Letter From a Screener: So We Found a Suicide Bomber With The Full Body Scanner: Now What?


A TSA screener we’ll just call “Confused in Colorado” writes in:

Dear Taking Sense Away,

I’ve noticed that our protocols never really give us guidance on what to do once we do uncover a bomb strapped to someone’s body, like with the Full Body Scanner. It’s like, so we found it: now what? Apparently, I’m supposed to tell the suicide bomber to hold on a minute while I call my supervisor. The lack of real preparation for the scenario almost makes me think that it’s because this is all just some kind of game we’re playing, not rooted in reality. What do you think about this?



Dear Confused,

I wish I could tell you that balloons and confetti will fall from your airport’s ceiling in celebration of having caught your one-in-a-billion customer, but this will not be the case. Now, my advice should not supersede the wisdom of the Transportation Security Administration’s standard operating procedure, but, if I may make a recommendation: you should very calmly run away, in as patriotic a fashion as you know how.

As we recently saw, TSA screeners are not exactly well-equipped to deal with conflict.

Now, the running you’ll be doing should you ever actually bump into a suicide bomber strapped to the gills is perfectly natural, so don’t be ashamed if, on that one-in-a billion chance, it ever actually happens to you at your airport: you haven’t made hundreds of thousands of rounds of evolutionary cuts for nothing. But what you should mentally prepare yourself to do is to run away from the batshit insane madman with a bomb in as altruistic a fashion as possible. This can be done with engaged screaming.

What you don’t want to do is just scream: it accomplishes only so much. What you want to do is scream in an engaging! (see the Insider’s TSA Dictionary) fashion. Let’s think of some things we can scream about that will engage the non-terrorists around us and give us some kind of dignity should we survive.

-Screaming to other people about the man or woman with the bomb strapped to his or her body.

-Get your audience involved by screaming questions, such as “Why aren’t you running, too, you morons? There’s a person with a bomb back there.”

-“Can you please fucking move? I’m trying to get away from the person with the bomb back there.”

-“Are you going to give me your car keys or do I have to take them from you, lady? We have to get as far away from this airport as possible, right now. We discovered a person with a bomb back there and all bets are now off, I guess.”

You can also:

-Scream for someone to call the “If You See Something, Say Something” number.

-Scream for other people to join you in your screaming, so as to better get the word out about the person with the bomb strapped to his or her body back there.

-Scream for assistance from real security entities, namely, the police or courageous members of the public.

All of these things can make you flee more effectively.

Hope this helps,


Send all questions to takingsenseaway@gmail.com

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