TSA screener finds pepper spray on the floor, gasses five other screeners because he thought it was a laser-pointer

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70 Responses to “TSA screener finds pepper spray on the floor, gasses five other screeners because he thought it was a laser-pointer”

  1. shutz says:

    Where do they find these people?

  2. Talk about putting the Theater in security….

  3. miasm says:

    So TSA agents confuse things all the time!
    I was starting to wonder why so many children in wheelchairs were being mistaken for suicide-bombers.

  4. Jim Thomason says:

    It’s just a nonstop 3-stooges film at the TSA, isn’t it?

  5. So, were all five of these people in a lineup that got caught by a single spray or did he spray one person, move to the next, and only realized after number 4 that it wasn’t a laser pointer? Biased comments are welcome.

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      I bet what really happened was he sprayed all five, laughing, ’cause he was just in that sprayin’ mood and there weren’t any other hapless victims at hand,  But then, belatedly realizing he was in Big Trouble because he’d sprayed federal agents (and not just powerless, meaningless, taxpaying voters) he remembered Johannes Mehrseles’s murder of Oscar Grant, and blurted out “Oh, I thought this object entirely unlike a laser was a laser!

      I mean, I could be wrong, but it seems to the most likely story given the Keystone Kops nature of the TSA’s normal routine.

      • TSA Agents are “federal agents” in the sense that they are employees of a federal agency, but they are not sworn law enforcement. Your point is taken, but it’s not like shooting a law enforcement agent.

        • James Penrose says:

           They are “officers” not agents.  “Agent” generally has a specific meaning in law enforcement but “officer” is pretty broad.

          I was a “Technology Officer” for example which int he real world meant: “Computer tech/legal hacker with a badge but no arrest power”.

    • merreborn says:

      Pepper spray fired in an enclosed area will impact everyone in that area.  It’s not an accurate weapon.  If you and 5 other people are in a room, and you spray one person, none of the 6 of you are free from the effects.

      It’s more like a smoke grenade than a gun.

      • Trevyn Pike says:

         As someone who got hit with pepper spray because some girl brought it to school and sprayed it on the bus, I can confirm that it impacts everyone in the nearby area.

  6. Lemoutan says:

    … halting security checks at Kennedy for at least 15 minutes …

    Is this that fifteen minutes of fame thing?

  7. Fantome_NR says:

    also via me, I submitted this using your form yesterday :D

  8. oasisob1 says:

    Possibly accurate headline: TSA agent fiddling with his pepper spray accidentally sprays 5 coworkers, devises lame coverup story.

  9. Navin_Johnson says:

    according to the New York Post.

    A more reliable chronicler of events you will seldom find.

    I am glad I clicked through though, if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have seen that on the same page they have a headline: “Sexame Street!”

  10. NoOneSpecific says:

    Cream may rise to the top but sh!t also floats so guess which is in action here…

  11. vonbobo says:

    The only way to combat random pepper spray laying around on the floor of a security theater and then accidently being discharged by a TSA employee is to arm everyone with pepper spray.

  12. brucearthurs says:

    But did onlooking passengers laugh?

  13. Timothy Tankersley says:

    Also, laser pointers are not meant to be pointed at people’s faces anyway. Man, I hope security cam footage of this ends up on youtube.

  14. angusm says:

    “OK, in order to infiltrate the secure area, we simply leave a can of tear gas on the floor. When one of the TSA screeners picks it up and sprays it at his colleagues, we slip past the scanners in the confusion.”
    “But that’s madness! No one could possibly be that stupid!”
    “Just trust me. It’ll work …”

    • trefecta says:

       It’s clear that everyone in the general vicinity should have been indefinitely detained until they can prove beyond a doubt that this wasn’t the nefarious plan. 

      • Andrew Singleton says:

        Actually… in that instaince I can buy having an immediate halt and stop of Everyone in the general area and doing a full on audit to make sure nobody used the chaos/stupidity to slip past.

        Yes tha’ts obtrusive and annoying as hell but ‘it’s just dumb enough to work’… Might have been more than someone being a moron on the job.

