Well, we know the TSA is run by idiots, but this is a new low. NBC News reports on this completely inexcusable gaffe of TSA agents dismantling a custom-made Malian kora belonging to well-known musician Ballaké Sissoko. From the article:
“Normally they just open the flight case because of the strange shape of the instrument and case,” [Ballaké] said. “This time, they disassembled and broke it.”
Calling it a “terrible situation,” he added that he hoped “to get an apology at some point.”
And the story goes on to report this absolutely tone-deaf, bonehead move by the TSA agent responsible:
The case was accompanied by a note in Spanish from the TSA, which said: “Smart security saves time.”
A note about smart security. Right after an agent working for the agency makes the TSA look even worse than they normally look, by making an absolutely, positively, galactically stupid move.
I’m not going to quote the article but Ballaké mentions having to go back to Mali (specifically, the capital and I would assume major city, Bamako) to get replacement parts for the instrument. It would not surprise me for the TSA to tell him he’s on his own for paying for that trip and the parts, though it would be refreshing to see them own up to it and pay up to make things right.
I get that we need security at our airports. But am I really asking much for the people in charge of it not to be total screw-ups? Especially when it comes to one-of-a-kind, custom music instruments? Is the same IQ limit for ordinary law enforcement also in place for TSA agents, I wonder? Are these the same kind of people that mistake an AriZona iced tea for a beer?