Social Question

GeorgeGee's avatar

Is it time to arrest the TSA and Janet Napoletano?

Asked by GeorgeGee (4925points) November 17th, 2010

A TSA security thug was caught on tape groping a 3 year old girl. Do you feel safer as a result?
Should these TSA thugs be arrested? How about Janet Napoletano? Should they be publicly groped to see how THEY like it?

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34 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I’m just going to assume you’re trying to be funny…..Lol…..

wundayatta's avatar

If we put as much money into diplomacy as we do into the TSA…

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’m sure the TSA ‘solution’ (as per common practice) will be to ban video cameras from any areas where they operate, as they already do at Immigration and Customs areas in airports.

I would imagine that the father will be investigated in short order, and probably face some bogus charge.

iamthemob's avatar

I doubt that if even the father had the slightest feeling that this seemed like “groping” to him, or the employee was a “thug”, he wouldn’t have been so neutral in his report on it. He states specifically that the agent just didn’t seem to know how to handle the situation when his daughter had been crying from the beginning because her teddy bear had been taken away and she had set the alarm off twice.

This seems like an extremely difficult situation for the employee, and there needs to be training or procedures to handle it better – but to characterize this in a manner that suggests there was ill intent on the part of the TSA or the employee is playing the blame game.

Winters's avatar

Groping, really?

You’re funny.

GeorgeGee's avatar

What exactly do you think constitutes “groping?” Unwanted touching of a child by a stranger, with the child screaming “STOP TOUCHING ME” certainly meets the definition.

iamthemob's avatar

Groping generally has the connotation – perhaps even denotation – of touching done in a sexual manner.

If an adult were to be screaming like this (and realize that the screaming did not start with he touching – the child was upset already), we would more likely assume that the person was behaving suspiciously. I know that I wouldn’t want an adult reacting that way on my plane.

Because it’s a child, we assume instead that the child is throwing a tantrum. I have seen parents attempting to calmly “drag” their children out of areas when throwing tantrums and screaming much the very same thing – and worse.

After watching the video, the TSA agent was barely touching the child, and attempting to avoid it seems being kicked. The mother (apparently) is there, in fact, holding the child in midair while the child is being patted down.

With all that parental supervision, I wouldn’t claim that the touching was inappropriate in any real way. The situation, it seems, could simply have been handled better.

Winters's avatar

@GeorgeGee I thought it was called standard procedure and in this case it was just awkward with a 3 year old child who was probably scared and confused as she probably wasn’t sure what the hell was going on nor why it more or less needed to be done. TSA just may need to come up with some new protocol when dealing with children.

Similar thing happened with my baby bro when my mom took him on a trip to Korea, I was right there when they did the pat down, that wasn’t groping, there was no lingering or squeezing, it was straight and simple a pat down.

poisonedantidote's avatar

The video they link to has been removed from youtube on a copyright claim, so i cant really judge. I dont underestimate the stupidity of TSA, but i also dont underestimate the ability of the media to exaggerate.

Without seeing the video, i can only really suspect that it was not that bad. simply because 99.9999% of fathers would cave your head in for groaping their kid.

iamthemob's avatar

You can see it, as well as the father of the child making his report, here.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

For all the good that the security checks have done, we may as well abandon them altogether and issue everyone a pistol upon boarding. Either that, or strip the passengers naked, then march them onto the plane handcuffed, shackled, joined at the waist by gang chains, and locked into their seats. Carry-on luggage strictly forbidden, of course.

At least it would expedite the boarding process…

They’d have to be gagged, certainly, so that the TSA people don’t have to put up with screaming, yelling, cursing, ‘inappropriate jokes’ and general nattering and questions. Don’t even think of bringing your own gag, by the way. After all, it could be explosive. TSA will supply one from the exiting ‘passengers’ ... sanitized for your protection, of course.

Have a nice flight!

To the extent that people actually applaud this nonsense and feel ‘safer’ because all of this horse shit is going on, they deserve what’s coming next… whatever it is. We’re in a race between TSA and “global terrorism” over who can take away the most liberties the quickest.

