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Author Topic: Congressman caught with Gun at airport
Murdok
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It appears that a US congressman, Rep. John Hostettler, R-Indiana, was caught trying to get on board a flight to Washington, D.C. with a fully loaded 9MM Glock handgun in his bag. He was only detained but not arrested, saying he "forgot" it was there. Handguns are not allowed in Washington by the way.

My question is this, was he given preferential treatment when he was allowed to continue to Washington on another flight, possibly being allowed to keep the gun? Or if any of us was caught with a gun in our bag, would we too be allowed to simply say we forgot and then go on our merry ways after our friends, associates or wives pick up the errant firearm or weapon?

Is there any data on this - numbers of people arrested trying to get weapons on board planes either intentionally or through neglegence?

Here is the link to the story:

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/20/congressman.gun/index.html

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Ray Bingham
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Evidently now all terrorists need to do is become congressmen and then they can carry guns onto our planes and crash them into buildings!

(I'll refrain from calling a certain political party a terrorist cell/network... okay... well... not completely... [Wink] )

--Ray

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FIJC
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Ray,

Why have you been using so many smileys lately?

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Ray Bingham
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[Big Grin] [Wink] [Razz] [Confused] [Smile] [Frown]

I am an Emoticonman!! muwahahaha!

--Ray

"More smilies, less war!"

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Murdok
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Just when I try my best to be nice - I get smileys out the gazoo!
[Smile] [Frown] [Embarrassed] [Razz] [Cool] [Roll Eyes] [Eek!] [Confused]

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FIJC
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I have been guilty of doing the whole emotican thing too, but as of late, I have had the intense urge to enlarge a few emoticans and use them for target practice.
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Ray Bingham
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FIJC: Smiley abuse is a sad horrible, victimless crime, that well... I mean victimless in that you're the victim... and um... well... it's very sad. I am sorry to hear you were traumatized by smilies as a child. I remember once my Great Aunt Buella used to warn of the vicious smiley pestilence of the 1930s when they came like a great swarm of locusts and ate up all the crops. It was a horrible day, the locals, they done got out their shotguns and started shootin'. I remember Great Granpappy Jedidiah said he done shot himself a four-point smiley that day. But with all the blood, the poor man was never quite the same.

Those were the days. Nowadays, we just sit back and watch the lightning bugs, and hear the sound of the chirping smilies at night, calling out for that mate, and I think back of the days when I first realized that there was something to a perty girl. Yup. Makes me blush, to think I was so naieve.

Ah... those were the days...

--Ray

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FIJC
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Ah, but one of the first lessons any pretty or beautiful girl makes is to administer those smiles very sparingly. For something that communicates such simple and singular emotions, some people read thousands more complicated thoughts into one single smile.
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Tezcatlipoca
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A smile is just an evolved snarl. Sure, they might be laughing along with you, but it is also cautionary because they see a possible threat from you.
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WarrsawPact
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Every time you use a smiley, think of the costs. Won't SOMEBODY think of the Smilies?
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ben5
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I like Smilies [Razz] [Wink] [Big Grin] [Embarrassed] [Frown] [Smile] [Cool] [Roll Eyes]
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Murdok
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Back to topic - does this bother anyone in here? Conrgessmen gettng a slap on the wrist for trying to smuggle a handgun onto an airline?

If he simply forgot - would you allow your kids to visit his house - maybe he forgets to take the loaded guns out from under the couch cushions?

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Murdok
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Actually what bothers me more is that Warrsawpact browses the deviantart website - one of my personal favorites!

[Eek!]

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FIJC
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quote:
"Conrgessmen gettng a slap on the wrist for trying to smuggle a handgun onto an airline?"
Murdok, here is a problem. You are assuming intent on the part of the congressman that you cannot know for sure exists. How do you know that he explicitly tried to smuggle a handgun onto an airplane? The explanation that he forgot the handgun was in his luggage is a more believable reason than that he explicitly tried to smuggle a handgun onto a commercial airline.

Part of being in law enforcement is learning how to exercise discretion.

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Murdok
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FIJC - okay. You could be right. But what kind of idiot leaves a loaded hand gun in his bag? I'm also assuming this handgun was in his luggage - I don't think anyone is truly stupid enough to not know they are carrying one in thier laptop bag - don't you think?

