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Chad Love: Horseshoe Crabs and the TSA

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September 22, 2009

Chad Love: Horseshoe Crabs and the TSA

By Chad Love

This past weekend found me strolling along a beach on the beautiful (seriously, it really is) south New Jersey coast. And since my sons enjoy me bringing them mementos from my trips, I collected a menagerie of interesting items that had washed up on the beach, including this small horseshoe crab.
 

The crab, however, was a problem. A dried-out horseshoe crab is a delicate thing and there's no way it would survive the flight in my checked baggage. My only option was to carry it on and hope I wouldn't end up in a TSA interrogation room at the Philadelphia airport.
 
So when it was time to go through the TSA checkpoint yesterday morning I placed the crab in a clear plastic bag along with whatever other gels I had, dropped it in the container, crossed my fingers, walked through the metal detector and waited for it to come out the other side of the x-ray machine.
 
I stood there, smile frozen on my face, nervous sweat beading my forehead, watching the TSA screener. Suddenly her bored "I've seen it all" look disappeared. She hit a button. The conveyor stopped, then backed up, then stopped. She squinted at the screen, then looked at me. I kept smiling. She didn't. I expected blaring klaxons and Tasers. But without a word she turned away, the conveyor started up and out came my crab.
 
I was now loose in the Philly airport with an unregulated horseshoe crab.
 
Who knows what kind of havoc I could have wreaked with that crab, if I were so inclined. Look at the tail on that thing. It's like a dagger. And as such, I believe horseshoe crabs represent a major security flaw in the TSA screening process and should immediately be banned. Could you imagine a terrorist holding a horseshoe crab to the neck of a hostage as he attempts to take over a plane?
 
I certainly could. That is, if I were stoned out of my gourd.
 
Of course it's ludicrous. But you know what? It's no more ludicrous than the very real ban on carrying on fishing tackle. I have made numerous phone calls to the TSA and very patiently tried to explain that half-ounce spinnerbaits do not pose a national security risk, nor so crappie jigs, worm hooks or shad raps. But I still can't carry any of those items on a plane. Because they're metal and they're pointy.
 
That point, so to speak, was driven home as my crab was emerging from the x-ray machine yesterday. The guy in front of me was in the process of having what looked to be a keychain nail file confiscated by a TSA employee. All in the name of safety. I grabbed my six-inch dagger-tipped horseshoe crab and walked by him, unnoticed and undetected, a ticking crustacean time bomb.
 
So if you're standing in the airport screening line some day and notice a shifty-looking dude holding a horseshoe crab, don't say I didn't warn you...

Comments (9)

Top Rated
All Comments
from seadog wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Great job, Chad. Now the terrorists all know about this flaw in our defense. It's common knowledge that they monitor F&S. Soon there will be a huge attack by horseshoe crab & stingray barb wielding terrorists. Then the government will blame the media--that's you--and cancel the First Amendment. They'll probably cancel the Second Amendment too while they're at it just to make sure. Of course, you'll be arrested for conspiracy since it was your idea. They'll probably arrest me too because I know what a horseshoe crab looks like and I have the knowledge to turn one into a deadly terrorist weapon. Be afraid--be very afraid.

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

A small horeshoe crab would not be much of a weapon. However, a full grown five pounder could be wielded like a formidable mace-like war hammer.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I gotta imagine that horseshoe crab smelled like holy heck...good way to get a row of seats to yourself. Props for bringing it home to the youngsters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Going the Airline check point back in January 91 going over for Desert Storm, they gave us hell over our Buck Model 110’s, yet had nothing to say about our M16’s and can of ammo as carry on.

Go figure!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Nothing is worse than your Scuba Diving buddy forgetting his collection bag full of live sea critters in the back of your station wagon on a late Friday night and jumping back into your car the following Monday after a hot sunny weekend sure clears your sinuses!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Chad, where were you in lovely South Jersey? My family has owned a place in "scenic" Fortescue for the last 50 years, and I spent many a summer stepping over those nasty things walking along the bay beach looking for arrowheads. Bleah!

re: airport security -- true story. A guy I work with went duck hunting in Minnesota with his brother, and packed a styrofoam cooler full of breasts in his carry-on baggage. Early in the flight the cooler cracked, raining watery duck blood on several rows of passengers. The stewardess (uhh, FLIGHT ATTENDANT) assumed it was a broken bottle of red wine and merely handed out a handful of wet-naps. If only they knew...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from EricAichele wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure this made my day, Chad. Great read.

