TSA?

Sunday, November 21st, 2010 | Uncategorized

Quick question.  Has the Obama Administration ordered you to deliberately destroy this country’s airline industry or something?

A retired special education teacher on his way to a wedding in Orlando, Fla., said he was left humiliated, crying and covered with his own urine after an enhanced pat-down by TSA officers recently at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

“I was absolutely humiliated, I couldn’t even speak,” said Thomas D. “Tom” Sawyer, 61, of Lansing, Mich.

Sawyer is a bladder cancer survivor who now wears a urostomy bag, which collects his urine from a stoma, or opening in his stomach.  “I have to wear special clothes and in order to mount the bag I have to seal a wafer to my stomach and then attach the bag. If the seal is broken, urine can leak all over my body and clothes.”

On Nov. 7, Sawyer said he went through the security scanner at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. “Evidently the scanner picked up on my urostomy bag, because I was chosen for a pat-down procedure.”

Due to his medical condition, Sawyer asked to be screened in private. “One officer looked at another, rolled his eyes and said that they really didn’t have any place to take me,” said Sawyer. “After I said again that I’d like privacy, they took me to an office.”

Sawyer wears pants two sizes too large in order to accommodate the medical equipment he wears. He’d taken off his belt to go through the scanner and once in the office with security personnel, his pants fell down around his ankles. “I had to ask twice if it was OK to pull up my shorts,” said Sawyer, “And every time I tried to tell them about my medical condition, they said they didn’t need to know about that.”

Before starting the enhanced pat-down procedure, a security officer did tell him what they were going to do and how they were going to it, but Sawyer said it wasn’t until they asked him to remove his sweatshirt and saw his urostomy bag that they asked any questions about his medical condition.

“One agent watched as the other used his flat hand to go slowly down my chest. I tried to warn him that he would hit the bag and break the seal on my bag, but he ignored me. Sure enough, the seal was broken and urine started dribbling down my shirt and my leg and into my pants.”

The security officer finished the pat-down, tested the gloves for any trace of explosives and then, Sawyer said, “He told me I could go. They never apologized. They never offered to help. They acted like they hadn’t seen what happened. But I know they saw it because I had a wet mark.”

Humiliated, upset and wet, Sawyer said he had to walk through the airport soaked in urine, board his plane and wait until after takeoff before he could clean up.

Mother pus bucket

My father had colitis.  Long story short, it cost him a fair amount of his large intestine, he had to wear a colostomy bag for the rest of his life and it basically killed the relationship between the two of us.  I’m just glad he died in 2001.

In May, 2007,  I had prostate cancer surgery so I had to have a Foley catheter in me for a week(look it up; I ain’t going there).  It’s damn lucky that that wasn’t a week ago and that I didn’t have to fly anywhere.  Because if I’d have been this Sawyer, I’d be in jail because some TSA guy would have a broken jaw.

43 Comments to TSA?

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Muerk
November 21, 2010

This is just revolting. That poor, poor man.

Truth Unites... and Divides
November 21, 2010

o “Humiliated, upset and wet, Sawyer said he had to walk through the airport soaked in urine, board his plane and wait until after takeoff before he could clean up.”

o “Because if I’d have been this Sawyer, I’d be in jail because some TSA guy would have a broken jaw.”

Muslim terrorists have achieved their objective of degrading the quality of life in America. In that sense they have won a victory.

Second observation: Secular Liberals aid and abet Islam.

skeptic5
November 21, 2010

TSA is the employer of last resort for many. They can’t give their employees any discretion because they aren’t consistently smart enough to exercise it appropriately. So all have to perform at the level of the lowest common denominator.

kb9gzg
November 21, 2010

Does anyone think that we will someday quit trying to detect “dangerous things,” and instead (like the Israelis) preclude dangerous people from boarding aircraft?

midwestnorwegian
November 21, 2010

Put together insidious political correctness from decades of indoctrination forcing people to NOT notice differences between individuals – a government run by totalitarians – mindless sturmgruppen TSA bureaucrat employees (just following orders) – and we have effectively just made absolutely EVERYONE wear the yellow star.

