what if stupidity upsets me?

The airport security kabuki is reaching ridiculous extremes:

British man stopped from boarding a flight at Heathrow…because he was wearing a t-shirt depicting a cartoon character with a gun.

“Sorry we can’t let you through and you’ve a gun on your T-shirt.”

“If it’s offensive, we don’t want other passengers upset.”

It boggles the mind, it does.  And before you shake your heads and mutter, “What the hell is wrong with those British?”, take a good, hard look at the charades they’re playing in our airports these days.  We’re not too far behind the UK when it comes to zero-tolerance overreactions to anything that may even hint at anything violent, subversive, or in any way unrelated to docile cud-chewing.

Feel any more safe now?

And for those who support any security measure that “keeps one of our cities from going up in a mushroom cloud”, please answer the following in 500 words or less:

If more government control and less civil liberties mean increased safety, why aren’t our prisons the safest places in the country?


30 thoughts on “what if stupidity upsets me?

  1. Tam says:

    Western civ has crossed the stupidity event horizon, from which not even the most energetic particle of common sense can escape.

  2. Jay G. says:

    Marko, my seven year old son was told not to wear a souvenir T-shirt from Excaliber Hotel in Las Vegas because it “has a picture of a weapon” on it. Excaliber. The sword of King Arthur. Sword-in-the-Stone and all that? Nope. Weapon.

    Darth Vader with a light saber, OTOH, was fine – it’s not a real weapon.

    Needless to say, when Parent-Teacher conferences rolled around I wore my Smith & Wesson polo. Because that’s how I roll…

  3. Jay G. says:

    And, speaking of stupidity, yes, I realized the instant I hit “Submit Comment” that I had spelled “Excalibur” incorrectly. I’ve got firearms on the brain, apparently…

  4. sasu says:

    >I had spelled “Excalibur” incorrectly

    No need to explain. We already know that gun owners are illiterate rednecks. (Should I place a smiley here?)

  5. ChrisB says:

    We’re in the middle of a culture-wide Phoney War, the danger of applying logic is that it might force us to wake up and see how everything else we’ve been doing while asleep is actually to our detriment. It’s so much easier to hope that things will change for the better if we just charge full steam ahead.

  6. Mark says:

    We have allowed the gov to do anything it wants and it is using that power against us. I am just as guilty as others because we all have lives and the cost to our personal way-of-life is too great.

    For example, this t-shirt issue. If it happened to me I would meekly remove the shirt. its preposterous, but the energy involved in making a big deal about it: missing my flight, being hauled away for questioning, getting on a “troublesome passenger, better check him carefully every time” list, hiring a lawyer to sue them for the damage they have wrought, losing because they are a gov agency and can do anything they want, spending the next 20 years paying my legal fees – is too great, so I would let them do what they want and another piece of my freedom is chipped away.

    Unfortunately, we have relied on students and those with little to lose to do our protesting and uprising, because the government uses the tools it has very effectively to make our life difficult and too many have too much to lose.

    “There is no such thing as a little freedom. Either you are all free, or you are not free.” -Walter Cronkite

  7. MarkHB says:

    Very well said, Mark, and an accurate summation of the problem. I travel quite a lot, there are a lot of things I want to do in different countries, and Fighting The Man, as noble and wonderful as it sounds, just isn’t an option. So we put up with it. We’ll probably even put up with it when we’re putting on paper bunny suits to fly, rather than our own clothes.


  8. chunque says:

    You think that’s upsetting! Read this:


    It’s a sad day when progressives have been turned into conservatives by counter-revolutionaries who call themselves conservatives.

  9. wtbl says:

    Every time I think things are getting better (TSA was smiling on my last trip, and they created “family friendly” lines at some checkpoints to help families with small kids get through with less hassle), I see this kind of crap.

    Brad Jayakody was good to go to the media. But he really should file a formal complaint. If enough people complain to these organizations about their stupid policies when this stuff happens, perhaps they’d consider changing them. And by complain to them, I mean to them in writing forcing them to at least take the time to deal with the complaint, not just post comments in a blog.

  10. dianarn says:

    And it was a Transformers T-shirt to boot. Are Transformers more real than Darth Vader?
    The government has gone completely insanely evil and unfortunately, all the laws have been put in place that if they ever started martial law in this country, it would all be over for all of us.

    The small percentage of people that actually know what’s going on won’t be able to stand a chance.

  11. I saw this on Gizmodo and had the exact reaction that you all are…

    HOWEVER… someone there made a good point that it should be checked out. This story was published by The Sun. Essentially, the UK’s version of The Enquirer. For the uninitiated, this particular rag’s biggest selling point is the “Page 3” topless girl.

    I’m not saying that it didn’t happen, just that would be great to see this on BBC or Deutshe Welle or something to add some credibility. If anyone has seen that, I genuinely want to know.

    Turkish Prawn

  12. Jay G. says:


    Mea culpa… Although I’d like to think that *this* gun-owner is a (semi-) literate redneck – I mean, hell, I gots my copies of Gunz ‘N’ Ammo fer the outhouse and everything… 😉

  13. Bomber2 says:

    Im from England,
    Not long from Heathrow, I guess they’d prohibit my wordpress name too…
    At this time they are going over the top… I mean, being stopped going on holiday due to a shirt! It’s mad.
    Ive got good grammer and im only 11 🙂
    Enough with that, what can I do…

  14. Stingray says:

    This sort of nonsense, and moreso the recent “nipplegate” here state-side is why everyone who might feel a visit from me is in order is well aware that I will not board an airplane anymore without bail money set aside.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. If security theater wants to put on a show, they’re gonna get a frickin’ show.

