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TSA and Sippy Cups

Discussion in 'Legal' started by BryanP, Jun 15, 2007.

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  1. BryanP

    BryanP Member

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    We can rest easy at night now. Those fine upstanding TSA folks are protecting us from the horrors of the dreaded high capacity flash suppressed assault sippy cup.


    Nightmare at Reagan National Airport: A Security Story to End all Security Stories

    by Bill Adler | June 14, 2007 at 06:10 am

    If you travel enough, you've seen it all -- and possibly some of the awful things that can happen while traveling will have actually happened to you. But nothing I've read about or experienced comes close to what Monica Emmerson experienced while at Reagan National Airport on June 11th while traveling with her 19-month-old toddler. This isn't one of those Catch-22 bureaucratic snafus; this isn't about rules being applied to the letter. This story is mostly about what can happen simply because the authorities in charge decide that they're going to exercise their authority because they can, regardless of whether it's legal or right or makes any sense at all.

    And if this can happen to a former law enforcement officer with the United States Secret Service, it can happen to anyone.

    The incident started when Monica, who left the Secret Service to raise a family, was stopped while going through airport security because there was water in her son's sippy cup. The sippy cup was seized by TSA. Monica wanted the cup back because the sippy cup was the only way her son would drink -- and it was a long flight between Washington, DC and Reno, Nevada where she was going for a family reunion. If you've ever had a toddler you understand about sippy cups.

    So she was willing to spill the water out. Drink the water. Anything -- all that she wanted was to be able to have a cup that her 19-month-old toddler could drink from.

    Here's what happened in Monica's words:

    "I demanded to speak to a TSA [Transportation Security Administration] supervisor who asked me if the water in the sippy cup was 'nursery water or other bottled water.' I explained that the sippy cup water was filtered tap water. The sippy cup was seized as my son was pointing and crying for his cup. I asked if I could drink the water to get the cup back, and was advised that I would have to leave security and come back through with an empty cup in order to retain the cup. As I was escorted out of security by TSA and a police officer, I unscrewed the cup to drink the water, which accidentally spilled because I was so upset with the situation.

    "At this point, I was detained against my will by the police officer and threatened to be arrested for endangering other passengers with the spilled 3 to 4 ounces of water. I was ordered to clean the water, so I got on my hands and knees while my son sat in his stroller with no shoes on since they were also screened and I had no time to put them back on his feet. I asked to call back my fiancé, who I could still see from afar, waiting for us to clear security, to watch my son while I was being detained, and the officer threatened to arrest me if I moved. So I yelled past security to get the attention of my fiancé.

    "I was ordered to apologize for the spilled water, and again threatened with arrest. I was threatened several times with arrest while detained, and while three other police officers were called to the scene of the mother with the 19 month old. A total of four police officers and three TSA officers reported to the scene where I was being held against my will. I was also told that I should not disrespect the officer and could be arrested for this too. I apologized to the officer and she continued to detain me despite me telling her that I would miss my flight. The officer advised me that I should have thought about this before I 'intentionally spilled the water!'"

    Monica said that the incident ended this way: "I missed my flight, needless to say after being detained for over 40 minutes. After the officer was done humiliating me, I was advised that I could go through the security check point in an attempt to catch my flight. The officer insisted that my son and I be rescreened despite us both being detained and under her control the entire time."

    During the weeks and months after 9/11 some passengers who were caught with unidentified fluids while going through airport security were told to drink the liquid (including breast milk) to prove that it wasn't an explosive. In one incident, a fourteen year old boy was ordered to drink water that he was carrying, and it turned out that this was unclean pond water he was carrying for a science project. Monica was more than happy to drink her child's tap water --all three or four ounces of it-- and tried, in fact. But it was the trying and spilling that seems to have escalated this into a situation that required the presence of four TSA officers and three police officers.

    TSA found no other security problems with Monica Emmerson. Not even a nail clipper. Just the water and the sippy cup.

    TSA's rules allow passengers to take up to three ounces of liquid on board; they also allow parents to take milk or baby formula on board in larger quantities than that, if declared to TSA. But the question that she was asked by TSA --was this "nursery water" in the sippy cup?-- was an unanswerable one, since there's no such thing as nursery water in the TSA regulations, and it's not a generic term.

    Monica Emmerson was detained for 45 minutes. She wasn't questioned about possible ties to terrorists. Her carry-on items weren't rigorously searched -- or even searched again. Neither the police nor TSA took any action that indicated that they throught she might be a security risk. She was just detained, harassed and threatened with arrest. All because of a sippy cup with water in it.
     
  2. xds&gsps

    xds&gsps Member

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    This is a disgusting abuse of power!!!
     
  3. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    A problem is that a lot of people think "disrespecting the king's men" is an arrestable offense.
     
