Speed Stick on a Plane

A people can only be dominated by undermining the individual’s single most important attribute; his primary tool of survival; his innate characteristic that defines him and sets him apart from all other animals; his mind: reason.

And how is such a thing accomplished? By forcing his silent acquiescence to obvious lies.

My company’s COO and I boarded a plane this morning to attend a conference in Vegas tomorrow and Friday. The spectacle going through the TSA-goon-gauntlet is so obviously absurd that I’m at somewhat of a loss feeling a need to describe it. I mean, whom do I live among, that I must overhear people actually thanking these thugs? In what crazy dimension am I stuck, where stealing my toothpaste and speed stick — and my COO’s Right Guard and shaving cream — causes people to be deluded into a sense of relative safety, and to thank their oppressors, whom, I might best describe as: those who just do their jobs.

Let me tell you this. Any society that can employ people who will dutifully forge through people’s luggage stealing common toiletries, all while spouting obvious bullshit like, "if this was opaque deodorant, it’d be OK, but since it’s clear, it’s not," is a society capable of employing people to perform any "duty."

They don’t get off the hook. Neither do you. I expect as much from politicians, as their stock in trade is to perpetuate the complete illusion that marginal risks to your life are something you ought to obsess about, and that they, government, reduce those already minuscule risks in meaningful ways at reasonable cost. Such is a fantasy, but perhaps not an obvious one. Finding a threat in a can of Right Guard and believing you’re safer? Completely delusional.

Now, ask me how it happens that people — average citizens — are brought to a point where they can be enlisted to commit the most heinous atrocities, a-la every communist movement that has ever existed, as well as the holocaust.

Hush now baby, baby, dont you cry.
Mother’s gonna make all your nightmares come true.
Mother’s gonna put all her fears into you.
Mother’s gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She wont let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Mama will keep baby cozy and warm.
Ooooh baby ooooh baby oooooh baby,
Of course mama’ll help to build the wall.


Hush now baby, baby dont you cry.
Mama’s gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Mama wont let anyone dirty get through.
Mama’s gonna wait up until you get in.
Mama will always find out where you’ve been.
Mama’s gonna keep baby healthy and clean.
Ooooh baby oooh baby oooh baby,
You’ll always be baby to me.

-"Mother," by Roger Waters; Pink Floyd, The Wall

It’s only going to get worse. But fear only that which you’re told to fear, out of all proportion, and believe that your "authorities" will protect you. In the meantime, sign up for another home-equity line-of-credit, pay off those cards, and keep on buyin’ and consumin’ and keepin’ the whole thing propped up.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Kyle Bennett on September 6, 2006 at 18:06

    In the meantime, sign up for another home-equity line-of-credit, pay off those cards, and keep on buyin' and consumin' and keepin' the whole thing propped up.

    What are you trying to say, that since they take so much of what we produce that we should stop producing? Or that we should blow off our honestly acquired debts? Neither is a sacrifice I'm willing to make for the greater good.

    Now if you mean only that it's not possible to buy enough temporary comfort and distraction to bury the awareness of what's they're doing to us, I'm with you there.

  2. Nolan Eakins on September 6, 2006 at 18:59

    If you're like me you tell the TSA employee who just stole your belongings that simple fact. The last time I flew, I made it through with a couple of lighters. I went out to smoke and the lady who went through my stuff snagged. Before I walked off I told her "thanks for stealing my lighter" in a slightly pissed off tone. She's lucky I didn't make use of a racial slur.

    It only got worse on my return trip since my ticket was flagged for the pat down and explosive swab. To bad I thought they'd only do it the first time through, because I went out to smoke after failing to find any place to smoke in Newark *Liberty* Airport.

    Needless to say the lady that told me to go through the metal detector wasn't the nicest or most open person. She just told me to "stand there" not telling me what was going on. Apparently she didn't want me to follow her either, but how was I supposed to know if she didn't tell me?

    The guy who patted me down got a nice ear full. I'm surprised I didn't get hauled off due to my anger or have my old Palm Pilot stolen since he took his time looking at it.

    I'd like to think that the email I sent to the TSA when I got home helped cause their change to actual random selections. At least that's more secure than patting down people like multiple times.

