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    The TSA's Instagram Feed Is Vintage PR

    Written by

    Derek Mead

    Editor-In-Chief


    "Loaded #pistol discovered in carry-on bag at #Houston #IAH #airport - #travel #aviation #tsa #instatsa #tsablogteam #gun #guns #ammo #ammunition #bullets #firearms #firearm #tsagram #instagood #instacool #webstagram #instagramhub #photo #gov20 #gov #all_shots See and read more at http://blog.tsa.gov by @tsablogteam"

    People love to hate on the TSA because it's one of the most visible symbols of our terrorized post-9/11 society—and because they still make us all take our shoes off, which is a real pain in the ass. To combat its PR problem, the TSA trumpets its seizures whenever it can—and with a record number of guns confiscated in 2012, the agency has had plenty of ammo. 

    Now, to get hip with the jet set crowd, the TSA joined Instagram. As of last Friday, it's already posted 10 heavily processed photos of handguns and knives.


    "#Fireworks don't fly. (On planes) #july4 #travel #instatsa #firstpost #aviation http://1.usa.gov/16xLT7a by @tsablogteam"

    It's rather poetic, really. The entire point of social media is to create these mythically-perfect public portraits of ourselves, all while inflating our self-worth. 


    "The perfect #knife to bring to a #gunfight was discovered in a carry-on bag at #Cleveland #Hopkins #airport. - #picstitch #knives #blades #travel #aviation #tsa #instatsa #tsablogteam #tsagram #instagood #instacool #webstagram #instagramhub #photo #gov20 #gov #all_shots See and read more at http://blog.tsa.gov by @tsablogteam"

    Naturally, one of the most beleaguered government agencies would be on board. As Grant Martin notes at Forbes, the TSA has been on the social media tip since 2008, when it created its TSA Blog to highlight the regular procession of ridiculous weapons it confiscates at airports around the country, like the taser-disguised-as-cigarettes below.


    "#StunGun #disguised as a pack of #cigarettes discovered at #Cleveland - #cle #stun #stunguns #tazer #tazers #shock #shocking #travel #aviation #tsa #instatsa #tsablogteam #tsagram #instagood #instacool #webstagram #instagramhub #photo #gov20 #gov #all_shots See and read more at http://blog.tsa.gov by @tsablogteam"

    So while it's fun to poke at the sheer desperation of bureaucrats trying to convince the world they're important via social media—you may feel free to read my snark as covering for my own sad, egomaniacal relationship with social media—it's also a rather valuable portrait of just how many bozos there are trying to board planes in the US.


    "Bayonet and throwing knife discovered at #LongBeach. Inert grenade discovered at #Albany. Dagger discovered at #Austin. #california #newyork #texas #knives #grenades #travel #aviation #airports #tsa #instatsa See and read more at http://blog.tsa.gov by @tsablogteam"

    What kind of psychotic clownass brings a throwing knife and a hand grenade on his carry-on? And that Triptych of Terror is exactly why the TSA is on Instagram: now the good work it does is more shareable than ever. I mean, we've all heard the "whoops, forgot my gun" excuse, but come on.

    @derektmead

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