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  1. #1
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    Default Big Sis/TSA Strickes again!

    This guy handled this situation far better than I would have.

    Posted on Mon, Feb. 15, 2010
    Daniel Rubin: Another case of TSA overkill
    By Daniel Rubin
    Inquirer Columnist

    Just when I thought I was out of the Transportation Security Administration business for a few columns, they pull me back in.

    Did you hear about the Camden cop whose disabled son wasn't allowed to pass through airport security unless he took off his leg braces?

    Unfortunately, it's no joke. This happened to Bob Thomas, a 53-year-old officer in Camden's emergency crime suppression team, who was flying to Orlando in March with his wife, Leona, and their son, Ryan.

    Ryan was taking his first flight, to Walt Disney World, for his fourth birthday.

    The boy is developmentally delayed, one of the effects of being born 16 weeks prematurely. His ankles are malformed and his legs have low muscle tone. In March he was just starting to walk.

    Mid-morning on March 19, his parents wheeled his stroller to the TSA security point, a couple of hours before their Southwest Airlines flight was to depart.

    The boy's father broke down the stroller and put it on the conveyor belt as Leona Thomas walked Ryan through the metal detector.

    The alarm went off.

    The screener told them to take off the boy's braces.

    The Thomases were dumbfounded. "I told them he can't walk without them on his own," Bob Thomas said.

    "He said, 'He'll need to take them off.' "

    Ryan's mother offered to walk him through the detector after they removed the braces, which are custom-made of metal and hardened plastic.

    No, the screener replied. The boy had to walk on his own.

    Leona Thomas said she was calm. Bob Thomas said he was starting to burn.

    They complied, and Leona went first, followed by Ryan, followed by Bob, so the boy wouldn't be hurt if he fell. Ryan made it through.

    By then, Bob Thomas was furious. He demanded to see a supervisor. The supervisor asked what was wrong.

    "I told him, 'This is overkill. He's 4 years old. I don't think he's a terrorist.' "

    The supervisor replied, "You know why we're doing this," Thomas said.

    Thomas said he told the supervisor he was going to file a report, and at that point the man turned and walked away.

    A Philadelphia police officer approached and asked what the problem was. Thomas said he identified himself and said he was a Camden officer. The Philadelphia officer suggested he calm down and enjoy his vacation.

    Back home in Glassboro a week later, Bob Thomas called the airport manager and left her what he calls a terse message.

    He was still angry enough last week to call me after I'd written a couple of columns about travelers' complaints of mistreatment by screeners at the airport.

    "This was just stupid," he told me.

    At the very least, it was not standard procedure.

    On Friday, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said the boy never should have been told to remove his braces.

    TSA policy should have allowed the parents to help the boy to a private screening area where he could have been swabbed for traces of explosive materials.

    She said she wished Thomas had reported the matter to TSA immediately. "If screening is not properly done, we need to go back to that officer and offer retraining so it's corrected."

    Davis also said TSA's security director at the airport, Bob Ellis, called Thomas last week to apologize. He gave Thomas the name of the agency's customer service representative, in case he has a problem at the airport in the future.

    Afterward, Thomas said he appreciated Ellis' call. He said he had no interest in pursuing the matter further or in filing a lawsuit.

    "I'm just looking for things to be done right," he said. "And I just want to make sure this isn't done to anyone else. Just abide by your standard operating procedures."
    This is a clear example of why we will be attacked again. The TSA has no idea what it is doing. Big Sis needs to go. We need a clean nominee to run the TSA and a DHS Sec. who is even kind of competent.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.


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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    This guy handled this situation far better than I would have.



    This is a clear example of why we will be attacked again. The TSA has no idea what it is doing. Big Sis needs to go. We need a clean nominee to run the TSA and a DHS Sec. who is even kind of competent.
    I know we probably disagree in what needs to be done in the future. But in its current incarnation the TSA is just a dog-and-pony show that tries to create the illusion of safety because it is doing "something".
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    No. We're perfectly safe......
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    they made me take off my cowboy boots and sniff them for explosives...

    i told them that they would probably find a lot of methane on them because they are covered in cow ****...

    damn coloradian's and their hatred for texans...

    let everyone else go but pat down the white guy and sniff his boots...
    The Box. You opened it. We Came...

