Originally published August 30 2012
TSA turns into thought police as man detained over t-shirt text
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Delta Airlines, in collusion, of course, with the Transportation Security Administration, seems to have a new division: Thought Police.
At least, that's what Arijit Guha and his wife think after being kicked off a Delta flight out of Buffalo-Niagara for wearing a satirical t-shirt that apparently made some passengers and employees "very uncomfortable."
Writing on his blog, Guha - who was returning home after attending his grandfather's funeral - tells how he was treated as a terrorist for nothing more than his attire which, he explained, puts a sarcastic spin on the screening process airline passengers in the U.S. must endure.
"The story begins on Saturday, August 18," Guha, who describes himself as a PhD at Arizona State University's School of Sustainability, says.
An obviously satirical shirt makes passengers 'nervous'
While at the gate preparing to board his flight, Guha says a Delta flight agent informed him the shirt's verbiage was making passengers uncomfortable (The shirt features a spoof of the TSA logo along with text that satirizes the agency's "paranoid and overbearing approach to airport security," according to Infowars.com). Some of the "nervousness" may even have had something to do with Guha's ethnicity, according to his blog, because he referred to Delta employees as "racist dingdongs."
"I was then questioned by TSA about the significance and meaning of the shirt ('It's mocking the security theater charade and over-reactions to terrorism by the general public - both of which we're seeing right now, ironically.') and was told I would be able to board the plane, but only after acquiescing to an additional security check of my and my wife's belongings and changing my shirt," he wrote. "We would then be the very last two people to board the plane. I agreed to these stipulations."
He said agents inquired about the meaning of the word "ZOMG" and who he believed was going to "kill us all."
"As best I could tell, they seemed to find my explanation that I didn't think anyone would be killing us all and that I was poking fun at overwrought, irrational fears exhibited by certain members of the flying public to be satisfactory," Guha said. "And moreover, they clearly deemed my shirt to be no legitimate threat."
Satisfied, the agents finally let Guha and his wife board, but as they did, they were stopped once more by a Delta supervisor accompanied by three TSA agents and a number of Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority transit police.
Needless to say, the absurdity continued.
The pilot says 'no'
"I was questioned some more and my wife was also pulled out of line for additional questioning and screening," he wrote. "Our bags were searched, my shirt was photographed, we were asked multiple questions about the cause of our visit, how often we make it to western N.Y., and our drivers' license numbers were taken and radioed in for what seemed to be a quick background check."
Everything checked out, but in the end, it was the pilot who banned them from the flight because, he said, the Guha's would cause too much unease among the passengers.
Angered and not a little confounded, Guha said he demanded to know why he was being pulled from the flight. "Just use your imagination," he says he was told.
He says his attire, and his willingness to "question authority," led Delta and the TSA to label him a potential terrorist - as if a real terrorist would advertise his pending actions on a t-shirt.
"Why even bother with the bloated security apparatus - since Delta pilots have discretion to kick off passengers who've passed multiple checks, after all?" he wrote.
After being grounded, so to speak, the intense interrogation continued. Authorities wanted to know where Guha's brother lived because he originally bought the t-shirt as a gift.
Not before suffering more humiliating questions, Guha and his wife were finally told they would be put on a flight at 7 a.m. the next morning.
They were left to find their own overnight accommodations, however.
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