Those TSA employees aren’t allowed to have feelings or use discretion. Hell, they’re PROGRAMMED not to have feelings. Apologize? No way! They are enforcing compliance. Wear that yellow star. Get on that cattle car.

TU&D – I’m with you…the Islamo-fascists have won.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
November 21, 2010

These events surrounding the government run TSA remind me of how my government run bank (my employer) operates. I say gov’t. run bank not because they took it over but in essence ALL banks are run by the government through their regulatory agencies. One might assume that the smaller the bank the greater the control but my experience is exactly the opposite and I work for one of the biggest.

Anyway, on to my point…

Process and procedure are all that matters to the government. Outcomes are irrelevant as it is assumed that if one follows propoer P&P you will obviously get a proper outcome. The trouble is that goverment P&P makes no allowance for routine exceptions. In the case of the TSA, it seems clear that there is no guidance for handling medical conditions. As these goons are ‘just doing their job’ they see no reason to apologize. In the eyes of the government it is the passengers with metal knees or an ostomy bag that are outside P&P and should be the ones apologizing to the TSA.

JM
November 21, 2010

Everybody in TSA, from the top to the bottom, knows the most obvious risk factors in a person being a terrorist. If you offered a $10M reward for discovering a terrorist at the airport, but told the TSA employees they only had ten or twenty picks per day, nobody would waste those picks on people who are the most unlikely to be terrorists. They would probably pick out swarthy-looking Middle-Eastern types of males between 18 and 45 years old, and exclusively Islamists if they could determine it. They might even attempt to use some behavioral clues. They would never say, let’s just pick at random.

The scanning only works if everybody gets irradiated. Used in a random fashion, it’s just a tool of political correctness designed to inconvenience or humiliate average citizens. They claim to have discovered some 100+ items of contraband this way, but I bet they are all nail clippers, forgotten pocketknives or harmless liquids. Have they apprehended, charged and convicted anyone for attempted terrorist acts as a result of random scanning?

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
November 21, 2010

Another observation…

This is actually one area where I DON’T blame Barry, at least entirely. The US has been miles behind other nations in terms of flight security for ages. Now they are hopelessly off course. Keep in mind that before 9/11 the various agencies like FBI & CIA couldn’t really cooperate – thanks to Big Bill I think.

I do think this is an example of where Barry is following Alinsky’s & Emmanuel’s advice and not letting a crisis go to waste.

JM
November 21, 2010

Here’s a non-invasive tool: I would have dogs in every airport. Ideally, they would be highly trained sniffer dogs, but even if not, anyone acting afraid of the dog might be a behavioral clue.

And if Snoopy sniffs some celebrity crotch, he is not likely to put it on the internet. He might tell his brother Spike, but that’s about it.

Daniel Muller
November 21, 2010

anyone acting afraid of the dog might be a behavioral clue.

I am afraid of dogs, but not as afraid as I am of Pervatrons and public gropers.

I certainly would not have any “religious” objections to them.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
November 21, 2010

One final thing on government policy & procedure and then I’m done. One P&P that applies to absolutely EVERYTHING the government does is this: if any particular procedure does not work the problem is that it was not done enough. You never ever cancel a procedure, you correct the problem by expanding the procedure ad nauseam.

FW Ken
November 21, 2010

Sorry, “government regulations” is no excuse. I work with for the (state) government, with the bad guys no less, and I had better show the baddest of them common courtesy, or my boss will be all over me, not to mention a state representative.

I am even expected to show some common sense, but that can be really dicey. Say wife calls and he beat her up. No police report, or police aren’t pursuing charges. I can lock the the guy up on my warrant, but should I? Is it just baby mama. I’ve seen that, but I’ve also seen assault lead to murder.

But for purposes of devil’s advocacy, let’s say the screeners see the bag and pass the guy through. Hey, he’s a sick old man! Word gets out that medical problems will get you in. The next bag contains a liquid explosive. Far-fetched? Really? These days?

