OT: TSA (again)

Spot|DSE wrote on 5/29/2006, 5:39 AM
So, this weekend while on travel, I purchased a Sony HC3 camcorder as I needed a second cam at this event.
Decided to pack the HC3 and power supply/battery away with my Z1 in the flight case, and put the empty box in my suitcase. On arrival home, I found the box had been stolen from my suitcase. This means I lost warranty card, component cables, USB cable, and a couple other small items related to the camera. Losing the remote is probably the biggest deal.
Just remember that because they're wearing badges doesn't mean they don't steal. There is a reason baggage losses and thefts have skyrocketed since the TSA was created and activated. It's really a license to steal. I'm sure we'll soon see another bust of TSA workers colluding to steal like we've seen in Las Vegas, Orlando, Miami, LA, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta (where I flew out of), Detroit, LaGuardia, Newark, and other majors. Be sure your gear is insured against airline theft, cuz trust me, the TSA/Homeland Security doesn't pay you back. We're STILL waiting to be paid for on a GL1 camcorder destroyed by them 3 years ago. We only get letters explaining why it's taking so long.
It's impossible for me to comprehend that there are morons that have the ignorant audacity to support the TSA/Homeland Security. So far I've yet to hear one verified story of what bad they've prevented vs a whole lot of nasty inconveniences and embarassments they've caused. Like when they tried to hand-carry a paraplegic through security in SLC, and dropped him on the floor, adding injury to his insult. "Oh, but they're so important to our safety..." Yeah, right. Paying bare minimum wage to people who in mass numbers haven't even graduated high school and can't get jobs anywhere else isn't a deterrent to anything except assuring that many of us will continue to lose our possessions.

<rant off>


Jay Gladwell wrote on 5/29/2006, 5:55 AM

Douglas, I'm sorry to hear about your most recent experiene. That has to be more than frustrating.

Too, I am in total agreement with you on the TSA/Homeland Security. It's a fraud. The current administration--top to bottom--and those elected officials who support them are, in my opinion, fascists.

Our Constitution is truly in danger!

winrockpost wrote on 5/29/2006, 6:15 AM
That sucks,, nothin worse than a #$%^& thief,, Remember though plenty of thieves out there that make a whole lot more than minimum wage, and are highly educated ,these people just happen to have a perfect playing field for stealing,
Dan Sherman wrote on 5/29/2006, 6:27 AM
Wonder if this experience has more to do with a wholesale decline in ethics in western society than Homeland Security, or governments, or low rates of pay specifically.
It doesn't stop with stealing things.
During a recent project a freelancer we hired was handing out his card to my client five minutes into the shoot.
And this is just one example.
Don't think we have to go to airports to find thieves.
Seems they are liberally sprinkled about.
Sad, is a good word.
Trust no one is the new rule.
farss wrote on 5/29/2006, 6:50 AM
I could relate my own less than pleasant experience on our last trip back from the USA at LAX with the TSA but in the grand scheme of things it's not that important., thankfully I've never had anything go AWOL.
What really irks me is I've carried camera batteries onto many aircraft and only at two airports have they raised any interest at all, one was HK and the other Urumqi (central China). At both places I was asked to prove that they were batteries by using them to power up the camera.

Slackness is not just the province of the TSA either, decades ago I was handed a roll of security tape to go 'clear' my own cargo whilst a family in full arab attire had their stuff searched in minute detail. Memo to bad guys, don't wear tea towels on your head, duh!

cayman wrote on 5/29/2006, 7:23 AM
winrock said: nothin worse than a #$%^& thief

Yes there is. A thief with a badge.
winrockpost wrote on 5/29/2006, 7:28 AM
johnmeyer wrote on 5/29/2006, 7:41 AM
As most people in these forums know I am, ahem, usually on the "conservative" side of things. Despite that leaning, I think this Homeland Security is a crock. We're being asked to give up more and more freedoms, with no real results to balance that loss. I know longer travel regularly like Spot does, but when I do, I am not impressed with these TCA people. Spot, I hope that in addition to the other letters and phone calls that you make that you also unburden yourself of a letter to the biggest newspaper in your area, and also another one to your congressperson.
kkolbo wrote on 5/29/2006, 7:41 AM
Having travelled extensively I wish I had the answer to get the boneheads in charge to listen to a simple solution.

In many countries, you take your luggage to the table. It is inspected, torn apart, sniffed, anything they want while you are there. It is quicker than you might think. (I think they are watching you more than your luggage at that point, which is more effective)

Then you lock your luggage. It is tagged/sealing sticker for tampering, and off it goes and you go to the airplane.

