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TSA Defends Pat Down of 4-Year-Old Girl 1174

Posted by samzenpus
from the child-ticket-for-security-theater dept.
cosm writes "With public outcry against the TSA continuing to spread, the TSA is defending a recent episode in which a four-year-old was patted down while kicking and screaming at Wichita Airport in Kansas. From the AP article: 'The grandmother of a 4-year-old girl who became hysterical during a security screening at a Kansas airport said Wednesday that the child was forced to undergo a pat-down after hugging her, with security agents yelling and calling the crying girl an uncooperative suspect.'"
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TSA Defends Pat Down of 4-Year-Old Girl

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  • Of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NeverSuchBefore (2613927) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:06AM (#39805183)

    Otherwise, despite increased cockpit security and civilian awareness, we'd all die from terrorist attacks! That's why you must surrender your privacy in exchange for the all-important security theater like a good citizen would do. Otherwise, you're just a terrorist!

    • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:09AM (#39805203) Homepage
      Personally, I'm at the point where I'd rather take my chances with the alleged terrorists than the TSA.
      • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by anomaly256 (1243020) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:19AM (#39805283)
        No shit. I can promise you right now if anyone ever did that to my daughter they wouldn't be breathing for long after. TSA, cop, a judge, The Pope, The Queen, I don't really care who it is they would be dead before they hit the ground. Duress is applicable when it's your child being attacked and molested.
        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JockTroll (996521) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:30AM (#39805371)
          Don't dream it, be it.
        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dintech (998802) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:45AM (#39805491)

          After 9/11, we're all terrorists now.

          • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by nonades (1053946) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:50AM (#39806231) Homepage
            9/11 really did change everything...
        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Oswald (235719) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:46AM (#39805503)

          This +5 Insightful communication operates at pretty much the same level as my dogs' communication when they see a stranger out the front window. The bad news: you're not as tough as you think you are. The good news: you're probably not as reckless and violent as you want to think you are, either.

          Here's hoping it's all fantasy, and you don't actually have a daughter to expose to these kinds of "Insight".

          • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by anomaly256 (1243020) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:49AM (#39805535)
            Do you have children? I'm guessing not. When someone grabs at your child wanting to touch them all over, adrenaline and rage take over all cognitive function and I doubt any TSA rentacop has reflexes to reciprocate.
            • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by anomaly256 (1243020) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:52AM (#39805565)
              And if you by chance do have children and lack this primitive, important instinct then something is seriously, seriously wrong with you
            • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by thegarbz (1787294) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:59AM (#39805625)

              That's the problem. When was the last time you saw ONE TSA rent-a-cop at a security check point.

              Your actions while noble will likely be short lived and you will get to make a new personal friend with a glove on in the back room. It's the standard toughguy scenario we all suffer from. Yes I would defend my daughter. No I would not go apeshit at a group of armed people just because they patted her down while she was having a tantrum.

              Remember, you're no good to her dead or in prison.

              • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

                by drerwk (695572) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:03AM (#39805665) Homepage
                I would respectfully suggest what the girl was having was not a tantrum; perhaps more like a panic.
              • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

                by ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:07AM (#39805701)

                Remember, you're no good to her dead or in prison.

                No, but you're good to everyone if you get sent there for protecting your daughter from TSA molestation. Seriously, we'd see the true colors of this nation and the control the politicians and corporate overlords really hold if someone went berserk at a checkpoint trying to protect their child. It'd be easier for the nation to swallow if it were a mother, but a father might be close enough.

                • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Informative)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:20AM (#39805839)

                  Seriously, we'd see the true colors of this nation and the control the politicians and corporate overlords really hold if someone went berserk at a checkpoint trying to protect their child.

                  Perhaps. My sister completely flipped out years ago, when the TSA basically released her 2-year-old into the crowded airport (she was at the "terrible twos" stage) while they held my sister and brother-in-law back because the metal detector had beeped. They literally took away the child from her parents, and then paid no attention when she bolted into the crowd.

                  My sister was hauled off for "special screening", cursing them at the top of her lungs in english and french, in a pluperfect rage, because she tried to defy the TSA and catch my niece. My brother-in-law kept his head, kowtowed obsequiously to the tinpot tyrants, and was allowed through once they'd figured out what forgotten bit of metal was causing the beeping. By the time he found his daughter, half an hour later, they'd finished ritually humiliating my sister (she's an American citizen, so she got the short course) and they managed to make their plane with a minute or two to spare.

