FedEx and UPS as Targets?

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Over the weekend, when I wasn't dodging Cherokees, I was holding my breath wondering what impact Friday's story on an attempted freighter bombing would have on airline security. It may still be too soon to judge whether it will result in us poor hapless sots having to further disrobe just for the privilege of flying from Miami to Chicago. Or to endure some other inanity in the name of security.

In general, although the stories were played above the fold until Monday, I didn't find them alarmingly shrill. The cable outlets, as usual, overdid it, with live press conferences on Friday illuminating every new fact as it became available. Over dinner, I was trying to make the point to a dinner companion that unless and until we learn to keep these developments in perspective, terrorism will continue to be what it is: a beautiful example of asymmetric warfare, the continuance of which we enable by so readily agreeing to be terrorized. Some goat herder in Yemen stuffs a printer full of PETN and the next thing you know, the cables have switched live to the White House. For a reality check, you have about 1000 times greater likelihood of being killed by lightning than by a terrorist attack.

But for something really bizarre, let's consider what defense reporter Fred Kaplan reported. In all of Yemen on Friday, a total of 13 packages were shipped out of the country by FedEx and UPS. Thirteen total. This is no surprise since Yemen ranks 120th in per capita income, just one notch above Sudan. It's not much of a stretch to say that Yemen's principle exports are concealed bombs and the people capable of using them. In that context, I would think that a printer being shipped from Yemen to the U.S. should draw a lot of suspicion. Why would anyone ship cheap crap like this to a country where you can buy any of a hundred new replacements for less than the cost of shipping?

Curiously, Kaplan's piece drew some blowback from people arguing that, well, you can't expect FedEx and UPS to X-ray and inspect everything. It will bring commerce to a standstill. And that's true enough. But we're talking Yemen here, people, the bomb capital of the middle east. And 13 packages. This shows how absurd the thinking around security has become. We're so biased toward the one-size-fits-all approach, that we assume that if a procedure that works—inspecting two out of 13 boxes--can't be used everywhere, it shouldn't be used anywhere.

Some of the news reports circulating yesterday reported that the tipoff came from Saudi intelligence sources who were able to come up with the tracking numbers, which some reporters thought indicated deep penetration and skilled spookmanship. Well, duh! I figure I could walk into the Sanaa FedEx office, produce $10 baksheesh, and walk out with all the tracking numbers I want. They get kudos for the developing the tip, however. (By the way, FedEx and UPS don't staff these office; they're local contractors.)

I don't know what FedEx and UPS are going to do about this problem, if a persistent threat develops. But somehow, I think a nice first step would be to maybe cast a suspicious eye on odd packages coming to the U.S. from Yemen. I'm just sayin'.

Comments (50)

In the land of the free, we aught to live free here (but make anything entering the USA be scrutinized). The re-re-scanning of aunt Sally before boarding every domestic trip is beyond pointless.

I agree, if it's from Yemen and addressed to a synagogue then THAT is what you should be scanning.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | November 2, 2010 12:24 PM    Report this comment

With 13 packages a day coming out of Yemen, I'm surprised that UPS even bothers going there. Let them ship by camel. Or "Hey Yemenese, you wanna ship by FedEx? Then kick the crazies out of your country".

Posted by: Jerry Plante | November 2, 2010 3:23 PM    Report this comment

It wasn't a printer that was being shipped, but rather a toner cartridge for a printer.

Posted by: Roger Parish | November 2, 2010 11:07 PM    Report this comment

Why do we even allow shipments from Yemen to the USA at all? 13 packages a day isn't gonna end commerce as we know it. Just cut them off. And somebody needs to take a closer look at that 747 UPS crash in Dubai last month. Just sayin'.

Posted by: R T | November 3, 2010 2:37 AM    Report this comment

Airline security when it comes to baggage, passenger, cargo, courier, mail etc is becoming a topic which is catching everybody's fancy as it effects the passengers, staff, authorities, industries and governments. since this industry touches everything related to commerce and travel needs still we have inadeqaute response when it comes to having "our own" industry to come in terms of growing needs. When everyone in the industry is concerned on keeping the cost down and still have no scope for any flgging standards. All this requires a lot of commitment and we still need to look to raise funds for the safety, security and keep providing the uniterrupted services. The "rogue" nations who do not have much reliance on this kind of services may try their best to bring the industry to its knees however the concerned parties do have it in their interest to pinpoint with accuracy and take all precautions out of these destinations. The contractual staff may not have any vested interest however the hardcore industry people have the onus to keep delivering the best they could despite the conditions. The law makers need to keep this focus on their mind as well.