Winters's avatar

All this talk makes me miss green.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Ok, I watched the video now. “stop touching me” and they keep touching.

She was not groaped in my understanding of the word, its not like they rubbed her privates and whispered fucked up things in to her ear or anything like that. But there was obviously a lot of stupidity that helped fuel the tantrum. The moment the kid said “stop touching me” they should have stopped and passed the job on to someone who knew what they where doing. As for the security guard in the video, they should be suspended with pay for a week or two while they are sent to a course on how to deal with kids.

It looks a lot worse than it is in this context, but you need to keep in mind that kids this age will act the exact same way in the supermarket when they are refused a bag of candy. so it was no traumatic rape, just a tantrum, but still, it could be avoided.

Winters's avatar

We’ll have to see if the TSA guy lives up to his word to see if the can get some new training when it comes to dealing with kids.

zenvelo's avatar

geez, why would anyone post such an inflammatory subject and suggestion on here? Last year with the underwear bomber people were screaming for her head for being too lax.

You know that terrorists have hidden explosive on children for many years and in many countries? The parents didn’t get this child ready for the search, and she had a major meltdown. Back off on the poorly paid people doing a tough job. You don’t want to be searched? Then don’t get on the same plane as me.

GeorgeGee's avatar

It’s easy to say “just don’t fly,” but that’s not a solution. As US citizens it’s our transportation system, it needs to work for us. Would the flights be safer if some idiot searches your rectum every time you fly? Yes, but if it makes it intolerable to fly, that is not an acceptable solution. Perhaps we need totally different solutions like full background checks on people to get a biometric ID card allowing them to bypass security. If you want to be a sheep and accept anything they want to stick into you and your kids, fine, but count me out. Frankly if some TSA thug started groping my kid, I’d flatten him.

Nullo's avatar

@zenvelo I want her head for saying that Conservatives, Republicans, and small-government types are dangerous right-wing extremists that need to be watched.

@CyanoticWasp I wonder if pistols – perhaps tazers? – might not be a bad idea.

@GeorgeGee This might be a good time to take up sailing. :D

DominicX's avatar

Loaded questionです.

ETpro's avatar

@GeorgeGee I have a solution for you. Let’s create two transportation systems. One can be for you and all the others who want to fly in planes with passengers who aren’t screened for bombs or weapons. The other for people who are willing to be scanned or patted down if that will help ensure they don’t blow up in mid-air.

But to answer your direct question, unless a crime has been committed, I don’t support arresting people.

GeorgeGee's avatar

I have a better idea, @ETpro. We will indeed create two transportation systems. One will be for people like myself who have established ourselves in society; we have homes, credit ratings, respectable jobs, publishing records, histories of giving blood, and many other things. We’ll call our group “the trustworthy passengers.” The other group will be the people who like to be groped, prodded and assumed to be terrorists. You can ride with that group any time you like, but my group will be recognized by name, admitted to our charter aircraft without hassles, and flown to our destinations in a timely fashion.

iamthemob's avatar

@GeorgeGee – I realize, or hope, that the above is sarcasm. However, I’ll throw out anyway, in my own sarcastic fashion, that separating the population into two classes of citizens – one privileged and the other not – is of course a great idea that has always worked out before, and would still be working today in the U.S. if that derned Fourteenth Amendment hadn’t gotten in the way.

@ETpro – I’ll ride with you in the “groped group.” Those who really want to commit a terrorist act involving flight will eventually infiltrate the trustworthy group and will sail through security like one of them with their bomb equipment undetected.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Aren’t you forgetting, @iamthemob, that all of the terrorists who have committed (or attempted to commit) terrorist acts on airlines have already passed through the various ‘security’ measures that were extant at the time? Let’s see… box cutters, passed security screens in more than one airport. Luggage bomber (Lockerbie) ... passed. Shoe bomber… passed. Underwear bomber… passed. What’s next, do you suppose? Wig bombers? Transvestite bra bombers? Prosthetic device bombers? Colon bombers? How much searching is going to be “good enough”?