                  During all of this, literally hundreds of people stood by watching and did nothing. So I guess we did see the "true colors of this nation" as you said. It's the color of terrorized weaklings.

                  • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @10:02AM (#39806411)

                    During all of this, literally hundreds of people stood by watching and did nothing. So I guess we did see the "true colors of this nation" as you said. It's the color of terrorized weaklings.

                    Quoted for fucking emphasis.

                  • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @10:32AM (#39806821)

                    The position is called checkmate.

                    Whilst it's easy to call all those people watching terrorized weaklings, look at the situation. If you intervene and actually disrupt the screening agents, your minimally looking at a felony. If they really want to get you, they'll tack on a terrorist charge, and then you're really fucked. It really is too much to ask for a random citizen to intervene when the position is knowing your whole life as you know it, will likely be over after that moment. You can call them weak, but the situation has become that extreme for anyone to interfere.

                    By that example, the Government has us all at checkmate. Yes it's absurd, and wrong, and unjust, but that's the hand we've accepted out of fear and nationalistic drumming during a time of mass post-traumatic stress. Our elected officials reacted, and we're now living with those results. Want it changed? Let your voice be heard, but not at the TSA checkpoint. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING good can come out of doing it there.

                • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @10:03AM (#39806423)

                  No, but you're good to everyone if you get sent there for protecting your daughter from TSA molestation. Seriously, we'd see the true colors of this nation and the control the politicians and corporate overlords really hold if someone went berserk at a checkpoint trying to protect their child. It'd be easier for the nation to swallow if it were a mother, but a father might be close enough.

                  Tomorrows' headline (Slashdot version): "Father Imprisoned for Defending Toddler from Physical Abuse at TSA Checkpoint"

                  Tomorrow's headline (TSA Spin version, actually reported): "Violent Attacker Imprisoned for Seriously Injuring Anti-Terrorism Personnel after Checkpoint Security Breach".

            • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by hherb (229558) <horstNO@SPAMdorrigomedical.com> on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:14AM (#39805789) Homepage

              I hate to wreck your heroic fantasies - but all over the world, at different times, brutal regimes have broken families, murdered children in front of their parents eyes, raped people ... all in front of their watching powerless partners who could do bugger all. Heroic resistance of individuals is something that works only in Hollywood movies. Even in fairly recent times some so called "civilized Western" countries were still stealing children form their families for political reasons (eg google for stolen generation in Australia). It has happened in the past, is happening now, and unfortunately will probably still happen in the foreseeable future - and not just in bogeyman countries with third world dictators.

              The USA has started on a downward spiral into a totalitarian regime with no regard whatsoever for human rights or life. I am not sure whether they are past the point of no return where simple and peaceful measures such as elections could still change something - but in any case, should the TSA molest your child, you will most likely be powerlessly sobbing while their henchmen hold you down, and afterwards probably ponder in jail what good your token resistance did while your child is raised in some state orphanage.

        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Evanisincontrol (830057) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:29AM (#39805953)

          And after you were thrown in jail (assuming you weren't killed by police officers during your violent rampage), who would protect your 4 year old daughter then? Do you truly think her childhood would be better with you dead or in jail?

          Yes, the situation you describe is a shitty one, but taking the short-sided approach of "kill the guy who's close by" is not the best way to protect your family. You are responsible for protecting your child her entire life, not just for that one instant. So grow the fuck up and learn how to control your primal instincts, or else you will indeed be letting your family down.

          • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by shentino (1139071) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:58AM (#39806357)

            Sure, go ahead and blame the victim when the system is at fault.

            • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Evanisincontrol (830057) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @10:16AM (#39806581)
              The system is broken, but that doesn't allow the OP to abscond his responsibilities as a parent. When he's in jail and the mother has to work a triple shift to support their children, or they go into adoption system because the mother can't support them alone, the OP can't just sit back and say "Totally not my fault in any way! It's THE SYSTEM! There's nothing else I could have done, my hands are clean!" I agree, the system is broken and needs to be fixed (or completely rebuilt from scratch). However, until the system is fixed, when presented with two bad choices he still needs to pick the better of the two. He doesn't get a free pass to do whatever he wants just because he was dealt a shitty hand.
        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by 1s44c (552956) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:57AM (#39806339)

          No shit. I can promise you right now if anyone ever did that to my daughter they wouldn't be breathing for long after. TSA, cop, a judge, The Pope, The Queen, I don't really care who it is they would be dead before they hit the ground. Duress is applicable when it's your child being attacked and molested.

