While TSA Looks At You Naked, Child Finds Loaded Gun Magazine Left On Southwest Plane

from the feel-safer? dept

Another day, another series of bizarre TSA-related stories. While the TSA still won’t provide any evidence that its efforts have actually made air travel any safer and continues to defend its security efforts as necessary, CNN is reporting that a child on a Southwest flight found a loaded gun magazine in a seatback pocket, which was kicked to the floor as the child climbed over the seats. Apparently, a law enforcement official (not an air marshal) who was allowed to take the clip on the plane, left it in the seat. Obviously, this is not a failure of the TSA, in that the mistake was by the law enforcement agent who left the clip, but the point is that it’s impossible to protect against all threats on a plane, and many of the TSA’s actions seem to be based on the fiction that it is possible. I have nothing against legitimate security that makes us safer, but there’s little indication that that’s what we’re getting from the TSA.

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Comments on “While TSA Looks At You Naked, Child Finds Loaded Gun Magazine Left On Southwest Plane”

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J c Green says:

Re: Re: What the...

The M1 Has not been used as a weapon in the Military or issued to troops since the sixties. I have used some M1’s in a purely military ceremonial function as late as the Seventies. I would hope that any troop of the AMERICAN stock would be able to roll up a magazine from the rack and jab the offender in the chin with an upward thrust. That is why our troops are the best. We don’t need no steeening guns to take out the enemy.

J c Green says:

Re: What the...

“Posse Commitatus” insures that we will never need the Military for civil enforcement except under “Martial Law”. The Soldiers by law cannot perform a policing effort in this Country and if the Sherrif/Law Enforcemnet are overwhealmed they can “deputize” individuals to help them under Posse Commitatus”.

Michael (profile) says:

While I understand there are tremendous problems with the TSA (well before the new scanners and pat downs) and that whether they should exist at all is a big question, how are they related to this incident? Seems like a very tangential opportunity to throw the TSA under the bus.

Clearly a law enforcement official broke protocol. End of story.

The TSA is giving everyone plenty opportunities to complain about their policies, procedures and enforcement. Not this time. Or are you implying the TSA should be tracking items not generally allow on board.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Clearly a law enforcement official broke protocol.” K
So no check is done between flights? No cleaning? Nothing?

throw the TSA under the bus? They dove under head first when they thought it was OK to grab our balls/vagina.

“Or are you implying the TSA should be tracking items not generally allow on-board.” Huh??? Uh yeah. They should. Isn’t that why they are there in the first place? To make sure nothing gets on board that is not allowed. Especially if they know a passenger was allowed on-board with a loaded magazine/firearm. Sorry mike, but, WEAK.

JB says:

Re: Re:

“Now what if one of the Air Marshalls is a double agent?” ~ Overcast

That was my thought exactly, well maybe not Air Marshals in particular. What if a crooked officer is allowed to take his weapon on the plane and stashes it somewhere known to a third party that boards the plane and accesses the weapon?

Oh, and why do we need armed Air Marshals when the TSA is stating that these new scanning techniques will keep our planes safe?

DesignSmith (user link) says:

best effort basis

Unfortunately no matter what the technology is, it still comes down to the concentrated effort of the person running the equipment.
This summer I went through Logan on the Boston/New York leg of an overseas trip. (same route as the original troublemakers…)
And the gal at the scanner never even saw my carry on going through. Why? She was busy making dreamy eyes at the guy checking IDs.
I went through the (PG 13) scanner and was cleanly through, but anything in my bag was not seen until well after I was on my way.

bdhoro (profile) says:

Read Books!

Please read Nassim Nicholas Taleb “The Black Swan”. He gives the perfect explanation of why this is total illogical garbage.

Just as you say Mike, the TSA and government officials think they need to protect us against each individual threat after they happen – and thats called haphazard security. Protecting yourself against one potential threat is unimaginative, and criminals are not short on imagination.

The book was written shortly after 9/11 and he uses great examples of bad logic being used to increase plane security. The basic idea is this: You cannot predict the future by using past data because there is not enough data and the future is too chaotic.

People who are smart enough know that a single observation can overturn infinite past data. The book is called the Black Swan because of predictions made by scientists in the 17th century when they were trying to classify many species of animals. European scientists came into contact only with regular white swans, and thus made a rule for classifying swans that they must be white. All the data throughout Europe supported this claim as hundreds of scientists observing swans had not come across a swan of any other color. They ran into problems though once a single black swan from Australia was observed completely ruining their rules.

Sorry for such a long paragraph but here’s where it ties back into the TSA.

