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Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

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  • Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

    Well, Babak and i are back from RSA. What a crazy marketing circle-jerk that place is. I will be posting a few choice photos documenting that in a little bit... but for now i'm doing a write-up of my experiences flying with firearms to and from San Francisco.

    Would you believe that this one tops the SAS Airlines story? Police became involved. Whole flights were missed. Both i and my luggage got to be re-scanned and re-screened multiple times at the same airport.

    Stay tuned. Juicy details to follow. I hope to have this written up by the end of the day.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

    Well... i've completed my write-up. You can read it here.

    It's wicked long, and very detailed... but the overall nature of what took place was pretty mind-blowing. For those who need a little preview to draw them away from their work for 10 minutes or so, here's a taste of what you'll get to read about...


    Heh, now that i know i've hooked at least a few of you... i look forward to your replies, thoughts, etc.
    Last edited by Deviant Ollam; March 7, 2010, 21:40.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

      Again, I ask if anyone knows of people in any of these agencies, they should be made aware of some of this stupidity and run it up the chain to do something about it.

      The stupid, why does it keep hurting so much!
      Never drink anything larger than your head!





      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

        How about using the FOIA to get their complete report?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

          So did Officer Serrano actually take you into custody, hence the form releasing you?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

            Originally posted by Rhenium View Post
            So did Officer Serrano actually take you into custody, hence the form releasing you?
            yes, the SFPD "detained" me without arrest. so no handcuffs or searching of my person or effects (other than being asked to show ID) but i was "sized" briefly under the definition of the law, given that by show of authority (not force) i was compelled by agents of the state to remain in one position and not proceed about my business (that business was boarding the aircraft, so it was a significant imposition on my liberties, indeed.)
            "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
            - Trent Reznor

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

              Well here's a bit of an incredible follow-up... it seems the US Air staffers in San Fransisco who freaked out about my flying with firearms gave some false statements to the police officers who responded to the scene in the terminal that day. (heh, should i be a little bit gracious and say that they gave "mistaken statements" in their conversation with the cops?)

              Here is the officer's narrative from the police report itself...


              ... i can identify at least five things that are glaringly wrong with information in it, four of which are statements from the US Air employees. one appears to be a misunderstanding on the part of the officer in charge. the final error in the report is open to interpretation.

              let's review the finer details...

              in red highlight i have marked places where the US Air staff (predominantly Isabelle Zaparolli and the plane's captain, Paul Minter) made incorrect statements to the police...

              i was not "late for departure" as the captain asserted. nor had i "failed to check in" whatever that means... of course i had checked in since i was sitting at the gate, had gate-checked one of my pieces of carry-on luggage, and was waiting to board. (unless this means that i hadn't given them my boarding pass... which couldn't happen because they still hadn't called us for boarding)

              i was present at the gate well in advance of the flight and was sitting there, along with all of the other passengers, grumbling about the repeated delays which US Air kept announcing. as you may have read in the write-up on my site, they kept telling passengers there was a "paperwork problem"

              Miss Zaparolli couldn't have noticed that i "had not yet boarded the aircraft" since no one had boarded the aircraft at the time that all this nonsense had started. we desperately wanted to board... but were just sitting there waiting. (thus, the aircraft was not "ready to depart" either)

              lastly, the police report seems to indicate that Miss Zaparolli had to point me out to the police officers, when (in fact) it was i who approached them in order to ask if anything was wrong.


              The one highlighted statement in yellow is open to interpretation. When i was checking my firearms-bearing cases, the TSA screener initially asked me for my luggage key (he did this before we even had started the process, while my cases were still sitting there on the luggage cart.)

              i responded (as i always do) by inquiring if they wouldn't rather save time by running the cases through the CTX machine first, then doing a hand-scan only if something alarms.

              this is the crux of everything i constantly argue about when discussing baggage security... we waste time and money having humans be involved in the process in a random and slow manner. all luggage should get the CTX machine treatment. having it happen FIRST just makes sense, but it should still be the standard. this protects everyone's privacy, prevents belongings from being messed with, and (in this situation) would have meant that my bags weren't subjected to ONLY a brief hand-scan before being taken INSECURELY over to my plane (more details of that in my write up)

              in the police report, Isabelle's statement almost makes it sound as if initially refused to let the TSA inspect my luggage. "upset" isn't a word i would use to characterize my mood... however, i was vocal (to both her and the TSA officer) in my assertion that their process was inefficient and annoying.


