Friday, October 22, 2010


"A suitcase full of cockroaches? Why?"

Songbird Smuggling
We've all read stories of the incompetence, oddity, and capricious nature of airport security folks. The TSA does no better job than previous airport security, but they are government-run now; whoever thought having the government run security would result in higher quality needs their head examined. We've read stories of a woman's GI Joe doll being confiscated because it had a plastic 2 inch M-16, anyone who has traveled has waited in line for hours as everything is checked carefully, and we've all heard stories of suspicious looking people get through while grannies are randomly checked.

But there's a funny side to the airport security detail as well. I remember flying home from college only to find my room mate had given me his shuriken collection... in my carry on luggage. I had to throw them all in the trash or not board, for a moment I was afraid I was about to be arrested. I would have been these days.

The New York Daily News ran a piece a while back about strange stuff confiscated at airport security. Here's what Lauren Johnston listed:
  • 7-pound chocolate coated heroin bars
  • a dead cat stuffed with cocaine
  • sword canes
  • shuriken (like me!)
  • a frozen monkey head
  • a suitcase full of cockroaches
  • a chainsaw
  • two live pigeons strapped to a man's ankles
  • a corpse in a wheelchair
  • rare songbirds (strapped to ankles, again)
At the TSA Blog, the readers chimed in with a few more things they had found while working security:
  • 30 lbs of Steak
  • a lawn mower
  • a literal kitchen sink
  • Weed eater
  • Human finger in a jar of formaldehyde
  • a purse full of 30 bic lighters
  • a leaf blower
  • kittens and puppies
  • 3 sea otter heads
  • a severed moose leg (partially decomposed)
  • ice saw
  • 2 gallons of milk
  • a huge quilt rack
  • a knife hidden in a large lotion bottle
  • decaying dead geese
  • gallon of deer urine
  • a hard drive, dismantled and stuffed with bullets
  • bowling ball-sized rocks
And for extra fun, one wrote about a package of live crabs, which fell off the conveyor belt and split open, sending crabs scurrying everywhere.

It isn't that most of these are a security issue, its that they aren't legal to carry on a plane regardless of safety. Some of it is chemical, some of it is convenience for other passengers and some of it is just to keep the plane clean and pleasant to fly in. At least it keeps their job from being too boring.

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