Posted by: Kush Chawla | November 3, 2010 3:57 AM    Report this comment

Lots of folks right here in the the good ole USA are sending things in fed-ex and ups packages that the authorities would not approve of. This Yemen bomb story seems like a convenient excuse to increase regulation and search all packages like passengers. Watch for this to come in the near future.

Posted by: Brad Vaught | November 3, 2010 11:00 AM    Report this comment

I'm still waiting for the day when we are truly free from terrorism. That day will come when the president comes on the news and tells us that we will take hits. We will take hits and move on. We will be attacked and live on. The American way of life and liberty will not end due to even a series of attacks. This message will set us free. Because the real terrorism comes from our government saying we are safe, only to leave us shocked when they are proven wrong. We can not be safe from attack, to profess that we can be is both asinine and counterproductive. To have our government hamstring us with the DHS/TSA circus, in an "act" of over promised safety, only sets us up to fall far harder when the inevitable happens.

Posted by: Grant Carruthers | November 3, 2010 12:16 PM    Report this comment

What is 'asinine' is believing governments telling the populace what they feel the citizens need to hear, whether we will take the hits or that we are safe. I'm not falling anywhere when the inevitable happens again. I seem to be among the few who is tired of all the boo-hoo about the government lying and putting us pilots through hell at security checkpoints. We get the government we deserve - people panicked, freaked and cowered so badly after 9/11 that I'm surprised we didn't nuclear spray-bomb every mideast country then when the cowboy was President.

But we did start and are continuing two extremely costly wars. These and a foreign policy of meddling (Yemen next?) will keep us forever jumping at shadows. Pulling out these cattle prods abroad with the ridiculous name of 'fighting terrorism', (aren't wars a very good way to create terrorism?) and staying out of the eternal Hatfield/McCoy hatred in and around Israel is the only hope to lessen the threats. Whining about the TSA is immature and off-target. Sour grapes award to the whiners and complainers.

Posted by: David Miller | November 3, 2010 5:04 PM    Report this comment

>>That day will come when the president comes on the news and tells us that we will take hits. <<

This is an interesting point and and an important one. I heard Bob Woodward interviewed about his current book on Obama. He quoted Obama as saying "we can absorb these attacks" and seemed to realize he needs to say it publically.

Yet he cannot. We won't let him because we, as the electorate, will continue to respond hysterically to the very idea behind it.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | November 3, 2010 7:37 PM    Report this comment

>>That day will come when the president comes on the news and tells us that we will take hits. <<

This is an interesting point and and an important one. I heard Bob Woodward interviewed about his current book on Obama. He quoted Obama as saying "we can absorb these attacks" and seemed to realize he needs to say it publically.

Yet he cannot. We won't let him because we, as the electorate, will continue to respond hysterically to the very idea behind it.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | November 3, 2010 7:38 PM    Report this comment

In the freight business, air, sea or ground...private or government agencies, allow items to be re-packaged using printed containers, possibly used for items other than the original, and sent as long as they meet the standards of the agencies. If there is to be more control, I feel responsibility should be on the shoulders of these agencies to modify their requirements for packaging.

Posted by: william smith | November 3, 2010 8:17 PM    Report this comment

I think we need to tell the sweet little terrorists that if they blow anything of ours up that we will drop a nuke on one of their major cites. Then when they blow something of ours up do it! Then if they do it again repeat the above,It worked in WWII. These guys will only stop when the price is to high continue.

Posted by: Michael Way | November 4, 2010 5:44 AM    Report this comment

Instead the TSA will find a reason to increase security for GA.

They were told shipping would be a problem in 2002/2003, I was there with the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations spreading the word.

WWW.STOPLASP.COM

Posted by: John Hyle | November 4, 2010 8:49 AM    Report this comment

I'm with you there, Michael. I have several friends who are ex-Navy pilots who want say the way to peace is turn a few cities in terrorist backing countries into glowing, green glass parking lots and see how quick this crap stops.

Posted by: Ric Lee | November 4, 2010 10:31 AM    Report this comment

A good perspective by Paul, as usual.

