Tales from the road 12/8.

Yesterday in the Springfield airport, I emerged from the bathroom to find to police officers standing over my backpack and laptop.

Cop #1:  Is this yours?

Me:  Yes.

Cop#2:  Where were you?

Me:  Pooping.

Cop #2:  You can’t just do that.

Me:  I wiped too.

They were unimpressed with my flippancy and I got a good lecture on how leaving my stuff (after it has already been scanned and re-scanned by the TSA, mind you) is a sure way to get the bomb squad called.  I considered informing them that I’d just finished dropping all the major bombs, but they didn’t seem in the mood and I had work to get done.

The take home is that I’m now the biggest terrorist threat to ever hit Springfield, Missouri.  I didn’t even take my belt off when I went through the metal detector.  My reign of evil knows no bounds.

PERSONAL: Mid day lab pics from the wife.
PERSONAL: Happy birthday, Hitch.
PERSONAL: Sorry to disappoint you, Julian.
Update and pics from #AACon15. MST3K cast members were at my talk.
About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Brad

    Fuck tha TSA

  • Artor

    You left your backpack & laptop unattended in an airport? I’d be less worried about the paranoid security than about them still being there later. Thieves abound.

    • Michaelyn

      I second this. Take your stuff in the bathroom with you, JT. *stern face*

      • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

        Personally I would have expected the TSA agents to either steal it or, finding it worthless to them, perform a controlled detonation.

        Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Petty power corrupts out of all proportion to actual power.

        • Nate Frein

          I grew up on military bases (even got to chill with EOD — explosive ordinance disposal — on senior shadow day), and to me controlled detonations are no joke. My father once got called in (he was the watch officer that night) because of a briefcase left next to the watch desk at the fo’c’sle. Turned out to be a false alarm — the owner was a guest trainer there for a week who had simply forgotten his briefcase on his way back to BOQ. He came back to the fo’c’sle just as EOD was preparing to blow the thing up.

          Suffice it to say I’ve simply grown up in a culture where you absolutely *do not* leave a bag unattended in a public area.

          That’s not to say that I have any love for TSA and their pettiness.

          • Silent Service

            I’ve send bags to be blown up before. Its no joke when you do not know what is in it. I get that some of the TSA idiots are just that, idiots. Don’t be an idiot too just to prove that you can be a stupid as they are. These guys only think it terms of possible threats and don’t give a crap about your being inconvenienced when your laptop is a ball of expanding gas and fragments of plastic.

  • theflyingatheist

    I’m with the police here (I obviously work in the aviation industry). Unattended bags are a HUGE avaition security risk (any public building really) because it could be a dress rehearsal to see what the reaction time of security forces are, and if the bag will go un noticed consistantly. We know that this is a common tactic because it has happened several times before terrorist events. Its the same with parking cars outside airport enterences (remember the airport in scotland that was the target of a bomb in a van). Hope that provides some insight. (If you want to know more email me, I don’t want to say too much in public)

  • http://improbablejoe.blogspot.com Improbable Joe

    Odd story…

    I flew into Oklahoma back in the 1990s, and made a smart-ass comment to the bag scanner along the lines of “just ignore the bomb in my bag”… three days before the OKC bombing. I spent a few weeks expecting a visit from my not-so-friendly neighborhood federal agent.

    • John Horstman

      Ah, the days before 2001/09/11. My friend’s aunt and uncle were going through security one time in the early 90s, and his uncle stops in the middle of the metal detector, turns to his wife, and says, “Oh, honey, we forgot the bomb!”

      Airport security was not pleased and detained them, though only briefly, and they did not enforce their $10,000 fine or whatever it is. That said, I strongly recommend against fucking with the TSA, as tempting as it always is, especially these days, as they may cause you to miss your flight while they determine that you are not a threat.

      • Amyc

        “That said, I strongly recommend against fucking with the TSA, as tempting as it always is, especially these days, as they may cause you to miss your flight while they determine that you are not a threat.”

        This is true. My dad works for TSA and he always has stories to tell of people who thought they would be funny or the “protestors” who refuse the body scan and instead opt to be strip searched (which takes a long time, and only certain people are qualified to do it, so about half the time they miss their flight). Really, you give TSA a hard time, they couldn’t give two shits about it, but they will mess with you and possibly make you miss your flight…on purpose.

  • Drakk

    TIL JT doesn’t use his laptop while on the toilet. I begin to wonder why.

  • Gordon

    On our trip to the US my niece (then about 10) left her backpack down somewhere in the airport. None of the staff I spoke to seemed to know the word “backpack”. I had to point to mine and say “one of these”

    • RuQu

      Maybe you just said it in a hilarious accent and they wanted you to keep repeating it?

      I’ve lived all over the US, and “backpack” is the only term I know for that item. I suppose a few places say “book-bag,” but that’s far less common.

  • RuQu

    Gonna have to join the dogpile here.

    Between risk of theft and security concerns, there is really no excuse for leaving it out there alone. A lot of airport bathrooms even have coat hooks inside the stall where you can hang a bag without it touching the floor.