I have spent a good bit of time calling out the TSA on this site. You can check out some of the highlights here. I have come to expect unprofessionalism from the agency and I also generally think the entire concept was a wrongheaded overreaction to the terror attacks of 9/11. I think the TSA’s own procedures prevent them from effectively doing what they were created to do; stop terrorists from getting on planes. Basically they are all show, which is why we are constantly bombarded with reports of TSA agents harassing passengers and letting actually terrorists get by.
Even I was shocked and saddened by this story however. It seems a 4 year old girl cried and gave her grandmother a hug when the grandmother was pulled aside for a pat down. Obviously this was a not a scarred child reacting to a situation she did not understand. The TSA rightly understood that this was a ploy for the grandmother to pass a gun to the four year old. (That was sarcasm)
The TSA agents on the scene then declared the little girl a security threat and pulled her aside for a pat down as well. Not understanding why she was being forced to endure some very real ‘stranger danger’ the girl continued to cry and scream for her mother. At this point the TSA agents warned they would shut down the entire airport if the child was not brought under control.
I have four kids ranging in age from 18 to 3. My kids are generally well behaved and I make it a point to ensure they understand how to comport themselves in public. I rarely baby them and I encourage them to get back up when they fall down instead of crying. I am the first to become annoyed when a parent cannot control their child in public. That however is not the issue. The issue is the wild overreaction of the TSA which caused this child to react and the unprofessionalism and insensitivity of the TSA agents on the scene.
Are our TSA agents really so stupid that they cannot differentiate between a “handoff” going on right in front of them and a kid clinging to their grandmother for comfort? The TSA says their agents acted appropriately. I would counter in the strongest possible terms that every agent involved in this incident should be disciplined. We do not cease to be American citizens when we purchase an airline ticket. The Constitution does not end at the terminal gate. We are a free people and the TSA exists to serve and protect us, not to harass and humiliate us. If they are this incompetent I doubt they would recognize a real terrorist if he sat on an agent’s face and started to wiggle.
The TSA is nothing more than bureaucratized thugs with just enough power to have an inflated sense of their own stature and importance. It is time this agency was done away with, or replaced with private security guards answerable to the customer. The United States is not a police state, nor should be forced to live as one.