  4. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    why do americans put up with this kind of stuff.

    the answer - we have become a nation of wimps.

    what should happen is americans should just stop flying until the tsa is disbanded and we go back to the old system that worked better, at 10% of the cost.

    but we won't. we will tolerate more and more silliness from these buffoons in uniform.
     
  5. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    Well not all of us. My wife and I don't fly anymore and have sent several letters detailing exactly why we don't.

    Between this insanity and the mere idea that you'd need a "passengers bill of rights" to "justify" demanding to be let off an airplane after being held for several hours... The entire airline industry can fail as far as I'm concerned.
     
  6. Sindawe

    Sindawe Member

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    :fire::fire::fire:

    Best leave it at that, least I be rightfully accused of "dissing the King's Knights"
     
  7. BryanP

    BryanP Member

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    This seems to go well with the post.
     

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  8. fspitzdorf

    fspitzdorf Member

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    My girlfriend and I got to watch her 75 year old mother be "specially" screened at Lansing, MI last spring on her return flight home from visiting us. Here is a woman that had had a hip replaced not 2 months before and was due for knee surgury in 3 weeks. She was taken to security in a wheel chair, Forced to use a cane to get through security and to this day due to arthritis cannot tie her own shoes.

    The TSA made her stand on the little feet, legs and arms spread while they frisked her thoroughly as well as with a wand because of course the replaced hip set off the metal detector and the card from her doctor stating such was no longer valid... She was made to stand, unassisted, in extreme pain due to weight bearing with her shoes removed for more than 5 minutes.

    the TSA would not allow her to have a cane and they would not assist her in putting her shoes back on or tying them. Niether my GF nor I could assist, all we could do was look on in disgust and anger. The airline agent waiting 10 feet away with the wheel chair could not assist either and after being what amounts to, physically assaulted, she had to walk, with a cane, shoes untied to the wheel chair where the agent tied her shoes and took her to her gate.

    After that point I vowed that I would never fly again... I refuse to subject myself to any form of indignation because people are "frightened" and need the strong arm of the government to protect them.
     
  9. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    THE CHAIR IS AGAINST THE WALL
    Boy, it sure takes a big man to push a toddler around.

    Bunch of wentzes.
     
  10. budney

    budney member

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  11. waterhouse

    waterhouse Member

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    I'm not sure how much individual consumers can do about it, but I can't believe that the airlines put up with this stuff. I don't know if it is true, but they make announcements in airports all the time that say "Mr. Smith, this is the last boarding call. If you don't get on the plane now we will remove your checked bags and leave without you." That seems like a major undertaking to me, but perhaps it is really easy to pinpoint a specific bag in the cargo hold.

    Seems like nobody wins when Mr. Smith is busy being punished and detained for having a bottle of water.
     
  12. Blackfork

    Blackfork Member

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    Same old.

    Every day we get the choice between slavery and rebellion, but so far, everyone pretty much OK with being slaves.
     
  13. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    I agree. Between this thread and the other on soldiers gettin' a beatin', I
    couldn't have said it better other than through satire:

     
  14. Rich K

    Rich K Member

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    We get what we are willing to tolerate, whether it be criminals, or the state acting in a criminal fashion. I refuse to fly, and if I can't get there in my car or truck, I really don't need to go.
     
  15. shooter503

    shooter503 Member

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    TSA unzipped my suitcase then lifted it by the open zip flap ruining the zip. First they denied doing the danage. When I got a supervisor I was told to "move on" before I was arrested for interfering with TSA duties.

    Some TSA people are great - others are closer to Vogons than normal people. Strangely their attitude seems to vary with location making me think local management is a big part of the problem.

    After a very active training session where we ended up with ammunition in every pocket, bag and cavity we owned I was very careful to tell the TSA that I just might have missed a round of ammo. and it might accidentally be in one of my bags in a shirt pocket or such. Sort of building up an alibi before the event. The predictable happened, my bags dissappeared for 30 mins of detail screening even after they had cleared the X-ray machine.

    As someone who was inside the aviation industry for 25 years I can tell you that the TSA security cover is like putting a guard on the gate of a national park = just as useless.

    Like many here I do not fly unless I absolutely have to. I would rather drive two days than fly two consecutive legs. The foods better, the scenery is better and I can get out into the fresh air when I want to.
     
  16. ForeignDude

    ForeignDude Member

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    Same Here...

    Once I'm back in the States, we intend to drive wher'ver we need go. My wife is so sick of the BS at airports, too, so she is definitely "on-board" (no pun intended) with this plan.

    The last straw for me was when I got deployed to Iraq. We boarded a charter plane with our gear in the hold and our individual-issue weapons on board. Picture this: everyone on board with either an M-16 or M-9, stowed under the seat in front of you. Anyway, we stopped at a large airport in a mid-Atlantic state for re-fuel, and everyone got off and went outside the security area to buy drinks, snacks, books/mags, etc.

