Airlines

Transportation Safety: So Easy, It's Like Taking Toys from an Orphan

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Very Donnie Darko, I know, but you get the point.

NBC Miami reports that Jeremiah Ramirez, "an eight-year-old boy who lost his dad to cancer," was relieved of souveniers from his trip to Disney World by a few Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport:

While at Disney, little Jeremiah picked up a Pirates of the Caribbean toy gun and sword, and was hoping to bring them back to North Carolina.

But his mom says that when she and Jeremiah tried to go through security at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport earlier this week, the toys were taken away.  

"It's very upsetting because at one point I had told one of the employees, 'You know this is not a real weapon,' and he said 'Yes, I understand that, it doesn't matter,'" said mom Maria Edge.

Lest you now begin to feel bad (not likely) for TSA officials hamstrung by absurd regulations prohibiting toy weaponry on aircraft:

Edge said she became even angrier when she claims that not long after the TSA officers had confiscated the items, she saw the officers playing with the toy sword and gun.

The article reports that Disney sent Ramirez replacement toys when they learned about the incident.

Reason has covered TSA excesses in the past—nary a nipple ringlaptop, or container of hot peppers is safe. Some of it even ends up on eBay.

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  1. “The article reports that Disney sent Ramirez replacement toys when they learned about the incident.”

    Guess Disney’s on the watch list now.

  2. Why Does Jeremiah Hate America?

  3. All weapons, even toys, are prohibited from any aircraft, according to the TSA. They said all their rules are spelled out on their website, though Jeremiah’s family isn’t buying it.

    I don’t buy it either. This list (http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm#6) doesn’t say anything about non-realistic toy guns and swords, though “realistic replicas of firearms” are banned.

    Just another case of a TSA clown being unable to think, other than to figure that he’s more likely to get into trouble for letting something forbidden through than he is for blocking something that’s permitted.

  4. How is the dead father pertinent, or the fact that he had cancer?

  5. Wow. We were at Disney just a few months ago. One of the things we got my three year old son was a sippy cup that you can put in the freezer. It has a liquid in the cup wall that keeps drinks cold. The security in Anaheim pitched a bitch about it. They said either we give it up, or we could drill a hole in it and drain the liquid out.

    I made the security guy tell my son he was taking it away. Between him, my wife and myself holding up the line and getting more noisy by the second, the guy finally deferred to his supervisor, who handed it back to us and said “have a nice trip.”

    Yeah, glad to see they’re looking for legit security threats over there.

  6. I don’t buy it either. This list (http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm#6) doesn’t say anything about non-realistic toy guns and swords, though “realistic replicas of firearms” are banned.

    It might on the list of secret regulations that we can’t know or the terrorists win.

    If I am no mistaken, didn’t the gov’t argue in court that they don’t have to tell the public what the rules are? ( I thought it was in the Gilmore case or maybe it was just about the rules for flying without ID)

  7. +,

    The family trip to Disney World was allegedly an attempt to lighten the boy’s grief. Other than that, it’s not particularly pertinent at all. If the TSA had done this to a non-orphaned 8 year old, it would still be reprehensible.

    Then again, nobody was claiming otherwise.

  8. I’m going to give the next TSA person I see a nasty papercut. Maybe their overreach on the ban of newspapers will make my life sentence worth it.

  9. If the TSA had done this to a non-orphaned 8 year old, it would still be reprehensible.

    Indeed it would, but it wouldn’t have nearly the propagandistic value.

  10. the guy finally deferred to his supervisor, who handed it back to us and said “have a nice trip.”

  11. +,

    Once we’re already talking about an 8 year-old kid, I think the marginal propaganda value of cancer-orphanhood is probably real, but low.

  12. But his mom says

    I thought an orphan was someone who had lost both parents.

    Besides which, there can be no orphans so long as the TSA is protecting us.

  13. the marginal propaganda value

    Don’t underestimate it. When Radley gets hold of an “isolated incident” shooting victim who’s also a black grandmother, why, that’s propaganda gold!

  14. Speaking of propaganda, why did Bill Flanigen see fit to reward Disney’s kind act with a snarky Mickey-skull death photo? Freudian slip?

  15. It’s supposed to be a TSA x-ray of MM’s head.

  16. How is the dead father pertinent, or the fact that he had cancer?

    why did Bill Flanigen see fit

    They do it all to give you something to whine about, you pissy little baby.

    Shut the fuck up and just try and to be a little grateful.

