorist brandishing a miniature replica?

Would it even be possible to brandish a miniature replica gun?

brandish

verb
[with object]

wave or flourish (something, especially a weapon) as a threat or in anger or excitement[2]

Perhaps the attempted terrorist could threaten people with the miniature replica, but would the greater threat be from violence or laughter?

[youtube]4bCyIAsSid8[/youtube]

When we have people mindlessly enforcing rules just because they are too afraid to think, aren’t these mindless rules gnomes more dangerous than the terrorists they are supposed to be protecting us from?

Mrs Lloyd, 59, who regularly visits Britain to see her mother, said: ‘I took it to the airport still in its wrapping, but they discovered the little gun when it was scanned.

‘It is only about three inches long and there are no moving parts. There isn’t even a trigger.

‘But they wouldn’t let me take it with me. I had it in my hand luggage. I just didn’t think it would cause a problem. They said rules were rules. There was no flexibility or common sense.’[1]

We need to insist that this kind of person, who follows rules without thinking, be prohibited from enforcing any rules.

The stupid may be much more dangerous than the malicious.

She had bought the figure on a visit to the Royal Signals Museum, in Blandford, Dorset.

Museum spokesman Adam Forty said: ‘This is a military museum and takes security very seriously, especially around military installations and airports, but this does seem more than a little excessive. The “firearm” is three inches long and cast out of resin.

‘It’s probably just as well we didn’t sell her a toy tank.’[1]

One odd thing is that this happened a while ago, but coverage just started.

The story appears to have been a long-time in the making.

The National Post of Toronto writes “Ms. Lloyd purchased the figuring during an April, 2009, trip, but the story is making news now because the Royal Signals Museum at Blandford Camp …, where she bought the souvenir, went public with the story after learning about it from Ms. Lloyd this past autumn.[3]

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin

What about those who prohibit responsibility and/or prohibit thinking?

What punishment do they deserve?

What punishment do their willing victims deserve?

Just give us the illusion of safety, but don’t make us think!

Footnotes:

[1] Airport bans toy soldier’s three-inch rifle from plane… because it’s a safety threat
Daily Mail
Last updated at 8:54 PM on 27th January 2011
Article

[2] brandish
Oxford Dictionaries
Definition

[3] Three-inch toy gun sparks security flap at London Gatwick
By Ben Mutzabaugh
USA Today
Posted Jan 28 2011 9:56AM

.

Comments

  1. The conudrum is that the gray zone between an obviously fake gun and an obviously real gun is vast. Do we give enforcers discretion along every point on the continuum between obviously fake and obviously real?

    • Greg,

      The conudrum is that the gray zone between an obviously fake gun and an obviously real gun is vast.

      This can be true of just about anything.

      We keep moving toward less and less permission for people to think. The less we think, the worse we become at thinking.

      If we are going to overcome the innovations in terrorism, which do not include miniature replica weapons, it is going to be by doing a better job of thinking. Discouraging thinking is just plain bad policy.

      Do we give enforcers discretion along every point on the continuum between obviously fake and obviously real?

      How much training does it take to get someone to be able to differentiate among obviously looks real, obviously looks fake, and could easily be mistaken for real.

      If there is any doubt about whether that tiny replica looks real, then the people working in security are not smart enough to work in security.

      Rather than have her mail the tiny replica to her home, they could have had the pilot hold on to it in the cockpit. She would just have to wait for others to get off before she could pick it up.

      Passengers are given utensils during the flight. Even without utensils, a pen is a wonderful weapon that can kill almost as effectively as a knife. I could carry a bunch of pens, in case of breakage, and still be able to kill dozens of people.

      These security rules are not about reality. They are entirely about appearances.

      Even if someone brought a fully loaded handgun on a plane, after 9/11/01, everyone is going to expect that they will die if they do not disarm the bad guy.

      Dead by flying into a building (or being shot down by the military) vs. dead/wounded by fighting back against a guy with a gun.

      9/11 is not happening the same way again, unless the hijacked plane has few/no passengers. The security measures are the equivalent of taking Ativan before a flight. The Ativan does not make the flight any safer. The Ativan has its own complications. The Ativan just makes the person taking it feel better.

      We are addicted to security theater.

      • “This can be true of just about anything.”

        “This can be true of just about anything.” So why fault the screener that lacks the training and freedom from supervisors and systems to use their brain?

        As a frequent flier I can’t agree with you enough about the efficacy of actual screening procedures compared to what might actually work.

        Interestingly airport security screeners are a huge group of public service employees with little entry qualifications given lots of responsibility, little training relative to the actual threats, expected to strictly adhere to protocols, pressured into adversarial relationships with their most frequent customers, and expected not to exercise discretion or judgement. Sound familiar?

        • Greg,

          This can be true of just about anything.

          So why fault the screener that lacks the training and freedom from supervisors and systems to use their brain?

          I thought that this was a decision that was referred to a supervisor for a definitive decision. I don’t blame the grunt. I do blame the people creating these systems that discourage/punish thinking.

          Interestingly airport security screeners are a huge group of public service employees with little entry qualifications given lots of responsibility, little training relative to the actual threats, expected to strictly adhere to protocols, pressured into adversarial relationships with their most frequent customers, and expected not to exercise discretion or judgement. Sound familiar?

          How many guesses do I get?

          Can I buy a vowel?

          Does it rhyme with EMS? 😉

          This is one of the reasons my not obviously EMS-related posts are not really unrelated to EMS.

          By using examples that allow us to see the errors of people outside of EMS for things that are also done in EMS, maybe we develop an awareness of the problems. Maybe. That’s me, the outrageously cheerful optimist. 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chronicles of EMS, EMS Blogs. EMS Blogs said: From #RogueMedic: Zero Tolerance and TSA Wannabes http://bit.ly/icsZA0 #EMS #Blog #EMSBlogs […]