    To return to our plane, we had to go through the security check area, complete with "random" searches, take-off-your-shoes nonsense, wanding, etc. Everyone on board my plane was a soldier, in uniform, heading to Iraq! As I stood in line, I looked up and around and it dawned on me at that moment that we will probably lose the War on Terror. No civilization can survive when it is wedded to procedure more than common sense, eager to treat its front-line warriors exactly the same as a potential terrorist, and willing to torture all logic to avoid giving offense to its enemies.
     
  17. foghornl

    foghornl Member

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    Last time I flew, what I noticed and really bothered me was that NONE of the TSA people had any ID badges showing.

    So, if you had a problem with one or more of them, there is no way to ID them for later reports to higher-ups.
     
  18. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I've wondered that myself, but the situation is set up so that the only alternative is either to never fly or to go in guns blazing and start killing TSA agents. There is no middle ground, because the courts have flat-out held that you waive virtually all rights when you buy the ticket and enter the airport. So what are we supposed to do? Any representative power we might theoretically have at the federal level is a joke, and the democratic link between me and the agent attacking my sippy cup is extremely remote. I voted for a senator who approved a bill establishing an agency who's boss hired a guy who hired a guy who hired a guy who's this fellow's boss. And they're all well protected from political pressure, of course, so even if I could get Sen Stevens on the phone it would be pointless. It's not like a corrupt deputy sheriff, who's boss I directly voted for or against, and who could become my employee if I ran and won in the next election for sheriff. These people are so removed from us they might as well be foreign agents. Indeed, many of them appear to be foreign nationals. I've stood in line at TSA checkpoints while they gibbered away at each other in Tagalog or whatever. It's a sick joke.

    Actually shooting the place up would, apart from being morally wrong, only make matters worse. I think the only real option--and one that hasn't been explored nearly enough--is to simply boycott the airlines and fly only when absolutely essential. They've already taken a hit after 9/11, and several of them are very close to the edge. With fuel costs rising they MUST pack their planes full or face Chapter 7. Don't fly, and write the airlines and your reps letting them know why you're not flying. That's where the system is vulnerable, especially right now. If the airlines face the threat of collapse, THEY can do the lobbying you and I could never dream of, and pressure TSA to bring some level of common sense back into the checkpoints.
     
  19. Thin Black Line

    Thin Black Line Member

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    Foreigndude, well said. +1, quoted, and engraved in virtual stone.

    This is the same line of thinking that I ran into recently at a state-wide disaster
    conference (state/federal funds). I found it ironic that one of the keynote
    speakers was an EX-military person who deployed to the scene on 911, helped
    rescue a couple people from the rubble while the people in authority were
    standing around in shock; but then the very next speaker then went on to
    criticize people who "self-deploy" to the scene of an emergency. Ironically
    that speaker was at the federal level and complained about people calling
    their office at the federal level when things had broken down at the state/local
    level.

    This is the same attitude of socialist central planning that Hayek warned us
    about more than 60 years ago and it is why we will lose our struggle to maintain
    the real America.

    http://www.mises.org/TRTS.htm

    The book is better than the comic....:)
     
  20. griz

    griz Member

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    Posted by ForeignDude:

    That was very well said Dude. The last time I flew I was told the sip of water in my bottle could not be swallowed on the "safe" side of the detectors, I would have to go on the other side. Now I realize that like all rules, there were incidents that lead to this one. But think about what they are telling you. The meaningless procedure means that the TSA does not trust all of its employees to make such complicated desicions as where it is safe to drink a sip of water. Do you really think that these same "security" people are actually protecting us from anything?

    And as an aside, may I use your quote as a signature?
     
  21. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

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    Is it possible to have a private airline that does not require all that TSA security? As in, could you buy your own airline (assuming you had enough money) and then allow legal CCW on plaines, only minimal screening, etc?
     
  22. ravnew

    ravnew Member

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    I for one will never fly again unless all this abuse by TSA ends. I'm sick of feeling like cattle being push thru their security checks and having to put up with the TSA's I have the power mind sets. I have e-mailed all the airlines I use and infomed them of my decision to no longe use their services and expalined why!
     
  23. Titan6

    Titan6 member

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    She should have had her ribs broke and been tased. Then arrested and released but not charged. The little boy too. He was clearly resisting arrest by demanding his cup back.
     
  24. skinnyguy

    skinnyguy Member

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    What this lady went through is just uncalled for. She is a victim of government gone wild.

    That is the very reason I refuse to fly anymore, and look at what has happened since 9/11, people. The terrorists have won.
     
  25. ForeignDude

    ForeignDude Member

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    Griz, By All Means...

    You would honor me if you'd use my words as your signature line. :)
     
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