7 thoughts on “TSA behavior on display

  1. Hello Papers Please,

    It’s interesting that my journey has led back to where I started. I read this website a few years ago and learned about John flying without ID> I started doing it back in 2007. I flew over 40 times without ever showing ID, and that’s what gave me the experience to do this video. Thank you for posting.


  2. Kind of painful from every angle. There’s a fair amount of instigation (on the “filmmaker”‘s part) that makes this exposition of Security Theatre (which almost all Airport Security is) kind of Anti-Security Theatre of its own.

    Sad because the TSA should be done away with – however, this isn’t the way to illustrate the insanity.

  3. IIsler, Sam didn’t do anything wrong. He documented, via videorecording and/or broadcast, the interaction of our public employees with the public in a public place. He spoke to them after they initiated contact. He maintained distance until they approached him. He never raised his voice. He made no threats. He did nothing that should lead those involved that he had done anything wrong, yet in the end, he was detained and searched by police. He was treated like a criminal.

    If I suspect that someone is an auto thief, then I park my car near him, then he steals my car, did I instigate the theft? If I’m prepared to deal with the theft and expose the thief for what he is, do you suppose that I did other people a service by doing so? There’s a reasonable argument to be made that I provoked the thief, or instigated his actions, and that I was not simply going about my business, but rather going about my business right in front of the thief, intentionally. It’s strange, though, that in response to my exposure of someone as a thief, so many people would blame me for what happened.

    I wonder if Ilsler thinks the video indicate that Sam did anything that warranted the response his actions generated. I don’t.

    There’s a lengthy discussion of Sam’s video happening now on a travel safety and security forum.

  4. Being required to show ID only proves the success of al-Qaeda with fear established and freedoms violated. It doesn’t make us safer, it’s unconstitutional and truly free countries don’t require them. TSA protocol is to assume all innocent people to be a threat until being cleared from a secret list. Put another way, the innocent shall suffer the sins of the guilty. Previous court decisions are referenced in justifying the legalization of ID requirements which translates into; it’s OK to violate a little of the people’s freedom, just not a lot. Most are not willing to be inconvenienced in challenging these requirements let alone initiate a real legal battle or protest. It’s easier to show ID than to fight for one’s rights & freedom. “In the end, the photo ID requirement is based on the myth that we can somehow correlate identity with intent. We can’t.” Surveillance is not freedom. Having to ask for permission is not freedom. Most elected officials believe the more legislation passed exerting more government control over people the better off society is. The Constitution was written to restrict government yet most elected officials look for ways to circumvent instead of defending the Constitution as stated in their oath of office. Unfortunately, most Americans are willing to give up their freedom for perceived safety & security.

    Joe Williams
    Atlanta, GA

  5. The instigation I speak of is clear: he starts to badger the TSA/Airport Security employees instead of politely and firmly standing his ground. The end result would have been more effective. He also does, quite clearly and knowingly engage in behaviour that would attract more attention.

    Once you know about TSA practices, as he clearly does, engaging in behaviour that will start their (unconstitutional and probably illegal) process of increased paranoia and scrutiny is instigation. He makes clear steps to get the attention towards him “escalated.” I am not saying the escalation is warranted or even makes sense, but he is very carefully ensuring it does occur.

    Additionally, telling anyone to remain calm does the opposite.

    I’m not blaming Sam, merely stating that the point he’s trying to make is in part diluted by the attitude he himself takes while trying to make it. He could have had the exact same result in a more powerful example had he not badgered the security officers/TSA employes in the same way.

    This discussion proves that there is so much fundamentalism on both sides of the argument that most people within the issue have just lost perspective. No room for middle ground or constructive observation, just right and wrong.

    You can’t have a serious dialogue based on constant confrontation. It just doesn’t work.

    While I there is merit in bringing the actions of the TSA to light, I stand by my opinion (and that’s all it is) that Sam could have done better. Nothing more.

  6. Sam could have pretended to be an unbiased reporter. We all know he could have bent over and taken it in the butt rather than standing up for himself and asking the TSA all the questions every one of us wants to ask them.

    He obviously was playing off what he knew about the TSA. I for one appreciate his honesty and uncompromising biased approach. Maybe it’s not the most effective propaganda video for people just starting to wake up, but it is encouraging and powerful for the rest of us.

    Live broadcasts are power.

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