TSA Screener Mistakes Pepper Spray for Laser Pointer, Sends Coworkers to Hospital

Airport security checkpoint © Inha Leex Hale

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There are times when you do something on the job that you might never, ever live down — like the time I nearly set the office on fire with the toaster oven, or when I accidentally wore mismatched shoes. So I have a tiny bit of sympathy for the TSA employee behind this debacle.

I bet you often mistake chemical weapons for electronic gizmos, right? So this incident could have happened to the best of us, even highly trained screeners who are supposed to know hazard when they see it. Well, maybe not.

A security screener recently mistook a canister of pepper spray that was abandoned in the screening area at JFK airport. It’s nigh on impossible to hold a laser in your hands and resist the temptation to press the button. Few, except maybe Chuck Norris, have the willpower to resist the allure of a laser pointer. Imagine the shock and awe that ensued when the TSA staffer pressed the trigger on the pepper spray and released a cloud of the noxious substance inside the enclosed space of the screening area.

Six TSA employees were sent to hospital to be treated for their exposure to pepper spray, including the agent who set it off, Chris Dabel.

Check out more about this in The Gothamist

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