TSA confiscates photographer's blower because it could be filled with gunpowder and used as a missile


1 Like

And if a frog had wings. . . etc. etc.

The absence of gunpowder was not a factor in their decision?

We’re screwed. I honestly don;t see America recovering from this kind of stupidity. The terorists have won.


The fins aren’t decorative. They form a nice stand, and prevent the blower from rolling off your desk.


One could probably put some corn starch in it and turn it into a ‘flame thrower’…


Virtually any object with some sort of internal void becomes mildly dangerous if filled with gunpowder (you either need proper containment and a thrust arrangement, if you want a rocket, proper containment and a projectile, if you want a gun, or proper containment designed to break into shrapnel if you want a grenade, of course, and rubber isn’t renowned as ‘proper containment’).

Should they just start applying the “And what if you, like, filled it with radioactive death anthrax, man!?!?!” standard?


Is this even surprising to anyone anymore? Shouldn’t we all know by now that the TSA is security theatre, and that if you go on an airplane you have to play the part of a model citizen? You don’t actually have to avoid being a threat to the plane, you just have to LOOK like you aren’t a threat - or at least like you aren’t the sort of threats that ignorant, paranoid fools dream up to fill the void of their knowledge of real threats.

They aren’t there to stop bombs - they’re there to stop things that look like cartoon bombs. They’re there to stop things with uncased wires, or with shiny metal toggles, or with big red buttons, or with fins and bulbous shapes. They aren’t there to stop guns - they’re there to stop half-inch sized toy guns, or vaguely gun shaped objects, or long narrow tubes, or bananas held up by bored children who say “Bang, bang!” to break the monotony of waiting in line to get through pretend security.

It’s a show. It’s been a show the entire time. Anyone who wanted to get past TSA security could do so easily. I’ve been to airports where the security checkpoint was fifty feet away from actively boarding gates. All a determined attacker need do is run the checkpoint and bolt onto an open plane.

A small group of people with firearms concealed in bags could pull up at the front of the airport, walk over to security unsearched, pull out their guns and blow through meeting only token resistance and causing a massive panic as the civilian travelers panic. Then you’ve got armed hijackers in the unsealed cockpit, however many passengers have already boarded as hostages, a plane ready-fueled to take off… it’d be a nightmare!

But no, photographers are denied their air-puffing devices on the grounds of having fin like legs for standing them up on. The object is demonstrably harmless, but because it vaguely resembles the stereotypical abstraction of a bomb, it can’t be allowed.

We need to remember this. We need to stop expecting the TSA to act sanely or rationally. We need to stop employing magical thinking, saying to ourselves “Maybe this time will be different!”. It won’t. Save your sanity and accept that the only way we’ll be rid of this idiocy is by fixing our legislature.


I found out as a nine year old in Greece, playing with my dad’s diving torch that any container can be turned into a bomb, with the addition of DC power, four wires, a light bulb and a few grams of water.

I’d have been in a lot more trouble than Surapon. When the TSA agents “grimly pronounced the dangers of this object,” I would have had no choice but to break up into peals of laughter.


Photographer’s blowers don’t kill people.

People kill people.


Whenever I hear people talk about ‘security theater’, it’s to describe a show put on for the benefit of the ‘audience’- (travelers, the media, etc) but this obscures the role that the TSA itself has to play, inventing terror scenarios on the fly. Poorly paid rent-a-cops getting to play James Bond with the public: That’s today’s version of brownshirts.


Someone should make several models if flashlight where the switches were different: silver toggle, giant red, giant green etc and see what gets rejected in security checks

1 Like

You’re right. They would charge you with “contempt of cop”.


Narrator: Was it ticking?
Airport Security Officer: Actually throwers don’t worry about ticking 'cause modern bombs don’t tick.
Narrator: Sorry, throwers?
Airport Security Officer: Baggage handlers. But, when a suitcase vibrates, then the throwers gotta call the police.
Narrator: My suitcase was vibrating?
Airport Security Officer: Nine times out of ten it’s an electric razor, but every once in a while… it’s a dildo. Of course it’s company policy never to, imply ownership in the event of a dildo… always use the indefinite article a dildo, never your dildo.
Narrator: I don’t own…


Recently banned: Straws. Spitwads could be lethal (if they had poison in them).

With the fins sliced off, it would look like an enema bulb. I’d be surprised if they as much as touched it after that, lol.


Yeah, this isn’t security theatre, it’s security pantomime.

Either the TSA is populated by utter fuckwits, or the whole US contains enough fuckwits for this shit to fly, or there’s a deliberate policy to treat Americans like fuckwits. Or any combination of the above… none of those possibilities hold any promise for the future.


Next time I fly to or from Austria I’ll have to check whether my favourite Austrian lemonade is still sold at the airport:


Recently passing through a TSA checkpoint I had several partially used 9v batteries in my bag. (Taken out because the TSA tends to get spazzy when they see batteries in mystery electronics.) To keep them from shorting out as they’re jostled in the bag I put a piece of gaffer tape over the end with the connectors.

Going through security a TSA agent pulled me aside and pulled the batteries out of my bag. “What is this?” he asked, cautiously indicating the tape over the end of the batteries.

“That’s to keep them from shorting out in the bag,” I said.

“Did they come with this on?” he asked.

“No…” I said.

“Remove it,” he said.

“If I do that they could accidentally short out and could create a dangerous amount of heat in the bag,” I said.

Apparently not hearing the content of my words he said “If they didn’t come with it on, you have to remove it.”

So I removed it and he let me though. I retaped them in the recombobulation area.

Another time I traveled with an electronic prototype in my checked luggage. Once again I removed the batteries for travel, but when I unpacked it someone at the TSA had opened it up and undone some of the internal wiring. I can’t even begin to figure out why they did that. If they thought it was a bomb, why touch it? If they thought it wasn’t a bomb… why touch it?

My conclusion is they’re trying to confuse the enemy to death. Unfortunately they’ve also confused who the enemy is.


It looks like a grenade to me at first.

1 Like

Well in the NSA’s defense… wait, you said TSA? Well, in the TSA’s defense… ah fuck it, never mind.