The TSA is like the scientists classifying security threats. They make some kind of rule based on the past data such as “planes are safe if the cockpits are locked.” That was the bill that ran through the senate after 9/11 because the hijackers got in the cockpit. Don’t they see that by believing this is how most threats take place, they open themselves up for threats in many other areas.

Its kinda like the idea of buying insurance – often there’s some sort of natural disaster, flooding for instance, that ruins a lot of people homes. People start spending lots of money specifically on flood insurance, instead of realizing that their regular home owners insurance probably covers floods, as well as many other potential threats.

People who are smart think about this all the time. They realize that our instincts want us to be very short sighted, we love anecdotes (the worst evidence possible that should never sway our beliefs in any way).

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Read Books!

What you’re saying is a syndrome known to military historians that generals and their political masters prepare for the next war by assuming that it will be largely if not completely like the last one.

Case in point. French planners prepared for another war with Germany by assuming that it, too, would be static and came up with the Maginot Line which they proceeded to increase the fortifications and troop assignments as things heated up towards the German invasion of France. The Germans responded to that by simply going around it.

This has happened throughout history.

I should also note that after 9/11 Bin Laden’s unhappy band of terrorists haven’t seriously attempted another run at the United States. In part because they know that if they repeat that action they’ll be caught before they can get so much as a box cutter out of their pocket and in part by a global outpouring of sympathy, empathy and support for the United States which translated into the Security Council at the UN blessing the mission in Afghanistan.

What has happened is that there have been a few attempts by incompetent loners none of which have been successful.

While it doesn’t rule out another hijacking attempt I’d say that the odds of one happening soon are close to zero.

TSA is trying to prepare for the next attack by preparing for the last one in as intrusive and objectionable means possible.

Put another way this is the TSA’s Maginot Line and should someone with some brains and planning skills want to run another terror attack on the United States like the Germans they’ll simply go around it.

Richard Kulawiec says:

Re: Re: Read Books!

That…is an entirely accurate and succinct assessment of where we find ourselves.

If I might add to it (since I read books too — rather a lot of them): it seems that AQ’s preferred modus operandi is to plan carefully over a long period for something big. Oh, no doubt they could successfully execute smaller operations at will, and sometimes they do, but that’s not their first choice.

Thus the absence of a significant large-scale attack since 9/11/2001 has nothing to do with any countermeasures taken by any government on this planet: it’s simply a reflection of AQ’s strategy. We can thus immediately discount any claim by any official that “…we have kept you safe” because of course doing precisely nothing would have kept us equally safe.

And at the moment, there’s no particular reason for AQ to attack the US: we continue to foolishly expend lives and fortunes in failed military gambits whose most significant effect has been to create more terrorists, and at home we’re busy ramping up still more security theater — and destroying ourselves from within. I’m not sure it would make much sense for them to take the risk and spend the money; might be better to sit tight and see what things look like in a few years.

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” — Napoleon

Howard the Duck (profile) says:


If this has nothing to do with the TSA, why publish? I love the headline too… amazing what a little grandstanding will do huh Mike?

“Obviously, this is not a failure of the TSA, in that the mistake was by the law enforcement agent who left the clip, but the point is that it’s impossible to protect against all threats on a plane”


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

defective primer in catridge detonates igniting gunpowder and propelling hot gases and detritis (including casing) into childs left eye after he banged the cartridge against the chair arm.

“A bullet [cartridge] without a gun isn’t really a danger”

Tell that to every person injured by one – Epic [stupid] FAIL!

Chucklebutte (profile) says:

Missing the point?

My teacher pointed out something in class that never occurred to me and my fellow classmates yesterday when the topic of TSA and body scans came up. What is stopping anyone from walking into an air port and blow it up? Why even bother dealing with security, walk right into a busy crowded air terminal on the holidays and BOOM! But same goes for anything really, bus train, hell you could get hit by a “drunk terrorist” in your own town. His point? That all this huff n snuff is pointless, shit happens. My teachers second rational thought, why not offer an airline at half price with no security checks? No nothing really just pay, get on plane fly to destination for half price. The whole class rose their hands in favor of this idea. As for myself, never flown and with all this hoopla most likely never will.

Richard Kulawiec says:

Mike, you wrote:

Obviously, this is not a failure of the TSA […]

I disagree. This is most definitely a failure of the TSA. Now…it may not be a failure of current TSA procedures, because none of those procedures are designed to catch this problem, but who designed and implemented those procedures?

Sooner or later, it will occur to attackers that one way to possess a firearm on a plane is to let someone else bring it on board — and then take it away from them.

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