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TSA Declares Themselves Fashion & Funny Police

from the bombs-zomg dept

While we were just discussing an accusation against the TSA for racial profiling (GASP!), did you know that they were also the official state-sponsored fashion and humor police? I mean, who couldn't see these guys adjudicating your local fashion show?

TSA uniforms: like Michael Jackson, but creepier
Image Source. CC BY-SA 2.0

Reader pixelpusher220 writes in about the tale of how one man’s shirt got him booted off of a Delta airplane after passing through TSA security, as recounted by Cory Doctrow.

Back in 2007, I designed a shirt for Woot! that featured a screaming eagle clutching an unlaced shoe and a crushed water bottle, surrounded by the motto MOISTURE BOMBS ZOMG TERRORISTS ZOMG GONNA KILL US ALL ZOMG ZOMG ALERT LEVEL BLOODRED RUN RUN TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES. Among the lucky owners of this garment is Arijit “Poop Strong” Guha, who proudly wore it this week as he headed for a Delta flight from Buffalo-Niagara International Airport to his home in Phoenix.

But it was not to be. First, the TSA Delta agents questioned him closely about the shirt, and made him agree to change it, submit to a secondary screening and board last. He complied with these rules, but then he was pulled aside by multiple Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority cops, more TSA, and a Delta official and searched again.

Apparently the new terror plot is to make you laugh so hard your face explodes

It's worth noting that these shirts were designed by Cory Doctrow and sold as part of a charitable program.

Now, I'll restate it again, Arijit had already gone through the TSA screening when he and his wife were then approached by Delta employees at the gate who informed him that he had committed the crime of making other passengers “uncomfortable”. When Arijit informed the Delta employees that he was wearing the shirt specifically to mock the security theater we call an airport these days, he was put through another round of screening at the gate by several TSA and local agents and then told that he would be allowed to board. The Delta pilot, catching wind of this, requested Arijit not be allowed to board, because laughter would not be tolerated on his enormous hunk of flying metal. Oh, and they also refused to allow his wife to board the plane too. No reason was apparently given for this, but I'm guessing there may have been some plaid mixing with pin-stripes in her outfit, and the pilot found it to be lacking in fabulousness.

Or maybe there was another reason. According to Arijit, the officer wanted to interrogate him further, saying that Arijit had given a “stupid answer” and “looked foreign”:

“Certainly he wasn’t implying that dark-skinned people are not real Americans and that white people are the only true Americans,” Arijit writes in part of his snark-filled synopsis. “Fortunately, Mark’s request was denied. Apparently, someone at NFTA recognized this bigoted meathead for the bigoted meathead he was and that nationality is simply a concept that exists solely on paper and cannot be discerned from just looking at someone.”

And yet he still wasn't allowed on the plane. Was it because of his t-shirt? Was it because the motherfucking eagle on it caused concern amongst passengers? Or, as has been previously accused, was it because too many TSA agents find brown-skinned people suspicious and alarming?

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Comments on “TSA Declares Themselves Fashion & Funny Police”

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Paul Slap says:

Re: Anonymous Coward

I agree that the treatment we often see and hear about is bad, but to say we never get this sort of unadulterated grief anywhere else in the world is simply not true. If you were in Syria and had a shirt that ridiculed the government’s stupid behavior, do you think the Syrian government under Assad would be less cranky? How about the government in North Korea, would they be less cranky? Certainly Syria and North Korea are part of “anywhere else in the world”

Chris Maresca (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hhmm, I’ve lived in 7 different countries and have two passports. There are a lot worse places to live than the US, many of them idolized by certain Americans as better alternatives to the US.

Guess what, every country has it’s share of bad practices (yes, even Denmark), racist tendencies & repressive laws (yes even the Netherlands), crazy right wing people (yes, even Norway) or secret laws (yes, even Sweden).

So, I’m not sure where you’re going to emigrate that’s not going to have something to be worried/complain about. Bottom line is that, although the US has had some more annoying/frustrating practices, it’s nothing like some other places (like CCTV, license plate cams & photo radar the UK) and is generally a whole lot better that most.

