Monday, December 03, 2007

SO HOW DID I BECOME A POTENTIAL SECURITY THREAT?

I think somehow I've landed on some Homeland Security list.

Last weekend I flew to San Francisco for a conference sponsored by Electionline.org.

Both on the way there in the Albuquerque airport and on the way back in the San Francisco Airport, I was "pulled over" for a "secondary security search." The weird thing is, I was flying on different airlines -- Delta on the way out, U.S. Airways on the way back.

In Albuquerque I only had to walk through a special booth where there's little sudden puffs of air that somehow check your body for chemicals. It kind of tickles.

In San Francisco the search was more of a hassle. I got the puff booth, but I also had to sit and wait while they did chemical tests on almost everything I was carrying with me -- my laptop, my cell phone, my iPod (Christ, the subversive stuff they could have found in there!)

I'm not complaining about the TSA employees. The workers I dealt with were professional, though of course they weren't allowed to explain how I had been chosen for the extra searches.

Of course I've been asking myself that questions. Maybe I triggered it myself on my trip to New Hampshire last summer. I forgot to take my laptop out of the case at the Albuquerque checkpoint and was sent for a secondary search. (I wasn't chosen for the extra screening on my trip back from New Hampshire. The San Francisco trip was the first time I've flown since then.)

Darker possibilities have entered my mind. Could I have written something that angered some government official or politico who called a buddy in the federal government ...

I know. That sounds like a paranoid idiot. But we're becoming a nation of paranoid idiots -- from the conspiracy nutballs to some of the people running the government to anyone who somehow feels "safer" because someone dusted my iPod.

All I know is I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the secondary searches, I'm sick of the little notes I always find in my suitcase after a plane trip telling me that some goverment agent has been rummaging through my underwear. I'm sick of having to take off my damned shoes every time I fly.

Something has to change.

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