              the last highlight, shown in blue, seems to be a mistake made by the police officer himself. this is, unfortunately, something that is possibly going to screw me as i badger US Air to address my grievance on this matter. the officer claims i told him i "did not hear the plane was boarded"... this is completely false, and i have no possible explanation as to how he could have been so mistaken.

              the reason this cannot be true is that the plane STILL hadn't boarded when i started talking to the police. the other passengers were still all sitting around, and the officers even suggested that we step off to the side out of respect for my privacy, so that the other passengers wouldn't listen in as we had our conversation.

              all in all, my original write-up had all the correct details, it seems. there was some other passenger going to Philadelphia on a different flight (on an entirely different airline) who had asked about his luggage, which also was bearing firearms. indeed... if you read the report i would say that even that passenger's question wasn't majorly suspicious. he asked "if i miss my connection... where will my firearms go? will they go on to my final destination without me?"

              if you know how bad the problem of luggage theft is in Philadelphia, that's a reasonable question. if you know his ultimate destination was Tel Aviv, perhaps you could make the case that "concern" about this passenger was reasonable.

              either way, what is not reasonable (in my view) are all of the glaring inaccuracies in this police report. is that something i should contact them to correct? i mean, as far as the police are concerned the issue is dead. it was a dead issue the moment i wrapped up my conversation with Officer Serrano in the terminal. but i'm still following-up on the matter and having this incredibly wrong information out there bothers me somewhat.

              arg. just arg.

              why do guns make some people lose their fucking heads?


              P.S. - moderators, if you frown upon people's real names being mentioned in this post i can edit it as necessary. i figured since the police report is a matter of public record that it was fine, in the interest of accuracy and fact, to discuss it openly here.

              P.P.S. - i don't care who gives me shit for blacking out my own name. heh, those of you who really know me already know my own name. the rest of you, i suppose, could get a free copy of the police report just as i did if you wanted to. i am guarded about my name around the scene just because it's easier if everyone calls me just one thing. in the middle of a room i'm rarely going to respond to "Joe" or "Sam" or whatever... i will respond to "Dev'"
              "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
              - Trent Reznor

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

                Sometimes these situations remind me of when you go to some sort of event, and then read about it in the paper the next day and wonder: "was the reporter actually there?" Full of inaccuracies and problems. Then you take the next step and wonder: how much is wrong in the articles about events I didn't attend? And so on. It is depressing.

                A while back I read a write-up that someone did about something I presented at DEFCON. About 50% of it was just plain wrong.

                I think it is entirely possible, and even likely, that in a situation such as Dev's (or should I say, Joe or Sam's, heh) for multiple people to have multiple stories and different versions of what occurred, and not in the least feel as if they're misleading or incorrect. This isn't to suggest that people don't lie or give misleading statements (because they do), but that's impossible to judge in this situation (at least from our perspective). But amidst the confusion of what's going on, people sometimes rely on what may be incorrect information for facts, and that information poisons the tree down the line.
                "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

                  Deviant, from the copy of the officer's narrative, it seems that the REAL reason you were scrutinized was due to the airport employees'/security's own paranoia. As a customer of the airlines (and I assume a tax paying US citizen), you have every right to know the names of the people whom you deal with at the airport. I agree that the statement about you seeming "upset" is open to interpretation for several reasons, one being that "annoyed" is probably a more accurate word From your posts and website, it seems that the only thing you are guilty of is being inquisitive and a bit sarcastic - and I think a lot of us here are guilty of that.

