Two disabled children harassed at PHL

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by LeeAnne, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. LeeAnne

    LeeAnne Original Member

    Yesterday I witnessed something in an airport that made me sick to my stomach. And that says a lot, because at this point the TSA’s abuses have become so routine that one would think nothing would surprise me, or any of us really. Especially after my own sexual assaults at LAX and OKC, and my elderly disabled mother’s assaults at Burbank and Atlanta. But I couldn't believe it was happening in front of my own eyes.

    Yesterday I saw the TSA harass two young disabled children. I have no photos or video – at the time that I saw it, I was going through the checkpoint myself and my phone was in my bag in a tray. But I assure you that what I saw happened as I describe.

    I was at Philadelphia International, about to fly home from a family reunion back East. I know some in here may question why, as a vocal TSA critic, I’m even flying anymore, and for the most part I don’t. I skipped my uncle’s funeral last year, missed my highschool reunion this summer, and have skipped other important events to avoid having to be molested by government thugs. But this reunion was my uncle’s 70th birthday party, and everyone was going to be there – all of my siblings, my cousins, all of my aunts and uncles. This was going to be the first time in a long time the family was coming together for a HAPPY occasion – there have been far too many funerals lately, and there are some members of the older generation who, I am quite sure, I will not be seeing again. So I braved the checkpoint.

    I got lucky. In LAX I was in a line where there was both a metal detector and a porno-scanner, and they were selecting who went into what after the x-ray. I was terrified to the point of shaking during the whole wait – Some of you may remember a previous experience at LAX, when a brutal groper rammed her upraised thumb into my vagina four times and then screamed at me and DYWTFT’d me when I objected. I have metal in my back due to major surgery last year, and I was told that eventually the bone would grow around it to the point where it wouldn’t set off the detectors anymore, so I was hoping against hope I’d get chosen for the metal detector and NOT alarm it, allowing me to avoid opting out and getting molested.

    My anxiety wasn’t helped by the bearded TSO whose sole job apparently is to wander around yelling in a horrifically demeaning and sarcastic tone, “Please remove all liquids from your bags, and yes folks, WATER… IS… A… LIQUID!”

    I’m sorry but there is just no excuse for that. I don’t care how many Ma & Pa Kettles he seen who failed to remove their water – that does not give him the right to yell to us like we’re all a bunch of morons. Not to mention the fact that the confusion and chaos of the process itself inevitably leads to people accidentally leaving such “prohibited items” in their bags. The line was almost an hour long, and there were families obviously flying home from Disneyland, trying to wrangle multiple children wearing Micky ears while holding fussy infants…is it really surprising to the TSA that the occasional water bottle gets forgotten in a backpack?

    Fortunately I was chosen for the metal detector, and even better – no alarm!

    I also got lucky on the way home: I don’t know if they don’t have porno-scanners at PHL, but there were only metal detectors where I entered the airport.

    There were two long lines snaking out on either side of the checkpoint, both feeding into a few x-rays and a couple of metal detectors. I noticed in the other line there were two young, handicapped children – they appeared to be around 8 to 10, a boy and a girl, in wheelchairs. They were obviously both physically and mentally handicapped, with two adults (a man and a woman – not sure if they were the parents or caregivers, but I’ll call them Mom and Dad). They had to wait through the long, circuitous line. Not sure why – don’t they routinely allow wheelchairs to skip the lines? But they waited, and arrived at the end of the line right around the same time I did. As I stood waiting to push my bins through the x-ray I saw the TSOs bring them to an unused metal detector/screening area nearby.

    And here’s where it gets disgusting. They made each child get OUT of their wheelchair and walk through the detectors – alone! These children were clearly profoundly mentally handicapped, and could not understand what was happening. They made the Dad walk through first, then left Mom to try to get each child out of their chair and through the detector. The girl was more mobile than the boy, who could barely stand on his own…but they made him get up out of his chair. Neither of them seemed to want to go anywhere near that big metal box, and it was clear the Mom was having difficulty getting them to understand what they wanted them to do.

    The girl finally managed to get through it alone, but meanwhile the boy was having trouble getting through the metal detector at all. I could tell the Mom was asking if she could walk through with him, but they kept shaking their heads no. I’m telling you, that poor boy could barely walk – he appeared to have some form of cerebral palsy, but I’m just speculating. He was standing unsteadily on shaky legs, cowering and clinging to his Mom, who was obviously trying to persuade him to walk forward. Why did they make the kids get out of their wheelchairs at all? Don't they usually screen handicapped people IN their chairs? I just don't understand that. The boy looked terrified, and both he and the Mom looked very upset.

    And that’s all I saw. At this point I was already through the checkpoint. I’d gathered my belongings and put my shoes back on, and then stood there watching the Mom trying to get the boy to walk, when a burly female TSO walked over to me, stood in front of me blocking my vision and asked me what I was doing. I said “oh, just watching you guys abuse more disabled kids,” and then I walked away because, well, I had to catch my flight. I wish I’d had time to watch the rest of it, and I wish I had more courage and bravado to DO something about it, or at least pull out my cell phone and video it. But I’m just a traveler…just an average American with a flight to catch, things on my mind, family to say goodbye to as they caught their flights home. And I had to be at work this morning, so I couldn’t chance getting detained and prevented from flying for “interfering with the screening process”.

