Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gettin' my Wookie on...

So I went down to the City-County Building yesterday to vote. The fact that I felt compelled enough to participate in this November's National Upchuck that I actually paid six bucks to park had me in a pretty irascible frame of mind to start with. What happened when I got to the Palace of Government, however, really made me get my Wookie on.

The security checkpoint at the front door is only marginally less intrusive than that at an airport, in that you can keep your shoes on, but it lacks the warm, courteous efficiency of the TSA. I had divested myself of my heater, my pocketknife, and even the dinky little knife on my keychain, with its fixed blade all of an inch long, When I saw that they were making people remove belts, I began to worry that they might freak at the sight of my empty holster. The truth, however, was even worse.

The security guard scrutinized the tray containing my keychain, pointed a finger in it, and growled “What's this?”

Oh, crap, what's she freaking out about? I wonder whether it's the dinky plastic Glock or the paracord monkey fist, with its 3/4” steel core. Following her quivering finger, I see that she's pointing at...

“That? That's just a WiFi detector. You push a button and it lets you know the strength of any WiFi signals...”

“They won't let you take that in,” she snapped.

“Wha... why?” I stammered back.

She called her supervisor over. I identified it for him, too. “Uh-uh,” he shook his head “They won't let you take that in.”

So I went back to my car, and threw my entire keychain, except my car key, and my belt and empty holster into the trunk.

I went back into the checkpoint, stripped of a dumb RF receiver, and was allowed through with two transmitters (cell phone and Bimmer key fob) not to mention a pressurized incendiary container full of highly-flammable butane.

Pulling my stuff out of the tray, I looked back at the guard and asked, as sweetly as possible, “So, where do I go vote... for whoever's gonna fire you?”

57 comments:

Eric said...

You comment made my day.

Any physical or verbal response?

Rabbit said...

Good statement on your part.

How did you avoid the takedown team?

wv=busnesha

Was that the wand drone's first name?

Rustmeister said...

I had to ground a p-38 I had on my keychain once.

The C-Ration can opener, not the airplane. =)

Anonymous said...

I hold the opinion that these checkpoints have nothing to do with security, safety, or anything else that comes under "protecting and serving the public".

The sole and direct purpose of TSA and incidents such as you encountered are to condition a once free people into instantly obeying any arbitrary, discriminatory and contradictory orders they may receive from anyone in uniform.

cap'n chumbucket

Anonymous said...

It was such a bad year for Democrats that even the dead in Chicago were voting Republican.

Sen. Robert Dole, Republican-Kansas

It was such a bad year for Democrats that even the Wookies were voting.

Rep. Shoot N. Buddy, Wookie-Coolville

When the Wookies have put down the sci-fi books and actually went and voted, you best check your straps, flex your knees and try to find cover--it's going to get loud.

Shootin' Buddy

tomcatshanger said...

wha???

I voted over lunch. After walking past the hucksters, I walked right up to the table, had my drivers license swipped in a card reader, and after signing something that says I am who I say I am, walked up to the voting machine and voted.

Security? A single cop nearish the front doors.

Anonymous said...

"Incumbents delenda est."

Yup...and the thugs that guard 'em.

But, quis est tunc?

AT

Joe in PNG said...

I just gotta know: Public Hired Goons or Privately Hired Goons?

Stuart the Viking said...

Did you ever get an explanation of WHY they wouldn't let you take the WiFi detector in? I can't for the life of me think of any reason what-so-ever.

s

Joanna said...

As far as security/screening procedures go, anything out of the ordinary is classified under "magic, possibly dangerous" and should therefore be cast out into darkness.

Thank God (no pun intended) that I vote at a church.

Flight-ER-Doc said...

Just explain to them that it is a religious talisman....and then ask them "You got a problem with that?"

Buzz said...

Good direction, Doc.
Any strange or unfamiliar item to security personnel should be claimed as including you as a member of a "protected class."

That would send government-paid toters into genuflection and hired guards into confused conniptions.

Hat Trick said...

You just can't get service anymore. When I re-established residence in my home county I went to the courthouse to change my voter registration I forgot that I had my pocket knife. I pulled it out tossed it in the tray and went through the metal detector to be informed that I couldn't take it in with me. They were nice enough to hold it for me and returned it as I left.

To build on Flight-ER-Doc's comment, tell them you're a Cargo Cultist and it's a religious idol. Watch the puzzled looks.

