Following links by way of the Green Knight, we have the chilling story of a potential terrorist attack, nipped in the bud in the nick of time and ... well, OK, maybe not so much:
This past weekend [Cecilia Beaman] and several other chaperones took 37 middle school students to a Heritage Festival band competition in California. The trip included two days at Disneyland.
During the stay she made sandwiches for the kids and was careful to pack the knives she used to prepare those sandwiches in her checked luggage. She says she even alerted security screeners that the knives were in her checked bags and they told her that was OK.
But Beaman says she couldn't find a third knife. It was a 5 1/2 inch bread knife with a rounded tip and a serrated edge. She thought she might have lost or misplaced it during the trip.
On the trip home, screeners with the Transportation Security Administration at Los Angeles International Airport found it deep in the outside pocket of a carry-on cooler. Beaman apologized and told them it was a mistake.
"You've committed a felony," Beaman says a security screener announced. "And you're considered a terrorist."
Beaman says she was told her name would go on a terrorist watch-list and that she would have to pay a $500 fine.
"I'm a 57-year-old woman who is taking care of 37 kids," she told them. "I'm not gonna commit a terrorist act." Beaman says they took information from her Washington drivers license and confiscated and photographed the knife according to standard operating procedure...
Sure, you might be sympathetic towards poor Ms. Beaman, but rules are rules and you have to enforce them. No exceptions. Well, OK, maybe now and then:
[Republican] Congressman [John] Hostettler faces a charge that could put him behind bars.
Indiana's 8th district representative is in trouble after being detained at the Louisville airport for carrying a loaded gun in his briefcase.
The crime is a misdemeanor but it carries a sentence of up to a year in jail and a $500 fine.
So ... a 5 1/2 inch bread knife is a felony, while a loaded gun is a misdemeanor? How ... quaint.
Screeners caught the gun at a security checkpoint. "It was obvious that they weren't as upset as I was, but you could tell they were uncomfortable. But they did a marvelous job in making sure the airways were secure."
Hostettler says he was detained at the airport for an hour for FBI questioning. His loaded nine mm Glock was confiscated and he was let go.
Before he boarded his flight, the congressman was issued a citation for a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed and deadly weapon.
And how did all this pan out?
The FBI says, to its knowledge, no federal charges were filed which could have carried up to ten years in prison.
The TSA says the congressman received no special treatment because of his status.
Lauren Stover of TSA says, "TSA makes no exceptions to who the person or individual is that's found with a loaded firearm. We do not discriminate against ranks of folks that carry a loaded weapon and every passenger to us is treated the same; and they're given the same level of respect and the same level of processing if they present themselves with a loaded prohibited weapon at a checkpoint."
Continued Stover, "But if he had shown up with, say, a small bread knife, well, holy fucking shit, that would have been different, let me tell you! We don't mess around with stuff like that."
You pretty well know that your society is fucked up beyond redemption when Franz Kafka looks like the most normal person in the room.