Whoops Factor Three

In the future Captain Kirk will beam up – for now, he’ll just flash.

William Shatner recently experienced a pat-down search at LAX during which a TSA agent forced the 81-year-old actor’s pants to fall down. Since he was not wearing underwear, the Captain’s Log was briefly on display to all in the vicinity.

Shatner, interviewed about his TSA situation by Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show, said “It was awful. It was the most embarrassing thing, probably, that’s ever happened.”

[Thanks to David Klaus for the story.]

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17 thoughts on “Whoops Factor Three

  1. A scream, especially the bit about the captain’s log. Poor Shatner. Didn’t his mother ever tell him to wear clean underware, ‘cos you never know when you might be in an accident.

    There’s the story about Captain Kirk getting back to the Enterprise, his uniform in tatters. He takes it to the ship’s tailor, Luigi Botticelli, and says, “Seam me up, Botty!” Several decades later, Captain Picard returns to his Enterprise in a similar sartorial state, and he takes his uniform to the ship’s tailor, who now has a robot assistant, and says to the tailor as he hands the uniform to the robot, “Make it sew!”

  2. Doesn’t anyone care about the fact that an 83-years-old icon of popular culture, recognizable all over the world, was submitted to what was, essentially, a strip search in public?

    The TSA are not your friends. They have never prevented a hijacking, force you to submit to unreasonable demands, steal from checked luggage, and confiscated even liquids purchased from the Airport Concourse from where your flight departs? They violate the Fourth Amendment routinely, and one was quoted as saying “The Constitution doesn’t apply to me!

    They have no mandate, and in fact are under orders to not submit anything they find to other agencies, yet routinely disobey those orders, turning prescription medications and the user over to the DEA for questioning.

    Arrgh. Fans don’t listen, fan don’t care.

  3. I care. The TSA idiocy is one of the reasons I’m taking the train to Chicago, although I fully expect that someday the TSA will want to impose airport-style security on all trains as well, and when they determine how impractical that would be, order all train service stopped “for safety reasons.” Indeed, given enough time, I expect TSA to decide that public sidewalks are “transportation,” and therefore anyone, anytime, anywhere, is subject to TSA shakedowns, and anyone who objects will be “helping the terrorists.” It’s probably just as well that my grandfather died a couple of years ago, because the country for whose freedoms he fought in World War II is drifting steadily in the direction of “Wow, those totalitarian regimes were a really good idea!”

  4. So what’s everybody’s alternative for keeping weapons and bombs off airplanes? Surely you don’t propose doing nothing and just accepting a certain percentage of loss as the cost of doing business, as companies operating ships around the Horn of Africa have come to do?

  5. That’s one I have to agree 100% with David Klaus on. The only thing more egregious would have been to sumit President Obama to the same proceedings. I like to think Obama wears underpants, though.

  6. As for Mike’s objection — “what’s to do, if not that” — the fact is that such measures have been held up to the light many times, and shown not to be effective. The whole business has been called “security theater,” because it’s main use is to reassure the public, not to find bombs. The measures that have been effective are those that involve military and diplomatic intelligence, increased security around the handling of baggage and the unrelenting pressure against Al Qaida and similar terrorist cells. Statistics seem to show that terrorist violence around the world is likely on the decline anyway, as the situation in the Islamic world changes.

    Perhaps the TSA hasn’t begun a full regime of invasive body searches, X-ray machines and sniffer devices to board a bus yet, but last I heard you had to show ID to buy a bus or train ticket. And, of course, you have to show ID to buy a plane ticket to anywhere within the contiguous United States, not just to international destinations. That’s a little too much Big Brother for me.

  7. Seriously, our diplomats are more likely to dissuade people from hijacking or bombing planes? Sure, they can be doing that in their spare time after the wonderful work they’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. But okay, I have you down as a volunteer to use unscreened airlines.

  8. Like or not, we basically do fly unscreened planes. If someone wanted to get a bomb on badly enough, and knew what they were doing, I doubt they’d carry in on board by stuffing it in their French Poodle. Though with guys trying to smuggle on explosive undies, you can’t be blamed for wondering…

  9. I think i’ve been reading in the news for years about people who want to badly enough. Pretty sure. Something must be working. And I’m inclined to go with the obvious answer here. Occam’s Razor etc.

  10. “Surely you don’t propose doing nothing and just accepting a certain percentage of loss as the cost of doing business…?”

    Because of what happened in Flight 93, as we’ve seen in every example of someone with ill-intent who was allowed to fly by the TSA, passengers fight back. They’ve always won.

    Bin Laden did what he did because he realized that we would become a nation under tyranny to keep it from happening again. It’s time to stop doing what he wanted.

    Luggage can be checked magnetically, x-rayed, and sniffed without having to illegally open it. The cost of doing business will be captured or killed would-be-hijackers/bombers. The Superman movies were right: statistically speaking, flying is the safest way to travel. Yes, the odds of being killed in an airplane flight may be fractionally higher. The odds of the TSA becoming a universal bar to travel without the Bill of Rights having been violated will be certainty.

    TSA has already announced they will be expanding into Amtrak stations, and that they expect to move into Greyhound bus stations after that. In several cities they have begun to practice in commuter train stations, taking over a station unannounced for three or four days, searching and demanding I.D. from every passenger coming through.

    There are permanent stations now on certain Interstate highways at which they stop and demand to search every car which is driving through, and it isn’t for plant pest control. You’ll see one for yourself the next time you drive from Monrovia to Phoenix for a convention.

    It was a sister agency in the same cabinet department which beat Dr. Peter Watts and then charged him with a felony for hitting them in their fists with his eyes.

    Yes, something must be working, as every single thing Osama bin Laden wanted to happen to the United States after an attack has happened.

  11. “So what’s everybody’s alternative for keeping weapons and bombs off airplanes?”

    Try reading a world expert, if not almost all of them, since they’re pretty much unanimous that having made the cockpit doors impenetrable, about as much has been done as can be done and needs to be done.

    I recommend http://www.schneier.com. You may or may not be familiar with Bruce Schneier.

    I wouldn’t ask random sf fans with no expertise, myself.

    Try here.

  12. “I have you down as a volunteer to use unscreened airlines.”

    There’s a false dichotomy there. We haven’t had unscreened airplanes for the past few decades, and I don’t see anyone here proposing total lack of screening, but there’s a wide range of options between the kind of screening we went through in the 1970s and ’80s, and the take-off-your-shoes/get-randomly-strip-searched/no-cans-of-soda policies of today.

  13. People lecturing about TSA’s “security theater” didn’t say “But the metal detectors, TSA is doing important work with them.” It’s not my dichotomy.

  14. I too am taking the train to Chicon, coming in the opposite direction from Kevin Standlee. Then taking the train to Michigan to visit with my brother, then back to NYC.

    Total roundtrip fare—I now get the Old Guy discount—is a mere $180. And though there’s no TSA, I still plan to wear new, clean underwear.

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