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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com October 10, 2012 at 9:05 am 3,513 50 Comments

Gun Confiscated at DCA — TSA agents confiscated a 9mm handgun from a 59-year-old Fairfax man who tried to bring it with him on his trip to Dallas. The TSA said the man, who was charged with a misdemeanor weapons offense, was “just a forgetful passenger” and not a terrorist. [Washington Post]

WAMU Offers Voter Guide — WAMU has built an interactive voter guide for D.C. area elections. Among the races where voters can compare and contrast positions are the Virginia Eighth District congressional race, the Arlington County Board race, and the non-competitive Arlington School Board race.

W-L Students Collect “Cleats for Bare Feets” — Three brothers, all students at Washington-Lee High School, have been collecting hundreds of pairs of old athletic cleats for shipment and donation to disadvantaged individuals in countries like India, Mozambique, Haiti, Macedonia and Nigeria. [Arlington Mercury]

  • Josh S

    He wasn’t a terrorist? Really? Wow! Thank goodness!

    I think the TSA loves any excuse it can find to use the word “terrorist.”

    • drax

      But TSA didn’t use the word terrorist.

      • speonjosh

        TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the incident was not related to terrorism. “If there’s a nexus to terrorism, we’ll be sure to let everyone know,” she said. “Just a forgetful passenger. With that said, passengers who own guns need to know where the guns are at all times.”

        From the Post article.

        • drax

          I read that before I posted my comment, and expected someone like you to post it, not getting the point.

          The point is that they were saying that this was NOT a terrorist incident. Somehow Josh turns that into TSA waving the terrorism bloody shirt, when its the opposite. THAT is the point.

          And the likely reason they said it at all was in response to a reporter’s question.

          • speonjosh

            You work hard to not make friends on the internet, don’t you?

          • drax

            I’m not here to be your friend.

            That’s the fun part of the Internet!

          • SomeGuy

            …and to create the appearance of being right by changing assumptions and context after being demonstrably wrong.

          • drax

            No, just explaining myself for those who didn’t get the point. I apologize for using parallel construction to make that point and confusing people. Here’s how I’d write it for you:

            But Josh, the point is that their statement specifically said this was not a terrorist act, so how can you say that they are invoking the threat of terrorism by saying it wasn’t terrorism?

            There, now the literalists are happy.

          • SomeGuy

            speonjosh said, “the TSA loves any excuse it can find to use the word ‘terrorist.'” He didn’t qualify that. They used the word in the negative, i.e. NOT a terrorist, but this continued to highlight their constant “vigilant” focus on terrorists (i.e., “be afraid of bogeymen”), which presumably was speonjosh’s point.

            Missing HIS point, you chose to refute his comment with “But TSA didn’t use the word terrorist,” which is patently FALSE. And then subsequently tried to invoke a “parallel construction” excuse, which doesn’t appear to make sense here, but which you hoped would bolster your correctness. All the while trying to paint everyone else as having missed YOUR brilliant point.

            Regardless of this instance, you changed contexts yesterday to seem right as well (http://www.arlnow.com/2012/10/09/county-to-hold-ribbon-cutting-ceremony-for-new-bus/#comment-247285). I don’t have statistics on how often you do it, but I perceive it to be often.

  • Quoth the Raven

    You’re right! Because there is no reason whatsoever for the TSA to associate “guns” and “airplanes” with “terrorist”.

    • internet tourettes

      Betcha if his skin was a little darker and he had a beard things would be different?

    • Josh S

      Based on my understanding of how frequently the TSA discovers guns in luggage, no, there is little reason to suspect terrorists. Also, when was the last time a terrorist used a gun on a plane in the United States?

      In general the TSA is a dispicable agency with extremely low esteem both self- and in the eyes of others. I’m sure their managers jump at every chance they get to remind the public about the “terrorist” spectre.

      • drax

        The details on how TSA works aside, the fact that terrorists never use guns on planes is BECAUSE of security, not in spite of it.

        • speonjosh

          If you say so.

          I seem to also recall reading here and there about how frequently the TSA has failed to stop people from bringing dangerous objects through security – such as when being tested by their quality control people.

          • drax

            Yes, the TSA has failed sometimes, but also clearly succeeded sometimes. It’s not perfect.

            The larger point is that the threat is real, and part of security is deterrence.

          • speonjosh

            I won’t deny that the threat is non-zero. However, I think that the TSA (and much of the military-industrial complex) is quite happy to treat us to security theater so that we might collectively believe that the threat is much greater than it is.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Did you really say “military industrial complex”??? Calling 1985….

          • drax

            Why would it do that? What’s the grand conspiracy?

          • drax


          • speonjosh

            Actually, Q the R, the phrase was first used in 1961. But I’m not sure what that has to do with anything.

          • Quoth the Raven

            I thought you were channelling your inner Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything)…..

          • MC 703

            Any and all TSA problems are clearly Barry’s fault.

      • MC 703

        Why is the TSA “dispciable”

        Despicable means ‘deserving of hatred or contempt”

        Yes, the TSA screenings can be a pain and there is a highly publicized incident involving overzealous screeners once a month or so, but that is out of a million+ passengers per day being screened by the TSA. They have a daunting job and I think that they’re doing a great job overall.

        • speonjosh

          It is a tragedy, no doubt. They seem to hate the passengers. The passengers clearly hate them. And it is all kept in place by fear, which tends to benefit the TSA more than it benefits the passengers. Thus, deserving of hatred or contempt.