Personally I own two guns, a 9 mm Glock and a 45. I carry the 45 when I go out into the back country in my jeep, but never forget to take it out of the car once I get home. I guess I am just incredulous that anyone can be so neglegent as to forget that they are going into an airport, with a loaded gun in the bag...I just don't think most people are that dumb. Maybe I'm being too trusting of peoples intelligence...maybe because he's a republican, or a conservative or just plain stupid he forgot - I don't know. At any rate - the fact he was just slapped on the wrist is upsetting.

I can see it now - here comes Abdul fresh off the plane from Saudi Arabia with his manufactured identity, and he has a gun in his bag...oh, sorry sir, you can't take this with you on the plane. Can you call someone to pick it up? Do you have any other weapons with you that we should know about? Hmmm? No - Okay, you can leave now.

Please - forgot? I don't think so.

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FIJC
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quote:
"I can see it now - here comes Abdul fresh off the plane from Saudi Arabia with his manufactured identity, and he has a gun in his bag...oh, sorry sir, you can't take this with you on the plane. Can you call someone to pick it up? Do you have any other weapons with you that we should know about? Hmmm? No - Okay, you can leave now."
Like I said, law enforcement officers learn how to exercise discretion. For some people, a slap on the hand is a more time-efficient, cost-efficient, and effective procedure than going through the motions of arrest, detainment, charges, arraignment, pre-trial negotiations, trial, etc. In this specific case, such an arrest would be a waste of time, manpower, and money. Obviously, they are going to deal with a Congressman and a suspect foreign national differently, especially with regards to racial profiling. It's just making use of good old common sense.

[ April 20, 2004, 11:42 PM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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Murdok
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Check this out:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/congress/gun_ban_3-22.html

He apparently holds a totally wide open view of an unrestricted second ammendment. He is a gun advocate of the first order. So unless this man is totally stupid, totally neglegent, totally a moron - he intended to bring a hand gun into Washington, D.C.

I mean - unless you think he's a total moron?

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FIJC
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quote:
"He apparently holds a totally wide open view of an unrestricted second ammendment. He is a gun advocate of the first order. So unless this man is totally stupid, totally neglegent, totally a moron - he intended to bring a hand gun into Washington, D.C."
Have you ever been around DC, especially at night? It isn't safe and I honestly would not either condone nor condemn an otherwise law-abiding citizen in disobeying this city law and carrying a concealed weapon.
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Murdok
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FiJC - yes, I have been to DC many times and caught the Metro, walked the streets and wandered around there at night. And the Hill is particualrily dangerous I hear. But in the 30 or so times I've been there, never once have I run into problems. But since I don't live there, I can't really judge how safe it is. Still - are you saying it was okay for the congressman to try to smuggle a gun onto an airline? The end justifies the means?
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Murdok
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Anyway - if he really wanted to get a gun to Washington, all he had to do was ship the gun to a dealer in Maryland or West Virginia and go and pick it up...I think that's how you ship a firearm. That's how I sold and shipped my old 45 to my brother, whose a cop.

Trying to sneak it on a plane was just stupid.

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LetterRip
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Murdok,

your insults to conservatives are unnecessary. Also, I don't think your characterization as 'attempting to smuggle' is fair.

I'm not sure what the proper response should have been. He apparently has recieved a misdemeanor citation that has a maximum jail sentence of 1 year and 500$.

LetterRip

[ April 21, 2004, 12:19 AM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Murdok
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Rip -

Sorry about that. Funny though, I bet if it was a democrat and he was caught trying to sneak a gun through the airlines, there would have been hell to pay. Common sense dictates that he must have known it was in his bag. Because if not, the man is dumb as a brick. Sorry - but that's the only excuse that can be made for why it was there in the first place.

And he should have had to pay some kind of fine, otherwise what kind of signal does this send to terrorists - they should just try sneaking weapons thru the airlines because if you get caught, you are delayed just a little?

Sorry - I don't understand how anyone can get away with such an action in today's climate of old ladies having body cavity searchs for nail clippers and this guys gets a slap on the wrist for trying to sneak a loaded gun through in his bag.

