Unless you feel bad about annoying the civil servants.
In one of the things I had to do yesterday to start out my busy weekend involved walking into a government building. What I didn’t know, because I’m new to the township, is that this building also contained a courthouse.
Washington State law for carrying concealed weapons states that your permit is invalid in three locations: Schools, establishments that serve alcohol and Courthouses. The state capitol building is OK, but those three types of structures (and federal property) are strictly no-no’s.
I leave my vehicle with my pistol on, walk to the door and see a sign measuring 24 inches by 12 inches that quotes the Revised Code of Washington reminding me of this. I’m not going to get into a discussion of legal minutiae with the local police officer working light duty at the metal detector, nor am I going to leave my firearm with him, so I walk back to my truck, climb in and proceed to relieve my belt of the gas propelled projectile weapon residing on my person and lock it away in the very handy lock box Ford provided in the cab of my truck.
I then walk back to the building and proceed to the silver arches, where I will be scanned for keys and other metal objects.
I walk up to the scanner and say hello to Officer Friendly and get the standard “Please empty your pockets into the bin” from him. He pushes forward a 5inx8inx2in plastic bin, and this is where the silliness begins.
Truck keys, thumbdrive, Bic lighter, $.24 cents in change, 4-$1 bills and a folded Post-It note from work with a phone number on it come from my front two pockets and get put into the bin.
“Please step through” he says. I reply, “I’m not done just yet. Hold on.”
A Gerber Pocket Tool and a cell phone come out of their belt holsters and into the bin. The wallet comes out of my right back pocket and a gas pump receipt from the other.
“OK go ahead and step through” he says. “Just a sec, I’ve got to empty my coat pockets.” I reply.
Right upper pocket gives up my time card from work, which has a metallic strip in it, my stainless steel writing pen comes out of my left upper pocket. I see him prepare to ask me to step through again, but then stop as I reach into my lower coat pockets.
The left coat pocket holds my work pager and the work key ring. The right pocket holds my house key ring and my barely legal hawkbill folding knife, which Officer Friendly looks at very disparagingly.
“OK, that should be it”, I say, feeling somewhat like Mad Max trying to get into the Thunderdome. Luckily, there is no one waiting to get through behind me. The officer snatches up the pocket tool and the folding knife out of the bin, pushes it down the table to the other side of the detector and asks me once again to walk through the arch.
I walk through and you’d have thought I was carrying something nuclear, what with the number of buzzers that went off. Knowing the proceedure, I stop, extend my arms out and wait for the wanding to begin.
Across the chest and down the front. Wand goes off. I want to make some sort of smart-assed reference to bionics below my belt line, but I just say “Belt Buckle” instead and show the officer. He grunts and wands to the left hip, out the left arm and down the left leg.
The wand goes off again.
“Steel toed boots?” he asks. I concur and he grunts again and says “Turn.” I turn to my right and he wands my back from heel to shoulder and then tells me to gather my stuff.
I do so and walk 20 feet from the detector to the window I need to do my business. I’m done there in under two minutes and I go back and say hello to Officer Friendly again, only to find him admiring my folding knife. He looks up at me, closes the knife, and says something to the effect of “We went through all that for you to be done that quick?” I tell him “Yep. Kind of pointless, huh?” and he agrees. I walk through the arch, setting off the nuclear warnings again. He hands me back my folding knife and pocket tool and I wish him a good day and go back out to my truck.
I wonder if he even thought about the fact that he never scanned my right hip?