Besides, part of the reason we are discussing this is that the Internet has made everyone a whole lot more aware of the amount of spying & extra-legal activities the government is engaged in. 30 years ago, there were similar abuses, but they almost never were widely known (cf J Edgar Hoover).

Milton Freewater says:

It's not (just) the TSA

While two TSA agents acted like scumbags in this case, (as poorly trained people without proper accountability will do), the TSA ultimately cleared him every time. It was the AIRLINE that stopped him at the gate, and it was the AIRLINE that refused to let him board even after he cleared the extra checks.

“Who at the Airport is Making My Life Miserable for No Good Reason?” is America’s favorite game show. The answer is different every time, which is what makes it exciting. Certain ethnicities get sent to the bonus round right away sometimes but we all get to play.

ebilrawkscientist (profile) says:

Re: Growball Warmin'

Yeah, yeah, if this Growball Warming trend holds… and Canada one day is a Tropical Paradise; you’ll have another bigger badder problem called INSECT INVASION! Along with nasty things like West Nile Virus, and other deadly things yet unmentioned in a similir vein. Becareful what you wish for; death could just be a bite away or a parasite infection.

Beta (profile) says:

the worst of it

As an American, I don’t feel ashamed of the TSA. Embarrassed, but not exactly ashamed. It’s the same way I feel about our political leaders.

The people I’m ashamed of are the other Americans I meet at the airport who think the TSA are doing good work. They’re the ones who are shocked at the sight of a Swiss Army knife, were probably standing around with pinched faces while Arijit and his wife were being hassled, and breathed a sigh of relief when the two were barred from boarding.

I wish I could tell the world that these stupid, cowardly, censorious sheep are not real Americans. But they are. They are.

Anonymous Coward II says:


The one season that has truly shown its change in Canada is the season that we?re most famous for: that is, the winter,? he says. ?Winters in Canada over the last 65 years have warmed up by about 3.2 degrees, where our summers have warmed up by only 1.2 degrees. Now that?s significant, but it tells you that most of the difference is shown in the winter period, not in the summer.?

Read it on Global News: Global News | Canada’s summer 2012 weather forecast: why so hot?

Anonymous Coward says:


Thinking Canada might be a solid move.

And you’d be totally wrong. You need to study up. Canada is being ruined by petro-fascists who stole federal power several years ago. 51st statehood and/or Petrodollar is all but certain.

Sweden is now off the list, too. It has moved to the extreme right and (like England and Aussiland) is just a cheap whore to the US now.

I’m currently watching New Zealand to see if they have the cahones to stand up to the US and scream rape. The jury is out.

Sadly it’s freaking cold there.

Not everywhere. Canada is bigger than the US, ffs! I live in southern Canada and I’ve been sweating my balls off since early May.

Wally (profile) says:

In defense of the TSA

I the defense of the TSA, I want to point out that once again, it is the officer’s racist views and stupidity that gives them a very bad reputation.

The other fact of the matter is that it varies from airport to airport. Outside of what happened to my mother that one day, Columbus International’s TSA agents has done a very good job. The Agents at Vegas were extremely polite to us after we explained calmly. Then Atlanta and Boston (all Southwest and Delta by the by) way back for my cousin’s wedding in 2010.

My point is that most of these incidents are fairly isolated in terms of location, and may depend on what sate or airport you are in. Boston, New Hampshire, Ohio, Nevada, all wonderfully awesome people working for the TSA.

Anonymous Coward says:

“When Arijit informed the Delta employees that he was wearing the shirt specifically to mock the security theater we call an airport these days, he was put through another round of screening at the gate by several TSA and local agents and then told that he would be allowed to board. “

Shit disturbers can stay home as far as I am concerned. Jackasses like this guy make my life difficult, trying to make political statements while I am just trying to travel.

if you want to protest, make a placard and go march in front of someone’s office. Stop wasting my time with your “freedom theater”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

the TSA is wasting more of your time than this guy ever could, even if you meet one of these guys at every airport you go to the TSA still wastes more of your time, and at least he doesn’t subject you to radioactive radiation while doing it. if waste of time kis your concern you should actually join him. What you’re miffed about is your illusion of freedom being shattered.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


The situation we’re in now is the result of at least 40 years of deliberate effort, though, and it’s unlikely that we can fix it overnight. Do not mistake a lack of instant gratification for a lack of progress.

