New Terrorist Leader (with photo)

Cecilia Beaman is a 57-year-old grandmother, a principal at Pacific Middle School in Des Moines, and as of Sunday is also a suspected terrorist.

She says screeners refused to give her paperwork or documentation of her violation, documentation of the pending fine, or a copy of the photograph of the knife.

“They said ‘no’ and they said it’s a national security issue. And I said what about my constitutional rights? And they said ‘not at this point … you don’t have any’.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you have low hiring standards, and then give those people the ability to overrule people’s constitutional rights. It is also what happens when you allow your fears to rule the country. (After all, is not having us governed by fear the goal of terrorism?)

With all of these restrictions on your freedoms, do you feel more secure today? Knowing that this could happen to you, or your mother, or your daughter, or your brother, or your grandmother?

I’d like to end this post with a pair of sentences by two great Americans, both of whom faced terrible trials to Democracy from within and without, and neither of whom are named Bush or Clinton:

“They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.” --Benjamin Franklin.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” --Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“This is Not Right”

At this point, how hard is it to remember not to bring sharp objects in your carry-on. Not that the TSA isn’t mostly staffed by morons, but come on…

About as difficult as it is for you to RTFA, I’d wager.

At this point any rights you have are purely at the discretion of the government. Fortunately, it does a marvelous job of discerning between the terrorists and the rest of us, and can be trusted to use it’s best judgment in weeding out false positives.

Woman accidentally carries knife on plane, has to pay $500 fine. Why is this a story?

It was a 5 1/2 inch bread knife with a rounded tip and a serrated edge.

The fine’s a hundred bucks per inch. They even did her a solid by knocking fifty bucks off it, and she just bitches about it.

Terrorists sure do like to whine.

Also, “Hi, Jack!”

Say you brought your backpack camping. A knife fell into the cracks, so you didn’t see it when you unpacked it. Next time you used the backpack was walking through airport security. Happens all the time; people forget.

Even if you’re perfect and never do this, are all your friends and family members as conscientious as you are all of the time? What if this had been your mother?

^–that’s why

What is all this bullshit about “constitutional rights”?

It’s against the law to try to bring knives through a security checkpoint. If you do it, you have to pay a fine. I’m sure she’ll get the opportunity to fight it in court if she so chooses, but it seems clear that even if she did it accidentally she broke the law. What “rights” exactly did she think were being violated?

I accidentally sped in Renton a few years back (I missed the speed limit sign that reduced the speed from 50 to 25mph), and got a $100 fine. Breaking the law accidentally doesn’t exempt you from penalties.

Yeah, it sucks that the TSA wasn’t nicer about it, but boo hoo.

Edit: Just because some shmuck at the TSA says you don’t have consitutional rights, doesn’t mean you don’t have them - what are they, lawyers? Hey, Rimbo, I’m telling you that you don’t have any constitutional rights! Quick, call a reporter!

She says screeners refused to give her paperwork or documentation of her violation, documentation of the pending fine, or a copy of the photograph of the knife.

“They said ‘no’ and they said it’s a national security issue. And I said what about my constitutional rights? And they said ‘not at this point … you don’t have any’.”

I think that’s the story. An innocent, but stupid american citizen is told she has no rights by an official representing the government. Now, I know it’s just an airport screener saying this stuff so it doesn’t matter that much, but it’s still worrying.

Some people actually approve of this kind of thing though, so I have to ask, what about our enforcement efficiency? This woman is now on the terrorist watch list along with a bunch of other harmless goofballs. How does it help law enforcement if every forgetful old lady and minor joker is classified as a terorrist? Are there different grades of this list? Is there a terrorist level A for people that should actually be watched, and a level B for people added to the list by retards at airports?

Oh, and can we view this list? Probably not, but it may just be because they don’t want anyone going vigilante on the nail clipper wielding “Terrorist” who lives next door.

If I ever see Cecilia Beaman in my town, I’m calling the FBI.

Actually my mother got busted at airport security for saying something stupid like “what do you think, I have a bomb in my purse”? She wasn’t fined, but she got held up for a couple of hours and threatened with prosecution by the rent-a-cops (this was before 9/11).

I think if the woman’s story is accurate, TSA goes too far with the threats and whatnot. But people need to be more careful with what they pack. If you screw up and accidentally leave a knife in your baggage, you pay your fine and maybe get put on a watch list. I’m not terribly comfortable with the lack of oversight, but that’s another issue altogether.

Two parts to this story.

  1. Woman accidentally breaks well-known law, must pay fine.


  1. Woman says screener wasn’t nice to her, said some semi-ridiculous things.

Either the woman is exaggerating (possible), the screener is foolish (possible), or a combination of the two (likely, IMO). Perhaps her name will go on a watch list for future times she flies, but I hardly think the CIA is gonna pull agents off Osama-monitoring to focus on this woman.

In any case, I think this is hardly an issue worth manning the barricades over.

That’s an interesting, and correct, way of looking at this, but while the general track of this story might focus on the $500 for a knife aspect, I think the “you don’t got no rights” aspect is the more worrying one.

Assuming that she does actually still have constitutional rights, the TSA needs to be better at handling enforcement actions. A government actor telling a citizen that they have no rights, when in fact they do, is unacceptable. Equally unacceptable is if a forgotten knife leads to the loss of a citizen’s rights.

EDIT: How sad is it that I’m hedging my comments because I don’t know if she lost her rights or not?

I’m sorry, but were none of you guys ever in middle school? I’d say the smart money is that one of her students thought it would be hilarious to stick a knife in the chaperone’s bag.

Regardless of who’s at fault, the $500 fine isn’t the issue. The issue is that it’s very easy to get on a “do not fly” list, but nearly impossible to get off. There’s no burden of proof the government must meet, and no appeal process.

Well, there’s this:

Not so sure how well the appeal process works, though, but at least there is one.

Unfortunately, terrified Mr. and Mrs. America insisted that the Government should Do Something after 9/11, and here we are.

My understanding is that the appeal process doesn’t get you off the no-fly list it just means that the nice lady at the ticket counter can confirm you aren’t a terrorist in one hour instead of two. So you’ll still miss every flight you are supposed to be on if you are on the no-fly list, but it really helps your chances of making the next flight.

But, that violates my constitutional right to have all federal bureaucracies run efficiently!

Only because they were told to be afraid. ;)

I don’t see any mention of her being on the no-fly list. Did I miss something in the article?

The screener was being a jerk, but OTOH people were complaining about how useless the screening was when they didn’t catch some knives going through.

You posted this just looking for the proverbial circlejerk.