The CIA’s goofy, cynical Twitter feed has been getting all of the headlines of late, and I do mean all the headlines, but it might be the government agency rifling through our luggage, not our secrets, that is worth paying attention to on social media. As Wired points out in an interesting piece today, “The TSA’s Instagram Feed Is Terrifying and Totally Awesome.”
As in the case of all such social media endeavors by generally unloved government agencies, the TSA’s Instagram feed is certainly an effort to mitigate some of their negative PR, but nonetheless, it offers a fascinating look into the minds, and the suitcases, of America’s most clueless, or obstinate, travelers.
The gallery is largely a collection of weapons and weapon-like items seized by the TSA at airports throughout the country, including guns, knives, and bomb-making materials.
“We’re not trying to make a statement that people are trying to do anything nefarious with these items. We’re just trying to alert people that these are still prohibited items,” TSA Press Secretary Ross Feinstein told Wired.
Looking through the images, you would think most people wouldn’t need to be reminded that bringing the arsenal from Game of Thrones on board a plane isn’t cool, but people, by and large, are a deeply stupid lot.
Here are a few of my favorite seized items: (See the rest here.)
“Hmm, I heard the announcement about the 3 ounces of liquid thing, but no one said anything about spearguns being prohibited, so I guess I’m cool.”
“Martial arts weapons are illegal in certain states and can lead to arrest even when discovered in checked baggage,” they point out. Who’d they take this one from, the guy from Krull?
It’s illegal to set off fireworks in an open field with no one around in many states for God’s sake. Something tells me carrying them on to an airplane where explosions are generally frowned upon isn’t a great idea.
“All, daggers, knives, swords, and bayonets a prohibited from being transported in your carry-on bags,” this post reminds us. So do what reasonable people do and have your swords checked at the gate, or employ a kindly wizard to smuggle it across the countryside in his robes.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Nerdles?
This is a training device for IEDs, but you can understand why finding this in someone’s luggage would cause the agency to lose their collective shit. Probably a good idea to give them a head’s up that you’re traveling with homework from bomb school.
Yeah, uh, no.
The price of fuel has made taking the Batcopter out for a spin almost impossible lately.
Normally I wouldn’t advocate for unlawful search and seizure, but I think it’s fair to go ahead and kick down the door of whoever it was trying to fly with this thing posthaste.
“Okay, one last check before we go honey. I’ve got my passport, my wallet, my phone, my toothbrush, my gag watch designed to look like a bomb detonator. We should be good to go.”
>> Luke O’Neil is a journalist and blogger in Boston. Follow him on Twitter (@lukeoneil47).
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