"every new fact as it became available", is standard fare for the US media.

The British media publishes that Yemen claims that no UPS aircraft left Yemen that day. I hope that Fedex and UPS will clarify that.

I'm skeptical of this story for a number of reasons.

Posted by: Richard Sinnott | November 4, 2010 1:35 PM    Report this comment

I have to agree with Grant Carruthers and the others who added supporting comments here. Terrorist attacks are designed to cause everyone to be terrorized and panic, to demand absolute safety when it cannot be guaranteed and to give up all freedom and rights in exchange for that illusion of safety.

The rally cry has to be "You can kill us, but you can't scare us, we refuse to be terrorized."

As long as we act scared then they are winning and will continue. As soon as we just absorb the loses and agree to ignore them then they have lost.

Posted by: Adam Hunt | November 4, 2010 2:06 PM    Report this comment

'These guys will only stop when the price is to high continue.'

They're suicide bombers - the price is never too high. All of a sudden they will develop a reverence for life because we used a bigger weapon, based on our lack of a reverence for life?

Terrorism has causal roots. Though it seems irrelevant here, as a society it would behoove us to examine these roots if we want anything to change into the future. If not, good luck convincing government to 'absorb the losses and simply ignore them.' Not gonna happen.

...Or at least start building bomb shelters again (hey, gov't. job creation!) so we can spend decades underground from our own weapons' fallout, blown over us for many years from leveling their cities.

Posted by: David Miller | November 4, 2010 3:18 PM    Report this comment

Good to see at least some of the group understand that our blind quest for, and expectation of, a life of total safety is leading only to a state of non-functional paralysis.
But sadly it will not change. Every election reinforces the reality that Americans will vote only to candidates who tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.
Tell ‘em they will be given whatever their personal special interests demand, and without cost to them, and they’ll vote for you every time.

Posted by: John Wilson | November 4, 2010 3:19 PM    Report this comment

John Wilson: Then we have lost.

Posted by: Adam Hunt | November 4, 2010 3:43 PM    Report this comment

Adam Hunt: "Then we have lost."
There was a short story years ago about a future when leaders were drafted into mandatory service rather than elected (by exactly what process of selection I can't recall, but something rational), and the one disqualifying factor was if the chosen one WANTED to serve.

Posted by: John Wilson | November 4, 2010 4:41 PM    Report this comment

Let’s see if I can out-hysteria the TSA…

Let’s impose a $10,000 per person annual permit fee to send or receive packages internationally, so TSA can investigate the background of any and all such senders/receivers. Then we’ll require that the recipient travel to the point of departure and escort the package personally to the destination. Then we’ll require that the recipient either personally ingest a portion of the contents, or blow it up with dynamite before it (or what’s left) can be loaded on a plane bound for the US. Finally, TSA will impose a 1,000% freight surcharge to inspect the stools of the recipient to confirm that the recipient was not poisoned, and that the new system worked.

Posted by: Bruce Liddel | November 4, 2010 7:01 PM    Report this comment

Some good posts John Wilson.

Considering that all their prosecutions in court have been mostly trumped up cases, I'm skeptical of all their cases.

In Miami the convinced a handful of homeless people to conspire to attack something somewhere.

In New Jersey they convince some pizza delivery men that they should attack Fort Dix. It goes on and on, and reminds me of John DeLorean.

Posted by: Richard Sinnott | November 6, 2010 1:05 PM    Report this comment

It goes back to the same problem in respects to "knowng your customer" whether it is passenger 121 or cargo. To believe after a decade of stripping away the rights of passengers (pun intended)and attempting to negotiate with a group that has the mentality of a snake...when will we learn. This isn't about acting in a manner that USA is all loving. These groups have been killing each other for Centuries and only understand violence. A perspective would be street gangs with an education. The 911 terrorists (yes contary to extremists) were from Saudi and Jordon and it is amazing after an infusion of cash to Yemen, ta-da info came in on bombs. Too bad that extreme violence is all they understand as well...know your customer will be a lot cheaper and those that say "my rights", Wal-Mart what color shoes you bought last week.

Posted by: Chuck West | November 8, 2010 7:30 AM    Report this comment

Trying to guard the perimeter of the aviation system is a Maginot Line. Yet that's our policy.