I’m only surprised that the terrorists haven’t changed tactics and decided, “the hell with the airplanes, let’s have a coordinated attack on the security screening stations themselves”. I’d prefer to not be there when that one happens.

ETpro's avatar

@GeorgeGee No need for me to answer. @iamthemob pretty much covered what I would be likely to say.

@CyanoticWasp If you want to argue that no security system is perfect, I totally agree. But if you conclude from that that we should have no security measures, or we should divide society into the Brahmans and the Untouchables (or in this case, gropeables), I strongly disagree with both those ideas.

iamthemob's avatar

@CyanoticWasp – As @ETpro stated, it’s difficult to figure out what you’re suggesting. However, to answer your question…no, I did not forget. It’s clear that terrorists will figure out how to game the security or will switch to other targets with each additional security measure unless the measures become so intrusive that no one with any sense of personal dignity would submit to them unless it was an emergency and they had to fly then.

Personally, I feel the current procedures are a step too far. The problem with measuring the effectiveness of the procedures is that we have no idea how many potential attacks were called off due to additional procedures, or because of the procedures in place.

So, the fact that some got through doesn’t mean the procedures don’t work. I think that we were good enough before the full body scanner. I think we were more than good enough, in fact. But I’ll have to see how the current procedures are implemented and work out generally before I decide that we’ve gone too far.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Difficult to figure out, really? Then I’ll say it again, as I’ve said many times in the past. “Airport security” as currently managed (and as it has been more or less since the 1970s) is a joke. A dumb show. Theater of the absurd. A pretense of ‘security’ for a highly gullible public. (The same public that generally seems to think Social Security and Medicare are great ideas, so not very surprising, really.)

I think if we look at the statistics that we’d find that even with the horrific loss of life on 9/11, including all of the people in the World Trade Center and Pentagon as victims, the per-passenger-mile fatality rate for flying in the US is still better than it is for driving. (The statistics for 2001 may be offset negatively because of the drastic fall-off in air travel after September 11 of that year.) So in other words, we could probably have a repeat of 9/11 each year… and air travel would probably still be safer than driving. But it’s unlikely that a motivated and aware flying public would ever again allow a repeat of that particular day.

The so-called shoe bomber and underwear bombers were jokes. And yet… look at our official reaction: worse jokes. What about the joke attacks I suggested above? If someone attempts a wig bomb, what do you suppose ‘airport security’ would do in response? Try to pull your hair off your head? Refuse passage to anyone wearing a hairpiece? And the dumb public would say, “Well, as long as it’s for safety… sure, why not. It’s for a good cause. Ouch.”

The way it is now, as you enter an airplane in this country you are assumed to be one of two things: a potential terrorist or a potential victim. I submit that 99.99% of those who fly are simply trying to get from Point A to Point B safely and with as little hassle as possible, and should be enlisted to assist the flight crews in achieving that, not subjugated to ridiculous—and essentially meaningless—‘security theater’. We’d be better off not searching anyone for anything and giving a pep talk at the gate: “There may be a terrorist among you. We have no way of knowing. (We never have had any way of knowing, by the way.) But we know that the vast majority of you are not terrorists, and we want you to be willing to aid the flight crew in putting down any attempt to damage, destroy or commandeer the aircraft. Let’s roll.

Let’s roll.

That should be our motto, not “Please shut up and endure another heaping helping of whatever indignity I can think to foist on you… at whatever cost to your time, your liberty and your dignity. After all, it appears to be ‘for safety’. Now assume the position.”

iamthemob's avatar

@CyanoticWasp – Putting my bag and shoes through an x-ray machine while I walked through a metal detector was hardly what I would refer to as an “indignity” that I had to “suffer.” These are pretty close to the security procedures to get into a lot of federal buildings.

I agree that the additional measures that have been put in place in the past few years haven’t seemed to be those that would greatly increase the likelihood overall of catching anyone attempting to commit a crime. I haven’t flown where they’ve had me or asked me to go through the full-body scanner. When I see the procedure then, I’ll know how great the intrusion. However, considering that flying is not a right, that airports are ports of entry from one country to another, and that there hasn’t been a perceivable assault on dignity as much as an increase in annoyances, I don’t think this is really the appropriate place to expend our “rage against the machine” energy.

