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Squawks & HeadlinesTSA in Wichita,Ks thinks 4 year old has a gun.

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jdschrack
Really, it's time to address this. The attitudes of TSA go far beyond public safety, edging near tyrany.
n7224e
BC Hadley 12
What is infuriating is that the situation did not have to play out this way. A reasonable agent, using a touch of common sense and sensitivity could have resolved this calmly yet within spec.
rick737
richard weiss 20
Generally, anyone who defends the actions of the TSA uses the "following the book defense." Even soldiers, who are trained to follow orders in the face of death know that following an unlawful order is not required. We pay government employees to use common sense during the execution of their duties. At the TSA doing so seems to be a firing offense. Can we please get someone to run that organization that can delegate to its agents the use of common sense or simply disband it. But please, let's stop the I was following orders mentality. It has turned air travel into a dreaded experience
w7psk
Ricky Scott 13
Just when you think the TSA cannot get any more incompetent.

They go above and beyond in proving they can.
valane
This is completely unacceptable! Shame on you TSA for even thinking she was a threat! She is flying out of KICT!! Are you kidding me? A threat? YOU ARE IN WICHITA KANSAS! The deer are more of a hazard than a 4 year old girl!
preacher1
preacher1 3
As so many have said, COMMON SENSE dies when they put on the uniform. I'm kinda like you, you might understand that better if it was at Newark or JFK, but Wichita!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
innos
andrew tobin 2
It seems that the only TSO's with an ounce of common sense are all in the underbelly of the airport screening checked bags.
pnschi
pnschi 6
When are these 4 year-olds going to be held accountable for their childishness! Frankly, I think America's preschools need to do a better job of teaching these kids to follow orders.

Seriously, when WON'T management defend stupidity in the TSA? Can they ever say, "you know, what they did wasn't strictly against the rules, but it really did defy common sense, and showed a serious lack of understanding of what it's like to be a 4 year-old. We'll have a word with them." Well, I can guess not, because America is supposed to be all about "Process", and Process is the sworn enemy of Good Sense and Judgement.
w7psk
Ricky Scott 5
TSA I think has adopted the Lily Tomlin Character Ernestine's attitude as the phone company


We dont care, we dont have to.
SmokingKoala
this club of surly imbeciles is a disgrace for all of america. however, the tsa did not learn their manners from military police or the kgb. as far as i know it was the nazis who used to separate children from their mothers ... obviously not in airports but definitely on the ramp in auschwitz.
Fitch9392
Fitch9392 5
TSA Agents are paid Minimum Wage. With that, you get #1 Minimum Wage effort and #2 People who can only handle Minimum Wage work being put into a position of implied Authority. When that happens their egos take over and they go on a power trip. My feeling is that this is a case of the latter plus an incompetent moron who was told to follow the book to the letter.

