"My time as a hostage at Miami International Airport"

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bambbbam2

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From: International Herald Tribune
Tyler Brûlé: My time as a hostage at Miami International Airport - International Herald Tribune

"Earlier this week I was involved in a hostage drama. Don't worry, you didn't miss any front-page news, because the particular and rather peculiar form of captivity I was subjected to has become fully institutionalized to the point that my captors sported uniforms and name tags and get their supervisors to sign overtime chits for their troubles.

The incident started at what has to rank as the worst port in the United States — Miami International Airport. En route from the Dominican Republic to Singapore via Zurich I joined one of the surprisingly short visitor lines in the immigration hall and watched the Formica-encased officer go about his duties. A kindly gentleman from American Airlines inquired about my documents, and I couldn't resist asking him why I had to go through the trouble of entering the United States when I was simply connecting..." (more at link)
 

d15.in.oz

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Such an unenviable experience! Thanks for sharing it.
 
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JohnK

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What can you say other than you have to feel sorry for people that are put through this type of distress.

I fear that it is too late already!
 

SeatBackForward

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JohnK said:
What can you say other than you have to feel sorry for people that are put through this type of distress.

I fear that it is too late already!

But the really sad part is - so much effort gets spent into this sort of "profiling", do you really think anyone that wants to be an actual threat will send someone who fits the so-called "profile" that they're stopping?
 

JohnK

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No! This person must have felt very safe missing his connection. It is all for our protection. Really and I just thought it is all about control.
 

NM

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JohnK said:
No! This person must have felt very safe missing his connection. It is all for our protection. Really and I just thought it is all about control.
I believe its all about perception. The US government wants to be perceived to be doing something proactive. Reality and perception are often miles apart.
 

Kiwi Flyer

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NM said:
I believe its all about perception. The US government wants to be perceived to be doing something proactive. Reality and perception are often miles apart.

Of course it is. By spending oodles of many and showing lots of activity - people yelling, putting pax and airport visitors through hoops, etc, they say "look we're doing something". And for most people, who don't travel a lot (remember the majority of population either never fly or at most a couple of flights a year), it looks convincing.
 

Baysider

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The security paranoia at US airports is quite unbelievable. Compassion has gone right out the window. In December we took a domestic flight from San Francisco to Boston via Chicago. At check-in the boarding passes for myself, my wife and 13 year old daughter came out with "SSS" printed on them. At the checkpoint we discovered that this meant secondary security screening, or something to that effect.

After placing our carry-ons on the X-ray belt we were hauled aside and directed through a glass door. Our 11 year old son did not have "SSS" on his boarding pass, but my wife pointed out that he was just 11 and he would have to go with the rest of us. One at a time we proceeded into a small glass booth in which we were blasted with multiple jets of air that was automatically analysed for traces of certain substances.

When our 11 year old went in and was air blasted the alarms rang. He was absolutely terrified. My wife tried to go back and speak with him (by now I was beyond another door and could do nothing), and the staff sternly told her "don't speak with him ma'am, don't go near him ma'am, move away please". My wife pleaded "he's just a little boy, he's terrified" and they just repeated "don't speak with him ma'am, move away please". They took him aside and checked all of his clothing with test strips, and searched all of his carry-ons extensively, even opening up the game cases of all his Nintendo DS games.

It was a good 15 minutes before the frightened kid was allowed to re-join us. He was severely traumatised.
 
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