Is your 15-year-old son a terrorist?

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by TSA News Blog, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. TSA News Blog

    TSA News Blog News Feed

    It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You arrive at the airport to fly home from your family vacation, and something goes wrong — terribly wrong — at the TSA screening area.​
    It happened to Susan Bruce recently when she flew from Phoenix to Dallas with her husband, teenage son, and daughter.​
    “When we got to security, my son went first in line through the X-ray machine and TSA flagged him for the hand swab test,” she remembers. “While the rest of the family was stuck on the other side of the X-ray machine, my son was pulled aside for supposedly having a positive result for explosives.”​
    Bruce, who lives in Dallas and is a mathematician by training and a homemaker, is certain it was a misunderstanding. Her son is no terrorist, she says. He’s a clean-cut honor student.​
    “The air in Phoenix is very dry and we all had put some lotion on our hands that morning — maybe the cause of the result,” she speculates. “Or it may have been fertilizer from the grass he touched. After all, he’s 15.”​
    But the TSA treated him like Richard Reid’s son.​
    “All eyes were focused on my son as the rude agents threw accusations at him,” she recalls. “One agent asked him if there was anything sharp in the luggage. His response was, ‘What?’ Keep in mind he is 15, so his Mom packed the luggage. He had no idea what was in each bag.”​
    The agents were impolite and accusatory. They ordered him to stay away from the luggage while they tested it. He felt as if he’d failed some kind of test.​
    “He just stood there in shock,” says Bruce.​
    And that wasn’t the worst of it.​
    The TSA’s teen problem
    The TSA may have figured out what to do with kids under 12 and passengers over 75, allowing those low-risk passengers to go through the screening area without removing their jackets or shoes. But something happens when that 12-year-old turns 13. He or she becomes a high-risk air traveler who’s scanned, prodded, and interrogated at the checkpoint. His only crime is coming of age, and from one day to the next becoming part of the feared “terrorist” demographic.​
    Bruce’s incident is hardly an isolated one. The TSA botched the pat-down of a 17-year-old girl in 2010, who also happened to be the niece of a U.S. congressman. During the exam, the girl’s sundress slipped, revealing her breasts in public. An internal investigation released late last year concluded the whole thing was an “unfortunate” accident.​
    Agents also recently gave another girl such a rigorous once-over that they broke her insulin pump. Savannah Barry claims TSA agents in Salt Lake City were rude and abrupt, even though she tried to warn them that she was wearing the pump. Clearly, the agents thought she was up to no good. Diabetics are such a menace.​
    Some of the worst stories are the ones that don’t make the news. One concerned mother contacted me a few weeks ago after the entire family flew out of Washington’s Dulles airport. The rest of her family walked through the metal detectors and full-body scanners without incident, but when it was her teenage daughter’s turn, the male screener asked her to back up and walk through again. He said the scanner “needed to get a better look” at her.​
    Yeah, I bet it did.​
    Is my son a terrorist?
    While most of the incidents that capture the public’s attention involve teenage girls, probably because the cliche of the lecherous male screener preying on an innocent virgin is just too irresistible, the boys may have it worse. Bear in mind that young men do indeed fit the terrorist profile; all of the 9/11 bombers were young men, which means any TSA agent worth his training will be extra vigilant when it comes to anything young and male.​
    “It took every fiber in my son not to burst into tears,” remembers Bruce. “The agent continued to badger him until they whisked him away for a private pat-down, where they brought my husband to witness them groping him, including his genitals.”​
    Nearly half an hour after they approached the security screening area in Phoenix, it was all over. The Bruce family had been cleared for takeoff.​
    “We led our shaken son and sobbing daughter to the gate where boarding was already under way,” she says.​
    Bruce blames herself for allowing this to happen.​
    “I’m so upset,” she says. “I’m mad at myself because I feel like I failed my son by not protecting him. But I was totally unprepared for this.”​
    We are all unprepared for this. My oldest son turns 11 this year, but he’s taller than many 13-year-olds. What will the TSA do to him the next time we go through security? What will they do to your son or daughter?​
    Do we really have to trade our dignity for security? I don’t think so. The agents who barked orders at the Bruce family, who disrobed the congressman’s niece and broke Barry’s insulin pump would have benefitted from some basic customer-service training. Instead, they’re traumatizing an entire generation of air travelers.​
    We deserve better.​
  2. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Two words: Refundable Tickets! don't leave home without them! Make your travel plans flexible.
    TSA has no authority to force such a test on you if you don't want it. Reset to another flight or time. It is unconscionable for them to resolve this ETD alarm in this fashion, given the 100% false results generated by the ETD test. Unquestionably invalid given its performance in the field, this test and its resolution are nothing other than a crime of sexual imposition. Pistole needs to be prosecuted for this, and every clerk involved in this.
    DeafBlonde and Elizabeth Conley like this.
  3. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Refundable tickets sound good until you take the cost of travel into consideration.

    Even better is to boycott the airlines.
  4. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    true, but sometimes it's not avoidable. totalled as a family, we took two flights last year and one this year so far. All other times, trains, replacing a total of 16 flights over that same time period.

    the disgusting butt, groin, and breast massages have not only damaged and violated us at our own airports, this disgusting behavior has spread out into the broader society and infected it. A colleague of mine was down at the Coachella music festival last week, and they had security people feeling up into your groin and massaging your butt just like the blue gloved *ssholes do at the airport.

    TSA has made a significant contribution toward turning this country into a hellhole.
  5. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    For reals?

    That is disgusting!

    WTF is wrong with people?
    Elizabeth Conley and Doober like this.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    For a lot trips that's not feasible. They're priced out of range.

    For domestic trips, consider Southwest. All tickets are changeable w/o change fees and fully creditable to a different ticket for the same traveler. The expiration date (12 mos. from purchase) is set by the oldest source of funds applied to a particular ticket.

    If you try to rebook for later in the day or the next day, you will pay last-minute fares. If you TELL TSA where to get off & then rebook 2-4 weeks out, it will probably be a wash. You can try again another day without penalty.

    Personally I prefer simply not to fly until the scourge is removed from airports!
  7. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Hopefully, someone will step up and file a complaint against those who did this.
  8. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Why would they? After all, it's for your safety, and it's no big deal. It's just like going through the airport. Who wants to make a big fuss anyway?

    See... this is exactly where DHS has brought us - to normalized sexualization.
    Doober likes this.

Share This Page