For the past month, Kathryn Harrington has stared down the possibility of a criminal trial, a $10,000 fine and the stigma of being deemed a security risk at Tampa International Airport.It was one of those leather bookmarks that is weighted on each end to help hold open a paperback book while you read it. Ms. Harrington had apparently carried it through several airports' security screenings and had never had a problem with it. But in Tampa, FL she was arrested and taken away in hand-cuffs.
The reason? She had a bookmark with her as she passed through airport security screening.
That these small minded bureaucrats arrested this woman - rather than tell her she couldn't take it on board - is bad enough. But the reason they could act this way is even more disturbing:
According to the TSA's official prohibited items list, anyone who brings any banned item to a screening checkpoint, even accidentally, may be criminally or civilly prosecuted. Even items that are not specifically listed, but could be considered dangerous, are illegal.So if you make a mistake and bring something you shouldn't they don't just take it from you and offer to mail it back anymore? They can arrest you? And even if you read up on the list - is it posted on-line somewhere? - and you bring something that's not on the list but that some bozo rent-a-cop with a new badge thinks might be dangerous, they can still arrest you?