Have to keep this short lest my head explode, and because of work, but another story of TSA thuggery currently circulating is this one, in which our heroes uncover a possible conspiracy between a four-year-old and her grandmother to smuggle something through a checkpoint.
This one also starts with a senior citizen (or at least a "grandmother," most of whom are fairly senior) setting off an alarm. The report isn't clear whether this was a body scanner or the metal detector, but either way, Granny was getting a patdown. As she waited, her alleged co-conspirator ran over and gave her a hug. Since her grandmother hadn't yet cleared security, this was technically a breach of protocol, the concern being that the unsecured person might pass a weapon to the person who's already been cleared. Given the situation, though, this risk was probably pretty damn low, and so the TSA agents calmly and respectfully dealt with the situation.
Again, totally kidding. This does happen sometimes (TSA agents acting respectfully, I mean), but this wasn't one of those times.
The TSO refused to let my daughter pass through the scanners once more, to see if she too would set off the alarm. It was implied, several times, that my Mother, in their brief two-second embrace, had passed a handgun to my daughter.
My child, who was obviously terrified, had no idea what was going on, and the TSOs involved still made no attempt to explain it to her. When they spoke to her, it was devoid of any sort of compassion, kindness or respect. They told her she had to come to them, alone, and spread her arms and legs. She screamed, "No! I don't want to!" then did what any frightened young child might, she ran the opposite direction.
That is when a TSO told me they would shut down the entire airport, cancel all flights, if my daughter was not restrained …. [T]hey declared my daughter a "high security threat."
The TSO seemed utterly convinced my child was concealing a weapon, as if there was no question about it. Worse still, she was treating my daughter like she understood how dangerous this was, as if my daughter was not only a tool in a terrorist plot, but actually in on it. The TSO loomed over my daughter, with an angry grimace on her face, and ordered her to stop crying. When my scared child could not do so, two TSOs called for backup saying "The suspect is not cooperating."
All units, potential 10-472 [grandmother passing handgun to four-year-old] in progress.
This story (and the excerpt above) was originally posted on Facebook, which is not by any means authoritative, but The Consumerist contacted the TSA about this and it appeared to concede at least that the incident took place. "TSA has reviewed the incident," a spokesperson said, "and determined that our officers followed proper current screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child." Great, but what needs to be modified are your screening procedures.
Guys, I promise you, if a four-year-old girl tries to take over a plane I'm on, I will personally take that terrorist down myself. One hundred percent guaranteed.