          It's going to happen one day. Some TSA goon is going to molest the wrong little girl. It seems few Americans will stand up for their own rights but they might just stand behind someone who stood up for his.

          I'm in Europe and can't believe what you people put up with.

        • by King_TJ (85913) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @10:25AM (#39806697) Journal

          But I hear the same thing a lot on message forums, where it's easy to hide behind a screen and a broadband connection....

          The reality is, people aren't really doing anything about this stuff when it happens. When you're out in public, being ordered around by a bunch of people in govt. issued badges and granted the authority to have you strip searched, arrested, and blacklisted from ever traveling on a commercial airplane again -- it's funny how people tend to lose much of their willingness to fight back.

          Every once in a rare while, someone makes a public protest (like the guy in Oregon who recently tried to go through the scanners in the nude). But it's quickly blown off and we're back to govt. control as usual.... (Right after he did that, I saw comments on the news stories to the effect of, "He was a computer programmer and I knew him... He was a nice guy and never did anything wrong. I can't understand what possessed him to do this!")

          Nope ... it's all a grand experiment to slowly "boil the frogs". Keep adding regulations and restrictions slowly, and it's amazing how much the American public will tolerate. Most of us wouldn't "jump out of the pot" if we had a chance, right now... Too comfortable in here!

      • by Peter Simpson (112887) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:52AM (#39805563)
        Perhaps it's time the TSA realized that no planeload of passengers is ever again going to quietly allow anyone to take over an aircraft. If we assume that there are fewer terrorists than defenders on the aircraft, and that all have been through a metal detector, the chances are pretty damn good that an aircraft full of uncooperative passengers can and will subdue any reasonable number of attackers, even if they have hostages and even if they have knives.

        If TSA were to mount a publicity campaign to encourage fighting back (in the appropriate circumstances, of course), the odds would be even further improved.

        But that would make far too much sense, and nobody would get rich selling useless tech to the government...
        • by ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:14AM (#39805783)

          You think they don't know that? The TSA is not some collection of informed rules being constructed by reasonable minds -- it's a wrecking ball whose only mission is "protection at all costs" and all decisions are being made by people who fear losing their jobs more than they fear a terrorist attack. When advocating for rehabilitation instead of punishment is a "soft on crime" position and advocating a responsible global policy of power protection is a "soft on defense" position then advocating for a reasonable set of security procedures at checkpoints is "soft on terrorism." We can't just try to /teach/ the TSA. That's impossible at this point. We need something that shows the people that the TSA /is/ terrorism if we want to rein it in. At least, that's the world we live in right now.

    • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:10AM (#39805213)

      It's not making the likelihood of attack decrease, it's just moving the crowd (target) out of the plane and into the queue for security.

      • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:14AM (#39805251)

        Terrorists, as the name implies, operate more on the psychological impact of what they do than the physical impact. Hijacking a plane and then crashing it wherever they want has a significantly higher psychological impact on the populace than just bombing an airport (not to say that doesn't have an impact, just less of one). So even if that were the only effect, it'd still be disincentive for a terrorist act because they have limited resources and need every strike to count for it to be effective. However, the TSA has an abysmal record of preventing people that should be suspects from getting on the plane anyway.

        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:30AM (#39805373)

          Terrorists, as the name implies, operate more on the psychological impact of what they do than the physical impact.

          I travel a lot less than I did before TSA showed up. I grew up in an age when "nobody can touch you there without your permission, and if they do, you fight them. You kick, you scream, and you keep fighting until you get help".

          Todays parents have to teach their kids "nobody can touch you there without your permission unless they have a cute little patch [sodahead.com] on their shoulder. You can fight the priest if he does it. But not the people at the airport. You can't even call for the policeman who's standing 20 feet away to help you. You have to let them do it". I loved America when it was free. I'm looking to emigrate.