Do not fall for the self-fulfilling prophecy of helplessness. Almost all of the truly world-changing leaps forward in history were caused by powerless nobodies who forgot to be helpless.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The only way people are going to make any positive change is if we all agree on what needs to change, how it needs to be changed. That’s a monumental effort in itself that we have to make before to unify our effort into making that change. Otherwise, there’s very little chance of anyone distracting our government from the hypnotic coffers of Wall St.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If that were true, then we would have never experienced change before. But we have.

Look at the human rights struggles in our past. In each of them, the task seemed impossible. Commenters in the day would say the very things that you are saying here — and worse.

And, it would have been very easy to just give up those fights. Years passed fighting them without any discernible difference being made, years of apparent hopelessness.

But, in the end, the fighting was successful. It took longer than a single person’s lifespan to do, but it was done.

Hopelessness guarantees failure. Victory comes to those who never give up.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Well, what we need is a massive act of civil disobedience to make everyone take notice and realize that the status quo is wrong. Massive blatant copyright infringement the size of the entire internet would certainly make people take notice about issues with copyright. Everybody together refusing to submit to TSA screenings would cause the airline industry to grind to a screaming halt. Knowledge and creativity need to be free; it fuels our progress. People also need to be free to move about the land freely, without restriction in regard to borders, customs, and regional laws. They should have a right to be secure in their persons and their effects to go anywhere they like and not be harassed and questioned every time the go out of their home.

How about this? We pull a mass run on the banks and nobody in America pays their mortgages, college loans, nor credit cards until the government puts an end to fractional reserve banking and dissolves the Federal Reserve. Demand they nationalize the banks that give out interest-free loans with existing currency instead of creating money on the spot that bleed people dry, creating greater austerity. They should declare that only the government can issue new legal currency. If we don’t pay our debts, the banks’ money is worthless and they have no power over us. We can pull the rug right out from under them. No loan payments means no bribe money. As with any form of civil disobedience, this will cost some people some comfort in the short run, but people have to widen their perspective and look at the long term benefits, which would certainly outweigh the short terms costs.

Then we also need to deal with capitalism, because this system is the reason these problems exist. Capitalism encourages the creation of problems that capitalists can then leverage to sell a product. In fact, if you watch an ad, any ad, you notice the first thing they establish is a “problem” or want that their product specifically solves. If there were no “problems” or wants, they’d have no customers. So, they have to create these problems and wants, real or imagined, constantly. Capitalists are just middlemen, much like the labels and studios. They are the people that take profit by controlling the flow of goods between the workers and the consumers.

If we can tackle those issues, we can finally make some progress in removing the monetary influence from government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Not a lawyer, but yelling Fire! in a theater…not protected last I checked.

Or more apropo to the times, yelling He’s got a gun! in a theater…not protected.

Or more apropo to the situation, yelling Look, there’s a terrorist over there! in an airport…not protected.

It doesn’t matter how many times you say…j/k…j/k…j/k!!! Still not protected.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not a lawyer, but yelling Fire! in a theater…not protected last I checked.
Or more apropo to the times, yelling He’s got a gun! in a theater…not protected.

freedom of speech is not the same as freedom of responsibility for what you say. You can be free to say a thing, but still be held responsible for any damage it may cause. In this case, the guy with the shirt was not hurting or threatening anybody. If somebody felt threatened or offended, they were free to take another flight.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

My boss’s quote on the wall is:

I may disagree with what you say,
but I respect your right to be punished for it.

We are free to SAY anything, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences in certain situations.