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Tezcatlipoca
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Interesting point Tad [Smile] . It does seem like an irregularity that some people have such a hard time getting past security at airports and yet someone in a position of power like a congressman merely gets his flight delayed for trying to bring a gun onto an airplane.

I agree that this should not be brushed aside, it doesn't matter if he was attempting to or not, it was still a gun. We should treat all equally when it comes to things like security.

Still, I don't think we can say that not much dust is being kicked up just because he happens to be a Republican. Im sure that a Democrat congressman would have gotten the same treatment as the Republican.

The focus of this should be about the system that is operating, not about the specific people like Republican or Democratic congressmen. If you want to solve this problem, you should not focus on those stupid Republicans, but should use this to show that the current security system does have flaws.

What other ways are the airlines going wrong at security? How can we solve this problem constructively instead of singling out one person?

[ April 21, 2004, 02:10 AM: Message edited by: Tezcatlipoca ]

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FIJC
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quote:
"Trying to sneak it on a plane was just stupid."
Again, you are assuming that he did so purposefully.

quote:
"FiJC - yes, I have been to DC many times and caught the Metro, walked the streets and wandered around there at night. And the Hill is particualrily dangerous I hear."
If you're riding the Metro, any stop that ends with the word "Heights" isn't a safe area. I generally avoided the green and yellow lines when I could. And pretty much any stop at the end of the Metro line is questionable too. When I was a silly wide-eyed intern, I often had the itch to explore every inch of the city--not a good idea. When driving, generally stay away from Prince George's County in Maryland, unfortunately, you have to go through it to get to the National Archives annex. The Virginia side is fine though; I lived in Arlington County, a block or two from the cemetery, and absolutely loved it.

[ April 21, 2004, 02:37 AM: Message edited by: FIJC ]

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Enumclaw
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Well, my thought is that the guy is pretty stupid either way. Either he's stupid for forgetting that the gun was in there (and frankly, I think it's pretty tough to pack a bag like that with a gun and "forget" it's there) or he's stupid for trying to sneak it through.

That said, the only thing we have to go on reference his mental state is pretty much whatever he says, so if he sticks to the "I forgot" story he's probably going to be clean.

quote:
What other ways are the airlines going wrong at security? How can we solve this problem constructively instead of singling out one person?
Oh, man. A favorite rant of mine. [Smile]

The entire 9/11 fiasco wasn't because of poor airline security. It was because of a lack of imagination on the part of the decision-makers, and pressures from Big Business (in this case, the airlines) to keep regulation by government to a minimum.

How so?

Well, if the authorities had taken seriously the threat of a hijacked aircraft being used as a flying bomb (and they damn well should have, obviously) then they would have required the cockpits to be SECURE.

Don't let the bad guys into the cockpit, they can't drive the plane. The worst they can do is blow it up or otherwise kill those on board.

Yet the standard operating procedure in the case of a hijack used to be "give them whatever they want, you'll have to land sooner or later, and then we'll just wait them out."

Ooops. Guess that doesn't work when what they want is to use the plane and its fuel to kill tens of thousands of people.

What pressure from Big Business was I referring to? The airlines. They HATED the notion of doing things to make the cockpits more secure.

It'd cost them money multiple ways. First, the upgraded doors and bulkheads and security systems for the pilots to get in/out of the cockpit (video cameras, etc) are going to cost money.

Then taking the plane out of service to perform the work costs money, because it's not out there MAKING money flying people.

Finally, the additional weight of the heavy-duty doors and such costs money in additional fuel costs and so forth. (Don't believe me? Why do you think American Airlines doesn't paint their planes? It saves them money.)

So whenever the FAA floated the notion of increasing the security on the aircraft, the airlines reacted violently (just like they do to ANY suggestion that they spend some extra money).

The situation we have now for airport/aircraft security is a pathetic joke. First of all, there's little or no security for charter aircraft; this means that someday some terrorists could just hijack a nice big Gulfstream V and drive it into, say, a stadium full of people.

Secondly, at the actual airports, the security is primarily intended to catch the honest people. The vast majority of airports have long, unguarded stretches of fenceline where any old bad guys could sneak through and into the "secure" areas. (Some fishermen, in trouble, landed their boat on LaGuardia Airport and wandered around in "secure" areas for some time.)