TSA in and of itself, is a good idea. However, it needs to learn to control it's Agents, and have a million times better oversight of said agents. Honestly, if I was the Supervisor there I would've terminated everyone involved. But then I have Common Sense, so I'd probably never be hired by them.
rick737
richard weiss 4
The problem Jason, in my humble opinion is the OVERCONTROL of the agents, not lack of control. When an organization refuses to delegate the authority to make on the spot judgements, that organization is enroute to failure. Of course, the TSA is government entity, so no matter how disfunctional it is, it will live on. Why? Because it is a jobs program designed to keep marginally employable people employed
innos
andrew tobin 3
TSA agents start at $11 an hour, plus differentials for what part of the country they live in.
dchaff
dchaff 2
In the common language of the "3 letter" government; IRS, FAA, DHS, TSA: "We're not happy until you're not happy."
Dubslow
Bill Winslow 9
Why would this be downvoted? This is a disgrace for all of America.
tarbaby
phil gibson 4
Morons........the Barney Fife Brigade!!
rwf1001
OMFG ARE YOU KIDDING ME? A 4-yr old little girl deemed a security threat? WTF ARE THE TSA(WHICH IS A JOKE, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT) THINKING?
skystore1
John Moffatt 3
This is disgusting. I'm sure the agents are given some sort of training but obviously not in the field of common sense and sensibility. Children do things on the spur of the moment when excited or frightened and if some person in authority had the sanity to apply some of these sensibilities this never should have happened. Sorry but don't blame the parents as they were probably just as surprised as the agents, but an overreaction? That's putting it mildly!!
MACGSO
MACGSO 3
Unfortunately "reasonable" does not come into play here. The TSA, along with practically every other government agency (including the FAA!), has essentially outlawed common sense and reasonableness. The overwhelming insistence on compliance to the absolute and complete following of the written word as gospel, with no consideration that those same written words were written by people sitting at a desk, and are subject to error, interpretation, and sheer, simple overlooking of many everyday situations.
It is a practical impossibility to write instructions to cover every conceivable circumstance, and to claim that written regulations can do so is folly. Yet, bureaucrats continue to insist on blind and thoughtless adherence to "The Rules", with no consideration of the realities of human variability.
HunterTS4
Toby Sharp 5
Almost like American Airlines and TSA get their employees from the same place.......
Bakerty
Tim Baker 2
Well,every time congress meets the state governments meet or the local counties and cities meet what do they do? They make more laws and restrict the people. We now have independent non elected agencies like the TSA , EPA and countless others that have caused us to complain about loss of freedom and restrictions in daily life. When does it stop? How many more laws will we have next year and how many new regulations???
rhscott
Rich Heiland 2
My son, his wife and our five-year-old granddaughter were flying out of Philly to Disney World last Fall. My granddaughter had on shorts, a tee and tennies. She went through the "naked scanner" but then was pulled aside for a full body grope by a female officer. My son never was told what they were looking for. The little girl, having been told of course to beware of strangers and not let anyone touch her, was scared. My son felt powerless so told her "the nice woman is just tickling you." No explanation of what the scan showed - I mean really, shorts and a tee - just sent them on our way. It was a taste of life in a Third World dictatorship for my son and his family. Remember Barney Fife?
johnhoppy
John Hopkins 2
Not just in the USA...At Manchester Airport recently I put all my liquids, lighter, keys etc into a plastic bag for X-Ray....'Sorry Sir the bag is too large'. No Problem...folded up larger bag and its contents and placed it in a smaller plastic bag. By the way plastic bags are for sale at £1 for two (about $1.50). Another racket !!
colmel
Yes, by all means, terrorize a 4-year-old child but let others smuggle meth (as long as you get your kick-back that is). Strongly feel the TSA needs new standards and a serious revamp from the top to the bottom.
rick737
richard weiss 2
The VAST majority of the responders on this link agree we have a major problem with a government agency gone rogue. The time has come to turn words into action. Let's start a letter writing campaign to every elected official in Washington. Ask everyone you know to join in. Be respectful, but precise and blunt as to your desire for the TSA to be reigned in or disbanded. Demand that local airport authorities begin opting out of TSA services.(an oxymoron for sure) Let's take back the dignity we deserve when traveling. It won't happen unless we demand it.
BLyle43aol
Bill Lyle 2
TSA
Americas's Jackboots
Papers Please
wdbox
Dave Boxmeyer 2
This is a new low. It appears that we have our own version of the gestapo. If you take a bunch of uneducated thugs, give them a bit of power and make them accountable to nobody, this is what you get. On the other hand, a bit of common sense could have advoided the whole incident.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I don't have all the answers either. Like any organization, it has it's share of bad apples but that said, it also has a bunch of good, honest, hardworking people. We all hear about the bad.Anytime an article comes up on here that even mentions TSA, it elicits nothing generally but negative comments and a whole bunch at that, and that is not good. I can remember flying as a pax about about a month after 911 and I felt pretty safe with military/M-16's in the terminal, a lot more than now. BUT, where the final answer is remains to be seen. Two underlying factor in most complaints are greed and lack of common sense, or not using it. These do need to be used as a starting point in any reorganization.
rick737
richard weiss 3
I agree that not all TSA folks are bad actors, but the fact remains that until they are allowed to use common sense judgement calls to solve problems, there will be anarchy. The public is fed up with the mal-treatment at the hands of even the well meaning agents that have their hands tied by an autocratic management style. Petty dictators in DC have ordered the agents to turn of their reasoning mode and become thugs with badges. We have to demand change to get it. Either that or be one of sheople.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Unfortunatly my friend, you are very correct. You know, what is really stupid is that a"dangerous or prohibited" item gets taken out of your luggage at the checkpoint and thrown in the trash there. If it is too dangerous to go on the plane, it ought to be taken out of the area. If it is a danger to those flying, it looks like it would be a danger to the TSA folks as well.
Bobqat
Jeebus. At this rate, we're gonna nave to hire Al Qaeda to protect us from the TSA...
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 3
Overreaction by the TSA, but the idotic parents should have kept a tight rein on the child knowing what the scenario is!!!
preacher1
preacher1 3
She obviously got scared when the alarm went off on her grandmother and the reaction was probably a natural one for somethig unexpected, but the procedure should have been explained to her prior so she would have known about it and not been startled. There is some over reaction by the TSA but they were going by the book and the parents should have known about it all ahead of time.
sparkie624
sparkie624 -9
Not trying to defend TSA, but they have documented procedures to follow, and that is there law of work. I do not necessarily agree when them, but they followed the book. Here I do not blame TSA... I blame the Parents/Gaurdians.
fche
Frank Ch. Eigler 16
"but they followed the book"