          • drax

            I’ve never detected any hatred from either side when I fly. It’s just a normal routine like any other.

          • speonjosh



            My mind is officially blown.


          • drax

            No, your mind is not blown.

            I walked into the line, emptied my pockets, put my bag through the metal detector, put my shoes back on, and walked to the gate.

            Stop this fake drama. It’s not evidence of anything.

          • speonjosh

            “It’s just a normal routine like any other.”

            Mind blown. What is “normal” about it? Since when is it “routine?” Why does it have to be the way it is? Are there alternatives? Is it not possible to imagine alternatives? Is this the way things were done in the past? Is this the way things are done elsewhere?

            I find the airport security process to be almost the opposite of a “normal routine.” Therefore, I find it mind blowing that you so blithely accept it as being a “normal routine.”

          • MC 703

            The word “seem” is not a strong word for purposes of argument or debate. Your casual observation seems solid though.

            I now agree that 100K+ employees are all deserving of hatred and contempt. I’ll be sure to show plenty of contempt towards the next screener I encounter. Thanks for the thoughtful arguments, speonjosh.

      • drax

        And Josh, are you saying there are no terrorists out there any more? It’s all a spectacle?

        • torsionbar

          Are you claiming that terrorists actually exist? I’m pretty sure that makes you an Islamophobe and a bigot, by “progressive” media standards, at least.

  • CW

    Anyone been watching that Airport 24/7 Miami show on the Travel Channel? It tries to come across as serious, but it’s basically jusst a huge mockery of the farce that is the TSA and airport security. Every single episode just consists of them very seriously shutting down all of MIA over one silly false alarm or the other. Last night they brought out a SWAT team and cordoned off a plane because, it turned out, a curious little child had accidentally moved one of the covers inside the airplane bathroom.

    • JamesE

      That show has convinced me never to take a flight through that airport.

      • R. Griffon

        Joke’s on you – they’re all run the same!

      • MC 703

        MIA is a sewer. At least the international terminal I was in last year was.

        • HP2000

          Agree. MIA is the lowest of the low. Although Terminal C at Logan in BOS is a close runner up.

  • Quoth the Raven

    TSA never gets a fair shake. I’m certainly not going to defend every bone-headed decision they’ve made, but come on – they’re an underfunded agency charged with a monotonous, yet incredibly important job. One slip up and we get another 9/11. Maybe they don’t strike the right balance. Maybe their agents just aren’t paid enough or educated enough or trained enough or polite enough.

    Here, some reporter probably asked “Is there a terrorist connection?” and the agent said “no.” That, of course, leads to this article, and to commenters claiming that they’re “dispicable”. How many terrorists have they stopped? Do you know? I sure don’t. Maybe it’s a lot, maybe it’s none. But I think they’re doing the best they can in an absolutely untenable position. Folks whine and moan about the lousy job they do, but when something happens, they’ll be first in line to claim “How could the TSA let this happen?”

    • drax

      Yep. It’s so easy to sit around and bash security for responding to false alarms. But that’s their job. They don’t know if it’s a false alarm until they respond to it.

    • Rory of the Hills


      I would disagree. They were built so quickly and with so much money thrown at the problem their very structure is bloated and inefficient.

      We should have modeled Israeli airport security. More efficient, cheaper, and safer.

      • Quoth the Raven

        Israeli security? Incredibly effective yet impossible in this country, b/c it includes profiling. And that’s not something we’re willing to do here.

        • Homeowner

          Speak for yourself.

        • drax

          Profiling isn’t the most important part of Israeli security. I think it would be less effective in a country like ours. It would simply invite terrorists to recruit or disguise themselves as old white ladies or whatever, or put bombs in their suitcases without their knowledge. Profiling gives little more than a false sense of security.

      • JohnB

        Anyone who suggests that we should model our security after the Israelis misses a very important point:

        Israel has 47 airports, only 29 with paved runways.

        The US has 15,079 airports. 5,194 of which have paved runways.

        That is to say that the magnitude of the system should have an impact on the design.

        • Rory of the Hills

          To be honest, i have very little idea about what I’m talking about on this issue, other than at one point I worked indirectly with a few of their budget officres.

          I just heard someone else say that about about us needing to copy Israeli security, and now I am regurgitating it for this discussion. Which is what many people do regarding politics, sports, whatever.

  • Arlington Cat

    Remember the woman who was caught at an airport with a nine inch dagger in her purse? She forgot to take it out of her purse after a blind date the night before.

  • B Walsh

    Regarding the WAMU voter guide, it is disappointing that the only presidential candidates listed are Obama and Romney. At least they include Audrey Clement and Jason Howell for the local elections. But where’s Gary Johnson? Jill Stein? Virgil Goode? Voters need to be aware of all of their options.

    • jackson

      Did they get enough signatures to appear on the ballot in Virginia?

      • jackson

        Answered my own question. Yep, Goode is on the ballot, despite Republicans asking Kooch to investigate fraudulent names on petitions. Apparently they are worried Goode will take Republican votes from people who don’t like Romney.

        I agree. If they’re on the ballot, they should appear in the voting guide.

  • Arlingtron

    The gun owner should know that guns are compulsory in Texas. You are issued one when you enter the state. He could have left his at home.

  • YTK

    FORGETFUL? Responsible gun ownership means ALWAYS being aware of your responsibility towards gun safety!!!!


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