Sport Pilot said...

I’m always amused by the fact I know so many ways to seriously mess someone up with what is perceived as nothing by screener’s but they balk at my pocket knife. Seriously Tam, I think it’s time for you and Rx to consider relocating to TN.

Jeff said...

I took care of my early voting in a trailer in the office depot parking lot. No security, just a bunch of poll workers. In and out in 5 minutes with my 1911 back in the holster and one more vote against harry reid.

George said...

@Tam and Rustmeister - Went through the Superior Court for possible jury duty. They made me remove my Swiss Army Knife (the one with the toothpick, tweezers and tiny scissors) from my keychain, and kept it (they did give me a receipt for retrieval).
The Large P-38 Can Opener on the key chain was allowed to remain, and not even questioned!? I LOVE YOUR RESPONSE, TAM...MADE MY DAY!

Anonymous said...

On tuesday I'll be spending me day in a polling place watching for fraud and I'll have my firearm on me all day. Very few polling places in MN are gun free zones, only the ones in schools.


-Joat

Mr. Casey said...

'They' have more to fear from a sharp mind than any gadget. Nice response.

Tam said...

"Seriously Tam, I think it’s time for you and Rx to consider relocating to TN."

Dude, why would I want to give up my lifetime CCW permit that lets me tote in bars?

Jenny said...

nice.
thank you. :)


... and you know, there's always Alaska. ;)

Anonymous said...

"Seriously Tam, I think it’s time for you and Rx to consider relocating to TN."

Tamara was going into the Marion County courthouse, aka the City-County Building. She could have go to other places that had zero security where one could carry away but since she was familiar with the CCB, she opted for it.

You can carry guns in courthouses in Tennessee now? When did was that statute changed?

Shootin' Buddy

Ed Skinner said...

Should'a taken one of these "garage door openers" with ya: http://www.tvbgone.com/cfe_tvbg_main.php

theirritablearchitect said...

Oh so glad to hear it.

Earl said...

What gets me, is that no one put that order in that, you won't find the name of the fool that says that could be a problem. They just want you to follow their guidance - even if you have done so successfully without them before.

There is a gate where they will check all your dangerous stuff, at least in my Courthouse there is.

TBeck said...

Here in Texas we're allowed to CCW in the capitol building but not in an amusement park.

Anonymous said...

Quote: "Should'a taken one of these "garage door openers" with ya:"

With all that talk of the P-38, I immediately visualised the mother of all can-openers... You know, for when you really need a pot of crusty paint of unknown provenance and indeterminate colour, but just can't find your keys.

MJ

JB Miller said...

No security checkpoint where I vote.

At least there has never been any in the past...

Shermlock Shomes said...

I may well hold off and vote at my regular polling place next Tuesday. Forcing us to the City/County Building to vote early yields such inanity. A few years ago when I went there to get my handgun license I made the mistake of keeping my finger nail clippers with me. Going through the 'check point,' I was told by the little girl* there who exposed the 1 1/2" nail file that was part of the clippers, "You could hurt someone with this." In my head I was saying, "Sure! You hold 'em down for me and I'll stab 'em about a hundred times. That might hurt a bit."

*I'm old enough. She was a damn girl.

GuardDuck said...

Oh yeah, had jury duty several years ago.

Nail clippers were a no-go because I could hurt someone. Meanwhile the county issued 'juror' button which had a two inch needle attached was just fine.

Nathan said...

I'd vote for anyone who would commit to moving the courts somewhere else, so honest citizens could get their civic business taken care of without being treated like common criminals.

I still remember those days -- in the front door, up the elevators to the 21st floor to get building permits, no huhu. And no need to remember to divest myself of my 4" electrician's knife before venturing up there, either.

Sport Pilot said...

They let you tote gat's in bar's in the Hoosier state? Cool. The relocate invite was to draw a better class of folk's back to TN kiddo.

Brad K. said...

Tam,

WiFi is a radio broadcast. That makes the detector a "radio" - as in, no radio (receiver) within 50 feet. Back when they were replacing the electron tubes in radios, someone apparently set one near the local polls - and transmitted "Vote for This Guy" all day long.

The transmitters are radio comm equipment, sure, but not receivers. Even though the WiFi detector didn't emit sound - it still qualifies as a radio signal receiver.