Constantly reacting to what the terrorists do, and guarding against what they have done, assumes that they are subhuman in intelligence, unable to examine our complex system for vulnerabilities. As long as we're playing D they're going to continue surprising us. Yet that's our policy.

The only methods to prevent terrorism are:

1. Deter the terrorists. We may not be able to do that (we can't nuke Mecca every time some Wahhabi commits murder, which his faith sees as a sacrament).

2. Steal the terrorists' recruiting pool. Offer a more attractive alternative. This in fact already happens; far more Moslems are willing to engage us socially, culturally, economically than want to kill us, and in fact they're our best help in #3 below.

3. Actively seek the terrorists out, disrupt their networks, and kill them. Generally, imprisonment does not work for terrorists (they get sprung by nihilistic lawyers; they make prison converts; they escape or get traded). Killing does. So killing them is the most effective way of stopping them.

Posted by: KEVIN O'BRIEN | November 8, 2010 7:56 AM    Report this comment

(various thoughts, continued from previous post)

The eyes, ears and minds of non-professional but alert people are worth more to us than all the so-called professionals of TSA. If you recall, the 20th hijacker, Moussaoui, was turned in by his flight instructor who knew something was wrong with him. The professionals (FBI and DOJ) then dropped the ball. Both the shoe bomber and the ballsack bomber were interdicted not by our security apparatus, but by alert passengers. The Times Square Bomber owes his imprisonment in part to alert passers-by.

In all of the effective ways of stopping terrorism, our power is extended a hundredfold by having local allies who are as committed as we are. Sometimes

Every time some small-time Al Qaeda planning meeting is kinetically adjourned by our military or intelligence operators or our allies, the odds of them pulling off the next spectacle declines. That's why we have not had a repeat of 9/11, not because some TSA pervs now get to grope people.

A smarter CT policy would stop pursuing ineffective Maginot Line security and apply the funds to deficit reduction, increasing prosperity and the counterweight of our ideology vs. theirs. Smarter yet might be to apply those funds to our intelligence operations and special operations forces (and those of our allies).

It is hard to end the TSA. People are accustomed to the security theater, and it's welfare for otherwise-unemployable screeners.

Posted by: KEVIN O'BRIEN | November 8, 2010 8:03 AM    Report this comment

In the wake of the case of the young passenger who boarded an Air Canada flight in Hong Kong bound for Vancouver disguised as an elderly man the USA TSA is implementing new procedures as a matter of extreme urgency.

After each elderly passenger has presented his/her boarding pass at the gate he/she must pass between two security officers who will each grasp one of his/her ears. The officers will then simultaneously jerk the respective ear away from the passengers head to establish if the wrinkled mess of ill-fitting skin which passes for his/her face is indeed skin or is a latex mask.

It is anticipated that this treatment will bring about involuntary bladder and bowel evacuation in the majority of the tested passengers. For the convenience of elderly passengers extra heavy duty adult diapers are available from strategically placed vending machines. All elderly passengers are strongly advised to wear a correctly fitted device. Also available is a selection of suitable deodorants to disguise the odours emanating from your seat.

Some relief may be achieved by chanting the catch-cry “Keeping Us Safe” throughout your flight.

We hope you enjoy your flight and have a nice day.

Posted by: Mick Brannigan | November 8, 2010 9:38 AM    Report this comment

Yes every day we seem to be getting closer to Orwell’s 1984 "we hear about the war in far off places" How do you thing that scenario came about? Why the population allowed the Government to take complete control through fear. I actually hate Orwell because he put the idea into someone’s insignificant head and now they are using it. To make the population fearful simply invent some terrorists and create a war in a far off country make sure you have some casualties and hey presto you have the population eating out of your hand. We seem to think we can live forever and there are people telling us that we can if we only eat this rubbish and drink this glowing green substance. The governments of the world have jumped on the band wagon telling the population that they must get out of the car and walk or ride a bicycle. People over the age of sixty know about a war know about living in a time when your life expectancy was only seventy if that and now they authorities seem to think one can live to at least one hundred and twenty years old and hopefully in the year twenty-twenty your life expectancy would be two hundred and fifty year old. That is if the same insignificant person doesn’t think we should all die and releases the nukes to do the job.

