I just got home from my first trip involving a US airport in over two years. Hopefully it will be that long before I have to again.
On both the outbound and return trip, my checked suitcase was opened and inspected by the TSA. On the outbound trip, everything was neatly put back in place, and the only signs anything had happened were that my lock position had changed and a card was in my suitcase. (My combination is 000 and I change one digit just to keep the clasp from opening accidentally. TSA people understand this.)
On the return trip, though, my plastic shopping bag of electronic stuff had been ripped open, and the contents were all over my suitcase. In addition, my box of Metamucil bars had been emptied into the suitcase and the bars in plastic wrappers were likewise all over the place. My camera, which I’d stuck into the middle of my laundry bag to keep it from getting bumped, was also loose. I can’t say at this point whether anything’s missing.
Anyone can be hit by a random bag inspection, but what are the odds of its happening twice in a round trip? One possible explanation is the bumper sticker, “Congress represents me? I must be really evil!” that I have on it. It wouldn’t surprise me if the TSA is targeting any criticism of itself or the federal government in general.
Update: When I tried to get the photographs off my camera, I got a “memory card error.” Taking the card out and putting it back in fixed it. This may or may not be related to the treatment it got from the TSA. At least no pictures were lost.