September 26th, 2006

Air Passenger Detained for Writing “[TSA Director] Kip Hawley is an idiot” on his Regulation Quart Bag

I shit you not, do we live in America anymore?

He grabbed the baggie as it came out of the X-ray and asked if it was mine. After responding yes, he pointed at my comment and demanded to know “What is this supposed to mean?” “It could me [sic] a lot of things, it happens to be an opinion on [sic] mine.” “You can’t write things like this” he said, “You mean my First Amendment right to freedom of speech doesn’t apply here?” “Out there (pointing pass [sic] the id checkers) not while in here (pointing down) was his response.” [emphasis mine]
Crikey, a true blue “are your papers in order?” moment.
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Posted in Police State

5 Comment(s)

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  1. steve Says :

    You know, I can easily get busted for something like this when I had the time just so I can watch them squirm. 

    I intentially did something to get in house suspension in high school (ignited some hydrogen in Chemistry) just to watch the process and be in that “room” they put the bad kids in.

    (I play with fire… I am sick, help me!) 

  2. Craig R. Harmon Says :

    This is a singular example of infringement of free speech.

    However, suppose what was found was a piece of paper explaining how he planned to hijack the plane?

    My point is, when we’re dealing with air-travel, given the events of 9/11, not to mention any number of other hijackings in the past, freedom of speech is not without limits.

    Don’t get me wrong. As I said in the first sentence, this was nothing to trigger detaining the individual and in no way comparable to a threat to do mischief with the plane. Still, my point stands, I think. It is true that one has greater freedom of speech in the general settings of life than one has in an airport while planning to board a plane. This particular instance didn’t come anywhere near crossing the line that should have triggered action but the passengers observation about the differences of freedom of speech were accurate at least to a certain degree.

    To illustrate: you are walking down the street and you joke about hijacking a plane to the bahammas because it’s pretty this time of year and it’s laughs all around. Have a similar conversation while waiting to board the plane and you’ll likely find yourself having a very different experience than you were planning on. Have that conversation on the plane in the air and you’re likely to be in very big trouble.

  3. Dusty Says :

    I am going to post this on my personal blog SteveO..great find! I have a title already in mind :)

  4. Maggie Says :

    Penal Code Section 20 states that “in every crime or public offense, there must exist a union, or joint operation of act and intent, or criminal negligence.”

    The example given about free speech does not apply since it expresses a degree of intent.  It is illegal to issue a number of different kinds of threats.

    So having a piece of paper that outlines in detail plans to commit a hijacking could arguably be a threat and as such is a crime in and of itself anywhere where this paper is - not just at the airport.

    There is nothing but opinion in the statement made on the ziploc bag and as such should be covered by the 1st Amendment everywhere in America.

  5. Dusty Says :

    Of course Maggie, that was the individuals point. But when you have a “rent-a-cop” mentality by the people in charge, its hard to expect them to be aware of such things as freedom of speech and our rights under the law.

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