          Explain to me again, who are the terrorists?

          Parody from pre-2010: My First Cavity Search: Ages 6 and up [thegatewaypundit.com].

          Reality in 2012: Four year olds. Four year olds, dude.

        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gerafix (1028986) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:00AM (#39805641)
          Sorry but this is bullshit. If terrorists started bombing large queues in airports you don't think people would become rather... terrorized at the aspect of standing in large queues? I guarantee you that people stand in large queues much more often and in many more places than they do just at airports. When you're afraid of just standing in a long line anywhere that's a much stronger impact than "Oh... if I simply don't take airplanes I'm safe."
        • Re:Of course. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:28AM (#39805943)

          I'm not denying crashing a plane has a strong psychological impact, but a few things to consider:

          - Hijacking a plane is no longer possible thanks to locked doors in cockpits. Unless the terrorists somehow manage to smuggle a blowtorch on the plane, they can't take control of it. Of course this wouldn't stop bombing a plane, but the psychological impact is not much greater than bombing the line-up at the airport security (like happened in Russia last year).

          - Protecting planes is nice, but as you say there are other targets out there, some of which probably have much stronger psychological impact than a plane.
          How about bombing a mall full of Christmas shoppers? I'm sure this would really hurt Americans - finding out one of their most precious holidays, a holiday about peace and generosity no less, is not safe from terrorism.
          Or how about shooting a school full of children? Considering how little schools can do to protect against students shooting their classmates, what could they possibly do against a couple of trained terrorists with automatic guns?

          - By protecting planes so much and making people feel safe, you increase the psychological impact an attack on another target would have. If terrorists blew up another plane, Americans would be shocked but would also think "we knew planes weren't safe, no surprise really". Now if terrorists bombed a very different target, even one that normally would have a small psychological impact, Americans will realize they aren't safe anywhere - not in the street, not at work, not at school, not at a baseball match, not at the store, not on the highway, not at the theater, not in public parks... And this realization that no place is safe will be the huge psychological impact. Many say Americans became paranoid after 9/11 - I hope we never see how paranoid they'll be once they realize they're not even safe in places they go to every week.
          So at least for this reason, not going overboard with safety and just telling Americans "there's no such thing as perfect security, deal with it" you might reduce the risk of another attack. Less confidence in safety = less surprise = less psychological impact = less incentives for terrorists to do another attack = lesser risk of an attack.

          - There's also the question of whether or not another terrorist attack could occur. 9/11 was a first in the USA since... forever. First time a plane was destroyed like this. It's been 10 years now, without any other serious attempts (the underwear and shoe bombers were poorly organized, definitely not as serious as 9/11. They also occurred when the USA was invading Iraq and Afghanistan, so it's not clear if those attacks were anti-USA or just a form of warfare for the terrorists. And anyway, the TSA did not help against this at all).
          Europe might also be a good indication: attacks occurred in Madrid and London in retaliation for those countries' involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Other countries like France were also involved in those wars and therefore at threat. Yet only these two attacks occurred, despite France, Germany and others not taking any particularly drastic security measures. The option and the reason to attack are there, yet it isn't happening. Maybe nobody really wants to attack that much?
          The death toll of terrorism in the USA is small. In the 10 years since (and including) 9/11, more lives were lost to car accidents or smoking than to 9/11. The money and time invested in the TSA could have saved thousands of poor people from death by providing them with food, shelter or medical help. If the purpose is to save lives, focusing so much on terrorism is absurd.
          And of course, the question remains: how many people will die from cancer due to the nude scanner? Probably more than terrorism could kill.

          - Finally, there's the question of "is this the only option?"
          Why are the USA at risk of attacks while other western countries, like those of Europe and Canada, are not? (I know a few attacks occurred in Europe, however these were in response to the war

    • by Defenestrar (1773808) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:12AM (#39805233)
      Think of the children!
    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:35AM (#39805417) Homepage

      Exactly.
      Terrorists are no longer welcome on our airplanes.
      If you really want to terrorize people that badly, go join the TSA!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:08AM (#39805195)

    LOL! American Freedom!

