Sunday, September 17, 2006


Contraband fluids

The Washington Post reports on the not-too-surprising development that Newly Banned Items Often Fly Past Airport Screeners. The point of the article is that the screeners often miss carry-on items containing fluids or pastes. Sometimes these items are carried on accidentally; sometimes it's no accident.

In a particularly flagrant case of the latter, we have Nicole, who was travelling with her two pre-teen children:

She would give only her first name, Nicole, saying that she worried about getting in trouble. At first, she admitted to a reporter that she was carrying a $75 hydrating gel in her backpack. Then, she revealed lip gloss, toothpaste, a bottle of expensive Chanel perfume and a $300 container of facial cleanser neatly packed in a bulging cosmetic case. Screeners never noticed the items, which she had no intention of checking, she said.
Nicole seems pretty callous about this, as the article continues, but what I find the most alarming are the $75 hydrating gel and the $300 container of facial cleanser! Facial cleanser! Three hundred dollars!

I'm in the wrong business.

Anyway, the pilots think this stuff's ridiculous too:

Pilots [sic] groups have criticized the measures, saying they notice the security holes all the time. They say authorities should focus more on developing systems to identify potential terrorists, not just their weapons.
Well, not just their weapons, and also not just their toothpaste! On the other hand, "personal lubricant" is OK (see the full list here). So you can have sex in the loo, but be sure to brush your teeth ahead of time.

Of the passengers who are bringing the fluids on despite the ban:

"They are just doing their routines like they always did," Boettcher said. "An old woman drinking a bottle of water doesn't concern me. . . . The whole screening process is a facade to make the public feel safe, to show that the government is doing something."
Yea, verily. Security theatre.

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