Regulation

TSA Breaks Its Own Rules, Removes Elderly Woman's Back Brace

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money belt

Mistaking her back brace for its more dangerous cousin, the money belt, the Transportation Security Administration removed an octogenarian's support device in a private security screening, breaking its own rules:

People wanted to know why we had her remove her back brace when our web page clearly states that our officers will not ask for braces to be removed. To be honest, I was asking myself the same question. Here's what happened: There was a bit of a miscommunication and our officers were told that the passenger was wearing a money belt. Unlike medical braces and supports, money belts must be removed since they're not providing any type of medical benefit.

The Washington Examiner points out that it wasn't the passenger telling the officers it was a money belt:

Last week, the TSA blog reported that the woman "told the officers that she was wearing a back brace or support belt which required private screening."

As with the purse that wasn't a gun, the TSA again pushed blindly on, even after realizing the mistake. As the Examiner reports:

In today's update, the TSA acknowledges that the security agents did not return the brace to the woman immediately upon realizing that it was not, in fact, a money belt. "Since the item had already been removed, our officers had it X-rayed and returned it to the passenger who was then clear to travel," the TSA says.

Last week, the Chicago Tribune reported that the woman claimed to have been strip-searched by the TSA:

The petite 84-year-old—who suffers from heart problems and has an implanted defibrillator—asked if she could skip the body scan, get a pat down instead. She said two female security agents whisked her into a private room and began removing her clothes.

"They took my pants down, and they took my underwear down," she said.

The TSA denies that any strip-search whatsoever occurred. My understanding is that the back brace is worn beneath the clothes (if not, then kudos to the TSA for still managing to misidentify it). Feel free to contemplate the techniques of that strip-less removal process yourself.

In addition to back braces that aren't money belts and purses that aren't guns, Reason reminds us of the TSA's vendetta against belt buckles that aren't grenades.

NEXT: I'll Bet 10 Grand You Can't Pin Down Mitt Romney on Whether His Health Care Plan Is a Model for the Nation*

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  1. I really enjoy Seth’s alt-texts.

    1. Yeah, like I needed someone else to say “I’d totally hit that” in the alt text of the Shapewear ad.

  2. Free Lunches in Bunches

    Why do we pay so much in taxes, you ask? The short answer is you don’t. However, Dr. Paul does because he’s really freaking rich. He owns gold mines and stuff. But for the little piddly bit of taxes YOU pay, the reason is simple- you have to feed the children of lazy, unemployed people. Dr. Paul explains how your tax money doesn’t fund anything you will ever use but instead goes specifically to welfare, foreign aid, and the occasional preposterous scientific study, like the mating habits of marmots or something equally ridiculous.

    http://drpaul2012.wordpress.co…..bunches-2/

    1. Re: Semi-illiterate imbecile,

      Why do we pay so much in taxes, you ask? The short answer is you [sic] don’t.

      But you do, then – implied in your answer. Otherwise I don’t undertand switching from the pronoun “we” to “you”.

      However, Dr. Paul does because he’s really freaking rich. He owns gold mines and stuff.

      It’s like gold and diamons and stuff, you know? Like rich, like man, he’s freakin’ rich.

      Your command of the English language is something to behold – in woe. Absolutely clear, you are a direct result of the Amerikan Pulbic Skool Seistem that taughts to red and wriet.

    2. But for the little piddly bit of taxes YOU pay, the reason is simple- you have to feed the children of lazy, unemployed people. Dr. Paul explains how your tax money doesn’t fund anything you will ever use but instead goes specifically to welfare, foreign aid, and the occasional preposterous scientific study, like the mating habits of marmots or something equally ridiculous.

      I don’t get the satire in this. The statement quote above is entirely accurate description.

  3. My understanding is that the back brace is worn beneath the clothes.

    Not necessarily. Actually, every old lady I have seen with one wears it over her shirt, I presume to cut down on the irritation those things must cause.

    1. It was still stupid of him to have a loaded firearm that he was supposedly going to check. You can’t check loaded firearms.

      And yes, the police officer is a unbelievable moron for managing to fire a revolver when trying to unload it (assuming the reporter is correct and not an idiot).

      1. Oh, I agree. 🙂

        I just remember a more civilized time when airlines when airlines provided safe storage spaces for people bringing fire-arms aboard rather than subjecting their customers to federal charges for being forgetful.

        1. In the 1954 movie The High and the Mighty, one of the passengers carries a gun onto the plane and the plane eventually develops technical problems, during which time said passenger panics and discharges his gun, blowing a hole in the fuselage.