If their book says to blame/threaten the evacuation of an airport on a misbehaving four-year-old and a crying mother, then their book needs some work.
sdpper
sdpper 15
TSA has less maturity than the child. Common sense is out the window.
sparkie624
sparkie624 3
One thing I have found out in life is that Common Sense is not nearly as common as it used to be...
NewNole2001
Ashley Grant 1
Yep, as proved by your comment blaming the parents for the TSA saying that the four-year old was a terrorist with a gun. You obviously are lacking some serious common sense.
SmokingKoala
nazi criminals at the nuremburg trial excused their atrocities with "following the book". still, u.s. judges put them to death.
zennermd
Yeah, and he was also smoking, with face paint and cammo. Going to go rambo on them.
preacher1
preacher1 1
it was a she
zennermd
My bad, forgot the "s". Still holds.
preacher1
preacher1 5
Well as per a couple comments below, they may have pretty well went by the book but if that be the case, their book needs a rewrite or something in there somewhere that would mandate use of a little common sense, or reckon that goes out the window and they all go on a power trip when they put the uniform on?????????
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
One can't be really sure these days, until it's too late and you're caught up in the moment...
JReinertsen
TSA --> Taxes Spent Astutely
rick737
richard weiss 5
TSA= Taxes Spent Absurdly.
stickman69
Mike Stinnett 3
TSA=Total Sexual Assault
ITnav
Dave Purscell 1
This kind of stuff makes me sick. Fortunately, I have seen very little of it. In most of my recent travels I have noticed the TSA at several airports using behavioral profiling techniques. They work extremely well when you reduce the tension in the environment. If everyone is nervous, how can you tell the 4-year old school child on her way to hug grandma from the terrorist planning to die that day. (oh yeah... that's a pretty obvious one)

But the point is that by encouraging a calm, relaxed security screening environment, the bad guys (who are worried about getting caught and how it might mess up their plans to enjoy their virgins later that day) tend to stick out like a sore thumb with neon nail paint.

This kind of stuff has to stop. Not because it is nazi-ish or KGB-ish. It has to stop because it is stupid and ineffectual. It completely undermines security. And that, sounds like our government stepping in to help.
roby3926
It is time to disband the TSA from top to bottom. Yesterday.
steveking17
Steve King 1
I have flown through ICT several times, and each time has been an adventure because TSA at that airport has an attitude worst than any place I've seen anywhere. Nothing is simple there. From the overcrowded, idiotic, hallway they use for a security gate, to the agents with the permanant snarls, they seem to go out of their way to make flying through Kansas unpleasant for everyone.
AABABY
I stand by my previous remarks regarding TSA.
Eliminate the whole operation!
We don't want it, we don't need it.

evercllear
J T 1
I have flown many places and can't vouch for KCIT TSA but would have to say I have never had rude TSA service until I went through TSA at KLAX. The LA crowd of TSA lacked empathy and was very rude. As if the tin badge they wore gave them some sort of entitlement for rudeness instead of maintaining an eye for security and being more humane. KORD,KMSP,KJFK,KOMA,KDEN,KPHX, and many others were fine or even polite, but nothing prepared me for Los Angeles.
kepstein
Kevin Epstein 1
Security is essential, but I don't think we're all that safe. The boorish TSA theatrics makes me trust them less and less rather than more. Sure the TSA will run media blitzes where they show on national news all the stuff they've confiscated - that doesn't sway me either. lifting a bunch of crap off people is not hard to do when you have a captive audience.