I have never lost anything, not even time, going through this process. Heck, in Israel, you are questioned by a security agent who is highly trained in interogation before boarding. It can all be done respectfully and effectively without subjecting the passenger to loss, humiliation and the crap we are facing.

Side note for humor. In Israel, they let use take several 6 inch iron spikes with us in the cabin. The trained interogater had determined that we were not a threat in any way, even though we had business cards from the Minister of Antiquities of Jordan with us and Jordainian stamps in our passports. OK, we also had a a CineAlta camera in our carry-on.

The same security withheld what appeared to me to be someone innocent looking. Knowing Israel's success at this process, that was probably a BAD dude.
Spot|DSE wrote on 5/29/2006, 8:14 AM
My Congressman and Senator are monstrous wastes of time. Bear in mind, in the USA where the president's popularity is nearly at the worst of any president in US history, in Utah he's still #1 with a 50%plus approval rate. I personally met with my Congressman about 9 months ago and brought up the issue of the TSA, and his response was "These are trying times, and we're all having to sacrifice for safety.
Uhhh.....wrong. The enemy is us. Not them. I'm so much more afraid of flying in the US vs anywhere else in the world, not because of terrorists from the middle east, but terrorists that have been spawned, trained, and implemented by the US government and placed in our airports. It's reminiscent of Hitler's little brown shirt brigades, only these guys are wearing white, which allegedly makes us safe.
I was fairly conservative until this past administration. Before someone brings up 9/11 again, it's not relevant. 9/11 can repeat regardless of the clowns in "Homeland Security" no matter how much we "sacrifice."
Ironic that we're having this discourse on Memorial Day, the day we memorialize those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I have the utmost respect for soldiers who put themselves in harm's way for our freedom and lifestyle while doing the duty they've committed themselves to doing. I have zero respect for the administration that has put them there recently for purposes of sustaining massive profits for oil companies, the destabilization of the American family's feeling of safety and well-being, and the intentional destruction of our way of life for the purposes of giving more power to government and big business. Including those big businesses that are making billions in the name of "national security."
jrazz wrote on 5/29/2006, 8:22 AM
Spot, tell us how you really feel.

Did you log a complaint with the airport/ local police. If there is truly a "crime ring" going on there, the more reports they get, the more likely it would be that they would bust these guys.

j razz
Spot|DSE wrote on 5/29/2006, 8:28 AM
I filed a report with the airline, who also gave me a TSA report form, same one I've filled out on many VASST and performance tours. It's useless. Yes, they look for them. No, we no longer hear about "The TSA employees would never steal." Atlanta has been busted for TSA theft on more than one occasion. I'm confident that is where the box went missing. I'm confident that regardless of how loud I scream (based on several years of experience now), that the most reaction to the theft that I'll see will happen in this forum. It's the TSA. It's all in the name of "security." They CAN'T let people know too much about what goes on, because people will stop flying.
No wonder America is so nutsy right now. We have a president and his staff telling us how frightened we should be, but then in the same breath telling us how safe they are keeping us, and all the while, their hands are in our pockets stealing the very belongings they're telling us they're protecting.
I'll shut up about this now. It only gives me a headache and inflames my emotions. To think I pay taxes that support these @#$?#!
riredale wrote on 5/29/2006, 8:41 AM
Hey, guys, just a suggestion, but let's stick to video stuff and not go off into politics. We've been there before and it makes for hard feelings all around. You know the old adage about not talking about politics or religion. I think it's true.
Coursedesign wrote on 5/29/2006, 9:27 AM
let's stick to video stuff

This is video stuff. It's a practical problem for many, with no easy solutions other than driving or flying your own plane.

The latter can be cost effective more often than people think. Even if you have to rent a pilot to go with the plane (from an air charter service), it can be about the same cost as a couple of airline tickets, and you avoid the TSA harassment. And you can fly into five times as many airports, meaning you can often get closer to your final destination and save a lot of time that way.

I was fairly conservative until this past administration.

Pity to give up conservatism just because the current standardbearers have given it a bad name. But many people are feeling the same way. I know I did until I finally saw the light: standardbearers come and go, but values persist.

The brooms will dance this fall, like in "The Wizard's Apprentice." The end result will be more real conservatives and fewer fakes in Congress. Hopefully not too many "entitlement advocates..."

