The April 19, 2004 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology contained an AP report that a federal air marshal had “accidnetally” left her gun in the restroom at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Apparently she placed the weapon on a shelf while she was washing her hands. She then “forgot” about the weapon and left the restroom. Although the air marshal returned for the weapon a few minutes later, a passenger had already discovered the weapon and reported it to an airline employee who then notified airport police.
It is hard for me to understand how the simple act of washing your hands would require that a concealed weapon be removed and placed in open view in a restroom, let alone forgotten. The AP report indicated that this particular air marshal will probably be suspended. Seems like minimal discipline for a lapse in judgment that could have resulted in a tragedy if the weapon was discovered by a child or someone who decided to use the weapon to harm others. The restroom was beyond the security checkpoints and someone could have easily taken the weapon on a flight. This makes me seriously question the “caliber” of people supposedly working to secure the airport and aircraft environments. Where there is one, there is likely more.
This also ranks right up there with the TSA security screeners who thought it would be interesting to run themselves through the x-ray scanners to see x-rays of their brains. These screeners apparently received “additional training” as a corrective measure for their impromptu medical procedure. However, their TSA supervisor stated that “at no time was aviation security compromised”. I beg to differ. Just having individuals like that employed in those positions compromises security. Knowing that these types of individuals are responsible for aviation security installs a lot of confidence. Not!
Personally, I will stick to general aviation transportation any chance I get. By avoiding the “aviation safety” associated with flying the airlines, I feel safer already.