Utbluegrass, Not going to lie, the idea of a horseshoe crab war hammer intrigues me. And kids, always remember, any hammer with the right intent can be a war hammer.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Bob, I was in Ocean City. A truly lovely place. And if you want to know what this Okie was doing all the way over in Joisey, check out Joe Cermele's latest Hook Shots video over at the Honest Angler blog.

I may be a bit biased, but it's my favorite one so far...

Dave, surprisingly it didn't smell at all. I left it to dry in the sun for a couple days and by the time I left it was pretty much dessicated. The kids thought it was about the coolest thing ever.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I had a box of flys confiscated this spring while flying out West. Heck the largest fly was a size 12. I finally got it back but the box was beat all to heck.

Ocean City. I have very fond memories of Ocean City. I met a girl and...

Hey Chad. Congratulations on your whopper Marlin. JC did you justice on Hookshots.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nmiller wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Chad, Congrats again on the marlin. I had a blast out there with you guys. And if your out this way again I,d gladly fish with you. BTW Joe's video is fantastic.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hannay wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Regarding confiscated flies, the TSA actually recommends that you bring flies on board. See:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1188.shtm

"Tackle Equipment - Fishing equipment should be placed in your checked baggage. Some tackle equipment can be considered sharp and dangerous. Expensive reels or fragile tackle such as fly's should be packed in your carry-on baggage."

Whether this means anything to the TSO personnel at the check point is another question.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from seadog wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Great job, Chad. Now the terrorists all know about this flaw in our defense. It's common knowledge that they monitor F&S. Soon there will be a huge attack by horseshoe crab & stingray barb wielding terrorists. Then the government will blame the media--that's you--and cancel the First Amendment. They'll probably cancel the Second Amendment too while they're at it just to make sure. Of course, you'll be arrested for conspiracy since it was your idea. They'll probably arrest me too because I know what a horseshoe crab looks like and I have the knowledge to turn one into a deadly terrorist weapon. Be afraid--be very afraid.

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Going the Airline check point back in January 91 going over for Desert Storm, they gave us hell over our Buck Model 110’s, yet had nothing to say about our M16’s and can of ammo as carry on.

Go figure!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

A small horeshoe crab would not be much of a weapon. However, a full grown five pounder could be wielded like a formidable mace-like war hammer.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave DiBenedetto wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I gotta imagine that horseshoe crab smelled like holy heck...good way to get a row of seats to yourself. Props for bringing it home to the youngsters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Nothing is worse than your Scuba Diving buddy forgetting his collection bag full of live sea critters in the back of your station wagon on a late Friday night and jumping back into your car the following Monday after a hot sunny weekend sure clears your sinuses!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from -Bob wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Chad, where were you in lovely South Jersey? My family has owned a place in "scenic" Fortescue for the last 50 years, and I spent many a summer stepping over those nasty things walking along the bay beach looking for arrowheads. Bleah!

re: airport security -- true story. A guy I work with went duck hunting in Minnesota with his brother, and packed a styrofoam cooler full of breasts in his carry-on baggage. Early in the flight the cooler cracked, raining watery duck blood on several rows of passengers. The stewardess (uhh, FLIGHT ATTENDANT) assumed it was a broken bottle of red wine and merely handed out a handful of wet-naps. If only they knew...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from EricAichele wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure this made my day, Chad. Great read.

Utbluegrass, Not going to lie, the idea of a horseshoe crab war hammer intrigues me. And kids, always remember, any hammer with the right intent can be a war hammer.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Bob, I was in Ocean City. A truly lovely place. And if you want to know what this Okie was doing all the way over in Joisey, check out Joe Cermele's latest Hook Shots video over at the Honest Angler blog.

I may be a bit biased, but it's my favorite one so far...

Dave, surprisingly it didn't smell at all. I left it to dry in the sun for a couple days and by the time I left it was pretty much dessicated. The kids thought it was about the coolest thing ever.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

I had a box of flys confiscated this spring while flying out West. Heck the largest fly was a size 12. I finally got it back but the box was beat all to heck.

Ocean City. I have very fond memories of Ocean City. I met a girl and...

Hey Chad. Congratulations on your whopper Marlin. JC did you justice on Hookshots.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from nmiller wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Chad, Congrats again on the marlin. I had a blast out there with you guys. And if your out this way again I,d gladly fish with you. BTW Joe's video is fantastic.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hannay wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Regarding confiscated flies, the TSA actually recommends that you bring flies on board. See:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1188.shtm

"Tackle Equipment - Fishing equipment should be placed in your checked baggage. Some tackle equipment can be considered sharp and dangerous. Expensive reels or fragile tackle such as fly's should be packed in your carry-on baggage."

Whether this means anything to the TSO personnel at the check point is another question.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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