Even Jay G. should be able to approve of that. :O)

craftech wrote on 5/29/2006, 9:27 AM
Hey, guys, just a suggestion, but let's stick to video stuff and not go off into politics. We've been there before and it makes for hard feelings all around.
I don't see that at all. This is the best group of people I think you will find on any forum. I know you don't have hard feelings and I certainly don't even though we have opposing views and despite an occasional person getting slightly insulted ONCE and a while there is genuine friendship amongst the Vegas users who participate in these forums.

And I am sure that is also clear to the forum moderators as well.
Doug. I am really sorry to hear about the theft. I know how sick it makes someone feel when it happens. Despite the media lies there weren't a bunch new well trained people hired after 9/11. The same people were told:

"Go watch the video, then:
Raise your right hand............OK, now you are a federal screener".

I usually put my equipment in the worst looking piece of garbage bags to avoid attention being drawn to it even on a shoot, but I am sure I don't carry as much equipment around as you do so your choices are unfortunately more limited and I am sure you put as much as you can in "carry on luggage" as you are allowed. My heart goes out to you.

Coursedesign wrote on 5/29/2006, 9:33 AM
"Go watch the video, then:

In the rest of the world, screeners are well paid, and after three full months of full time training they get to screen passengers UNDER SUPERVISION ONLY for a few months.

The Israeli airport security is WAY better than that even, but it is of course more expensive. Really intelligent and motivated people who are very well paid, it doesn't get any better than that anywhere in the world.

Here, 90% of screeners have already quit for a better paying job within 90 days.

God forbid we should learn anything from other people's experience.

craftech wrote on 5/29/2006, 9:46 AM
The Israeli airport security is WAY better than that even, but it is of course more expensive. Really intelligent and motivated people who are very well paid, it doesn't get any better than that anywhere in the world.
They could not get away with that stuff in the United States. If you read Israeli newspapers you will see exactly what they do at those airports. The cannot do that here in the US.
MichaelS wrote on 5/29/2006, 10:18 AM

Thanks for the "heads up". I wasn't even aware that the theft problem existed. Obviously, in spite on the politics involved, it's a reality that we must deal with, at least for the near future. We're beginning to travel by air more often. I'm not sure if our current insurance policiy covers air travel, theft, etc., but I'll find out tomorrow.

You may have saved us thousands. Thanks again!
Former user wrote on 5/29/2006, 11:08 AM
Sorry for your loss and understand the frustration, but you are making some pretty stereotyped remarks concerning the TSA workers. I don't know any personally, but the applicants are required to have a High School education or equivalent. Preference is given to hiring veterans and other government employees.

And, if I am not mistaken, the Baggage handlers are not TSA employees. Since the theft was probably more related to the baggage handlers, it would seem that your anger might be a bit misplaced.

I am sure many of the TSA employees are regular people trying to make a living just like the rest of us.

A few years ago I mailed some Christmas packages to my family from Atlanta to Indiana. When they got the packages, it was obvious someone had gone through them to see if they wanted anything. It was not a security check, just a theft. Based on your comments, I guess I could say that all Postal employees are underpaid, undereducated thieves. From my experience, they are not , so I think it is a bit extreme to say that these particular employees all share the same bad traits.

Dave T2
RalphM wrote on 5/29/2006, 11:26 AM
The reason we have debaucles like the TSA is that media and politicians and we, the public, always demand that we DO SOMETHING RIGHT AWAY.. Therefore, those who would take an intelligent, measured appoach are pushed aside in favor of something visible, even if it doesn't make a lot of sense.

The thieves that have soiled the TSA's reputation have always been thieves. We just get to see them in our lives as the flying public now.

I also remember that we have not had a significant terrorist attack in the US since Sept 11. Maybe it has become a little harder to hit us in the mass transportation area.

There are many hard working, honest, considerate people working at the screening jobs. It's unfair to paint them all with the same brush. I've encountered many more jerks among my fellow passengers that I have in the security check personnel.

Sorry if this makes me a moron; just one guy's opiniion

rmack350 wrote on 5/29/2006, 12:02 PM
If you are using a TSA lock and the lock is intact when you receive the luggage then the odds are a bit higher that the item was stolen during the TSA inspection. Or perhaps stolen by a handler who obtained a TSA key. How would they get the key? Was it lost, given, or borrowed for an hour? In all these case the TSA is responsible for their keys.

This is all a big problem for us. It used to be that you could bring your overweight bag to a skycap and for a little extra money it'd get safely onto the plane form the curb. Obviously that was a big security hole, but it's really much harder to travel for work now.

