Sometimes, even I am amazed at how many stupid decisions the people charged with security make. And given how low an expectation I have of intelligence showing up in security procedures, it probably amazes people who know me that I can be amazed by this idiotic occurences. The latest thing to set me off is this story of a geologist having a mineral speciman (sometimes known as a stone) taken away because it was in his carry-on bag.
When is a rock not a rock? When you pass through airport security. Then it becomes a potential weapon, one capable of bringing an airplane down.
. . .
I was traveling to Hood River, Ore., to attend the annual meeting of the Stone Foundation, an international organization of architects, sculptors, stonemasons, geologists, engravers and engineers united by their love of stone.
To enhance my speech, I nestled one of my favorite specimens between my underwear and shirts in a carry-on bag because I never check luggage on business trips. My banded chunk of the Hebron Gneiss (pronounced “nice”) resembled a broken slice of layer cake composed of licorice and cream cheese.
. . .
The inspectors did give me the option of returning to the ticket counter to check my specimen as baggage. However, having waited more than half an hour for my security clearance, I decided that I didn’t have enough time. “Can I claim the rock when I return?” I asked. Their answer, a resounding “no,” forced me to choose between possibly missing my flight, and abandoning my rock forever.
This tells me that our leaders do not feel the reinforced cockpit doors are actually secure. If a rock can be used to take over a plane in flight, there must be a weakness in the reinforced cockpit doors that makes the rock a threat. Either that, or the people doing security have no clue how to make intelligent decisions.
[tags]Rock in baggage is terrorist weapon, Travel with a stone results in loss of rock[/tags]