  17. I wonder what TSA screeners would be doing if they didn’t have those cush jobs–working as Wal-Mart greeters? That seems to be about the demonstrated level of cognitive ability.

  18. Bill Flanigen | July 29, 2009, 5:24pm | #

    It’s supposed to be a TSA x-ray of MM’s head.

    You just made that up, didn’t you.

  19. I had two bottles of wine confiscated from my carry-on bags by the TSA last summer. Ironically, I purchased them at the Thomas Jefferson Vineyard in Charlottesville, VA.

  20. “How is the dead father pertinent, or the fact that he had cancer?”

    Actually, I had the same question when I first read this but then I clicked over and read the article to avoid asking asinine questions. Try it, you’ll like it.

  21. +,

    Do a Google image search for “mickey mouse TSA” (omit the quotation marks). First page.

  22. ChrisO – glass sorters at the recycling center

  23. How can any sane person be in favor of ANY government program rushed into existence after dealing with the TSA?

  24. I wonder what TSA screeners would be doing if they didn’t have those cush jobs–working as Wal-Mart greeters? That seems to be about the demonstrated level of cognitive ability.

    Either unemployed or (finally) doing jobs that Americans won’t do.

  25. SugarFree | July 29, 2009, 5:26pm | #

    Shut the fuck up and just try and to be a little grateful.

    No, but thanks for asking.

  26. Invisible Finger-

    No sane person. Then again, no sane person would buy the proposition that four groups of unemployed four or five “Islamo-fascists” would simultaneiously hijack a bunch of planes, evade our zillion dollar air defense and security systems without knwoing how to fly planes and then managing to steer them into skyscrapers.

  27. Can’t really feel bad for these people. Everyone should know by now that anything that is the least bit questionable should be put in a checked bag. Seriously, trying to carry something that even resembles o weapon on to a plane in this day and age it just stupid.

  28. Edge said she became even angrier when she claims that not long after the TSA officers had confiscated the items, she saw the officers playing with the toy sword and gun.

    I’d have fucking called 911 and reported a fight at the airport with knives and guns. I’d have done it. I swear to fucking god I would have done it.

  29. . Seriously, trying to carry something that even resembles o weapon on to a plane in this day and age it just stupid.

    The regulations (regulators) were stupid first. When they take back their stupidity, we can take back ours. Them first.

  30. Paul at 7:23 kinda wins.

  31. Bill Flanigen, I did that search, and came up with the TSA blog. Not sure if this was your reference page. However, this was interesting. I’m not sure if the guy is serious, being snarky or what. If it’s a snark, the dude is awesome. I’m about 99% sure it’s snark:

    After spending several minutes reading this post, I can only commend Bob for being a good loyal soldier. It looks like he did an excellent job of following orders from the TSA Public Relations Office to quickly post a suitable “human interest” story as a diversion while they get the Definitive Press Release about the STL Incident vetted and tweaked through the appropriate layers of bureaucracy. All the Disney references were cute as a puppy, showing that Bob approaches even the task of obscuring and deflecting unpleasant publicity with a good sense of humor.

    The Definitive Press Release will most likely put the entire blame for the Incident where it correctly belongs– on the uncooperative passenger whose inappropriate demeanor and intransigence left the highly professional TSOs no choice but to call in the police, who completed the interrogation in an entirely appropriate fashion. It will then remind passengers of their obligation to fully cooperate with TSOs throughout the screening process, including providing complete, truthful, and unhesitating answers to any questions that uniformed TSA employees may ask.

    And that will be the Definitive Disposition of the incident as far as the TSA is concerned, with no need for any further discussion. But until that’s ready, bring on Mickey Mouse!

  32. Then again, no sane person would buy the proposition that four groups of unemployed four or five “Islamo-fascists” would simultaneiously hijack a bunch of planes, evade our zillion dollar air defense and security systems without knwoing how to fly planes and then managing to steer them into skyscrapers.

    Except that they didn’t have to evade that “zillion dollar air defense” because it was not aimed internally at commercial airliners and except that they did know how to fly planes, and except for the unemployed part being irrelevant to the fact that they were largely intelligent, educated and had trained for months if not years for this… yeah except for all that you might have a point. But you don’t.

  33. Re the TSA blog. This George guy is my hero. Check this:

    @West, EOS Blog Team: The London incident was a case of radical losers failing in what they wanted to do. It was still a viable plot, just poorly executed.

    That’s most likely an accurate assessment.