The truth isn’t even a defense against libel/slander anymore… WTF is happening to this world?

meddle (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You are free to tell your boss what you think of him. and he is free to find a way to fire you. The first amendment does not protect you from other people, even if you are telling the truth. That’s why I want to laugh at people who put “my company sucks” on their facebook page and then get all mad when they get in trouble at work. It does not matter what your privacy settings are. You may as well have bought space in the newspaper. At least there, fewer people would see it.

kenichi tanaka says:

While I hate the despicable TSA, what an idiot to try and board a plane wearing that T-Shirt. Not only was wearing this T-Shirt in poor taste but he obviously knew better and was trying to either make a statement or he wanted the attention.

Pardon me for saying this but this passenger is an idiot for trying to pull this stunt. He should have been given a full cavity search and banned from the airlines.

This wasn’t a protest, it was sheer stupidity and showed a lack of common sense.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:


Obviously, this guy decided to wear that shirt to the airport hoping to evoke a response. Hopefully it was worth his while.

I often wear a Rooster Teeth shirt that has a picture of a tent with a sniper rifle coming out of it, next to a campfire with the words “It’s a legitimate strategy.” I also camp in real life, sans the sniper rifle, so people usually just laugh when they see it. So you are saying that if I happened to walk into a theater wearing that shirt, I was hoping to evoke a response?

Sometimes we wear a shirt because it matches a particular statement, (I tend to camp in video games, and I’ve been called a camper before, and have had many an argument about the different playing styles,) but it doesn’t necessarily mean we are hoping for a response. Most people just laugh…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

But a very good one. He is using a horribly stereotypical and common Japanese name and is arguing that the person should uphold the Japanese concept of tatemae, which is the behaviors and views one expresses in public (it’s literal translation “facade” is quiet appropriate) to get along instead of speaking his honne or inner thoughts.

Wally (profile) says:

Language barrier

I don’t think it would help with an accented language barrier either. My mom works with the IT department on a daily basis at her office seeing if they can create an auditing program that is up to speed with certain hospital insurance for standards.

She has a really funny problem when she does conference calls between the sister company’s office in New Jersey and the IT department simultaneously.

The IT department is all Indian with very thick, heavy Indian accents accents. The women she contacts in New Jersey have thick Jersey accents….My mother ends up having to translate English to English when Jersey an IT talk together.

Now that said and done, the TSA officer still acted wrongly as well as those at the airport dealing with boarding passes.

That One Guy (profile) says:


Tell me about it.

Mocking stupid, pointless, counterproductive and useless rules and regulations with humor is totally unacceptable; the only proper way to deal with them is to just calmly accept having your rights violated and your family groped in public(especially if you happen to look foreign, which is an obvious indicator of ill intent) and move on, otherwise the terrorists will win!

kenichi tanaka says:

Pardon me, but shouting “terrorist” or wearing something that draws attention to ‘terrorists’ or even references it is going to get you pulled aside.

This passenger obviously knew what was going to happen. It’s the same as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. How the hell do you wear this T-Shirt and not expect to be pulled aside and undergo extra scrutiny.

If I had been standing behind him, I would have had that passenger arrested for that T-Shirt.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re:

wearing something that draws attention to ‘terrorists’ or even references it is going to get you pulled aside.

Darn tootin. It’s just a shame we didn’t know about this terrorist tactic before 9/11. Think of all the lives we could have saved if we knew then that terrorists love wearing shirts that are provocative and evoke visceral responses from people.

Anonymous Coward says:


Actually the proper way to deal with it and the way it’s been dealt with in the past is to have the case heard in court.

As I made clear in my comment, I’m not a lawyer, but we all know that there are limits on protected speech.

It didn’t seem like too far of a stretch to me.

I’m not sure how looking foreign has anything to do with protected speech…I guess I’m missing your point. Do foreign-looking people get extra protection or something?

Anonymous Coward says:

My most recent experience flying under the TSA over the weekend involved them also assuming their rightful place as the intelligence-insulting police.
I first complied with all of the measures necessary to prepare my carry-on to go through the x-ray machine, including the mandatory removal of my laptop from the bag so I could place it in its own bin. I left the bag unzipped, as I would have to put all of the things I removed back in it in about thirty seconds.
One of the superfluous agents then asked me several questions about things he could clearly see with even a cursory glance at me or the conveyor belt, such as “have you removed your laptop from this bag?” and “do you have any other carry-ons with you?”, dug swiftly through my bag, and subsequently admonished me, while zipping it up:
“When you go to the airport, you might want to keep your bag closed.”

