On my recent trip to America, at the extra security checks near the gate at Heathrow, I ran into trouble with the new, patently ridiculous security question.
“Do you have anything in your bag which could be used as a weapon?”
The immediately obvious response was “By whom?”. We got into a rather fractious debate with me refusing to say “No”, thereby speaking for the improvised killing capabilities, or otherwise, of every other passenger on the plane, and him warning me that I was in danger of being “considered a threat”, and that I should “stop joking”.
In the end, I agreed to say No to the question “Do you have anything in your bag which could be deemed a weapon?”. And, of course, as revenge the guy followed me and made sure I was picked out for extra-special bag search and screening.
However, what if I was a trained Marine, Para or SAS operative, able to strangle people with headphone cords, bludgeon them to death with my laptop or choke them to death on my water bottle? I would have to either take no luggage whatsoever, or say “Yes”, at which point I wouldn’t be permitted to fly.
This new question is dumb. They might as well ask “Are you planning to hijack the plane?” What is sad is that lots of people, even some who realise the implications of what’s being asked, will say “No” just to get past it.
Later, when leaving San Francisco for Toronto, some dude felt my crotch in a really quite intimate fashion because I set off the metal detector alarm. I said “Some day soon, we’ll be going through these things naked”, and one guard said “Well, that would make it a lot easier.” It’s salami tactics… People would be in open revolt if they’d introduced all this stuff at once.