Perhaps this is a price we have to pay while the forces of evil are at war with each other.

Rob Mack
Yoyodyne wrote on 5/29/2006, 12:29 PM
Sorry to hear about your theft DSE - believe me, I feel your pain...but there may be some hope. I had a leatherman stolen from my luggage a while back. Filed a claim with the TSA and a year later they sent me a check for $70 bucks - I couldn't believe it. I agree that airtravel is almost comically disfunctional. My current secret security weapon, wrap valuables in a plastic bag and surround them with slightly damp dirty underwear, all shoved into a bigger plastic bag. So far it's been like TSA Kryptonite.
johnmeyer wrote on 5/29/2006, 12:44 PM
I have zero respect for the administration that has put them there recently for purposes of sustaining massive profits for oil

I know many of you expressed above that you didn't want this to take a political turn, and as all of you -- and as Spot himself knows -- I have total respect for him and I help out at VASST whenever I can. Thus, the following comments are not meant to aggrevate Spot, even though they are in response to a comment he made. Also, I assume that he probably made it more out of frustration than from a deep-seated political belief.

However, it just bugs me when I hear something repeated by lots of people without anyone raising their hand and saying, "Is that really true?"

I'm not a fan of our involvement in Iraq, but I am quite certain it was not for the benefit of the oil companies. This was the same statement made before/during/after the Gulf War in 1991. Quick, which companies made big profits from that? Answer: none, except for the guys that got big $$$ to go in and put out those awful fires set by Saddam's people as they retreated.

Also, I really don't think oil companies, or the exploration companies (like the much-maligned Halibruton) really enjoy putting their employees in harms way. Oh yeah, what a great recruitment inducement: "Come to work for Exxon/Haliburton/BP-Amoco and go to the destabilized country of your choice where you can go to work and die." Yup, that's a good idea.

Everyone seems to love to bash any large company, including the one that hosts this site and helps pay some of your bills. Yes, there are some bad people running big companies (like those just convicted at Enron), but most companies -- and most of the people working for them, which includes many in this forum -- are honest and trying to do the right thing.

It is true that the government interacts with large companies, but to say that we went to war specifically to benefit any one company or any group of companies is simply not true. What's more, even if George W. Bush was evil and immoral enough to have done such a thing, both he and everyone involved -- including the oil company people -- would have to be stupid beyond all comprehension. Even if you think Bush is stupid (despite degrees from Yale and Harvard) there are dozens of people both in the administration and at the oil companies that would have been party to such a decision, and I am quite certain they all wouldn't have been that stupid.

Why would it be stupid? Because starting a war and destabilizing an entire region where your basic product is extracted just simply makes no sense. It aggravates me that people are allowed to make this statement over and over, and no one ever questions the basic premise. Neglecting for the moment that it would require the collusion of dozens of people all completely devoid of any morality, how the heck would they or their companies benefit from such a move? What's more, as a region becomes destabilized, the company often loses any access to the extraction rights. So, the basic premise behind going to war to benefit the oil companies just doesn't make sense. None at all.

Coursedesign wrote on 5/29/2006, 1:17 PM

You are definitely right about Iraq not being done to support the oil companies.

Bush has always kept a keen eye on securing as many foreign suppliers of oil as possible (that's why he got pissed off when China started following the U.S example).

The new $2 trillion (per the GAO, includes VA, etc. long term costs for U.S. taxpayers) assault on Iraq though was strictly for his dad, to get even for the way Saddam insulted him in 1991 when U.S. troops had to turn back from their march on Bagdhad because of Saddam's threat to subject them to Iraqi chemical weapons. This was a credible threat because the materials had been provided to him by the U.S. (for use on Iranians of course, not on Americans).

Unfortunately Iraq's oil production is now only half of what it was when Saddam was running the country (and keeping terrorists out at no charge to U.S. taxpayers), so Bush failed this goal too.

Diplomas? I have found that diplomas from top universities generally are a better indicator of data shuffling and rote memorization ability than intelligence.

I have worked extensively with more than a dozen Ph.D.s from top universities.

Of those, I thought only two were well above average in intelligence.

And of those two, only ONE was working in his field of expertise.

Guy Bruner wrote on 5/29/2006, 1:43 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your loss, but don't blame TSA. I learned a long time ago not to pack anything valuable in my checked baggage. Baggage handlers are notorious for stealing things from checked baggage. I ALWAYS carry my valuable items on the plane with me.