Thirty seconds later I opened it, so I could put all of my things back in it. I’ve never felt safer!

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Like it or not there is no dress code for flying. It’s good you’ve found a way to make it easier for yourself and suggest other folks could do the same but that is pretty far from the point. The point being – Wear. What. You. Please. Conceding is not something any veteran or any citizen with a basic understanding of what this country stands for would advocate and nor should you.

PRMan (profile) says:

In defense of the TSA

I used to fly out of Orange County, CA a lot and they are great. Also, I recently got “selected” on the way back from Hawaii and they wanted to put my pasty-white sunburned skin in the machine to sunburn it more.

I opted out of the cause-even-more-cancer-to-my-poor-skin scanner and the guy was very professional in the pat down, although it made his co-workers somewhat nervous when I opted out. I really didn’t feel uncomfortable at all and it was quick and painless.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:


..annnd thank you for giving a big middle finger and an ‘up yours’ to anyone who has ever suffered and/or died defending any of your rights and freedoms. Really, I’m sure they’d be proud of what you’ve done with them.

This! And an old dead guy from our $100 bill has the following to add:

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” — Benjamin Franklin.

Wally says:

Dressing up...

I have had less problems dressing nicely in khaki’s and a polo shirt than anything else aside from my Sunday’s Best. I find I got checked less after going through the metal detector.

Now Maybe it is Fashion Police, maybe it isn’t…bottom line is that most of us who fly out from home treat it like an event where it is necessary to go in casual dress up.

Now I look at Arijit’s shirt. I don’t quite know what to make of it. I know it is a political statement, but seriously. Why would you wear that shirt if it provoked a response?

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Dressing up...

Not to rain on your parade about dressing nicely (how many comments so far have you made about this?) but all of the known terrorists from 9/11 were wearing nice clothes as well. Button-up shirts, khakis, etc. Show me one that was wearing a t-shirt and jeans. So wear your Sunday Best if you think airplane travel is all that much more of an event than driving across the country, but just know that you are in the company of terrorists.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Dressing up...

I’m not in the company of terrorists for looking nice when fly away, looking tired and shabby coming home.

I hate to rain on your parade but just because some asshole terrorists claiming to be Muslims in Jihad (which is actually code for “I am at war with my own personal demons and am working to improve myself spiritually”) decide to ruin the day for what, an entire fucking nation…will NOT change the way I dress to fly.

Lord Binky says:

Free speech is dead, 2nd amendment is next.

Funny enough, instead of saying you are not american, you can often be treated better by starting off with “Hi, I’m a stupid American.” After establishing that point, it isn’t uncommon for the other person to suddenly know english well enough to interact with you including a complete change in demeanor. It’s even better if you’re polite and attentive and attempt to follow the local social norms so you’re not being a complete asshat, people appreciate the effort.

I’ll also leave one super secret tip because I like disrupting things. It isn’t hard to not be identified as American until you up your mouth, for whatever reason shoes are a dead give-away. So more often than not, you’re better off leaving the damn tennis shoes at home. I don’t know WHY the shoes identify people so well, I just go with how things are.

For the ambitious, you can always pay attention/look around for 30 minutes after arriving, make note of people you see dressed in a manner you think fits you (don’t pick other americans….), and visit mall.

Anonymous Coward says:


arrested for that T-Shirt.

Are you serious?

Remember Cohen v California?

?40 years ago, a ruling that still rings today? by David Hudson, Jr., First Amendment Center, Jun 7, 2011

Officials charged Paul Robert Cohen in April 1968 with violating a California law that prohibited disturbing the peace by ?offensive conduct.? Cohen?s ?offensive conduct? was wearing a jacket in a Los Angeles County Courthouse bearing the words ?Fuck the Draft.? Officials noted that women and children were in a corridor Cohen came through wearing his jacket.

