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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Airport security (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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chanor
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New York City
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On route to Duke University for an after-dinner show, the screeners noted some suspicious gimmicks in the carry-on baggage. Fortunately I had the printed program in my pocket. The guards quipped, "OK, if you are a magician, do something." I did and nearly missed the plane.
entity
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Canada
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This doesn't involve airlines, but tells one instance where one of my gimmicks caused security problems...

Some months ago I came up with an idea for an effect for my stage show that involved some very sophisticated electronics.

I had a well-known electronics expert/Magician build the thing (at considerable expense)and ship it to me via overnight UPS.

Well, days went by and no sign of my parcel. I called to put a trace on it, and they couldn't find it. They apologized and told me that they would investigate further.

Next day, I got a call from UPS, from a man with a very officious-sounding voice. He asked if I had ordered a package from so and so, and I said that, yes, I had, and it had gone missing.

The man informed me that someone had found it, and that the Police Bomb Squad had just BLOWN IT UP!

He told me that appatently the package had accidentally become torn open somewhere along the way, and that the contents had become seperated from the envelope and description of the contents. It was turned in, and because it was some weird electronic thingy that even their electronic experts couldn't figure out, they shut down the entire plant and called in the bomb squad.

The bomb squad x-rayed the thing, tested it for explosived, and when they couldn't figure it out either, they decided to blow it up. Only afterwards did they find my trace request, with my description of the missing electronic gimmick.

Personally, I believe that someone tried to steal the contents, saw what they were dealing with, didn't know what it was, became frightened, chucked it under a table, where it was later found and started a panick.

Luckily, the builder had insured it, but he was pretty perturbed that he would have to build it all over again, go through the insurance claim process, wait for his money, etc. We made sure that when it was sent again, it had a clear explaination of what it was on the package and attached directly to the gimmick. We also informed the fellow at UPS that it was being sent again, so that they could make sure it came through safely.

If audiences only knew the ***** we go through to create miracles!

-entity
Gordon
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Chicago
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Last fall I had a Pyro (the card-shaped blister effect) taken from the outside pocket of a checked bag. Don't know if it was confiscated or just stolen, but lost it nonetheless. I imagine it might have stood out as unusual in an xray of the bag.
Lee Darrow
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New York. Laguardia (or whatever they call it these days). About a year after 9/11. I was there performing at MacWorld. Mostly my usual nonsense - cards, coins and some mentalism - that packs in my briefcase.

I got to the security checkpoint and found, to my surprise, that my gym shoes had metal inserts in them (actually, they didn't, the metal eyelets registered on the scanner) and, when they opened my briefcase, the screener took a short setp back and cocked her head at the contents.

At that point, the National Guardsman who was standing duty at the station slammed me up against the wall with his M-16 inserted uncomfortably up my right nostril. It took several minutes to explain what all the "Weird stuff" was in my bag and to prove that I really am a performer. I wound up doing almost 10 minutes, ticking off a LOT of people in line behind me and almost missed my plane. and this was before the shoe bomber guy, too!

Lee "somedays, it doesn't pay to chew through the straps" Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Clinton Wayne
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What other kind of things or gimmicks might get taken away at the airport ? What is the biggest gimmick to carry with mentalitism?
ClouDsss
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How about the gun used in bullet catch?
Think outside the box, cos people are all thinking inside now!! - ClouDsss
spadesy
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Many years ago I had my suitcase inspected by the airport radar machine and it triggered a suspicious item. Stunned, I suddenly reminded myself that it was a pair of scissors. Though the officer remarked that they were okay, as they were blunt. The item in question was a pair of children's handcuffs that were taken away from me. They were made of plastic, but the excuse was that they looked real.
kaytracy
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Some of the older machines in use at airports are not able to discriminate some of the items they scan, newer models would have been able to tell the heavy glass items were NOT organic in nature (read explosive things), adn while they might have asked about it, one might not have had to open it- this isprovided that the scanners are properly trained on their machines. Things with wires will make them very nervous, especially if batteries are in the item, and there is a lot of organic material in a large blob or hard to drscern shape. There are also "sniffing" type devices that can tell if your skin/hands have been in contact with Nitrogen compounds- Your flash paper, if handled, would likely set these off.
I would suggest that if you are in any doubt, try to arrive a bit early, and consider calling the airport security office to see if they can make arrangements with you so that you do not "hold up a line" And do take along some of your publicity items for them to see-I know many folks keep these parts in the file at home, but consider maintaining copies of the mfg. label/or instruction sheet for them to see- you can black sharpie out the actual secret, but at least they can see it is a commercially made item, and who makes it.
Otherwise, consider the train!;}
Kay and Tory
www.Bizarremagick.com
Winks
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All that may be true, but this is still the United States, the Constitution is still in effect and we still have rights. Not privileges, but RIGHTS. I have, on several occasions, asked for the Supervisor who has, with little effort, cleared my carry-ons with my amateur magic items as well as other stuff. I well recall an instance at Ft Lauderdale airport when the Security Jerk started hassling me over 20 rolls of film that I did not want sent through the X-Ray scanner. He didn't like it that he had to hand check those - even though the law specifically states that a passenger may indeed request a hand check of delicate items such as film. I finally asked for the Supervisor who publicly corrected Little Lord Faunteroy.

