Monday, September 27, 2010


This is not what I had intended to post today. The following is from this morning's newspaper.  Any italic or boldface is my doing.  I'm still incredulous!

Just before 3 p.m. Saturday, a white Chevy Blazer pulled up to the arrival curb outside Terminal A at San Jose International Airport. Two men dressed in black parked the SUV, switched on its hazard lights and approached the information desk to inquire about American Airlines Flight 1205 from Dallas. Both carried assault rifles strapped across their chests, with handguns in their holsters.

A volunteer at the desk politely told them the plane was due at 3:02 p.m. And another volunteer asked one of the armed men, "Are you one of the people who ride on the plane looking for terrorists?"  "No," he replied.  Then the pair casually waited near the escalator that ferries travelers to the luggage carousels.

"I wondered if they were going to shoot somebody coming off the plane," one volunteer said. She resolved to dive under her desk if that happened.  Still, she was worried. "I didn't know if this was proper, if people are allowed to walk into an airport with assault rifles and just stand there."

It appears that airport travelers that day either figured the pair's mission was benign, or perhaps thought they were part of a ninja movie. San Jose police said they received no calls inquiring about the men with rifles.

Simply leaving a bag unattended for a few minutes can cause airport security guards to panic. But apparently it isn't illegal to carry weapons into the nonsecure areas of San Jose Airport -- or most other U.S. airports..

After 15 years of assisting in the terminal, the volunteers said they know what to do when someone loses an ATM card (call 911), when passengers' rides don't show up (lend them a cell phone) and when handed prohibited carry-on items (mail the items to the passengers' homes). But they had received no training on how to handle heavily armed visitors.  A parking control officer at the airport asked his supervisor what he should do.  The response, according to one of the volunteers: "Next time that happens, have one of them sit in the car while the other one comes in." The airport prohibits unattended cars at the curb, especially under the current orange alert level.

Soon, the armed pair greeted another man wearing a baseball cap after he descended the escalator. Together they picked up about a half-dozen pieces of luggage, loaded them into the white SUV and drove off.

It turns out the men with the assault rifles were from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and were meeting another security staffer returning from assignment, lab spokesman Don Johnston said.  Johnston said that it isn't unusual, especially on weekends, for Lawrence security guards to meet personnel at airports. And yes, he said, the security staff members dress in what police call "battle dress uniforms": dark clothing with logos that are difficult to see.

That left one of the volunteers relieved, yet incredulous.  "I couldn't believe," she said, "that man was so valuable it took two men with assault rifles to escort him to Livermore."

After that, I think we need a bit of humor --

There aren’t enough words in the English language, as far as the Washington Post is concerned.  So they asked readers to come up with a few more.

Percycution:  Giving your child a name he will hate for the rest of his life.

Applicushion:  Your fallback college.

Awwdition:  A tryout for the cutest babies and puppies.

Cadhesion:  The emotional attachment that keeps some women from breaking up with men who treat them badly.

Flabrication:  The weight on your driver’s license.


  1. That is hard to believe. If it is necessary for outside armed security to get in, they should have to be vetted as closely as any armed airline security. I mean, what's to stop some one pretending to be from that organization?

  2. I read that story in the Merc, got to the end, and sat there going, What were they THINKING!?