    "You'll take my life but I'll take your's too. You'll fire musket but I'll run you through. So when your waiting for the next attack, you'll better understand there's no turn back."

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    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Really an outrage.

    What were they thinking, for god's sake.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  6. #6
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    While I believe they did make the wrong move in removing the braces and not doing the private screening.....exactly how is this making us less safe?

    Letting the boy through without the screening COULD have made us less safe....but what they did? Nope. Wrong procedure...yes. Big problem....Nope.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    While I believe they did make the wrong move in removing the braces and not doing the private screening.....exactly how is this making us less safe?

    Letting the boy through without the screening COULD have made us less safe....but what they did? Nope. Wrong procedure...yes. Big problem....Nope.
    Did you baseball?

    Do you remember how silly you looked when you were looking fastball and the pitcher threw you a curve? Same thing.

    When you are concentrating one thing too much, the other thing an make you look silly.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    MembersZone Subscriber JHR1985's Avatar
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    easy way to fix this...

    Dont allow handicapped people on the plane.

    Problem solved
    The Box. You opened it. We Came...

    "You'll take my life but I'll take your's too. You'll fire musket but I'll run you through. So when your waiting for the next attack, you'll better understand there's no turn back."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    While I believe they did make the wrong move in removing the braces and not doing the private screening.....exactly how is this making us less safe?

    Letting the boy through without the screening COULD have made us less safe....but what they did? Nope. Wrong procedure...yes. Big problem....Nope.
    They could have improvised,adapted and overcame by scanning the braces,scanning the kid and getting his family on their way.There's other people in line as well,you know.
    No,they gotta be big dogs and hold people up in line while they assert their authority in petty ways instead of thinking up ways to do their job without looking through a book or calling for a supervisor to hold their hands.If they can't do their job on the training that they have,why are they even there?
    I used to drive wheelchair buses and anyone complaining about my passengers getting preferential treatment would get none too friendly glances from me.Like George said,the parents handled it better than I would have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985 View Post
    they made me take off my cowboy boots and sniff them for explosives...
    They made you smell your own boots??
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  11. #11
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    They could have improvised,adapted and overcame by scanning the braces,scanning the kid and getting his family on their way.There's other people in line as well,you know.
    No,they gotta be big dogs and hold people up in line while they assert their authority in petty ways instead of thinking up ways to do their job without looking through a book or calling for a supervisor to hold their hands.If they can't do their job on the training that they have,why are they even there?
    I used to drive wheelchair buses and anyone complaining about my passengers getting preferential treatment would get none too friendly glances from me.Like George said,the parents handled it better than I would have.
    Easy there. Like I said, I think they did the wrong process, but I'm not seeing it as any big concern over safety. If anything, they erred on the safer side.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    [QUOTE]If anything, they erred on the safer side./QUOTE]

    Did they? How many resources where diverted to handle this? I'm sure that they are saddled with finite personnel. Now if you start diverting them to this, where are you creating other holes?
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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  13. #13
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=SPFDRum;1147574]
    If anything, they erred on the safer side./QUOTE]

    Did they? How many resources where diverted to handle this? I'm sure that they are saddled with finite personnel. Now if you start diverting them to this, where are you creating other holes?
    How many resources? Did you read the article? They had the kid's braces removed and run separately through the xray machine while the kid walked through. What extra resources? If anything, they used less resources by not having someone do the private screening (which, IMO, is what they should have done).


    The only extra resources were the ones involved after the parents reported the issue.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    How many resources? Did you read the article? They had the kid's braces removed and run separately through the xray machine while the kid walked through. What extra resources? If anything, they used less resources by not having someone do the private screening (which, IMO, is what they should have done).


    The only extra resources were the ones involved after the parents reported the issue.
    If this distracted them for one minute, then the argument is valid.

    This was dumb. Plain and simple.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 02-17-2010 at 12:09 PM.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    Forum Member PhillyRube's Avatar
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    It gets better....the same columnist talks about a guy who was pulled out of line and handcuffed because he had flashcards written arabic..seein's as he is a student of arabic languages.....

    When I fly, I get to my seat, stand up and say, "Mohammed?" If some looks around I get off the plane...