To Cohen?s credit, when he entered a courtroom, he removed the jacket and folded it over his arm. A police officer noticed Cohen and sent a notice to a judge about citing Cohen for contempt of court. The judge refused to do so, but the officer arrested Cohen on the offensive-conduct charge.

A Los Angeles municipal court convicted Cohen and his conviction was upheld by the California Court of Appeals. After the California Supreme Court refused to hear the case, Cohen?s last hope was the U.S. Supreme Court.

Anonymous Coward says:


How does any of that justify this response? Oh course he’s looking for a reaction, he’s trying to make people think. That doesn’t mean this response was at all justified.

For the record this incident didn’t stop at the ‘it’s not you it’s the shirt phase’ and he’s had no trouble wearing the shirt on a flight before.

Chris Brand says:

In defense of the TSA

Have to admit that my experience has been the same. I always opt for the pat-down rather than the scary machines. I’ve had to wait for a few minutes once or twice, and I’ve had to respond to some questions along the lines of “you know that it’s not an x-ray machine, right ?” but the whole process has generally been quite painless – obviously unusual for the people doing the job, but not so unusual that they don’t know how they’re supposed to do it.

Having said that, I have made the conscious decision not to travel to the USA a number of times in the last few years, just because the benefits of the trip didn’t seem worth the hassles of flying in and out of the USA.

Wally (profile) says:

In defense of the TSA

Exactly ๐Ÿ™‚ I mean really all you have to do is tell them with a straight serious face and they just scan you with a wand and pat down. Except for that idiot at the metal detector, they called for a female TSA agent to do a pat-down of my mother. That really makes me think that it depends on the person, the Airport and ergo…the Airline.

Anonymous Coward says:


It’s entirely unreasonable to only air grievances in the courts as if judicial hearings are the only way the people can make a change. As long as we purport to democratically elect representatives speech in public spaces completely unrelated to the subject being spoken on (which isn’t even the case here) is vital.

None of the limits on protected speech cover this shirt nor was the shirt the real issue.

You must be blind if you can’t see how putting this man through multiple rounds of additional screening and interrogation and finally forcing him and his wife to book another flight on the next day after said screening and interrogation passed without turning up anything actually suspicious is too far a stretch.

Looking foreign has everything to do with the racist profiling the TSA employs and the Delta employees and NFTA transit police employed here.

Lord Binky says:

New National Anthem

“We will save the welfare money” ? You mean China will save the welfare money we borrowed. Worse yet, if someone actually goes to another country while they are a US citizen, they likely have a skillset that is worth that country granting them a working visa or even citizenship. I really don’t see other countries being happy to import some NEETs. Anyways, really this would leaves the current welfare money with less supporting it than before…

Just trying to shooing away people is instantly invoking murphey’s law so that all your left with are the people you wanted to shoo away in the first place. Nice try though.

Panda (profile) says:

evoke a response

Laughing is a response. Why does anyone buy/wear a tee shirt with text? Because they want someone else to read it, and maybe say something about it or laugh when they “get it.” Or maybe the wearer waits for the other person to not “get it” and then proceed to laugh at them, or explain.

Either way, they are evoking / inviting a response.

That One Guy (profile) says:


>It didn’t seem like too far of a stretch to me.

What exactly on that shirt would cause harm though? Yelling ‘fire’ in a theater is the standard example because people are likely to get hurt in the resulting panic. Same with your ‘yelling about a gun’ and even the ‘he’s a terrorist’ examples.

All of those are loud, public claims, true or not, of a legitimate threat to public safety, so panic would be expected, along with a high possibility for injury, hence why shouting them without reason is considered a no-no.

This guy’s shirt on the other hand has to be read for anyone to know what’s on it, and it’s so over the top that it’s obviously not a serious claim about anything, but rather is making fun of irrational fears and actions based upon them. Given that, it doesn’t even come close to being in the same category of the other examples you mentioned.

