Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/09/10

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Airport security
From: George Berger <>
Date: Thu, 10 Sep 1998 12:18:16 -0400

>Another experience at the airport x-ray machine in Washingtn, DC. 

>security officer insisted that I "turn on" my Leica M-4.  She did not

>my explanation that I couldn't turn it on since it did not have any

>and that ther was nothing to turn on.  She insited that all cameras

>batteries "for the flash, film winding and zoom."  I told her it was
an old

>camera, before they required batteries, and took the lens off, opened
the back

>and fired the shutter a few times.  This prompted a call to the

>who examined the camera, and then swabbed it down with a cotton pad,
which was

>inserted into a spectrometer of some sort to determine if there were

>explosive residues. 



It's not only cameras that excite the security officers. 

When we were on our way to Tucson earlier this summer, we watched as a
security officer at National Airport attempted to confiscate a
youngster's asthma inhaler as :"It contains dangerous gas." The
supervisor's supervisor had to be summoned before the parents could
explain what that "dangerous gas" was for.  Meanwhile, the security
officer postured, growled under her breath, muttered, mumbled, and
professed "outrage" for having been called to account. 

95% of the security officers we have met in the US, Canada, and Europe
have been knowledgeable, courteous and professional. Our main gripes
have been with the denizens who make up the National/Dulles crew. 
Mediocre to abysmal.

George Berger