my experiences with TSA and airport security screening

Yesterday afternoon, we endured another inconvenient experience at the hands of these TSA people.  This time it was at the Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona.  Now, I was cool with my carry on bag being searched after it was X-rayed.  The TSA woman showed me the saved image of the scan.  Not surprisingly there was a solid color area a few inches on a side that they could not interpret or identify.  So, she opened my bag and looked through it until she found what I told her she would find.  A wrapped up rock (actually purchased legal petrified wood) that was dense enough to defeat the X-ray scan.  We were lucky that this was not confiscated.  My wife observed other passengers’ effects being taken from them at this security checkpoint.



What I am not okay with is every time I go through their silly magnetic screening of my person the bells go off and I have to jump through hoops to be passed through to proceed to the boarding area for a flight.  On 19 September when we left San Francisco, the TSA woman asked me if I had a metal pin or plate in my body.  “Not to my knowledge” was my reply, and after walking through no less than 5 times I was approved and let go.  But, at least that experience was not wrapped in abuse of authority and arrogance on the part of TSA employees.

Yesterday, yet again, after taking every thing out of my clothes that might trigger the sensor, it went off.  To be candid, I think that the one thing I forgot to remove was a small coin purse that had non-ferrous US coins weighing in total no more than an ounce or two.  The large, tall (I’m 6 feet tall and he towered over me) black TSA worker announced that I had been “randomly” selected for a new type of scan with different technology involved.  Stop.  Randomly selected?  How?  By who?  By this TSA worker, and done in an arbitrary manner (random, not likely).  Did I see in his eyes behind that sneering mouth arrogance and deceit?

This guy had washed his hands of me and ordered another TSA worker to process me through this new scan that I would not consent to until my questions were answered as to personal safety (which post facto I will try to independently verify through personal research).  After enduring this delay, inconvenience and a little bit of humiliation, I was finally passed through this security checkpoint.

Here are some takeaways for anyone who is interested.  1. I think that the issue for some of these TSA workers is one of having a little authority and then stretching it too far – under the pretense of safety and security concerns.  Of course, we have all heard of the sexual gropers in the ranks of these workers.

2. Seriously, I am getting too old for this type of nonsense and overkill.  If I were less refined I would say “I’m getting too old for this shit.”  I have never really enjoyed being at the mercy of others (perhaps I was born that way).

3. For folks who have to fly often for business travel, I do feel your pain and inconvenience.  As well, in the US, we are being conditioned to accept and acquiesce to more intrusions into our lives by a corrupt and over reaching government that truly is out of control.  As long as Americans have full bellies, the sheeping process will continue unchallenged.  (George W. Bush pushed his “Patriot Act” allegedly to keep us safe.  I am in the minority here as I say let’s not surrender our liberties in exchange for phony promises of safety from a corrupt and negligent government bureaucracy.)

4.  Going forward, as my wife and I discussed, we will be driving for domestic US-based vacations.  For many years, we did drive on our vacations and did not fly.  So, you TSA miscreants, you have won’t have the opportunity to inconvenience us again.  A shame, isn’t it?!  You folks are not exactly the kind of decent people that we would welcome into our home for dinner or even want to party with.

5. If someone wanted to take down a US airliner, sorry to say, there are surface to air missiles on the arms black market.  Thus, a determined terrorist could hunker down near most US airports and do the dirty deed.  Hopefully this will not happen.  But, airport screenings of passengers do nothing about this threat.

copyright 2017 –


  1. Before I retired (the first time), I flew 4 to 6 days out of most weeks. That was a good ten years ago when more reason and logic was allowed. Even then, the gate agents would be trained to do the most offensive things to people if they complained about a seat change separating them from family or got kicked off a flight. Their favorite approach (while the passenger was calmly explaining why they couldn’t be separated from their 8 or 9 yr. old child, for example) was to loudly state,”PLEASE BACK UP AND CALM DOWN, MAM”. Usually the passenger would look dumbfounded and start to protest that they weren’t upset…,”SIR, IF YOU DO NOT CALM DOWN I WILL HAVE TO CALL SECURITY.”
    You can imagine the scenario from there..
    I dislike airlines because of all of the incidences I happened to see, not all were about innocent passengers, but most were. Sad part is that if they could take advantage of you, throw you off the plane on your honeymoon, leave eighty-somethings to sleep in the airport because of bad weather or (even back then) skip every military aged male and search almost every female and child.
    Thank you for this post. I used to threaten to write a five page editorial epistle to the newspaper every week when I got home. You did it better!

    disclaimer:although I saw all of the scenes mentioned above, they did not actually happen to me.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Back in late 1999, before the terrorism of Sept 11, 2001, my wife was attempting to get through airport security at Boise, Idaho. She had purchased a small, metal thermos and was taking that back in her carry on bag. The security threw a fit as they did not know what to do. They X-rayed it and delayed us. The item was still in its package from the store I think. Sometimes, it depends on who you happen to be dealing with. Some of these security screening folks are reasonable and some are just power tripping. But, I have tired of the nonsense.

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