>I’m not sure how looking foreign has anything to do with protected speech…I guess I’m missing your point. Do foreign-looking people get extra protection or something?

Depends on how you define ‘protection’.

From the original source(emphasis mine):

This response did not please her partner, a transit cop named Mark. Mark grabbed his walkie-talkie and alerted his supervisor and proceeded to request that he be granted permission to question me further in a private room. His justification?: ?First he hesitated, then he gave a stupid answer.? Michigan, my friends, is a stupid answer.

And then, he decided to drop any fa?ade of fair treatment: the veil was lifted, this was about who I was and how I looked: ?And he looks foreign.?

The point I was trying to make with that remark is that unfortunately, nationality, or even just perceived nationality, plays far more of a role in these situations than it should. Had he been white with a nice ‘american’ name, odds are things wouldn’t have escalated nearly as much as they did here, so his perceived ‘foreignness’ was a definite factor in what speech was considered ‘over the line’.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“All of those are loud, public claims, true or not, of a legitimate threat to public safety”

I agree with everything you said, voted you insightful and would more if I could, but an additional aspect is that those exclamations are also indicative of and immediate threat requiring swift action. are are still allowed to shout that our world is doomed and we are all going to burn in a giant fire in December 2012 after all.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:


I think the intent was to prevent theft.

Maybe, but that is poor execution since the most valuable item there was removed by TSA policy and placed on the conveyor belt on its own. A thief doesn’t need to open the bag when the laptop is sitting there waiting for them.

Except maybe to prevent theft by the TSA, since they do have a tendency to take items from luggage while it is in their custody and outside of view of the owner, but again, seems like zipping up the bag won’t prevent that from happening.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


Actually the proper way to deal with it and the way it’s been dealt with in the past is to have the case heard in court.

Uhh, no, not really. The court system rarely results in anything like reform or justice. The courts have also ruled that all kinds of things that would be unconstitutional anywhere else are perfectly OK in an airport.

And court isn’t even available to you for this sort of thing unless you have a warchest.

That One Guy (profile) says:


Yes, obviously he knew what would happen, especially given that he’d worn that exact same shirt on five flights he’d gone on previously without any problem.

Obviously, despite the fact that he hadn’t had any problems with it before, he just knew that this time it would get this kind of reaction and wore it just for that reason.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:


If I had been standing behind him, I would have had that passenger arrested for that T-Shirt

Wow… just wow!

So wearing a t-shirt that is clearly a parody of the TSA and their strong track record of over reacting and discrimination is now a criminal offense? How far do we take this line of thinking? You feel that my 1st amendment rights are overridden by the TSA, and they already feel that my 4th amendment rights were tossed out over a decade ago, so which other rights do you want to throw out? Forget the guy’s t-shirt… he was brown… should have just arrested him for that, right?

As much as I try to keep these discussions civil, your ignorance is appalling!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

No, no criminal offense, but just another reason for them to restrict you your right to travel by available means. They could deny you passage just because they don’t like your necklace. They already deny it to some because of the color of their skin and no other defensible reason.

I’ve got an idea for a t-shirt. Someone bent with their hands on the wall, an agent behind putting on a glove. Caption: TSA – Get Bent

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Wow, talk about an over reaction.

Look, It’s not about stopping him from making his free speech, but remember: his free speech stops at my nose. Where his free speech starts to lean into my life, there is a space where we need balance. If he wants to protest the TSA or whatever, that’s his prerogative. If he wants to do it in a way that impacts my ability to fly, then I have an issue.

You cannot look at his rights without looking at the rights of everyone around that are affected by his little protest.

I would say as a traveller, I am not comfortable with a guy making jokes (or protests) about bombs. That makes it less comfortable for me to travel, and thus limits MY rights.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Let’s see…

You get to feel ‘uncomfortable’ and maybe be a little delayed getting on your flight.

He gets to be interrogated by multiple people, multiple times, has a police dog check him for drugs, has his wife interrogated, misses his flight, was lucky not to spend some time behind bars… all over a freakin’ t-shirt.