          Later in the movie, that passenger calms down — and the other passengers give him back his gun.

    2. It was still stupid of him to have a loaded firearm that he was supposedly going to check. You can’t check loaded firearms.

      And yes, the police officer is a unbelievable moron for managing to fire a revolver when trying to unload it (assuming the reporter is correct and not an idiot).

      1. I can’t think of any .22 Magnum autoloaders, but I’ve seen quite a few revolvers chambered in that round. Still, there’s no excuse for someone ostensibly trained in the use of firearms to fire off a round while trying to unload the thing. I mean, all you have to do is keep your finger off the fucking trigger, right? Isn’t that one of the golden rules of gun safety?

        1. THE golden rule. If you don’t know the status of the chamber, assume its loaded. Aside from the occasional drop discharge it is impossible to accidentally discharge a weapon without breaking this rule.

          1. “If you don’t know the status of the chamber, assume its loaded.”

            If there was any justice, the idiot officer would’ve been the one charged. After all, if it’s good enough for Plaxico Burress . . .

        2. Kel-Tec PMR-30.

          Negligent discharges are the hallmark of someone who is improperly trained in handling guns. Which is a lot of cops.

          1. Kel-Tec PMR-30

            That’s pretty sweet. Still, not sure what sort of niche it’s trying to fill. If I’m going to buy a .22 pistol (.22LR or Magnum), it’s going to be with an eye toward something that’s either really compact or something made for target shooting (like my Ruger Mk.II that I lent to my ex-wife, and which her roommate stole when he skipped out on her). Otherwise, if I’m going to carry a full-size piece, I’ll go with 9mm at a minimum.

            “Negligent discharges are the hallmark of someone who is improperly trained in handling guns. Which is a lot of cops.”

            My money says this idiot will receive zero punishment, not even by his department. When I was in the Marines, I worked with a couple guys who negligently discharged their weapons. One guy even fired his .45 pistol through his hand while on post, supposedly testing the pitol’s disconnect feature. In each case, there was pretty harsh punishment, usually involving reduction in rank, loss of pay, restriction to barracks for a month. The guy who shot his hand was visited in the hostpital by the CO, who proceeded to tear up his promotion warrant right there at his bedside. The Atlanta officer will probably receive a citation for bravery.

            1. The PMR-30 would mostly be for fun or killing zombies. 30 round mag (which is supposedly an absolute bitch to load), light, relatively powerful cheap common ammo, semi-auto, it’s all win.

        3. “I can’t think of any .22 Magnum autoloaders”

          Keltec makes one, but yeah, they’re rare.

          http://www.gunblast.com/KelTec-PMR30-2.htm

          1. Epi beat me to it by 20 whole minutes, so in recompense I offer the (22Mag) Auto-mag

            http://www.gunblast.com/AMT-AutoMagII.htm

    3. The TSA followed standard procedure in alerting local law enforcement, the agency said in a statement. “TSA also has opened an investigation and has the authority to level a civil penalty when a firearm is brought to a checkpoint.”

      Um, who the fuck gave them the authority to fine someone without, I don’t know, a civil trial?

      1. Um, who the fuck gave them the authority to fine someone without, I don’t know, a civil trial?

        A trial? How quaint!

      2. Um, who the fuck gave them the authority to fine someone without, I don’t know, a civil trial?

        This happens all the time with parking tickets, environmental fines, etc. Not that I don’t hate all those things either, but I am sure that you can contest the fine in court just like any other civil agency fine.

    4. The only thing that could have made that story better was if he also managed to shoot the guy’s dog.

    5. The gun’s owner was telling Phillips how to clear the loaded .22 magnum revolver when it was accidentally discharged, Phillips reported.

      There’s that passive voice bullshit again. Cops never seem to do anything wrong according to reporters. Bad stuff just happens all by it self while they happen to be nearby.

      I’ll help you out Ms. Hunter; this is how you should have written that sentence:

      The gun’s owner was telling Phillips how to clear the loaded .22 magnum revolver when Phillips negligently discharged the firearm.

    6. Popkin was arrested and charged with carrying a deadly weapon at a public gathering, according to the police report.

      WTF? I’ve carried a loaded firearm at many public gatherings over the past few years. I don’t see how that’s illegal so long as you have a permit.

  4. Can we just round these motherfuckers up and kill them?

    1. Hey, I’m doing my bit: I haven’t set foot on an aircraft since 2008.

      Well, except for virtual ones.

      1. People who insist that they have a right to feel safe at the expense of others do violence and without a doubt violate the non-coercion principle.