Then there's the massive numbers of people who work in airports. How closely do you think janitorial services check on the people they hire, at minimum wage, to shuffle around the airport and empty garbage cans?

Think security people look into the boxes and boxes of books, newspapers, and magazines that come into the terminal newsstands? How about the much more massive amounts of shipments of food for the food courts? Or into the garbage cans of a janitor?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the airline security isn't really all that secure.

As if that isn't enough, think of this- if the bad guys wanted to just kill a few hundred people, there's easier ways than what I've laid out. What would happen if they parked massive truck bombs right next to the middle of the suspension cables on the Golden Gate Bridge during rush hour? Used a truck bomb like in Oklahoma City?

How about if they sent a squad to an elementary school during an assembly, blocked all the doors, and started plugging little kids?

There's about a bajillion ways that the bad guys could pull off a massacre. Having people take their shoes off to board an airplane isn't helping stop that.

Paul

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msquared
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Murdok and I don' agree on a whole lot, but I have to go with him on this one.

This guy gives gun owners a bad name. How can you "forget" where your gun is? I can see him trying to use that as excuse when the young kid down the street blows his head off because this guy "forgot" and left his gun lying around the house.

I am also upset that he did not get pulled aside and sttip searched and held for 20 hours with no food, just like any one else who was caught with a nail clipper would have been. Maybe he would learn not to "forget" that his loaded gun was in his bag.

I don't think the fact that he was a Republican made any difference. It was the fact he was a Congressman that made the difference.

As Murdok said, there are legal and correct ways to transport guns, and your carry on isn't one of them.

msquared

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Koner
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There was no sneaking to it. The gun was in his briefcase according to the article. He didn't try to avoid having his briefcase x-rayed in an attempt to hide the gun. And I think that its quite wrong to think that security would miss a handgun in a briefcase when they get my fingernail clipper with the little pointy file EVERY time. Also the article never says that the handgun was loaded which it has been suggested in this thread that it was. I don't know though maybe some people on here have the "inside" scoop and know little tidbits like that the the rest of us normal people who rely on the reporting for don't know.

Once I was traveling from Michigan to New Jersey when I was stationed there as a recruiter for the US Navy and was going to travel through Canada. Now as a born and raised Michigan resident I had been to Canada a countless occasions and knew what questions I would be asked at the border. I knew that I would be asked if I was carrying any beer, cigarettes or handguns. But on this particular day I was a bit absent minded and forgot about the two handguns packed safely in the bed of my truck under all my clothes and other possesions. They were unloaded and had trigger locks in place. When asked by the border guard on the Canada side of the Blue Water bridge at Port Huron if I had any of the "contriband" articles I freely admitted that I had two handguns that I had forgotten about. The response was to turn me around and send me back across the bridge. The only harm done was that I had to drive the long way to get to NJ this time.

After my personal experience I can very easily believe the story that this congressman simply forgot that the handgun was in his briefcase.

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TCB
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I wouldn't be at all surprised if the congressman did it on purpose for the publicity. Just in this article it says

quote:
He does not have a house or apartment in the district, but sleeps in his office.

Hostettler is an avid sportsman and "hunts lots of things and does target practice," Jahr said. "He's been doing a lot to events in the district and may have packed the wrong bag."

Those are the kinds of things people in conservative districts like to hear. I bet he ends up benefitting from this incident.
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Murdok
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quote:
Those are the kinds of things people in conservative districts like to hear. I bet he ends up benefitting from this incident.

Just like Bob Barr did when he accidentlay shot a hole in a constituents house while fondling a gun.

I'm sorry, leaving a gun in a briefcase, laptop bag or baggage is just stupid. I mean look at his picture? Put a piece of straw in his mouth and a baseball cap on him and overalls and we have Junior from HeeHaw!

The man is stupid and because he only got a little slap on the wrist, the government is not doing it's job. And if I was one of his constituents, it wouldn't matter if he was a democrat or republican, he would lose my vote because I don't want stupid people in Washington representing me.

Tad, ah...er, Morton um, er - Chuck

Where's my handgun?