  15. Antinous / Moderator says:

    I, for one, welcome our new self-disabling TSA overlords.

  16. Snig says:

    Well, we’ve all felt the TSA needed more seasoned officers.  

  17. Joe Gilbert says:

    God help us if they ever find an actual firearm….

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Or a bomb.

      Hey, is that a cake? Let’s open it!

      • Jamie Norwood says:

        Making a remote trigger that looks like a laser pointer would probably be extremely trivial. It says a lot that the security people think ‘Hey, here’s a random electronic device, let’s activate it!’ regardless of what they THINK it is. 

  18. rocketjam says:

    Those that can, do. Those that can’t get a job working for the TSA.

    • oasisob1 says:

      Also those that want to lower the barrier to entry into actual government jobs get a job working for the TSA.

  19. doniphon says:

    You media people – always ready to jump on the sensational story.  You were quick to report this, but how about reporting the thousands of times a TSA screener picked up a laser pointer and, thinking it was pepper spray, tried to spray his colleagues.  That would be… uh, fair and balanced.

  20. Gilbert Wham says:

    You guys really need a ‘laughable bumblefuck’ tag. It’s not just for Mayors…

  21. John Vance says:

    1) This was undoubtedly recorded. We need the video

    2) The video must be put to Yakety Sax.

  22. Preston Sturges says:

    To get the full effect, shouldn’t they have been handcuffed and sprayed full in the face for several seconds, then been denied aid for a half hour? 

  23. Matthew Whitman says:

    Wasn’t the kid who shone a laser pointer at a jet just sentenced to 30 months in prison?

    • Brainspore says:

      That was a misunderstanding too. He was actually trying to pepper-spray the aircraft.

    • BillStewart2012 says:

      Yes, but the real risk here wasn’t only that he could have blinded his coworkers or somebody farther away, it’s also that one of the armed real cops at the airport could have seen a red laser dot on his coworker and thought somebody was pointing a real gun. 

      Fortunately the real cops at airports are a lot smarter than the TSA, but they can still make mistakes.

  24. gsilas says:

    If I had internet god powers of meme creation, Youtube dramatizations of this would be the new Harlem Shake.  Impossibly hilarious!

  25. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Sadly, this is not the most terrifying thing to happen to airport personnel this week.

  26. pjcamp says:

    I’m glad they took care to hire only the best.

    I now feel totally safe from malicious shoes and underwear.

  27. Baldhead says:

    This helps explain why they are suspicious the power cables for alaptop they just saw you take out of a bag- they are genuinely bad at identifying objects.

    A shame that’s kind of their job, isn’t it? Identifying things, specifically threats?

  28. Ed Vim says:

    Most of us may see this as a tragic, fumbling, idiotic mistake but if you step back and look at the situation realistically, we’re mostly wrong. This guy just made a calculated, strategic career move that catapulted him several rungs up into managerial levels — don’t forget this is the TSA.

  29. KevinRaposo says:

    What a dumbass! This goes to show the geniuses the TSA hires! 

    • Navin_Johnson says:

      They pay low wages, have tried to prevent the workers from organizing and don’t train them enough for what they’re supposed to do. It’s exactly as neoliberal America likes: McJobs

  30. Ignatz says:

    And why would you point a laser pointer at peoples’ faces?

    They might be lucky it was pepper spray.

    • I once saw an NYPD transit officer run onto a crowded subway car to stop a brawl… he was already pulling his pepper spray when he went into the car.  I tapped the person next to me ( watching from the platform ) and said… watch this, it’s going to be hilarious.

      moments later the car is emptying of people coughing and wheezing and in obvious pain.  including the officer who didn’t really think about what happens when you use pepper spray in a confined space.

      guy next to me looked at me in disgust and said ‘that’s horrible’.  i was too busy laughing to care =P.

      good times.

  31. rocketpj says:

    We can be grateful that he did not mistake an assault rifle for a bubble machine.

    So this is one of the people who looks through luggage for dangerous items?

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