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    I overheard an officer getting counselled by the CO one time after an order was not correctly carried out:"A good officer should be better at thinking up ways to accomplish his mission than he is at coming up with excuses to explain his failure".
    These TSA agents didn't follow that precept and needlessly delayed a traveling family as well as others.But most importantly,while they were focusing on that one situation(how many cops respond to wrecks or a burglary call?),they were ignoring the rest of their job of screening passengers prior to boarding aircraft.

  17. #17
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    I overheard an officer getting counselled by the CO one time after an order was not correctly carried out:"A good officer should be better at thinking up ways to accomplish his mission than he is at coming up with excuses to explain his failure".
    These TSA agents didn't follow that precept and needlessly delayed a traveling family as well as others.But most importantly,while they were focusing on that one situation(how many cops respond to wrecks or a burglary call?),they were ignoring the rest of their job of screening passengers prior to boarding aircraft.
    Again, it involved 1 agent. The rest continued their normal operation.

    Read people....read.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    I did read it Bones.
    There was a screener not getting his line processed as efficiently as possible,a supervisor called away from his usual duties and a Philadeplhia cop who may or may not have been assigned to the airport but who,in the words of Sean Connery's character in "The Untouchables", was "not doing them now,am I?"
    Three people charged with airport security focusing on one incident.I'm not counting the folks held up in line because there doesn't seem to be procedures to allow lines to meld into other lines that are still moving when one is stopped for a closer look at a passenger.
    If a terr was scouting the opposition before actually prowling and growling,in this case the TSA,they got an example of how how they react to unusual situations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    I did read it Bones.
    There was a screener not getting his line processed as efficiently as possible,a supervisor called away from his usual duties and a Philadeplhia cop who may or may not have been assigned to the airport but who,in the words of Sean Connery's character in "The Untouchables", was "not doing them now,am I?"
    Three people charged with airport security focusing on one incident.I'm not counting the folks held up in line because there doesn't seem to be procedures to allow lines to meld into other lines that are still moving when one is stopped for a closer look at a passenger.
    If a terr was scouting the opposition before actually prowling and growling,in this case the TSA,they got an example of how how they react to unusual situations.
    You are absolutely correct. Here is an example from another genre.

    Have any of you ever read or heard about "gypsies"? Two of their specialties are shoplifting and theft from a store's office. How do they do it? Distraction.
    (I have actually witnessed it once).

    They will enter a store as a team. Most of the group will be dressed in normal clothing and will act in a normal demeanor. Then another group, still part of the team will enter. They might be outlandishly dressed. They may be carrying an infant (who they pinch to make it scream) or they may be doing something else to create a disturbance.

    While the attention of the clerks and the customers are on the disturbance, the normal looking gypsies enter the office and either hit the safe or rifle the desk for petty cash or hit the purses that are usually kept there. Or they may use the distraction to remove a quantity of merchandise and head out the door.

    Whatever they do, they used the distraction as a cover for their illegal activity.

    This is but one example. International terrorists have proven that they are an organized and patient lot. This would be a simple exercise for them.

    But no. Let's just keep running the circus known as airport security with the clowns already in place running the show. All that will be left is to count the bodies.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    You are absolutely correct. Here is an example from another genre.

    Have any of you ever read or heard about "gypsies"? Two of their specialties are shoplifting and theft from a store's office. How do they do it? Distraction.
    (I have actually witnessed it once).

    They will enter a store as a team. Most of the group will be dressed in normal clothing and will act in a normal demeanor. Then another group, still part of the team will enter. They might be outlandishly dressed. They may be carrying an infant (who they pinch to make it scream) or they may be doing something else to create a disturbance.

    While the attention of the clerks and the customers are on the disturbance, the normal looking gypsies enter the office and either hit the safe or rifle the desk for petty cash or hit the purses that are usually kept there. Or they may use the distraction to remove a quantity of merchandise and head out the door.

    Whatever they do, they used the distraction as a cover for their illegal activity.

    This is but one example. International terrorists have proven that they are an organized and patient lot. This would be a simple exercise for them.

    But no. Let's just keep running the circus known as airport security with the clowns already in place running the show. All that will be left is to count the bodies.
    This is true of any good criminal, they will do reconnaissance first; finding a good target. They then look for vulnerabilities, aka weaknesses in the system. Then they exploit the weakness. It doesn't matter how tough you make the security, a determined attacker will defeat it. Sort of like locking the doors on your house, only keeps out the honest people, the crooks will get in anyway.

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