That would be my best guess. If the guard didn't know what it was - it might have been riggable with little effort to fire fully automatic (oops, not an imported toy gun), or rigged to detonate a Tidy Bowl pellet in the tank when The Mayor sits . . Sorry, that might be a bit far fetched. Bit a detector is a receiver, and might conceal capabilities or be easily adapted to nefarious purposes. Ooh! A person with dark intent could use a WiFi detector to locate a designated person to . . um, harass. That would be bad, so detectors and bugs and things that could be misused (by the desperate folk about to go postal) has to be restricted. I guess.

Besides, the city council likely frowns on walk-by folk cadging free computer time from their office system.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

Wow... normally voting isn't that much of a pain in the ass.

rickn8or said...

@Shootin' Buddy--

Nawp. Still can't carry in a courthouse, etc in Tennessee.

Rule of thumb is "If your tax dollars paid for it, you can't carry there."

“So, where do I go vote... for whoever's gonna fire you?” "Oooh. The Snark is strong with this one."

Bubblehead Les. said...

Everyone is going to hate me.....

How I voted in Ohio. 1) Call Board of Elections, ask for Absentee Ballot. 2) Await the mail. 3). Open envelope on day it arrives, sit at dining room table with the wife, go over who and what we want to Vote Against (we follow the Heinlein School of Political Theory), fill out ballot, replace in envelope, return to the mail.

Last week, I called the Board and asked if they had received my ballot (it was in the hand of the Federales, remember). Nice lady answered the phone, checked the records and said it had safely arrived, and will be counted first thing Election Day. First thing? I asked. Yes sir, First thing. When I asked her to clarify, she said the Election Director has a crew standing by in the Board offices, and as soon as the Polls open, she starts opening the Absentee Ballots and starts to count them. When I asked why, she said that the Election Director has a bunch of people ready to run to the Precincts in case of trouble, and the Sheriff Office is on standby to go to the Nursing Homes and the shut-ins who can't get out to vote and to make sure there's no Hanky Panky. But except for the people answering the phones, and the Walk-ins casting Provisional Ballots, the morning is pretty quiet, so she said to start counting the Absentee Ballots so that we can have more time at night. When I mentioned the fact that most counties wait until the end to count Absentee Ballots, the lady said "Well, we take the Vote seriously here, and the Director doesn't want any hint of scandal while she's in charge".

Side benefit: Since your Voter Registration is a matter of Public Record, and once the ballot arrives and your name is checked off as having Voted, all the local Political Parties check the list daily, and program their Robo Callers to "Not Waste Time" calling your house.

I love this new system.

westofthewest said...

Wow! I go into the Assembly of God Church down the street, say hi to the nice old people that volunteer there every election, mark my ballot then run it through the scanner.

I don't pack anything but my 3" Spyderco and it's never an issue.

Ritchie said...

Now, see, Tam, it's attitudes like that what gives voters a bad name.
Jeff, I and my franken11 early voted at the Voting Systems Warehouse, and no one asked, so...plus I got some cool "I Voted" stickers for my rifles. In Colorado one can be heeled in a bar, but heeling far enough to fall off the barstool is not approved.

Anonymous said...

THANKS FOR VOTING, TAM!
Wife & I have also voted.

Ulises in CA

Jeff said...

One last thing Tam. Don't forget to get your beer stocked up before the big day!! Good olde Indiana... I'll buy a few bottles on election day here in NV while I'm thinking about ya.

Tam said...

There seems to be a misunderstanding.

This is not some rule about polling places in IN or whatever; if I had voted on election day, it would have been at a nearby church with no more rigamarole than standing in line.

Or I could have requested an absentee ballot and mailed it in.

Instead, I waited 'til the last minute and decided to use the "early voting" form of absentee ballot, and that required going to the county courthouse.

I try and live a generally courthouse-free existence, and have only been there once before, back when I got my toter's permit. Oddly, the rentacops that time had no problem with my WiFi detector.

staghounds said...

1. Thank you for voting.

2. The screeners will never be removed. Frances Oldham Kelsey, remember?

Bubblehead Les. said...

