25 April 2005

Airport fascists collar three jokers in just a week.

| johnboy
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ABC Online has an interesting story on the numbers of people being charged for making jokes at the airport.

the Queenslander became the third person in a week facing court on a charge that could attract a fine of up to $5,000.

While joking around with security types isn’t the smartest move in the world, I do wonder what benefit we’re getting as a society for charging these people who are doing no harm?

A few weeks ago travelling to Sydney on business (so I was wearing a suit) I got pulled aside for residue scanning. The guard was being reasonably pleasant and then as he scanned my lapels he semi-joked “this is just looking for any residues if you were making bombs”

I started to semi joke back “Assuming of course I was making bombs in my suit”

I got as far as “making” when I realised from his body language I was about to get in a world of trouble.

It seems to me that it’s pretty easy to get in trouble under this regime.

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They don’t ask if you have a bomb. They ask if you have any dangerous goods with you. The tools take it that bit further

Virgin Blue have signs on all the checkin desks at every airport I’ve been to recently (Canberra, Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne & Adelaide). They say something along the lines of: “We take jokes about security very seriously. Heavy fines apply”.

The only time I’ve had the vacuum cleaner type explosives test done, I was handed an A4 sheet of paper explaining what was going to happen, why and what would happen if I refused.

It’s dumb that they ask, and it’s dumb when people are smart about it.

But why do they ask if you have a bomb anyway? Because anyone, ever, who has one has said yes? Surely saying yes is equivalent to saying “so I’m a bit of a tool, but obviously I don’t have a bomb”, whereas you say no and leave yourself wide open… although I think I’m using some of the legal argument from the Corby prosecution here…

I would! But then I’m like that…… Besides, if they are that stupid, it’s really doing the world a favour…..

VG and LG: will you make sure we get pictures of your S&M extravaganza?

SpecialG: If you saw a person about to put a spinning drill up their nose would you just sit back and watch?

I don’t think you would.

Hey VG, who would have thought we’d have a future together? I’d do that job with you quite happily.

I volunteer for the postion of public thrasher. can i wear a black hood and jodhpurs?

instaead of fining them, we could just administer a public thrashing. or put them in stocks in garema place.

A sign saying ‘Don’t stick a power drill up your nose’ is indeed a useless thing.

A sign saying ‘Don’t be Australian’ on Australian soil is very useful. By now we netizens all know via these anecdotes that we shouldn’t say such things in these situations. But we are a small proportion of the population.

I think Lg and VG have got this one right. Most people are mature enough to hold thier smart arsed comments and use them appropriately. As for signs warning people they are about as good as warnings for things like; don’t scratch your nose with a power drill.
Maybe there should be a stupidity fine.


If we were to give security forces “everything they need” we’d allow sodium pentathol injections in interrogations.

We’d allow unlimited searches, interceptions, and seizures.

We’d catch a hell of a lot more “bad guys”

But you might want to consider that the countries that do give their security forces (they cease to be police long before that) that kind of latitude tend to have more terrorism not less

(i’m thinking of russia and china where things go boom quite often, to say nothing of any number of third world crap-holes)

I think two things would sort this out.

One is that people should be cautioned in advance if the next words out of their mouth could lead them to have a criminal conviction.

Secondly security screening should be BEFORE check in so that any scare has no impact on other travellers.

But frankly (and somewhat offtopic I grant you) this airport security malarkey has more to do with making people think “something is being done” rather than genuine safety. They’re not catching glass or ceramic edges, and they’re not catching binary explosives.

LG, got it in one

Agreed. Given the nervousness of the Security Guards at airports these days, why not just shut up rather than aggravating them???? In other words, be a bloody grown up.

Ummm, not sure if that was actually in English but the operating factor here is the enormous inconvenience and delay caused to non smart- arses by the smart arses.

A couple of well placed fines may cause a smart arse to shut their mouth and answer as a normal person would. Its quite simple really, answer the appropriate question with a ‘no’ and you are on your way.