My point is this - we, as citizens of the United States, have not waived our rights. If there is a Security Person who is violating those rights (and, any National Guardsman that shoved me up against a wall and stuck an M-16 under my nose would be quickly looking at a lawsuit), ask for the Supervisor. You are not required to put on a show for Security staff, nor are they allowed to handle your items only out of curiosity, nor are they allowed to confiscate items without informing you.
JarrodHenry
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Actually, Winks, you are correct about some things. The Film thing is correct. However, that said, when the threat level is orange or red, the military and TSA gain more control over the airports and your rights are somewhat restricted. It appears that the poster here was going through an airport in an orange or red time.

Point is, we HAVE waived our rights. The Patriot act and the TSA act as well as the ATSA act have made that very clear.
Drewmcadam
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If you want a really good one, check THIS out! It appeared in numerous newspapers and I was interviewed on radio, both here and in Ireland as a result.

http://s108400037.websitehome.co.uk/page14.html
and
http://s108400037.websitehome.co.uk/page15.html

Drew
enriqueenriquez
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Very Nice Drew!
Winks
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Quote:
On 2005-02-25 16:01, JarrodHenry wrote:
Actually, Winks, you are correct about some things. The Film thing is correct. However, that said, when the threat level is orange or red, the military and TSA gain more control over the airports and your rights are somewhat restricted. It appears that the poster here was going through an airport in an orange or red time.

Point is, we HAVE waived our rights. The Patriot act and the TSA act as well as the ATSA act have made that very clear.



Whoever would trade essential liberty for temporary security deserves neither liberty nor security.
--Benjamin Franklin
JarrodHenry
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I concur completely. Course, I had a key chain fob taken from me (It had the Nashville Predators Logo) because it might be filed down to be sharp.

Oddly, the keys were not confiscated, and were already sharp.
Lee Darrow
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Winks, I agree with both you and Ben franklin, but we have to deal with the reality of the Patriot Act, which gives the TSA rather draconic powers over our privacy. Having had the unpleasant end of a loaded M-16 (with the safety set to 3-shot burst) I can attest to the fact that, regardless of one's insistence on one's rights, the guy with the automatic weapon pointed at you is the guy in charge - at least until you can get to your lawyer.

It is unpleasant and, well, I have stronger opinions on it, but this isn't a political forum, so I will drop that and just say that checking with the TSA before one goes to the airport will make one's time there a LOT less stressful.

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Richard Osterlind
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Quote:
On 2005-02-25 15:49, Winks wrote:
All that may be true, but this is still the United States, the Constitution is still in effect and we still have rights. Not privileges, but RIGHTS. I have, on several occasions, asked for the Supervisor who has, with little effort, cleared my carry-ons with my amateur magic items as well as other stuff. I well recall an instance at Ft Lauderdale airport when the Security Jerk started hassling me over 20 rolls of film that I did not want sent through the X-Ray scanner. He didn't like it that he had to hand check those - even though the law specifically states that a passenger may indeed request a hand check of delicate items such as film. I finally asked for the Supervisor who publicly corrected Little Lord Faunteroy.

My point is this - we, as citizens of the United States, have not waived our rights. If there is a Security Person who is violating those rights (and, any National Guardsman that shoved me up against a wall and stuck an M-16 under my nose would be quickly looking at a lawsuit), ask for the Supervisor. You are not required to put on a show for Security staff, nor are they allowed to handle your items only out of curiosity, nor are they allowed to confiscate items without informing you.


I was very pleased to read your post. Yes, not only do we have rights, but we, the travelers, are also the main reason the airline industry exists.

Just like in any other profession, you will have a few who abuse their jobs. Give some people a little authority and it goes right to their heads. I really believe a lot of what we see at airport security checkpoints is just for show. They will take away a nailclipper with a small one inch file, but allow you to pass through with solid metal pens, long heavy keys, etc. I won't name which airport, but recently I was in one where, right after I went through the rigid security, I walked into a restaurant to order breakfast and was served with metal silverware. And, yes, that included a very solid breadknife!

Each airport has its own rules. I was in Hartford and tried to mail a letter inside security. They told me no mailboxes are allowed! (Something about bombs underneath or in them!) So I waited until I got to Newark and there were mailboxes everywhere!

Also, check out security late at night in smaller airports. Also check out the exit to the baggage claim area to see how well guarded that is and how easy it would be to walk back in that way.

I am all for airport security and the safety of passengers, but, like so much of what else goes on in airports, I wish they would not just do things for show.

Richard
Tom DV
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I was at an airport here in the UK, went through the metal detector and had to be searched, probably because of my metal belt. On the other side of the securtiy checks, in a shop, about to board the plane, I noticed swiss army knives on sale! Plain dumb!
Lee Darrow
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Maestro Osterlind, thanks for the kind words. Coming from you, I am humbled by your kindness. Honest.

And, in support, I never said that the crack troops manning the security perimeter were competently trained. The TSA itself has recently come under fire for its lack of consistent enforcement and uniformity of checking baggage and people.

Life goes on and we who travel to entertain will still get to tell some interesting stories because of those travels, that I can predict with 100% certainty. Somebody call Randi! I want my money! Smile

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
enriqueenriquez
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Lee,

Next time a soldier points you with a gun (and seriously I hope that never, happen to you again), just ask him to initialize the bullet and point to your teeth Smile
Richard Osterlind
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Enrique,

Man, that was funny! Smile Thank you for the laugh!

Lee,

Just for the record, in my last book "The Business of Magic" I did a sort of comedy thing about air travel in the back. Although meant as a joke, it was also meant to contain truisms.

One point that I should make, I always wear a suit when I travel. (At least within the US) I also carry most of my equipment in a catalog case (like pilots use) with my on board. Besides being always ready to go (in case the luggage gets lost) looking a bit official and businesslike, also gets you a little more respect from everyone and you are less likely to have problems.

Richard
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