Have a good and long life and be prosperous

Posted by: Bruce Savage | November 8, 2010 1:16 PM    Report this comment

To whom does one write to officially complain about this ridiculous situation?

Posted by: Mick Brannigan | November 9, 2010 6:17 AM    Report this comment

"New U.S. security rules are in place...prohibiting toner and ink cartridges weighing more than one pound from passenger flights, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday."

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/11/08/issues-new-security-rules-air-cargo/

...lol

Posted by: Mike Holshouser | November 9, 2010 10:08 AM    Report this comment

Hmmm. The democratic society “YOU CAN SAY WHAT YOU LIKE, BUT YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD TO DO” and there are a lot of people prepared to died to maintain that, even within our own borders. Try speeding down a highway or taking your own life and see what happens.

Terrorism can only survive if the media plays up to it and creates the sense of fear which in today’s society they have done a wonderful job and all in the name of FREE SPEACH

Posted by: Bruce Savage | November 9, 2010 11:02 AM    Report this comment

Male on female --- female on male --- male on male --- female on female, it makes no difference; the new personal full body search following a triggering of the body scanner by a passenger could be reasonably interpreted as a sexual assault. I recently had to witness such a search of my wife when her artificial knees and hips triggered the scanner. The search was conducted in full view of the public. In any setting other than the marital bedroom the perpetrator of such intimate touching and stroking would be arrested and prosecuted as a sex offender. My wife had to endure this humiliating indignity just because she has the misfortune to have surgical metal in her body. When is this discriminatory garbage going to stop?

Posted by: Mick Brannigan | November 9, 2010 11:22 AM    Report this comment

Mick: "Blogger Bob" of the TSA Blog Team at http://blog.tsa.gov/2010/11/white-house-blog-backscatter-back-story.html?showComment=1289329969182#c8438617926094279566 says your wife was never sexually assaulted. Do you feel safer now, knowing that the TSA knows more about what didn't happen than you do, even though you actually watched it happen?

Posted by: Bruce Liddel | November 11, 2010 11:34 AM    Report this comment

Bruce: Bruce: No we don’t feel safer, quite the contrary we feel very vulnerable because we have now drawn attention to ourselves and wouldn't be surprised if we have some difficulty when we check in for a flight in a couple of weeks. I wonder what tune he'd sing if I brought my wife along to fiddle with his wife in full view of the public. I did find out where to make a complaint --- https://contact.tsa.dhs.gov/DynaForm.aspx?FormID=10 --- and my wife has submitted a complaint. We await with interest their response, if any.

Posted by: Mick Brannigan | November 11, 2010 5:29 PM    Report this comment

Right about now, the deficit commission has just released its report, and your Congressmen and Senators of both parties are looking for politically popular budget cuts (the real cuts that are needed are all going to be unpopular with someone).

Are you guys thinking what I'm thinking, about "Blogger Bob" and his alleged "professional workforce"?

Posted by: KEVIN O'BRIEN | November 11, 2010 5:30 PM    Report this comment

My teenage son has more maturity, patience and class when going thru airport checkpoints to not blame the lowest worker on the TSA chain than all of you complainers combined. Sexual assault? Really? Then get a lawyer and prove it in court. That would be an important case for all.

As a war veteran on Veteran's Day, and considering how hard so many people I know - TSA workers included- work for our freedom and way of life, this constant whining about security measures makes me sick to my stomach. Come up with sound, workable solutions and see them thru, or don't fly commercial.

Treat others with respect and kindness and you might see some in return. Embrace a little gratitude for our wonderful country. Try considering what complaining is really showing others about yourself. Happy Veterans Day.

Posted by: David Miller | November 11, 2010 7:50 PM    Report this comment

Dave: You have obviously not had the privilege of a humiliating strip search with finger probes up the anus just because someone didn’t like your face. All the authorities had to say is that they suspected you to be a drug mule. A gut feel nothing more.

During the Rhodesian War flying out of any airport it became standard practice for everyone to be strip searched in a small cubical (the latest developments atre nothing new). This is the power terrorist have over the population and very few people know that they are being manipulated by them. The amount of money wasted on these exercises and all for nothing. A terrorist has been in power in rHodesia (now called Zimbabwe)since 1983 and the world applauded him when he became President and today they have come to realise for what he is. Too late methinks.

