TSA and Delta Force Couple Off Plane For Wearing Tee-Shirt Mocking TSA

We have yet another case of passengers being thrown off planes because of a message on their clothing. Arijit Guha and his wife were returning from a funeral on Delta at the Buffalo-Niagara Airport when they were told that his tee-shirt mocking the TSA made passengers and employees feel “very uncomfortable”. Guha is an Arizona State University graduate student.

They were told that before they could fly they would have to allow a full search of their luggage because of the tee-shirt. He would then have to remove his tee-shirt. He was singled out by a Delta supervisor and three TSA agents as well as multiple Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority transit police. All over a satirical tee-shirt.

Even after having their belongings screened numerous times, Guha and his wife were still barred from the flight because they would alarm passengers.
They were then pulled aside for more questioning and Guha was questioned about where his brother lived since it was the brother who bought the mocking tee-shirt.

Notably, the police also said they were suspicious why Guha’s wife did not use his surname.

I have previously written about the legal myth that it is a crime to make a joke at an airport — the basis for thousands of passengers being arrested or placed in temporary custody.

This case adds a free speech dimension to the usual lunacy over airport security. Here TSA agents are interrogating a passenger over a tee-shirt critical of their own agency. Moreover, all too often the “discomfort” of passengers is cited as the basis for harassing or barring individuals. Even if true, it is grossly unfair to force passengers to meet the lowest common denominator of sensibilities of other passengers who may be reflecting their own prejudices or lack of senses of humor. Honestly, how likely is an Al Qaeda operative to seek to destroy a plane in Buffalo wearing a tee-shirt taunting the TSA?

The harassment of a critic of TSA should warrant the closest investigation of this case. If these allegations are true, there should be some discipline meted out by both Delta and the TSA.

52 thoughts on “TSA and Delta Force Couple Off Plane For Wearing Tee-Shirt Mocking TSA”

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  3. PatricP, good rules, good rules, but I would add two:

    First, with respect to: “Once a year, chop the worst criminal in town’s head off,” I would only do it to him on the first year; subsequent years, doing it would be overkill and would present a logistics problem for the executioner.

    Second, “Once a year, on a day to be decided in advance by the Town Mothers, the unincorporated association of town grammar police shall meet for four consecutive hours to write the death sentence to be read to the town’s worst criminal upon the occasion of his head’s offchopping.”

    Yeah, and don’t tell me I can’t write good legislation, neither. I’ve been trying to do it for these congresspersons for a couple of long decades.

  4. idealist707 said:

    ” Why are doctors subjected to routine torture and expected to save lives?”

    I’d love to know your definition of routine torture.

    But until then, here’s a quick answer to your question:

    Perhaps when the Nat’l Practitioner Data Bank stops filing 6,000-8,000 new serious physician misbehavior cases each year; mayhaps when the daily death toll of patients unnecessarily killed every day drops below 400 ; indeed, maybe when the number of unnecessary surgeries starts to sag below several hundred thousand per month; maybe then the “torture pendulum” will swing back toward whatever any of us might deem “normal.”

  5. Suggested reading: “The Persistence of Vision” by John Varley.

    How pleasant Patric’s utopian thoughts are. A bit draconian in some terms. Reminds me of a frieze in the
    National Museum here. Shows the soon to be execution of a Viking king at the “midvinter blot” to assure his people’s welfare. Wondering of course whose head will roll at the end of Patric’s year.

    Lastly, why are doctors subjected to routine torture and expected to save lives? I think it is only 18 hours here.

  6. Bettykath said:

    ” Not sure that zero kids will work. no more than one per couple will gradually reduce the number of people.”

    BettyK –

    Zero population growth would be – I think I recall – something like 2.1 kids per mom. Not zero kids. And since some couples opt for no kids, others could legally have 3 whole ones.

    And that part about seriously reducing the number of people?

    That’s the whole idea.

    Simple question: If we can’t properly prepare a plain ‘ol Thanksgiving dinner without knowing how many of our clan will be there, why on earth do we expect cities, states, feds, schools & hospitals to somehow divi up the goodies and make it all work?

    We are reaching critical mass, and the status quo ain’t gonna get it.

  7. patric, I like your list except for last few. not sure that zero kids will work. no more than one per couple will gradually reduce the number of people. As China learned, one per couple is ok unless they decide only sons. It becomes a problem when the son wants a wife. Of course, it won’t be long before all males will not have enough sperm to do the job due to the pollution, but they can still try.

  8. SlingTrebuchet’s response to the statement, “Don’t do it in their house.”

    “It’s not their house. It’s everybody’s house.”

    No, actually, I’d say a ‘house’ belongs to the tiny few who can legally pull a weapon.

    And at an airport, that line’s already been drawn.

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