  3. Kyle Bennett on September 7, 2006 at 05:03


    Some dogs let you beat them up and down the block all day long, then come back and lick your hand when you're done. The only time they turn on you is when you don't feed 'em.

  4. mandrill on September 7, 2006 at 03:42

    Government through fear. Its the only way our ruling class knows. It is swiftly turning from fear of an external threat to fear of our own governments.
    Beat a dog with a stick and the dog will fear the stick, but you better be damn sure to keep the stick on you at all times cos the moment the dog see you're not holding it any more you can say goodbye to your arm.
    There are all sorts of other analogies I could throw in here, suffice it to say that if our governments continue along this road I see revolution in our futures.

  5. Jeff Michael on September 7, 2006 at 12:57

    It's amazing how much of this trickles down to the individual level; not only are the policies stupid, pointless and evil, the _people who carry them out_ are stupid, pointless and evil.

    On our way back from my wife's grandfather's funeral, the airport TSA goon picked up the neatly folded American flag. (The deceased was a vet, and had full military honors at the funeral.)

    In a snotty tone he asked my wife, "What, are you some kind of veteran?" It looked like he was about to unfold the flag.

    She told him we were coming from a funeral, and he just gave us a curt "Oh," before he shoved the flag back in the bag. All I could think was that Billy Beck was dead right when he called them "Worthless Lumps."

  6. One Guy on September 7, 2006 at 12:59

    I love the line saying that "politicians […] perpetuate the complete illusion that marginal risks to your life are something you ought to obsess about, and that they, government, reduce those already minuscule risks in meaningful ways at reasonable cost."

    It's so true it's depressingly sad.

  7. billy-jay on September 8, 2006 at 05:46

    I remember flying through LAX a couple of years ago. The luggage screening area was blocked so passengers couldn't observe the TSA goons as they rifled through their personal effects. Passengers waited in line for their personal goon to emerge with their luggage and escort it to their airline. While waiting for my bag, the guy in front of me had the misfortune of watching the TSA genius attempt to retract the handle on his bag. After failing to locate the button and retracting it normally, he began to pound on the handle. Of course, this perturbed the guy who actually owned the bag and he said as much. He was ignored until the goon actually picked up the bag, inverted it, and began dropping the bag on its handle. The bag's owner was now quite rightly pissed and yelled at the goon to just let him push the button to retract the handle. An onlooking TSA goon (who offered no help to his partner in crime) told him he wasn't allowed to touch the bag or else it would have to go through the entire process again. In the end, the bag won and the TSA goon gave up trying to retract the handle.


  8. John T. Kennedy on September 7, 2006 at 23:02

    I go through these search trains regularly. I don't give them any bad attitude – I practice working the line.

    How long will it be before you need to get through such a line when you're not supposed to? Maybe not long. I'm training up to schmooze my way right past the lumps whenever I need to.

  9. rich (not the original poster) on September 10, 2006 at 18:06

    Sadly, you are all correct. Our politicians pile on laws because they believe that is what we elect them to do. I wonder if they understand that we have so many laws on the books it is impossible to follow them. And of course, they want to stay in office so they will do anything including scare the pants off us in those lines while they search our bags for contraband we do not have but that they can declare is contraband. But they are not all bad, just most of them.I actually had one follow me until I got my tickets to take me aside and shake my hand because of my Marine Corps ball Cap and my years of service during and after the Korean war. He was of course a Marine who became the security chief for TSA at that Airport. However, another Pusilanimous nit wit responded with a snear, snide remark and move on after I pointed out that the ball point pens everyone was carrying including myself was as deadly a weapon as there ever was including box cutters. Big mistake Congress Federalizing these pukes. You cannot fire them now and you have to tax us to pay their benefits and all and that really pisses me off when it was much cheaper to hire rent – a – sucurity types. At least if they were discourteous to you you could get them fired. Sometimes…..Oh well, that is why I drive now instead of flying. Are you listening American, Northwest, United, etc…..? Try putting the pressure on the Congress and getting them to stop this BS. Let the real security people do their jobs and stop calling it homeland security. They have no clue what security means anyway.

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