I read on the news wires recently about how the TSA failed to find some 90% of illegal items when inspectors tried to get them through.
Here in Indonesia it seems they’re actually getting better. Or at least their practicing to more stringent standards.
When I first started traveling from here, my bags would be scanned, but I was never sure if anyone was at the screens looking at the images. I never took off my belt or emptied my pockets. When I set off a detector, I was given a wand over that usually confirmed that I had some metal on me, but they never asked to see it. It seemed like they just wanted to confirm that their big metal detector was working okay. They’d wave me on through.
Lately, though, they’ve made me take out my laptop and take off my belt and empty my pockets. They even made me take off my, mostly plastic, watch. This watch never sets off an alarm at any U.S airport. On a recent trip from Jakarta, though, it set off the alarm and they made me go back through.
There are still some gaps in the net, though.
On the same trip where I had to remove my watch and walk back through the magneto portal, I caught up with my baggage and a security guard waiting for me.
Guard: “Sir, is this your baggage?”
Guard: “Are there scissors in here?”
Now, it is hard to convey, through this written medium, the power of the “Force” at work in this situation. But, let me tell you it was amazing!
Me: “No, there are no scissors.”
Guard: (To Monitor watching Guard. In Indonesian.) “He says there are no scissors here.”
Monitor watching guard: “Okay. Let him pass then.”
Guard: (To me) Okay, sir. Thank you. You may go now.”
And, so I moved on.
This was all witnessed by my incredulous daughter who muttered all the way down the concourse.
“We are going to die, we are going to die, we are going to die! It would be so easy to do something. I can’t believe anyone can just talk their way out of an inspection!”
“Is that a handgun in your bag?”
“No. It is not a handgun.”
“Okay. These are not the droids we’re looking for. Have a nice day!”