  • by Chas (5144) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:10AM (#39805211) Homepage Journal
    No shit! I honestly don't know of ANY 4 year old that's going to be graceful and cooperative about being taken away from a family member and groped. Sorry, this isn't some sicko loli fantasy. This is real life with real people, and some real perspective needs to be acquired here.
    • by mea_culpa (145339) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:18AM (#39805267)

      I just wish there were a candidate for president running right now that would actually do something about it.
      Oh wait.

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:31AM (#39805379)
        There are several, unfortunately none of them belong either of the 2 parties that the media have deemed worthy of the office. So you'll never hear about them.
      • by ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @09:24AM (#39805895)

        Vote Ron Paul!

        Ron Paul wants to demolish the TSA.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:54AM (#39805591)

      It's called poor training. It simply isn't easy to access children, every medical student learns this. For example, to examine a young child's ears, nose and throat (especially the throat) you have to make use of the mother / caregiver and either a battalion of nurses to hold the blanket wrapped child down or clever psychology. Only occasionally you'll lucky enough to find a co-operative 4 yo with the right temperament who will open her mouth for you and allow you to depress her tongue with a depressor. These cops simply do not have correct training. One does not consider a child a suspect, nor does one forcibly grope a child or expect the child to co-operate or expect the grandmother to be able to magically calm a child down after threats of airport closure.

  • My 2 cents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JasoninKS (1783390) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:10AM (#39805219)
    Could we please shut down this joke of an organization? How many stories do we have to hear like this? Frankly, if you touch my daughter and yell at her like this I'll have you arrested for indecent liberties with a child, abuse of a child, and I'll do whatever I can to have you listed on every sexual predator website I can find and basically I'm willing to destroy your life. If a parent acted like this they'd be arrested and the kids taken away. But because "Floyd" watched a 15 minute instructional video, he gets a cardboard badge and the ability to make up any rules he wants and doesn't have to tell anyone what the rules are.
  • The TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:11AM (#39805223)

    The TSA... where the agents are pedophiles, the supervisors are thieves and the ones pointing out flaws in the system are unemployed.

  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:14AM (#39805245) Homepage

    Now that US airports are treating their own citizens as badly as they do foreigners, they can no longer be accused of being racist.

  • Security Theater (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CyclistOne (896544) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:14AM (#39805249)
    It's been said before but it bears repetition, the TSA is security theater, that's all. And all paid for with our tax dollars. We are a nation of sheep.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:17AM (#39805263)

    Ok, the new paradigm has arrived and we all need to teach our kids and grandkids that it is OK if strangers touch you...even "down there" because it's for the good of the country.

  • TSA (Score:5, Funny)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:18AM (#39805273) Homepage
    Keeping you safe from 4 year old girls and their grandmothers since 2001.
  • They have won (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MDillenbeck (1739920) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:23AM (#39805329)

    I think the terrorists have gotten more then they have lost. We live in fear, giving up our rights and freedoms in order to gain the illusion of "security". Then again, this is a police state's wet dream - a passive, docile, and accepting population who never question. (Meaning population as a whole, we know there are plenty of individuals and small organizations that do question the state.)

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:28AM (#39805361)
    The only agency with a well known 100% failure rate. 100% of the terrorist that we know of that tried to get through TSA security were able to get through and detonate their devices. The TSA's response is to add proven useless and potentially deadly scanners, and create new checkpoints at highway and post offices. These people are worse than useless. They take from the tax payers on so many levels that the monetary loss is the least of our concern. Give us our freedom back you assholes.
  • by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:31AM (#39805383) Homepage
  • by Walking The Walk (1003312) on Thursday April 26, 2012 @08:57AM (#39805615)

    This isn't just happening in the US anymore. My wife flew from Ottawa to London, Ontario with our two kids (2 month old daughter and 2 year old son) last July. They made my son take off his jacket, hat and teddy bear, put them through the x-ray, then wait on one side of the metal detector while my wife went through with our daughter. At that point he starting crying and trying to pull away from the big stranger forcefully restraining him from his mom. After verifying that my wife and daughter didn't set off the alarm, they waited for all the items to go through the x-ray. Only then did they sent my son through the metal detector, on his own. I got to watch the whole scenario from the dining area on the next floor up, and I've never in my lunch wanted to just hit someone as badly as I did then.

    Can anyone venture a plausible reason why they couldn't have sent my son through with my wife, and then just scanned them individually in the event that the detector went off?

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