        Therefore, all of the “better to be safe” crowd are candidates for the ovens.

      2. I got you beat. I haven’t flown since 1999 (except my rug). I drove to Dallas twice after flying there for the first meeting. We got all the way to Van Horne Texas in one straight drive through from South Bay Los Angeles, CA. If I can’t drive there, I won’t go.

  5. Yet y’all keep flying, no matter what they subject you to…

    1. No, I don’t. Haven’t been on a plane in YEARS.

      1. Libertarians fly private jets. Duh.

        1. Well, some of us younger libertarians only have King-Air twin props, but we’re working on it.

  6. Those who enforce the rules don’t have to follow them.

  7. he TSA acknowledges that the security agents did not return the brace to the woman immediately upon realizing that it was not, in fact, a money belt.

    Who will defend us from the Money Belt Menace?

    1. Somebody has to. Imagine if she had managed to get on the plane and buy a bomb?

  8. It’s probably not officially considered a “strip search” until they shove the borescope up your ass.

    1. I think the TSA is playing a semantics game. It didn’t fit their finely tuned definition of strip search, therefore to them, it wasn’t.

  9. Just to point out this piece of TEAM BLUE douchery. Republicans bag on the TSA and Jezebel…bags on Republicans instead of on one of the most offensive government agencies in existence.

    1. I thought the same thing when I saw that. Utterly shameless. Not that I love the cop-worship overtones, but their opposition is 100% about the (R) after the names, nothing more.

    2. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the Jezzies are not as bad as you would think when it comes to cheerleading the government when it comes to being strip-searched.

      1. Yes, but the take away is that if Republicans are against it, Jezzies will defend it in furtherance of hackery.

        1. But I think the Jezzies have almost always been against the TSA’s invasive patdowns. As far as the GOP goes, I don’t recall hearing too many of them bitching when the TSA was being run by the Bush admin.

          1. But the article you posted proves the point I’m making. Got very few responses, most are focused on individual bad experiences as if they are not a pattern of abuse, and there is one person doing the “they are just trying to do their job” shtick.

            But you mention Republicans… the comments explode, the “poor TSA agents” posts fly fast, a bunch claim that training is problem (when it’s the TSA CYA when an agent oversteps) and the OMG GOP RAGE is all over the place.

            1. I see what you’re saying now.

  10. There was a bit of a miscommunication

    Well, there’s your passive-voice evasion of the day.

    1. (continuing) … and our officers were told that the passenger was wearing a money belt. Unlike medical braces and supports, money belts must be removed since they’re not providing any type of medical benefit.

      Especially after ObamaCare is upheld. 8-(

  11. Did I Ever Tell You How Lazy You Are?

    In this book, you’ll find out who stuck the cactus up Dr. Paul’s ass. He dispenses some tough love to the lazy people mucking it up for the rest of us. Dr. Paul explains the difference between “makers” and “takers” and how being a maker is preferable unless you’re taking business risks or making babies. Tony Robbins credits this book with changing his life and writes a moving foreword. (Ha! “Moving foreword” cracks me up every time I read it.)

    http://drpaul2012.wordpress.co…..you-are-2/

  12. She’s just lucky they didn’t remove her pace-maker.

    1. Don’t give them any ideas. Pacemakers are electronic after all.

      1. and they tick. do you know what else ticks?

        1. Bruno Ganz at the end of that Downfall parody?

    2. Don’t I know it!

      1. Fired TSA Agent? is that some kind of mythical creature?

        1. Heck no!

  13. OT: Kagan recuses herself for Arizona Immigration Case.

    She should be applauded for it, but I wonder why this and not the PPACA case, which actually was enacted before the immigration case came to the administration.

  14. Well, there’s a great market potential here. Medical braces and supports that also serve as money belts.

  15. Q:
    What items on old people WON’T the TSA search?

    A:
    Depends…

      1. Shit. You think you are making a safely absurd joke and the TSA is already there.

    1. They already removed a Depends when it was full. The agent got pissed on instead of off.

  16. Bitch could have been a mule

  17. Someone should sprinkle some iron filings in the old colostomy bag, just so it sets off the detectors.

  18. If Remy is taking requests, this would be a good song to do for this little TSA episode. It probably comes cheap, too.

  19. Anytime I hear about something ridiculous that the TSA has done it reminds me of this shirt.
    http://www.conservativeshirtwa…..6-tsa.aspx

  20. If she would have been wearing a cybertech medical back brace like mine from BraceAbility they would have known it wasn’t a money belt. Kinda funny that they can’t recognize that it is a back brace

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