Ten years ago my son and his girlfriend visited our county courthouse, for a reason I no longer remember. When they returned home, they were laughing about the ineptitude of the security screening process. It seems they had gotten mildly reprimanded because Sarah had not declared the cell phone that was in her purse, found as it went through the scanner. Reaching into that same purse, she pulled out a lock-back knife with a three-inch blade (photo) and asked, incredulously, “Why didn’t they yell at me for this?” A previous boyfriend had given it to her for protection, and she had forgotten it was still in there.
Fast-forward to this afternoon when I visited the courthouse. Same county, but now in a new fancy building down the street. As I approached the security area, one of the four armed security guards stated, “Everything out of your pockets and through the scanner.” I then also remembered the large Leatherman tool that lives on my belt (which I should have left in the car!), including its two three-inch blades, and added it to the wallet, keys, and change I had already put in the bin on the conveyor.
When my turn came, I was waved through the metal detector and quickly ‘wanded’ by the guard who had called me through. He nodded that I was clear, and I collected my stuff from the other side of the X-ray machine and filled my pockets. As I was reattaching the Leatherman to my belt, I was thinking, ‘this can’t be right’, so held up the tool to the closest guard and asked, “Is it really OK to take this in?”
“What is it?” he asked.
“A Leatherman tool,” I replied.
“Absolutely not!” he said, and it was exchanged for the stub of a ticket so I could claim it on the way out.
Obviously not much has changed at our courthouse. Their crack security system still hinges on people declaring the weapons the guards miss, and is wasting buckets of taxpayers’ money. In light of recent world events, that doesn’t give me much of a warm fuzzy.