PS - Ornerymod - we need to be able to post pictures in here...can I request this feature?

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OrneryMod
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You can request it. That does not mean it will happen.

The Webmaster makes all of those settings, and since they do not have it turned on over at Hatrack I doubt they would turn it on here.

I will ask however.

OrneryMod

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Murdok
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Well - adding avatars and being able to post pictures would liven it up in here a bit, don't you think? At least for those of us weak in the verbage department.
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Ray Bingham
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ftr, this guy received a misdemeanor citation, right?

(I like deviantart too... bunch of artist friends on other boards... )

--Ray

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OrneryMod
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Murdok

With you being a Graphic Artist, it seems as if you might be a bit biased. Having zero art ability myself, I would prefer not to have images and avatars. What do avatars really tell people about you?

If you want to link to a pic of the guy you can do that.

OrneryMod

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Ray Bingham
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My avatar is a pic of Team Rocket, from Poke'mon... does that tell you anything? [Wink]

--Ray

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Murdok
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My avatar is a bratty little monster - nothing at all like me personally.
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FIJC
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quote:
"I'm sorry, leaving a gun in a briefcase, laptop bag or baggage is just stupid. I mean look at his picture? Put a piece of straw in his mouth and a baseball cap on him and overalls and we have Junior from HeeHaw!"
In case you haven't noticed during your 30 or more visits to Washington--good-looking people are a rare commodity there. If you're good-looking and living in Washington people gawk at you, because you're such a rare commodity, LOL. You don't exactly head to Capitol Hill in order to meet hot people, it's not Beverly Hills. Washington is basically full of all those AP government nerds from highschool and Poli Sci overachiever brainiacs from college. You know a city is full of nerds when the craziest nightlife scene is found in Georgetown, where people sit around bars and talk politics and political theory in their spare time. Even on the Metro, everyone is intently reading newspapers and academic books--that's not a normal city.
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LetterRip
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Enumclaw,

From the reports I've read, he apparently had two bags in his vehicle (or at home?) and grabbed the wrong one. I suppose it is a semiplausible explanation.

I agree that airline security is mostly a joke, we have the high visibility annoyance because it looks like we are 'doing something', not in the expectation that it will be particularly effective. (It does forestall the really stupid and unimaginative ones, but they've never really been much of a threat anyway...)

Msquared,

quote:
I am also upset that he did not get pulled aside and sttip searched and held for 20 hours with no food, just like any one else who was caught with a nail clipper would have been. Maybe he would learn not to "forget" that his loaded gun was in his bag.
Well, my father had a nautical compass in his briefcase, and asside from making him mail it and the usual scan and luggage search they didn't do much.

They did call the FBI and have the Congressman held and interviewed. So it looks like procedures were followed.

OrneryMod,

I vote against avatars and pictures. We had a thread on whether we ought to have them. 20 - 30 threads opened on a regular basis I'd like to open fairly quickly even on dialup.

LetterRip

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Ron Lambert
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You know, I distinctly recall hearing the stern, official announcement a few weeks ago that security at airports was no longer going to accept "I forgot" as an excuse for trying to take a handgun onto a plane, and that even police officers and government officials were not going to be cut any slack. This after a county sherriff here in the Detroit area got caught with a gun in his carryon bag at Metro Airport, and said he "just forgot it was in that bag."

Of course, is a security guard who is being paid maybe $9.00 an hour really going to challenge a U.S. Congressman?

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Murdok
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FIJC -

quote:
You know a city is full of nerds when the craziest nightlife scene is found in Georgetown, where people sit around bars and talk politics and political theory in their spare time. Even on the Metro, everyone is intently reading newspapers and academic books--that's not a normal city.
Yeah - and my son Danny, who's in 10th grade will be interning here in Vegas in City Hall this summer working for Mayor Oscar Goodman, will likely be one of those AP nerds from high school. He's into politics big time, is in all AP classes and makes me look like a light weight...and the fact that he is much smarter than his old man makes me think he'll probably enter politics at some point in the future - and join the ranks of nerds in D.C..

So watch what you say here or I'll let him join Ornery. heheh

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Murdok
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Ron - Probably not. Kinda sad this double standard.
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