How long before the West falls the same way. Remember for very action there is an equal an opposite reaction. For every action we put in place to try to stop the terrorist something will happen that is contrary to that action. Put another way every action has consequences and most politicians fail (or don’t know how)to think through their actions to decide if the consequences are a greater risk or not. There is a way to help stop the rot and that is petition you Governor or Statesman and if there are enough of you they will listen. That is if they want to stay in office.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | November 13, 2010 3:35 AM    Report this comment

To Dave and others who complain about complainers. Please ponder the merits or otherwise of complaining.

Lets go back to the years leading up to 1776 during which the people of thirteen self governing provinces of Great Britain complained bitterly to their King regarding their treatment at the hands of the British Parliament. The British Monarch declined to intervene and the great nation of the United States of America was born. The USA owes its very existence to “complainers”.

So David, if it was your (and a few others) intention to insult me and people of like mind, thank you. You, in fact, have done me/us much honour by labelling me/us as “complainers”; by doing so you have put us into great company with those long ago “complainers”.

Dave please ponder on the justice or otherwise of complaints before jumping to judgement of the complainers. Their complaints just might be justified.

Posted by: Mick Brannigan | November 13, 2010 10:21 AM    Report this comment

Def: Complain - to express negative feelings or resentment. To bitch, bellyache, gripe, grouse, whine - you get the idea. (Roget's)

The US owes it existence by excluding complainers - nothing would have been accomplished if they had a place at the table - and owes it to those who were people of courage, ideas, action, committment and resolve to establish a new country with new laws. But alas, I'm sure some new complainers were born from it who didn't like the way some of the laws affected them, how they were written, yada yada...and so it goes.

If you have a case of sexual assault, Mick, defined as a vigorous armed attack or rape, I hope the perpetrator gets the max penalty. But if not, and without offering a solution to the TSA security procedures you so dislike, and you offered none, then yes, you are a complainer. Whether that's honorable or not I'll leave to you.

In my opinion, in general, we have become a nation of whiners and complainers and will sacrifice nothing anymore for the greater good - social gov't programs the modern demon - however illogical, shortsided or fruitless they may appear to be. Nimby's and the self-righteous are having their 15 minutes. We've become thinned skinned and oversensitive nowadays, and we are weaker as a nation for it. Nobility replaced by indignation is sadly the new behavior. My 2cents.

Posted by: David Miller | November 13, 2010 9:40 PM    Report this comment

The principal meanings of the words Complain, Complaint and Complainer according to Webster’s Dictionary

Complain - verb - : to express grief, pain, or discontent 2: to make a formal accusation or charge — complain•er noun

Complaint – noun – 1: expression of grief, pain, or dissatisfaction 2a: something that is the cause or subject of protest or outcry b: a bodily ailment or disease 3: a formal allegation against a part

The principal meanings of the words Complain, Complaint and Complainer according to the Oxford Dictionary.

Complain - verb - express dissatisfaction or annoyance about a state of affairs or an event

Complaint - noun - a statement that a situation is unsatisfactory or unacceptable

Complainer – noun – one who complains

Posted by: Mick Brannigan | November 14, 2010 10:18 AM    Report this comment

Splitting hairs over definitions is merely a distraction. There are many happy, balanced individuals who walk among us who refuse to complain about anything at any time. They are the truly free. At this point, one realizes there is never anything to complain about. It's called taking complete responsibility for oneself. Talk about honorable.

Posted by: David Miller | November 14, 2010 4:11 PM    Report this comment

Dave: Obvisouly you are not one of them. Why are you complaining?

Just get out there and fly while you can.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | November 14, 2010 6:02 PM    Report this comment

One man's complainer is another's visionary. Or hero.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | November 15, 2010 11:56 AM    Report this comment

An instructor spins an airplane to teach the student spins, Bruce. It's the intent of objectivity and learning that differentiates that from poor flying skills. But you may be right in principle that I may not be a true non-complainer. Thanks for pointing that out.

Complaining is the act of reinforcing what you don’t want and intending even more of it. It’s the act of dwelling on the negative.

People who complain trap themselves in a reality that constantly gives them more to complain about. Life keeps hassling them. They never get any real breaks. Unfortunate circumstances, seemingly beyond their control, keep manifesting. It seems totally unfair, but it isn’t. The complainers are merely witnessing the fulfillment of their own requests.