I say that, but go back to my first point: attitude is everything. I’m betting they could have jollied the old guy, had him manage the bag, use some common sense, and everything would have been fine.

BUT… consider what they are facing. If I make a mistake at work, someone could die. Even if it’s not my mistake (it wasn’t), the emotional impact is incredible. Now say I’m responsible for security of that plane that just blew up. 120 or so people are dead. Air travel tanks, with large effects on the whole economy.

All I’m saying is that it’s a complex matter and facile sound bites are not adequate for addressing it.

But here’s my question: the Israelis supposedly have excellent airport security. How do they do it?

Daniel Muller
November 21, 2010

Generally, I do not blame the TSA agents. They just want to keep their jobs, which is NOT to find terrorists. But this is not good.

Daniel Muller
November 21, 2010
ann r
November 21, 2010

I read that Obama buddy Chertoff is responsible for all those X radiation machines. Political payoff?

Maureen
November 21, 2010

Obviously, the gentleman tried hard not to get urine on the TSA agents, but they didn’t return the favor to him.

Personally, if I’ve got urine all over myself, I’d share the wealth. Of course, this particular bunch of jerks would probably have tried to throw the guy in jail and make him miss his flight for touching them with his biohazardous materials, but it might have been worth it. (Might be the only thing likely to teach those jerks some circumspection and politesse.)

Bill (not IB)
November 21, 2010

I said it a couple of days ago, and I’ll say it again.

The terrorists have won. They need do nothing themselves; our “government” is now terrorizing its own citizens. Incidents like this one are rapidly piling up, and it’s clear that the so-called “policies” and “professionalism” of the TSA are about as real as Never-Never Land.

What REALLY scares me is the likelihood that the next attempt to blow up a plane will result in body cavity searches. And I’m not joking, nor do I think I’m exaggerating the situation. If they have right to touch any part of you externally, they have the right to do so internally.

And I quiver at this thought: how would you explain that to a child???

Midwestern Episcopalian
November 21, 2010

This is the way totalitarian regimes work..humiliate people..preferably in public…take away any shred of human dignity..all in the name of public safety of course..if the people revolt against these impositions it will be the perfect excuse for which to declare martial law….

J.M. Heinrichs
November 21, 2010

FW Ken
The Israeli security people are knowledgeable, experienced and accustomed to looking for innovative solutions to difficult problems.

The TSA is a US government department.

Cheers

Midwestern Episcopalian
November 21, 2010

Our economy, the automobile industry, health care industry and now the airlines..what’s next?? How long until America has it’s own Kristallnacht..

Ed the Roman
November 21, 2010

Israeli airport security looks for terrorists using psychological profiling.

Katherine
November 21, 2010

Psychological profiling, observation and smart selection of people to search would be just as effective and far, far, less expensive and annoying than what’s going on now. This is political correctness run amok. One of the good things about America is that most of us have been raised to believe, and do believe, that people should not be judged according to category, however defined. Now this is being turned against us. In large cities police are pilloried for arresting more black and latino people — but the sad fact is that those populations in LA, for instance, have much higher crime rates than others. It’s sensible profiling in the interest of public safety, including and especially the safety of black and latino residents. Same thing at the airports. Elderly white ladies from Kansas City are not going to blow up planes. One size fits all terrorism prevention is insanity.

I doubt that all the TSA agents are all monsters, or even that most of them are. The ones in this example do sound heartless and inept. But in general they are not given any discretion by their employer. They are told to search all people in this invasive way or lose their jobs. Trained intelligence people looking over the crowds and focusing on people who fit psychological profiles could do this better.

Katherine
November 21, 2010

This looks to me like a sensible article about how to do it better.

ann r
November 21, 2010

Makes the train and the bus look really inviting.

Duane
November 21, 2010

Daniel Muller,

If TSA wishes to take my son away from me, they will have to pry him from my cold, dead hands.

Bill (not IB)
November 21, 2010

Katherine,

Thanks for that article – it DOES make sense.

