TSA Security Theater Photo/Video Blog is growing

The TSA Security Theater Photo and Video blog is growing.  There are now over two dozen photos taken of the TSA at the public security checkpoints.

You’ll remember from the TSA Shoulder Syndrome post that the TSA is security theater designed to make us feel safe but does not actually make us more safe at the cost of our treasure and freedom.  Lately all my TSA Shoulder Syndrome opt-outs have been successful as my shoulder has been hurting a bit from so much travel and security checkpoints.  What would happen if all the citizens had TSA Shoulder Syndrome?

If you have pictures of the TSA being lazy, standing around, wasting your time, or infringing your rights, don’t forget to submit them to the TSA Security Theater blog.

Being checked into an already occupied hotel room

Yesterday I had the pleasure at the Historic Sheraton Gunter hotel of being checked into a room that was already occupied.  This only happened to me one other time, at the Hilton Miami Airport hotel in 2002.

The check-in process was uneventful, and I was upgraded to a room on the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) floor.  I went up the elevator to my room on the 11th floor.  When I got to my room, there was a do-no-disturb sign on the door.  I thought this was a big odd, but proceeded forward nevertheless.  I swiped my key, opened the door, and walked in.

There was a suitcase on the floor, with clothes strewn all about the floor.  There were toiletries unloaded in the bathroom.  I am very happy and lucky that the occupant was not there at the time.  I immediately left the room, and went back to the front desk to let them know of their error and to be checked into another room.  They immediatley reaccomodated me at another room on the same floor, this one without an incumbent desk.

When the front desk was reaccommodating me, they called in for someone on their maintenance team to go into the supposed-to-be-vacant room and determine the name of the occupant based on something on the luggage.  I found this rather interesting and strange but I do not know what came of it.

Darlington Police Assault – Will it Bring an Internal Investigation?

The Darlington Police assault, discussed on this blog here: http://freeinfreedom.com/2013/05/13/darlington-sc-police-assault-of-video-journalist/ now has almost 400 views on youtube.  The offending police department and law enforcement officer (LEO) have still not been identified.  However, one lead on the offending LEO has been brought to the attention of DeTocqueville.  One suspect who could be the officer assaulting the journalist in the video, Darlington Sheriff’s Deputy and Gang Investigations Unit Leader Ben Weatherford, has been tweeted to the Head of the Sheriff’s department and a member of the local media in Florence, SC.  No word on if an internal investigation has begun.


A screen capture of the video matched against photos taken from the Darlington Sheriff’s Department facebook bring two photos which reveal the suspected police officer.  The first photo the officer’s identify is unknown, but appears to be an excellent match of the suspected officer.  The second photo is known to be Ben Weatherford, has has decent likeness to the suspected officer, but not a lead pipe lock like the first.

Screen Capture of the Assault:

Officer who commits assault on journalist

Officer who commits assault on journalist

Potential Officer: At the top right of this photo.

The Potential Officer is believed, although not confirmed, to be Ben Weatherford.

Only confirmation by the Darlington Sheriff’s department based on their internal investigation will identify who the suspected offending officer is.

Best Practices – Deplaning From a Regional Jet

Being based in Charlotte, I find myself on Regional Jet’s quite frequently.  I used to have them twice weekly between Charlotte and Birmingham for many months straight.  And whether I had been upgraded to first class, had not been upgraded to first class, or was on a regional jet that didn’t have first class, I discovered one best practice that should have been amusingly apparent to me.  I, in fact, used it yesterday on my regional jet flight from San Antonio to Charlotte.

You see, on Regional Jets, as many of you know, your carry-on baggage, that would normally fit on a bigger aircraft, does not fit in the overhead bins nor underneath the seat in front of you.  So you have to gate valet your bags.  That is, the airline gives you a gate valet tag, you leave your bag at the jetway, and it is returned to you at the jetway at your destination.  When you arrive at your destination, once the plane has been hooked up to the jetway, it still takes at best 5 minutes and at worst 15 minutes for the bags to begin showing up in the jetway.  During this time, most passengers who have deplaned are waiting in a long line on one side of the jetway, or even in a gnarly two line formation of the jetway.  This makes it difficult to exit the jetway, and not to mention kind of irritating to stand shoulder to shoulder with others in a narrow enclosed space while waiting on the baggage handlers to bring the gate valet bags to you.  And if you are at the end of the line it is hard to see when your bag has made it up.  It is with this in mind I have figured out my best practice.

When we arrive at the destination in a regional jet, I always get up and instead of leaving the plane, walk down the aisle and plop myself in seat 3A if the plane has first class, or if the plane doesn’t have first class any window seat on the left side.  Then, while the hoi polloi are lining up like sheeple in the uncomfortable jetway, I look out the window and wait until I see all the bags being sent up, or often times I can identify my bag and see the precise time it is hoisted up into the jetway.  Once I see my bag has made it to the jetway, I immediatley deplane and snag my bag while the others are waiting in line.  I have now been doing this for dozens of flights, and it is made my travel experience that much more stress free.  The funny part is, I have heard numerous comments from passengers when I exit the plane and immediately grab my bag which has just been placed in the jetway.  Usually, the comments are “wow, you sure are lucky”, or “how about that for great timing!”  What they don’t realize is that this was not luck, but rather skill.  The great philosopher Darrel Waltrip once said luck is the intersection of preparation and opportunity.  I was prepared to watch my bag arrive, and the opportunity arose to pluck it in a timely manner.

Does anyone else use this Regional Jet best practice?  Any other RJ best practices to share?