                  "we waste time and money having humans be involved in the process in a random and slow manner"

                  I completely agree with you on this point, and I feel that this is true regarding store checkouts, the DMV, and other common, inefficient interactions as well. I become utterly disgusted when some airhead holds up my day just because he or she was given undue authority by a municipal, state, or federal entity.
                  "Why is it drug addicts and computer afficionados are both called users? " - Clifford Stoll

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

                    Originally posted by AgentDarkApple View Post
                    I completely agree with you on this point, and I feel that this is true regarding store checkouts, the DMV, and other common, inefficient interactions as well. I become utterly disgusted when some airhead holds up my day just because he or she was given undue authority by a municipal, state, or federal entity.
                    We have problems like this because the grocer at the super market is told to be nice to the customer under all conditions, and are scared their bosses will get upset if they say something to make them more upset. Picture yourself as the cashier getting reamed at by some jerk because she handed him a wrinkled up $5-bill instead of a 'crisp' one (I've seen it happen), that cashier is thinking in her head "I hate you, you psycho -- frig I need this job, if I tell him to keep moving I'll get written up." This is why we introduce self-checkouts, with the theory that it's faster because people with complaints will actually goto the complaint desk instead of eating up the service rate in the line... However, this has only lead to the problem of people who can't figure out the self-checkout, using the self-checkout, and then asking for a cashier to come over and help them anyway.

                    So we have the option of do it for them, they don't like it and complain. Then we get the option of have them do it, they get confused and stuck. The trade-off here is either training your customers, or training your employee to be more assertive with directing issues to the issue resolver.

                    What would be best (and queue theory tells helpdesk structure to do this) is have your workers do one task, and if a problem happens they get the problem out of the helpdesk queue and they keep doing work. How do we do this?

                    At a super market, this would mean the cashier tell you firmly to goto the service desk with the issue, and ask for the next customer. I don't see this working out in a grocery store with an old man angry about the wrinkles on his fiver as a very effective solution, but who knows.
                    At the airport, this would mean the guard who's un-skilled with these procedures send you to the issue desk, instead of taking a solution then and then ascribing something as an issue (which he isn't qualified for (unless I misunderstand his job function)).

                    It's important to streamline support also, otherwise we run into bureaucratic "goto_this_desk(){return goto_this_desk()}" cycles.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

                      Originally posted by SHA-hi View Post
                      We have problems like this because the grocer at the super market is told to be nice to the customer under all conditions, and are scared their bosses will get upset if they say something to make them more upset. Picture yourself as the cashier getting reamed at by some jerk because she handed him a wrinkled up $5-bill instead of a 'crisp' one (I've seen it happen), that cashier is thinking in her head "I hate you, you psycho -- frig I need this job, if I tell him to keep moving I'll get written up." This is why we introduce self-checkouts, with the theory that it's faster because people with complaints will actually goto the complaint desk instead of eating up the service rate in the line... However, this has only lead to the problem of people who can't figure out the self-checkout, using the self-checkout, and then asking for a cashier to come over and help them anyway.

                      So we have the option of do it for them, they don't like it and complain. Then we get the option of have them do it, they get confused and stuck. The trade-off here is either training your customers, or training your employee to be more assertive with directing issues to the issue resolver.

                      What would be best (and queue theory tells helpdesk structure to do this) is have your workers do one task, and if a problem happens they get the problem out of the helpdesk queue and they keep doing work. How do we do this?

                      At a super market, this would mean the cashier tell you firmly to goto the service desk with the issue, and ask for the next customer. I don't see this working out in a grocery store with an old man angry about the wrinkles on his fiver as a very effective solution, but who knows.

                      At the airport, this would mean the guard who's un-skilled with these procedures send you to the issue desk, instead of taking a solution then and then ascribing something as an issue (which he isn't qualified for (unless I misunderstand his job function)).

                      It's important to streamline support also, otherwise we run into bureaucratic "goto_this_desk(){return goto_this_desk()}" cycles.
                      So let me attempt to understand what you are saying here. You are comparing D.O. to a grumpy old man? You are reducing the whole airline inspection operation to a super market check out line? You are suggesting that we should have self service searches at the airlines? Please do clarify what you are talking about.

                      The bagging area is full.

                      xor
                      Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

                        Originally posted by xor View Post
                        So let me attempt to understand what you are saying here. You are comparing D.O. to a grumpy old man? You are reducing the whole airline inspection operation to a super market check out line? You are suggesting that we should have self service searches at the airlines? Please do clarify what you are talking about.

                        The bagging area is full.

                        xor
                        I think his point is that he wants to dumb down the frontlines of the TSA even further than they already are. Dumb them down to helldesk levels, and add in yet another layer of idiocy that passengers must pass through when the first line can't handle even the most simplest of problems.