As for signs adverting that such comments are ill advised? I’d suggest 99.9% of mature adults would realise that without them

for all you wet blankets that think responsible behaviour must now be enforced by law, fines, and what..mandatory sentencing? do try to remember that the operant fact here is the having or not having bombs and their bits. Also the detection of such by security, which as you do recognise, is their role. Not sure what import the comments of the passengers plays –
S “do u have any bombs?”
P ” ah, no, were just going to use stanley knives and see how things go”
smartasses dont blow people up, ass’oles do

Thanks for all the info about weaknesses in Australian airport security: your advice will be very useful to my friends.

May Allah bless you all.

Ahmed Mohammed Yousef.

And a friend of mine took a full magazine (that’s wot holds the bullets, for the unitiated) through a metal detector at the Perth Airport and the machine DID NOT GO OFF!!!! (don’t try this at home kiddies – he wasn’t a passenger, he works there and was “testing out an idea”.

Meanwhile, the bloody 25 grams of metal I have in my heart sets it off every bloody time! Wierd.

im not sure how accurate these machines are.

last may after i’d been firing SMG’s all day my luggage (with the clothes id been wearing) managed to get through nashville airports enhanced security for Bush’s visit.

on the idiots who have been fined. im glad they have. what if they said they had bombs, the security guy laughed, checked him in and kaboom.

That security guard was fishing you.

That merely brushing past someone who has been making bombs is enough to get a positive set of ions on you is concern enough. They also pick up on any barbituates.

Where are the warning signs not to make these sorts of jokes, given that these rules do not apply in everyday life outside an airport? That I would rely on an anecdote like this to be aware of such policies is the real joke.

Actually if only they missed their flights then fine BUT by this time their luggage was on board and would have to be unloaded and EVERYONE on that flight would miss their flight/be delayed. A $750 fine is cheap, I’d want the buggers to pay for any loss on income, accommodation costs, alternate transport costs, etc incurred by every passenger because of any delays these buggers cause.

Well i’d imagine (and I m just guessing here) that the folks getting $1,000 fines aren’t ones who travel very much either.

Give the poor security people a break, they’re just trying to do their job and feed their families; last thing they need is a queue of wise-arses giving them lip.

i’m not saying they didn’t need extra scrutiny and if they miss their flights as a result I personally would have thought that was punishment enough.

if we’re going to start charging $1000 fines for stupidity then no government program will ever be underfunded again!

OK, you make a compelling argument…

Doing no harm? I think you’ll find the circumstances of the 3 quite similiar from what I’ve seen reported. They are asked if they have anything dangerous in their luggage, All 3 people replied that they had bombs or similiar when the sensible thing to do was to simply say ‘no’. This then required their luggage and themselves to be searched, and the whole situation caused the intelligent members of their flight to be delayed (miss connections etc).

The price you pay for being a smart arse. I’m all for it. All they needed to do was shut their mouths and be a little mature. Clearly it was beyond them

ABC Online are now also reporting that our comedian has been allowed to get out of town with a $750 fine.

You’d have hought a joke like this might warrant more thorough search, but it’s a crime too?

I agree that’s how to get by in the current situation.

I’m just concerned that having established this standard we won’t see it spreading throughout society.

And I’m not at all convinced it’s actually making the skies safer.

Then the onus is also on the security staff not to be seen to make jokes about it, either.

It’s just irresponsible to suggest to them that you might have weaponry on you or in your luggage. It sends them on a probable wild goose chase looking for it, and holds up screening for other people.

However, it will be a huge double standard if it means that the security staff can make smart-arse remarks to you, but if you attempt to counter likewise, they can slap a court case on you.

Answer only necessary stuff that you’re asked, don’t reciprocate any small talk from them, and otherwise non-relate to them as if they’re non-people. Hopefully, that should be enough to avoid the big court-case stick.

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