Sadly, that means it’s unlikely to be implemented. Remember, anything that is in any way discriminatory is BAD-BAD-BAD because it may offend someone. Better to spend tons more money offending *everyone*….

My only hope is that there will be enough troubles this coming week because of the usual high volume of fliers for Thanksgiving that the hue and cry will become impossible to just shrug off. And, if airline bookings start nosing downwards (once Christmas is past, a trend would be obvious) there may well be a response from the airlines. Lastly, foreign travel to the USA could drop off, since citizens in other countries who don’t want to have to be gawked at or groped by the TSA *can* choose other destinations. A slowdown in tourism would really throw some cold water onto any hopes of economic recovery.

Michael D
November 21, 2010

I am a Canadian, so perhaps I have the wrong idea, but I thought the following fourth-amendment clause: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated” would pretty well prevent this problem from occurring?

skeptic5
November 21, 2010

Reducing the size of the haystack (as suggested in the article linked by Katherine) would reduce the need for TSA agents. A reduction in government employment is NOT going to happen under this President.

Michael D
November 21, 2010

But I’m with you Chris… I seriously better avoid US airports until this settles down. I had a pat-down at Quebec Airport on Friday and felt my anger rising. But it turned out to be the “old style” pat-down which was OK.

Flambeaux
November 21, 2010

Michael D,

The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution would apply…except that, like so many of our other liberties, it has been effectively suspended in the wake of 9/11 and we now have a cabal running this country for whom the Constitution is best ignored so as to achieve the “fundamental transformation” of the United States.

A Constitutional government, republican or monarchical, only works so long as there are virtuous men about willing to act responsibly. Once the government and the populace is comprised of knaves and fools, or at a minimum has a preponderance of knaves and fools, nothing on earth can stop the dissolution of that society into anarchy. Despotism becomes the next stop on the express train.

JB
November 21, 2010

This type of nonsense is outrageous !

Is there a national support group for people abused this way ?
If not, there should be
…with perhaps a very fine retired attorney and a very fine retired medical doctor who could serve pro bono at its head.

Suspect funding would come quickly, and a few bulletproof lawsuits as well as substantial pressure upon legislators would do the trick.

Bro AJK
November 22, 2010

Dear Ann,

In a conspiracy-theory moment, perhaps this is a push for the high-speed rail system? Get enough people disgusted with flying and then we’ll willing pay more for trains…..which we’ll have to deal with the same “security measures.”

Allen Lewis
November 22, 2010

This is unconscionable! But remember, the TSA is a result of the over-reaction by the Bush Administration to 9/11. Of course the PC atmosphere – which prevents rational profiling and selection has a lot to do with it also.

But you will note, Barack Obama never called for the repeal of the Bush-era “security measures.” Now it is becoming clear why.

Daniel Muller
November 22, 2010

But remember, the TSA is a result of the over-reaction by the Bush Administration to 9/11.

I am not so sure that an overreaction was possible. However, I do think, especially in hindsight, that it was a highly misguided reaction.

Bill (not IB)
November 22, 2010

Daniel has it right. We didn’t over-react; we did the wrong things. But it’s still not too late to right the wrong; to adopt measures like Israel, and nonharmful/nongraphic scanners used in various European countries.

However, although i’s not too late, it’s probably politically impossible. It would require admitting massive errors, and also support of profiling – and I think there are very few people in Congress who have the stones to take such actions. (Maybe we can have the TSA check who has them during their searches……)

Llano Estacado
November 22, 2010

I don’t fly and so I don’t know, but I’m guessing the TSA thugs don’t wear name tags. Because if they did, they might be less inclined to act that way. So maybe they should be required to wear them. For starters…

Michael+
November 22, 2010

Way back up the list of comments there was talk of using sniffer dogs. I think that would be far better and more effective than dosing everyone with radiation before boarding the plane. God made dogs with and incredible ability to detect even the most well hidden scent, so why not use a God provided asset to help protect our airports. Of course, there could be a cultural backlash, and therefore a liberal charge of insensitivity, because most Middle Eastern cultures consider dogs to be unclean animals, I believe.