Oh, you is a complaining about the Courthouse, eh? Yeah, they suck here in Ohio, also. But since the Judges don't like the idea of someone taking them out because their Cousin SumDude got 15 to Life in the Pen for cutting out some other gangbangers heart, and the local Sheriffs and Bailiffs make Mall Ninjas look Competent, they use this TSA Wannabe Security system. Also don't forget, the second you pull into the Courthouse Parking Lot, and you are carrying, you can be arrested for bringing a Gun onto Court House Property, even though you've never entered the Building. See all those CCTV cameras mounted on the Lamp Posts and the Gutters? Even if you remove it and put your piece in the car's trunk, they can get you.

Of course, if you have a problem with the Court, you can always take it to Court....

mariner said...

Jeff,

In and out in 5 minutes with my 1911 back in the holster and one more vote against harry reid.

You think.

Haven't you been watching the news?

You voted for Harry Reid no matter what button you pushed.

Anonymous said...

No detector, no muss, no fuss out here on the steppes. But our early voting place is next door to the DPS (and across from a funeral home), with plenty of people carrying in and out, so no one blinks too hard as long as you are not printing.
LittleRed1

Rob K said...

You should have told them it was a TV Typewriter!

Another thing to note, it isn't state law that prohibits guns in Indiana's county courthouses (as far as I can find). When guns are prohibited in a county courthouse here, it's a local law allowed under Indiana's premption law (IC 35-47-11-2 "Regulation of firearms by units other than townships"). I don't know of any off hand that allow guns, but they do have the option.

Other than Sunday liquor sales (which we'll have here within a couple years), I haven't seen that Tennessee is in any way more free than Indiana.

Motor-T said...

Here in Texas carrying in polling places is verboten. Except for the police and whatnot. So I left my pistol unattended in my truck on a busy city street.
Because unattended guns are safer than guns in the hands of the responsible citizens.

Anonymous said...

If the court is doing the work of the people i/a/w the peoples wish why is the court so afraid of the people? Going into the courthouse to renew my passport I noticed eight police officers hanging out at the security checkpoint that should have been working the streets. A pox on government that f#$^ over the folks paying the bills.
Fred

jbrock said...

Quoth Buzz:

Any strange or unfamiliar item to security personnel should be claimed as including you as a member of a "protected class."

Once, I erred and put my key chain in a pocket of my carry-on instead of my checked bag. My keychain had a device called a Comtech Stinger attached. It looks like a cross between a miniature marital aid and a government-designed corkscrew.

The TSA guy in my line had one of those faces that say "I love to fight and I really, really suck at it." The Stinger hung him up; he'd never seen one. I held my breath. He demanded to know what it was.

To this day, I don't know what possessed me to tell him it was a gerbil extractor.

He let me through, though. Quickly.

wv: partherr. And part frau?

Mr Evilwrench said...

Don't need to go all the way to TN, just come up north to Roundabout-ville. Heck, even renewing my CCW permit was all taken care of outside the security perimeter of the police headquarters. I know the security up at the courthouse was per floor at the entry to a pod of courtrooms, so you could do everything else on the red side.

daddygod said...

I took a friend to the Dallas Co., TX Courthouse one time. They made me remove the Leatherman Micra from my keychain, but let me keep the handcuff key right next to it.

Ian Argent said...

Polling places still bar carriage of radio gear? That's silly - because I bet I could walk in carrying the 3 multiband encrypted frequency-agile digital transcievers that I normally tote around in my pants, another 3 (I think they're separate units still) in the laptop in my backback, and possibly another couple of single-function units if I happened to have thrown a pair of FRS radios into that backpack and not raise a single flag. (OK, they might ask me to leave the backpack in my car).

At least one of the on-person transcievers also picks up commercial FM, for that matter, and the other one might, but I've never bothered to check.

Tam said...

"Polling places still bar carriage of radio gear?"

No, the Marion County/Indianapolis City-County building bans anything that the minimum wage security goons can't grok. ;)

Ian Argent said...

Just checking.

ParatrooperJJ said...

Bubblehead Les - Actually you can carry in state courthouse parking lots and garages in Ohio. Only the buildings are off limits.

John B said...

I still get urges some times to grab some phone wire, a big hunk of grey clay, and put both around my cell phone.

With an average of 4-6 bomb incidents a year in our sunny metropolis, this isn't a healthy urge.

John B said...

And since I forgot the obligatory brown nosing earlier....

Let's all give it up for Tam, The hottest Wookie on the whole Internet!

Good thing Chewbacca's married, or he and I'd be squared off right now.
Wookie Koon-ut kal i fee can be real hairy!!!