    But let’s not overlook the fact that despite the failure of their plot to cause mass destruction, they succeeded spectacularly in causing mass disruption. They fortunately never killed or injured anyone, but the reaction to their failed plot created an everlasting “pain point” that makes air travel frustratingly difficult for every air traveler, numbering in the millions. In a way, the restrictions and the additional difficulties from their inept and inconsistent implementation at checkpoints provide a permanent memorial to that group of “radical losers” who otherwise would be deservedly forgotten.

  34. Paul,

    Google image search.

    Also, I’m a bit bothered by the fact that the TSA has a blog where they may be posting snark. Then again, at least while they’re snarkily blogging they aren’t stealing toys from kids. Unless they’re very good at multitasking.

    I’m keeping that link for future reference, anyway. Thanks.

  35. Bill, as you can see, I’m doing more reading on that. It looks like a good forum where people get on and verbally smack the living hell out of the TSA. The TSA wants public comment… looks like they’re getting it.

    Just did the image search… nice.

  36. At least they didn’t taser the kid, that’s the usual response when confronting a civilian, nowdays.

  37. “+ | July 29, 2009, 5:08pm | #
    If the TSA had done this to a non-orphaned 8 year old, it would still be reprehensible.

    Indeed it would, but it wouldn’t have nearly the propagandistic value.

    Or

    + | July 29, 2009, 5:15pm | #
    the marginal propaganda value

    Don’t underestimate it. When Radley gets hold of an “isolated incident” shooting victim who’s also a black grandmother, why, that’s propaganda gold!

    …let me get this straight… Pointing out the obvious (and often hilarious) excesses of authority by poorly trained employees part of enormously costly systems that provide little to no practical benefit… That’s “propaganda” now?

    And black grandmothers getting offed by trigger happy cops is otherwise… unnewsworthy?…if not for its propaganda value?

    And I thought I knew ‘cynical’…

  38. Hey plus sign:

    Go fuck yourself.

  39. I had two bottles of wine confiscated from my carry-on bags by the TSA last summer. Ironically, I purchased them at the Thomas Jefferson Vineyard in Charlottesville, VA.

    Try buying booze in Hong Kong at the duty free shop, after you have checked your bags and after the security checkpoint, and then boarding a plane to the United States with it. I could have bought a 1 litre (silly British) bottle of 18 year Macallan for $80 but would have had to drink it before I got on. But at least no suspicious liquids, aerosols of gels got on that plane.

  40. +,

    Why do you hate orphans? Did the last one you encounter run for help when you pulled up in your van?

  41. Every once in a while libertymike will post an intelligent and thoughtful comment. But then he’ll post some troofer crap to counterbalance it. It’s sort of like that really smart kid who you thought would have a nobel prize by now, except he’s wasting his time hanging out with d20 nerds in his mom’s basement.

    http://www.sawyerhome.net/whatilearned.html

  42. TSA shows just how stupid this government is. Do they really think they can keep weapons off airplains when you cannot keep them out of prisons. This case shows how much we are becoming like the Nazis. It’s not that they thought the kid was a terrorist or that the cockpit door could be compromised with his “weapons” but they were “on the list”

  43. GILMORE | July 29, 2009, 8:22pm | #

    …let me get this straight… Pointing out the obvious (and often hilarious) excesses of authority by poorly trained employees part of enormously costly systems that provide little to no practical benefit… That’s “propaganda” now?

    Your choice of the words “poorly trained,” “enormously costly,” and “trigger happy cops” all have propagandistic value, yes. That’s why you chose them. This isn’t hard. Governments don’t have a monopoly on persuasive language and imagery. Propaganda is a useful argumentative tactic. It’s used on this site and others every day. Grow up a little and don’t be a sucker for everything you’re told here. It’s comical how so many of you dance when they pull your strings, and then get angry when somebody points it out. Here’s a helpful definition:

    Pronunciation: \?pr?-p?-?gan-d?, ?pr?-\

    the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

    ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause ; also : a public action having such an effect

  44. +, you must be right. The fact that so many posters dance like when Reason writers pull their strings explains why comment threads on Hit-n-Run rarely exhibit any meaningful difference of opinion–it’s always a herd of sheep parroting the party line of the magazine’s staff. (Did I manage to cram enough metaphors into a single sentence there?)

  45. What’s interesting about +’s definition of “propaganda” is that it encompasses entirely truthful information and facts, so long as your intent in communicating the truth is to further your cause.

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