Really the only thing I can think to say to you and those like you is this: Suck it up and get on with your life, the rights of others are more important that your ability to have a ‘comfortable’ travel experience.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

This one wasn't the TSA

As much as I love laughing at the TSA, if you read the article you find that the TSA actually acted professionally and sanely.

It was Delta and the local transit cops that turned out to be completely clueless and/or racist. I’m guessing that the TSA was already aware of Arijit’s condition and saw no reason to bother him further.

gorehound (profile) says:

In defense of the TSA

So I should just love these guys and mindlessly accept them even though I have been hassled numerous times ?
And I am White but have hair to my shoulders so is it because they feel like I am a “Druggie” or something ? Cops used to bother me in the early 70’s like these guys.I would not call their behavior isolated.Just in the first week of July my Mom died and her brother and his Wife flew down for the funeral in Aventura.He is 84 or so and was hassled and his wife was hassled because she has one of those bags for going to the bathroom ( I forget what they call them) as she has had Cancer before.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: In defense of the TSA

Yeah, it was the Agent being an asshole. Delta doesn’t carry the facilities for that type of medical condition. On top of that, even if they do, you have to explain it to them. The Arijit is Indian and has a very heavy accent. The Indians in my mom’s IT department talk fast in English and are quite hard to understand with the accident.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: In defense of the TSA

**Yeah, it was the Agent being an asshole. Delta doesn’t carry the facilities for that type of medical condition. On top of that, even if they do, you have to explain it to them. Arijit is Indian and has a very heavy accent. The Indians in my mom’s IT department talk fast in English and are quite hard to understand with the accident.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:


Actually the proper way to deal with it and the way it’s been dealt with in the past is to have the case heard in court.

This, my friend, is not even remotely true. The founders of this country didn’t go to court to deal with the King of England. They recognized that the courts would see them without standing, being a colony of England. Nor did it work during the Woman’s Suffrage or during the race marches. Action has always occurred outside of the courts, then unfortunately dragged into the courts after the fact.

People who are being oppressed and having their human rights violated by the states have no requirement to handle their grievances via the courts, though it usually ends up there, but it never starts there. The four boxes of liberty have always been: soap box (what the t-shirt represents,) ballot box, jury box, and cartridge box. Going to court is number 3 on that list, and nobody wants to get to 4.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

evoke a response

Either way, they are evoking / inviting a response.

Yeah, but certainly not the over-response we see here. I am sure if Guha thought he would get this response, he would have worn another shirt. But hind-sight is 20-20, and if we lived our lives worrying constantly about how someone might over-react to something we did, we wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:


Agh you camping bitch!

Yup. That is me. What, snipers are allowed in warfare, but not computer simulated warfare in video games?

I spent a lot of time in covops ships or picket in EVE too…but there, camping was something that everyone enjoyed. Nothing better than to enter into enemy held space and hear the soft, non-threatening voice of “jump out of here as quickly as you can because there are three capital ships in here with you and they are quite pissed about something!” Always adds to the pucker factor, but at least you knew they were there due to the camper.

Rapnel (profile) says:


au contraire – it is a most effective means of protest and an equally effective means of displaying clear disapproval in the context that matters most. Any coverage of this fascist nonsense is good coverage.

He should be commended for having the balls.

Once you’re afraid to speak your mind you’re better off dead.

Getting close, eh?

Common sense is irrelevant, clearly.

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Personal attacks now eh? This resort on your part to see if you can be clever or funny has just failed.

” In essence they’re copycats feeding on the flames of freedom burning that the TSA’s existence fans.”

*Sarcasm On* I’m sure he’s definitely not still blaming the TSA for it. *Sarcasm Off*

I’m sorry you called me a moron. In the future I think it may be healthier for you not to troll aimlessly with name calling, you might actually learn something.

Thomas (profile) says:


are totally out of place at airports, whether you are speaking to the TSA, the airlines, or the people who work there. Keep your mouth shut. Don’t wear any kind of t-shirt with lettering or icons.

Sometimes I wonder if the TSA and airlines have a quota of how many people they have to have detained/arrested per week to show they are truly “fighting terrorism”.

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