Saturday, September 29, 2007

July 2, 2004

Yes, this item is a few years old and in fact I've mentioned it before, but it's so clearly relevant I'm going to repeat it. It's from a piece in the Houston Chronicle by a software salesman named Charles Green, describing his run-in with TSA.

While on a flight from New Orleans to Dallas, he scribbled a line of potential dialog for a novel he was writing in the margin of a crossword puzzle he was working on. The passage contained the word "bomb." A passenger sitting next to him saw the line, panicked, and told a flight attendant.

When Green got to Dallas, he was taken into custody and questioned, first by airport security and then by the TSA. He was lectured and scolded, told his choice of dialog was unfortunate and life is not a stage play and anything can set people off. He was told he hadn't crossed the line, whatever line that may be and wherever it may be, but he had walked right up to it. As a result, he was placed on TSA's watch list.

Get that? He was put on the watch list because he happened to write the word "bomb" in a crossword puzzle magazine while on a plane - even though no one else was even supposed to see it and even though both the security guard and the TSA goon admitted after hearing his explanation that its use was totally innocent and he was no threat. But he stood out - he got noticed - and for that he must be punished with a future of hassles and delays every time he tries to fly anywhere.

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