Grenades in your luggage? TSA says that’s A-OK!

Someone please explain to me why the TSA says that you can’t have a bottle of shampoo larger than three ounces in your luggage or a pair of fingernail clippers, but a couple of grenades is OK:

Federal airport screeners found two grenades in the luggage of a man set to board a JetBlue flight at New York’s Kennedy airport, according to

TSA specialists then determined that the explosives were inert and allowed the passenger to board the plane without ever informing police, the TV station’s Web site reported.

The TSA maintained that it’s up to their own personnel to determine when to call police, and said the agency was reprimanded for notifying authorities in a similar incident last month, reported.

Seriously, who is the dumbass coming up with these rules? Regardless of if the grenades were inert, which scenario do you think would cause the most concern among passengers: The one where a guy stands up and threatens to trim the toenails of everyone on board the plane if they don’t do what he demands or the one where the guy stands up holding a couple of grenades that may or may not be real?

Is the TSA staffed entirely by people with the mental capacity of Cheez Whiz? Is there not one competent person amongst them that can see the difference in potential threat between hand grenades and bottles of shampoo? The first thing that needs to be done if Obama wins the election is a complete overhaul, or preferably a complete disassembly, of the TSA. At the very least they need to hire someone with more than a third grade education to come up with the rules about what can and can’t be carried onto a plane.

11 thoughts on “Grenades in your luggage? TSA says that’s A-OK!

  1. Les…I just have to take a second to thank you for using Cheez Whiz as a benchmark for mental capacity. I’ve been using that a lot lately, and that’s entirely because of you. smile

  2. and said the agency was reprimanded for notifying authorities in a similar incident last month

    While I agree they should have called the cops, that above statement is probably why they didn’t.  So, in addition to the stupidity in not calling the cops, who is the dumbass that reprimanded them for calling the cops before??  If a gut feeling is enough to pull a little old lady out of line and detain her even if she was innocent of anything, then it would stand that this would be reason to call…even if it turned out to be nothing.

    Idiots.  Cheese Whiz indeed.

  3. Nihi, you’re most welcome. I just tried to think of the stupidest thing I could and Cheez Whiz always comes to mind.

    Sandy, I’m not necessarily saying they should have called the cops. For all I know that fellow may have had a perfectly valid and legal reason to be carrying to inactive hand grenades in his luggage. I just think it’s idiotic that they’re confiscating liquids and toenail clippers because they’re somehow more dangerous than fake (or inactive) hand grenades.

  4. The news doesn’t clarify if it was carry on luggage. I’d sort of understand if the grenades went to the cargo hold, though I don’t think that air port security is qualified to decide if a particular explosive should be allowed on board or not, the general rule being that no explosives are allowed.

    Also, I don’t understand what an ‘inert explosive’ is. Are they trying to say that the grenades were actually just the metal casings, without any explosives at all.

  5. Are they trying to say that the grenades were actually just the metal casings, without any explosives at all.

    Many explosives are pretty harmless without a special kind of trigger mechanism, of a sort of “catalyst” or starter explosive that is more volatile (that’s how I understand it).

    Wikipedia: Detonator

    Why, you can even set fire to dynamite and it won’t explode, but apparently burn a nice little fire useful for heating a pot of miner’s soup down in the mines.

  6. Apparently dynamite is a “secondary”, not a “tertiary” explosive, and thus can be a little more volatile than I made it out above (though I did read the dynamite as cooking fuel story in a book, pre-internet days too).

    Primary and secondary explosives

    Anyway, grenade minus detonator = still rather safe. Unless of course the guy meets someone who carries some spare detonators that some other moron did not take off him (“Oh, so you DO have two detonators, but no explosives? That’s A-OK. Some guy just came through here earlier, with two grenades but no explosives. Funny coincidence, huh? Well, you have a good flight, sir.”

  7. It’s true that substances like TNT and RDX are relatively safe to handle and even fire won’t detonate them. Still, I wouldn’t call them inert, as in the right circumstances they may detonate.

  8. As I understand it “inert” items of this nature have all explosive material removed and replaced with an inert filler of similar weight and composition, so the grenade would still have the right weight and heft.

  9. Last time a flew (couple of years back, and what decided me that I wasn’t going to fly again until the TSA was no more) they took my nail clippers and a small bottle of antibacterial hand stuff. What really gets me is that they turned around and dumped the hand stuff out into a vat with the other “volatile liquids”. Seriously, if you’re suspecting possibly explosive, highly volatile liquids here, is it really wise to just dump a bunch of twitchy unknown chemicals together? Hell, just ammonia and practically anything would be a bad idea in a crowded space.


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