  15. Eric Hammer says:

    I don’t know that I consider the BBC to be particularly credible. I read some of the articles they put on their site periodically, and by and large have to work through a great deal of bile to make it to the end. It’s like listening to the welfare mom ahead of you in line at Wal Mart complain for half an hour about how inconvenient it was for her to pick up her check that week, and how much of a hassle it all is because we don’t know how hard she works.
    Honestly, replacing that with a pretty girl without her top would make my trip to Wal Mart much more enjoyable…

  16. Prison guards are deliberately lax in breaking up fights between inmates. They do this so that divisions among different factions of prisoners will persist, thereby preventing a unified uprising against the guards. This gets at a larger point you touch upon: the use of gimmicks on the part of those in charge to manipulate and control the masses.

    “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”
    -Benjamin Franklin

  17. Regolith says:

    “HOWEVER… someone there made a good point that it should be checked out. This story was published by The Sun. ”

    Well, the BBC picked it up too. So they, at least, think it’s a real story.


    Security theater at it’s finest…

  18. Regolith says:

    “HOWEVER… someone there made a good point that it should be checked out. This story was published by The Sun. ”

    Well, the BBC picked it up too. So they, at least, think it’s a real story.

  19. croixian1 says:

    “Those who would give up their freedom for security will have none and deserve neither.” -Benjamin Franklin

    “Death Row should have an express lane.” – Ron White

    Personally I think we should take the state of Idaho (nothing happens there anyway…except potato growing) and put a 300′ steel and concrete wall up around it. Then just start chucking in prisoners.
    I could care less that prisons aren’t safe or not. Criminals should have thought about it before they raped an 8 year old girl, or murdered a 7-11 clerk for $45. I actually think prisons are TOO safe. Give them all guns and let them kill one another, its what they want to do anyway.

  20. Marko says:


    in principle, I agree with you…if you’re talking about *violent crime*. However, the label “felony” gets attached to a lot of offenses these days. In some states, having the wrong piece of metal affixed to your rifle can get you a felony charge. Then there’s the segment of the population doing time simply for owning the wrong kind of plant…

  21. ATLien says:

    I would be in jail cause i would have picked up the nearest trash-can and whacked the security guy over the damn head.

    Hey, he started it. I would just finish it.

  22. Dedicated_Dad says:

    “…In some states, having the wrong piece of metal affixed to your rifle can get you a felony charge….”

    Or, apparently, loaning out a rifle which later malfunctions can get you 2.5 years in FEDERAL PMITA prison.

    That buzzing you hear is our Founding Fathers spinning in their graves.


  23. shortbus1836 says:

    What we need are a lot more citizens willing to do perform their civic duty rather than depend on the nanny state to make things safe for them. Then we wouldn’t need to employ so many jerks at the airport, or anywhere else.

  24. Sometimes I feel sorry for them because of their stupidity and the way they look in their stupid moments, but then, it can get really annoying.

  25. Mr. D Paul says:

    “Then there’s the segment of the population doing time simply for owning the wrong kind of plant…”

    took it to trial and beat it…and under complete self representation at that.

  26. Tam says:

    …and people wonder why I refuse to fly.

    I have been asked if the steel rod they put in my shin back in ’00 sets off metal detectors.

    And I can truthfully answer that I don’t know, because I haven’t been through one since then.

  27. Two--Four says:

    […] civ has crossed the stupidity event horizon, from which not even the most energetic particle of common sense can escape.”That’s Tam, cracking […]

  28. zeeadler says:

    Was flying home from Istanbul recently, while passing through their multiple security screenings I was carrying my wife’s carryon and the Turkish cop opened the case. He saw female clothes inside and said, as he picked up a pair of silky underware between his thumb and forefinger, “Is this what American men wear?”. He had an insulting look on his face and so I replied,”No, I brought that along for you”. Needless to say he didn’t laugh, but called his boss and they took me away to be fully searched in a private room. Probably not my best moment.

  29. MW says:

    When my son was in kindergarten he got a little plastic toy pirate from MacDonald’s happy meals. The pirate had a little bitty plastic sword. Anyways I was picking him up and he had kept the pirate in his bag all day, but he wanted to show his teacher his wonderful little toy. So School’s Out, Ok. I’m in front of the school with him and the teacher. The teacher and I are talking. Josh pulls the little pirate out of his pocket and says “Look at my pirate” and the Teacher does a theatrical “OH NO! We don’t allow weapons here at Koksilah School”. I thought she was pulling our leg. So did my son. His face crinkled up as he tried to understand the response. He reaches for her hand to calm her. He says “Look.. it’s just a little plastic sword.” and then he says very earnestly as if to reassure her “It can’t hurt you”.

    His voice was very gentle and calm… like somebody trying to talk to a very small child. And that’s partly when I knew the teacher was made insane by “no tolerance” – My 6 year old was trying to “reason” with her and she would have none of it.

    To this day he still doesn’t understand why the teacher freaked out. I got him out of public school before the moronic stuff like “No Tolerance” had an impact on him.

  30. zeeadler says:

    Kids are just small, inexperienced people that are more logical than most adults. They are more visceral and react at that level. I don’t think you can protect a 6 year old by sending him/her to a private school, there are stupid people everywhere that reduce everything to some rule that is in place because it excuses people in authority from having to use common sense.

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