ETpro's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Would you say that if Israel just stopped all their security measures, flying there would remain safer than riding in a car? You are right that auto travel poses greater per-mile risks than flying. In 2001, we lost just under 3000 to terrorism and 37,862 in traffic accidents. That number is down to a bit over 30,000 in 2009 due to safety improvements in auto design. But what are we to conclude from that? Is it a gold standard? Should we just ignore the threat of bombs on planes unless over 30,000 Americans die in a year?

If you want to argue that modeling our security more after what the Israelis do would be smart, I would totally agree with that. They are numero uno on the terrorist’s hit list and yet they manage to maintain a air transit system that is amazingly safe to use. But to argue that the whole issue is a joke just baffles me. Nor do I follow your hatred of Medicare and Social Security. For most elderly Americans, if they did not have Medicare, they would have no healthcare coverage and their medical expenses would quickly bankrupt them. With insurance companies excluding young people because acne is seen as a preexisting condition, imagine trying to buy coverage at age 70 with arthritis and complications thereof as a preexisting condition.

thekoukoureport's avatar

(The same public that generally seems to think Social Security and Medicare are great ideas, so not very surprising, really.)

I wanted to give @CyanoticWasp a GA except for the above statement…. Old people starving living on the street without health insurance is a better idea? Because the Individual who just received $143 billion dollar bonus would develop a free market solution to the problem of all these aging baby boomers, right?

We don’t need two classes of citizen for airport security. We have the American Citizen and everybody else.

Now if you are not an American Citizen or you pay cash, buy a oneway ticket, have no luggage, please step to the other line for body scanning and pat downs.

As an American citizen I should not have to subject myself to any of this just to travel within my own country. To pat down a 3 year old is about the most ridiculous practice I could imagine. We don’t allow ANYONE to touch our children and now this $12 hr reject, sucking off the government teet, gets to feel up my daughter. Bull shit I’ll drive thank you.

ETpro's avatar

@CyanoticWasp & @thekoukoureport My son is deployed in Afghanistan right now, so he is intimately familiar with high threat levels and tight security. He sent me this link to an article on how Israel manages their airport security. The Israelis seem baffled by what we are doing here. It’s basically what they went through 50 years ago before they got the thing figured out. Sometimes I think the meme of American exceptionalism is more our enemy than our friend. Instead of going around the world and finding what works, we start out rejecting everything not invented here.

GeorgeGee's avatar

I’ve been through Tel Aviv airport and I agree, they have it figured out. They actually hire intelligent people to work in airport security and train them in “behavioral profiling.” They might ask you a nonsense question and just watch your reaction, and the contraction of your pupils. Why? Because a terrorist rehearses a script in order to give calm and reasonable answers when questioned but will be thrown off by things that aren’t on the usual script. They don’t blindly grope 3 year olds, but they might well ask you for proof of your business in their country.
The disruption to air traffic and “perpetual terror” brought on by the TSA is I’m sure music to every actual terrorist’s ears. Why should they bother trying to terrorize the USA if the TSA is willing to do it?

ETpro's avatar

@GeorgeGee Absolutely. Last time I went through the check in line at Ben Gurion International Airport a security officer spent a few minutes asking me some questions and was off to talk to the next person in line. She was pleasant and professional, and in very little time had absolutely figured out I was not a threat. No hassle or invasion of personal privacy whatsoever.

iamthemob's avatar

Wow – actual training for our officials on how to implement procedures well and effectively rather than just adding more and more procedures so that no one can be trained in a beneficial manner?

That’s crazy talk! ;-)

ETpro's avatar

@iamthemob Also, bear in mind that all Israeli airport security officers must be college graduates as well as receive intensive training. They also employ agents to test the security. If an officer lets an agent go through unchallenged, it is immediate termination. No questions asked.

iamthemob's avatar

@ETpro – Amazing.

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