    And that, folks, is how they manage to keep committing these atrocities: because they have terrorized us to the point where we’re afraid for ourselves if we speak up. I feel sick about it, but I was not in a position to be an outspoken activist at that moment. I was tired and running a bit late, and I just wanted to go home. I can only hope that those kids were allowed to get through the checkpoint without too much more harassment.

    So I’m speaking up now and telling you all what I saw. I’d like to hear ONE PERSON come in here and tell us that this is in ANYONE’S universe an acceptable way to treat our most vulnerable citizens. I’d like to hear ONE PERSON come in here and say that there was ANY CHANCE WHATSOEVER that those children were any kind of threat. I’d like to hear ONE PERSON tell me that this served any purpose at all, that they really think terrorists are going to use mentally handicapped, crippled kids to blow up planes, and that we should force them out of their wheelchairs and paw their little bodies to make sure it doesn’t happen.

    And I’d like to grow a pair of balls so that if I see something like this again, I’ll DO something about it, instead of walking away feeling like vomiting.
     
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  2. Well, I'm glad you said SOMETHING, anyway. That's more than most people say.

    Just wondering, but could it be that they were trying to have the kids walk through so as to avoid a total wheelchair gropefest? Not that it makes all this okay, but I'm just hoping for a silver lining.

    ETA: I also wonder what's the problem with carrying a disabled child through the WTMD and letting their wheelchair get the once over with nobody in it. You can carry babies and toddlers through. TSA's idea that by carrying a kid through you could reach down their pants and detonate a bomb or whatever is just silly.
     
  3. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    None of the TSA gropers looked like this guy, did they? At last notice, he was still employed by the TSA at PHL.

    Of course, the TSA was claiming he's not one of the gropers - he's just one of the backstage underwear-sniffers.
     
  4. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    Perhaps you could encapsulate the incident and send it to Lisa for posting at TSA News.
     
  5. RB

    RB Founding Member


    That guy is a TSM underware sniffer.
     
  6. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    So the TSA claims.

    And I think we all know how far to trust those claims.
     
  7. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    I believe every word of it and I'm nearly ready to place bets on how long it'll be before TSA sends some career liar in here to vomit up a pile of platitudes about "proper procedures" (which mandate abuse and violation) and "utmost respect" (which is TSA speak for "we (expletive deleted) you and you can't do anything back").

    If it's any consolation...Philadelphia 30th Street Station is a remarkably beautiful building and a sight for sore eyes when you arrive there on a train. If you're coming from where I think you're coming from, though, it'd be something of a lengthy ride.

    For those of you with iPhones, TapIn is perhaps a good way to go for videoing this stuff. It's like Qik in that it auto-uploads, but it was designed specifically for civil-rights protests and to be resistant to authoritarian attempts at censorship. The blue-uniformed domestic terrorists of TSA can tell you to stop taping, but there's nothing stopping you from getting a good, clean shot of their faces and name badges before you do. Those shots will, naturally, be auto-uploaded along with the rest of the video.
     
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  8. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Who says they'll have to "send" one? We've seen more than one career TSA liar in various forums, apparently doing so on their own time.

    However, any current TSA employee has to know just how tenuous their employment is, given that the people seem to be waking up. Slowly, but they're waking up. And eventually (I hope) every last one of the slack-jawed knuckle-dragging blue-shirted thugs will be at least jobless if not incarcerated.
     
    Elizabeth Conley likes this.
  9. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Unfortunately, carrying a child such as LeeAnne described is like carrying dead weight as they often can't cooperate in the act of picking them up and walking with them. For those parents or caregivers who can do so, however, it should certainly be an option.

    BTW, PHL was the airport that made the cop-father remove his child's braces and force him to walk through the WTMD. Remove braces/force out of wheelchair, what's the diff?
     
  10. LeeAnne

    LeeAnne Original Member

    Hi folks,

    Ugh, busy day at work...took me a while to get back in here to respond to your comments.

    We've been emailing.

    Granted I was only an observer, but from what I could tell, it was not the parents' choice to make them get up out of their wheelchairs. It was clearly very difficult to get those kids individually through the metal detector, and I can't imagine any scenario in which they would have preferred to go through that, rather than have them screened in their chairs. Although I will say that it may have been less problematic to do that, rather then put the kids through a sexual assault...it's possible the children would have reacted even worse to being bodily pawed.

    The horrific part of this is that they would be forced into making that choice AT ALL.

    EXACTLY!! This is exactly what I was wondering. Why did they not let the mom go through with the children? What's the difference if there are two bodies rather than one? If neither one of them sets off the detector, there's no friggen metal! What's so hard about that to grasp?

    I didn't actually get a good look at the TSO's - I think I have a natural reaction to avoid making eye contact with them, since I find them to be so offensive as human beings. My focus was riveted on that poor woman struggling with those kids.

    She wouldn't have had to even pick them up. The girl was able to walk well, although she clearly didn't want to go through it alone. The boy was more mobility-challenged, but he would have been able to walk through it with her. I never did even see if they were able to get him to walk through it.

    Again: EXACTLY! No different. Just as sick and disgusting.
     

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