                        If his idea is anything like the grocery stores that I go to we may as well shut down the airlines. The last drone I had at a grocery store didn't even know what a cucumber was.
                        A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

                          Originally posted by streaker69 View Post
                          I think his point is that he wants to dumb down the frontlines of the TSA even further than they already are. Dumb them down to helldesk levels, and add in yet another layer of idiocy that passengers must pass through when the first line can't handle even the most simplest of problems.

                          If his idea is anything like the grocery stores that I go to we may as well shut down the airlines. The last drone I had at a grocery store didn't even know what a cucumber was.
                          This is basically what I was suggesting. Customers run through process, they either are trained or untrained.

                          If customers are untrained, they need someone to help them, which means the people helping them need skills to provide the solutions (which wasn't the case), or the ability to tell people to goto the help desk because they've hit a problem and it isn't their place to fix it or diagnose it.

                          If customers are trained, they can preform the task themselves or go to the place that issues solutions. On an airline this could be further developed scanner system (not possible with today's technology market).

                          So let me attempt to understand what you are saying here. You are comparing D.O. to a grumpy old man? You are reducing the whole airline inspection operation to a super market check out line? You are suggesting that we should have self service searches at the airlines? Please do clarify what you are talking about.
                          Only if you look at function rather than context.

                          I'm mostly interested in hearing solutions, it's somewhat in my nature to try and get people talking about a problem's nature to better understand it. I'm trying to look at the problem as something that fits into Queueing Theory. I still think the help desk model would be a nice fit for it. Now, as for how to make it work in the context, I'm ready to admit 100% that it's madness, but still hold there is something we could base around it to make things work a bit better.

                          Or maybe I'm just over thinking the problem and they fielded someone without the proper training.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

                            Originally posted by SHA-hi View Post
                            This is basically what I was suggesting. Customers run through process, they either are trained or untrained.

                            If customers are untrained, they need someone to help them, which means the people helping them need skills to provide the solutions (which wasn't the case), or the ability to tell people to goto the help desk because they've hit a problem and it isn't their place to fix it or diagnose it.

                            If customers are trained, they can preform the task themselves or go to the place that issues solutions. On an airline this could be further developed scanner system (not possible with today's technology market).

                            Only if you look at function rather than context.

                            I'm mostly interested in hearing solutions, it's somewhat in my nature to try and get people talking about a problem's nature to better understand it. I'm trying to look at the problem as something that fits into Queuing Theory. I still think the help desk model would be a nice fit for it. Now, as for how to make it work in the context, I'm ready to admit 100% that it's madness, but still hold there is something we could base around it to make things work a bit better.

                            Or maybe I'm just over thinking the problem and they fielded someone without the proper training.
                            So you are saying that D.O is a grumpy old man

                            xor
                            Just because you can doesn't mean you should. This applies to making babies, hacking, and youtube videos.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Insane "Flying with Firearms" Story... San Francisco

                              Originally posted by SHA-hi View Post
                              This is basically what I was suggesting. Customers run through process, they either are trained or untrained.

                              If customers are untrained, they need someone to help them, which means the people helping them need skills to provide the solutions (which wasn't the case), or the ability to tell people to goto the help desk because they've hit a problem and it isn't their place to fix it or diagnose it.

                              If customers are trained, they can preform the task themselves or go to the place that issues solutions. On an airline this could be further developed scanner system (not possible with today's technology market).
                              The problem with the airports is most certainly not the customers, it's the TSA people themselves. Poor training, low intelligence, the random application of arbitrary rules, the total lack of proper dissemination of information from the upper echelon to the front lines. Dumbing down the frontlines even further and adding yet another layer is only going to lead to even more problems.

                              Just the idea of having a self service security line at the airports is bad, since it most certainly would be gamed.

                              From what I've seen in the way TSA comes up with new things to look for is that they're working completely on a reactive model instead of a proactive model, which means they will always be behind the curve in detecting new types of threats that they haven't seen before.
                              A third party security audit is the IT equivalent of a colonoscopy. It's long, intrusive, very uncomfortable, and when it's done, you'll have seen things you really didn't want to see, and you'll never forget that you've had one.

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