For my money, the best bet is car and train travel. It is a monumental failure of policy and foresight that our passenger rail capabilities have fallen so much by the wayside. I’m not a big fan of Amtrak because it is essentially another arm of the Federal Government, but in days past, private industry provided for our travel from one place to another on those long silver rails….maybe they could do so once again. Maybe the solution to all this joblessness is a new effort to rebuild our continental rail system. I don’t mean overly engineered innercity fast-rail systems that look good on paper and in some moron’s campaign for office. I mean time tested, good old fashioned trains with traincars that go from city to city, from coast to coast and deliver property and passengers along the way.

I think that would work quite well….until the government gets its hands on it.

Pax,
Michael+

Truth Unites... and Divides
November 22, 2010

The terrorists have won. They need do nothing themselves; our “government” is now terrorizing its own citizens.

Hard not to concede to this observation.

Oh well. What can the TSA do when terrorists will smuggle explosives up their rectum and the liberals forbid racial profiling?

P.S. What would happen if you accidentally fart while you’re being groped by a TSA agent?

J. Stuart Little
November 22, 2010

Michael+

Sadly the operation of passenger trains was a money losing proposition, in the multiple millions for many of the railroads, and that was in the 60′s with inflation, well …..
The only thing that brought it closer to break even (on an operating bases – not allowing for the cost of equipment) was the in transit sorting of mail, in other words a federal subsidy.

As to the current system it is in good shape – for freight operations – which can delay the passenger trains. There is the additional problem that many lines that passenger trains ran on have been eliminated because they did not provide sufficient freight traffic or it could be more efficiently handled on another line. The Pennsylvania Railroad mainlines to St. Louis and Chicago are now either abandoned (torn from the earth) or secondary branches.

[...] by this, adults are not treated any better.  However, the TSA is attempting to improve the [...]

Michael+
November 23, 2010

J. Stuart Little

I agree that it was a losing proposition, but that was because car travel and the emerging availability of air travel made it so. Freight will certainly always be the railroads bread and butter, as evidenced by the current spate of advertisements I have seen on TV from Union Pacific and Burlington Northern. I am merely pondering what happens when the whole process of flying anywhere becomes so burdensome that we as consumers opt out of doing it?

Americans have always prided ourselves on our ability to travel freely from point A to point B without ID cards or permission from some organ of the state. How far we have come. Now we willingly wait in line for hours and hours and submit ourselves to potentially embarassing searches of our persons while seeking permission from the TSA to be able to go and visit Grandma in Boca for a week.

As I also said, maybe the era of the teleconference is finally here. The airlines have always relied on the business traveller, not the vacationer, to keep their planes in the air. Maybe the economy and the TSA will bring about a real shift in the business paradigm.

Following 9/11, I opined that airport and airline security should be turned over to the US Marshalls Service because they had the experience and training to identify and address real and perceived threats. This would be better than creating an new federal beauracracy that didn’t know what it was doing or how to do it. And yes, I am in favor of profiling. If you look and act like a threat, then you just might be a threat.

Ultimately, I decry the loss of the joy of travelling. I used to love to fly. It was a big part of the trip for me. The terrorists have indeed won in as much as they have forced us to change our behavior in response to them.

Michael+

J. Stuart Little
November 23, 2010

Rail passenger losses existed before the auto, the problem is the number of people required to operate the train and onboard services.

I don not fly, for many reasons, mostly because of neck and knee injuries that preclude standing for hours to be irradiated or fondled.

I feared the Patriot Act and other reaction to 9/11 because I feared it in the hands of, well, an Obama.

Prior to my retirement (fun tales from that some other time) when I flew I had to display a US government picture ID – and I was hassled at the security points a couple of times, and that was long before 9/11.

Drive, less hassles, you don’t have to rent a car when you get there, and fly over country (well other than Western Ohio and Indiana)is beautiful. You also won’t glow in the dark.

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