Security Theatre

I stole the title, but it’s the only thing that applies to this story:

Traveler clears checkpoint at Reagan Airport with handgun

A man with a gun apparently passed through a security checkpoint at Reagan National Airport over the weekend without being detected, authorities said last night.

Before the passenger boarded his flight about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, he realized that he had the gun and returned voluntarily to the checkpoint, which serves gates 23 to 34, said Rob Yingling, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates the airport.

Note that last part.  He realized that the TSA had screwed up, and he voluntarily returned to the checkpoint and surrendered his firearm, knowing full well that he could risk felony prosecution for having a gun in the airport.  He did the lawful, right thing to do in that situation.

He was issued a summons to appear before a Virginia court on the misdemeanor charge of  possessing or transporting a firearm into an airline terminal; which since he could have been charged with a felony isn’t such a bad thing.  I do wish he hadn’t been charged with anything, but “guns and airports” is really a hot button issue, so the TSA/whomever has to send a message to people with this.

Unfortunately, the message is “do the right thing, still get charged with a crime”.  I’m not defending bringing a gun into the airport, you should be more situationally aware than that; but charging people with crimes for doing the right thing when they make a mistake isn’t going to encourage good behavior.


  1. I don’t think that was the “right thing” to do. It’s the stupid thing. He could have easily exited the terminal without going through security again, gone to his car (or even back home if need be), ditched the gun and then caught another flight. Did he want to show up TSA? What possible purpose does it serve to go back to security?

  2. It’s interesting that the TSA fired the screener at Reagan National Airport who let the passenger with the gun through security, yet they let police officers beat up passengers and keep their jobs.

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