Wednesday, February 17, 2010

TSA - the "gift" that keeps on giving

It seems that the Transportation Security Administration (TSSA - because you can't spell Schutzstaffel without the second S) just can't stay out of trouble. I expect that they'll be providing me with blog post material for the foreseeable future.

Their latest "accomplishment"? It's a beauty.

Did you hear about the Camden cop whose disabled son wasn't allowed to pass through airport security unless he took off his leg braces?

Unfortunately, it's no joke. This happened to Bob Thomas, a 53-year-old officer in Camden's emergency crime suppression team, who was flying to Orlando in March with his wife, Leona, and their son, Ryan.

Ryan was taking his first flight, to Walt Disney World, for his fourth birthday.

The boy is developmentally delayed, one of the effects of being born 16 weeks prematurely. His ankles are malformed and his legs have low muscle tone. In March he was just starting to walk.

Mid-morning on March 19, his parents wheeled his stroller to the TSA security point, a couple of hours before their Southwest Airlines flight was to depart.

The boy's father broke down the stroller and put it on the conveyor belt as Leona Thomas walked Ryan through the metal detector.

The alarm went off.

The screener told them to take off the boy's braces.

The Thomases were dumbfounded. "I told them he can't walk without them on his own," Bob Thomas said.

"He said, 'He'll need to take them off.' "

Ryan's mother offered to walk him through the detector after they removed the braces, which are custom-made of metal and hardened plastic.

No, the screener replied. The boy had to walk on his own.
But surely the screener's supervisor would handle the situation properly - surely they would see the ludicrous pointlessness of what the screener was asking, right?
By then, Bob Thomas was furious. He demanded to see a supervisor. The supervisor asked what was wrong.

"I told him, 'This is overkill. He's 4 years old. I don't think he's a terrorist.' "

The supervisor replied, "You know why we're doing this," Thomas said.

Thomas said he told the supervisor he was going to file a report, and at that point the man turned and walked away.
"You know why we're doing this." Because you're imbecilic tools? Because there are thousands of developmentally-challenged 4-year-olds just DYING to blow up a plane for Allah? Because it gives you totalitarian wood?

Face it, there was no good reason to require the child to remove his braces. TSSA even admitted it after the fact. Of course, TSSA never admits to ANYTHING until the press gets involved. Your feeble little complaint at the time of the violation of your person or dignity? They couldn't possibly care less.

Keep flying, sheeple. Keep submitting to the degradation.

May your chains rest lightly upon you.