Guess if one doesn't see that then a complainer could appear to be a visionary or hero. Uh, ok.

Posted by: David Miller | November 15, 2010 1:33 PM    Report this comment

I used to love spinning but am now too old to take the excitement. Flying in adverse weather used to be the best but now I’m a fair weather pilot and if the weather seems just slightly not right don’t fly.

If you buy a pair of shoes that broke after a few hours of wear is it not right to complain but is it right if you can’t fly because of bad weather.

In deduction therefore there are times one should complain and others when it’s not right to complain. Just wish I knew when its time to complain and when not too, though.

Life is great if you don’t weaken (said the Bishop to the actress in the parlour eating bread and honey :-) ) So enjoy

Posted by: Bruce Savage | November 15, 2010 1:51 PM    Report this comment

I have to admit Dave, I don't get your reality at all. If what you say is true, in the context of this discussion, the TSA could continue to add intrusive, unnecessary searches, background checks, real strip searches with cavity checks and because you don't think we should complain, that would be just fine. In other words, it would never stop.

Or the government could gently edge into First Amendment rights or maybe try to institute a state religion. But in your world, pushing back on this "is the act of dwelling on the negative."

What you see here is the citizenry saying: enough. That's not complaining. It's a civic duty.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | November 15, 2010 3:02 PM    Report this comment

Well said, Bruce. I'm too old too...I used to use tabasco sauce liberally years ago but settle for the light sprinkle nowadays. And it actually seems to taste better now...

I guess we split the meaning of complaining down to the smallest cut. The shoe example to me would not be a complaint - maybe there is our difference- I would see a manufacturing flaw that the seller maybe knew about or not, so I simply would request a replacement, trying to avoid blaming the seller (ie. TSA low end workers, etc.)and request a new pair.

It's like when a teacher told me eons ago to stop saying 'I can't'. She had me write 'I can' on a piece of paper and look at it every time I thought I couldn't do something. Broke me of, what I consider to be, like complaining, a negative habit right quick. Cheers

Posted by: David Miller | November 15, 2010 3:10 PM    Report this comment

Paul, so a checks and balance system or watchdog group that finds problems like you stated are complaining? A computer virus program finds a sneaky virus infiltrating and it's complaining? I guess we should have defined our terms in the beginning to be on the same page. Admittedly, this is nuanced. I think some folks consider any scrutiny of something to be a complaint, similar to 'lodging a complaint.' While others like me, I suppose, acknowledge finding the error, and seek to correct it. It's human to have and find mistakes or problems, isn't it?

Is there no personal responsibility to differentiate between a boorish, ham-handed but well-intentioned TSA worker and a deliberate, intended assault? A complainer has no responsibility of judgement or discrimination of intent?

I just don't get how analyzing a program or such and finding errors or problems is complaining. I'm almost cross-eyed on this, but stand by my premise if one has a grievance, don't complain about it, do something about it.

Posted by: David Miller | November 15, 2010 4:49 PM    Report this comment

I'll have another blog on this shortly. People are doing something about it, actually. But sometimes, the first step in any action is draw attention to that which must be acted on or against.

We're doing that here.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | November 15, 2010 6:25 PM    Report this comment

Paul: Thank you!

Dave: Rape is the involuntary penetration of any orifice in another person's body.

Battery is the involuntary touching of the body, either directly, or via weapon or projectile. Legally, all battery is (by definition) assault & battery. Sexual battery would therefore necessarily include involuntary touching of genitals (whether clothed or not), and sexual assault would include any threat to commit sexual battery, regardless of the gross misinformation spread by John Pistole and Janet Napolitano.

I have no problem with you if you want to give up your constitutional rights. However, I consider people who actively defend the constitution even against domestic threats to be far more civic-minded than those like you who want me to also quietly surrender all MY rights.

Posted by: Bruce Liddel | November 15, 2010 7:03 PM    Report this comment

You have no rights, Bruce L. Didn't you listen to George Carlin explain that? You've been duped. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWiBt-pqp0E

Mighty big accusations you make, sir, about my and others' intentions with nothing but anger and false assumptions. Sorry, but you do not represent to me the voice of a constitutional lawyer, but only one of purely self-interest and demonstrating an air of superiority. You're so far off base with me you could barely find the ballpark.

Posted by: David Miller | November 15, 2010 7:56 PM    Report this comment

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