Don't get me wrong - it's not the majority of the agents that are the problem, rather a small subset. The real problem is the bureaucrat posers who try con us into believing that they actually understand security. They are the real risk!

All that said - we have not seen any major security threats US airports for a while now, and that's a good thing. I just don't think the TSA alone has made the difference.
Michaeleagle
I just read this story...I was chief of gate security at Detroit Metro Airport right after 911 and my company was consider one of the best in the country ...but when I saw what TSA was going to be like I said no to a high management position.I was even told by a TSA Manager from Washington that there plan was to become so big that the Airports could not get rid of them(even though Airports could get rid of them after 3 years)
ianward2000
Ian Ward 1
I'm glad I don't use airlines these days. And living in Scotland, I'm unlikely to ever want to visit the USA after reading about all these horror stories. It would appear that the TSA are an 'out of control' entity and needs to be shut down for security reasons. Common sense in that organisation does not exist and all the TSOs seem to just refer to a very badly line of instructions in all situations; do they not have any intelligence at all ? To subject a four year old girl to such an ordeal is indecent, inhumane and would certainly not be tolerated in the UK. Or was this episode just an excuse to grope a little girl for their own sordid pleasure ? Is it not time that the USA top administration get involved in this circus and deal with it before the TSA sexually assault another young girl ? Clean up your act, USA and shut down TSA
CaryA
Cary Alburn 1
Easy solution: Charge all of the TSA-ers involved with child abuse, and let them try to explain to a Wichita judge that they were just following procedures. Pretty unlikely they'd ever act so stupid again.
evercllear
J T 1
Unfortunately this has probably given Hollywood its newest idea for a movie. I can see it now.. *fade in* A 4 year old with a chip on her shoulder over all those kids stealing her cookies. She will show them!...She will show all of them! Now grandma will unseamingly pass the firarm to me after she goes through security and I will run over and casually yet innocently hug her. While everyone is distracted the one that will soon be known as "Little Miss Cookie" will use this opportunity to welcome everyone to her twisted, macabre nightmare. *sinister laugh* *fade out and scene*
jenkins75043
I understand that the one TSA Agent that had exhibited some degree of good judgment was identified while working in the Peoria Airport. Secretary Napolitano and Director Pistole have issued a statement indicating that the Agent has been removed from duty and is currently undergoing retraining to insure that all TSA employees perform their duties without the exercise of judgment - good or otherwise.
rospeunt
TSA was the biggest mistake that our previous narrow mimded President created. This agency needs to be eliminated, and I hope Mitt Romney will do away with this waste of idiots combined into a single agency!
preacher1
preacher1 1
reckon she was trying to impress somebody?
rhscott
Rich Heiland 1
I saw a woman pulled aside because her plastic baggie was too big. And I was shocked that a TSA agent told her 'You don't have that much in here. It would have fit very easily in the correct bag, so I am going to let you keep it, but you might want to get one of the legal ones." It was one of the rare moments when a TSA person used common sense. He did, however, keep his voice very soft and they were off to one side.....
Wingscrubber
Wingscrubber 1
Flew through KICT myself just the other day, was quite pleasantly surprised with how orderly and friendly the TSA folks were - maybe I was too quick to judge.
Vortex95
Tony Welch 1
Stewie Griffin?
kepstein
Kevin Epstein 1
Now that's a great idea!
rospeunt
100% but unfortunatlly not under Obama will that happen!
B727FA
The TSA has nothing to do with Obama. Sheese...
preacher1
preacher1 2
I think what Sid is saying is that with OBAMA's penchant for big government you won't see a disbanding, and at the risk of starting an OBAMA bashing forum, that is all I am gonna say.LOL
sparkie624
sparkie624 1
LOL, looks like a real terrorist to me... LOL... In all reality, the kid could have picked it up thinking it was a toy or an adult could have asked them to carry it through for something else hoping not to get caught. I am not a supporter of TSA, but people are stupid and will try stupid things.
pecaslockey
Tim Locke 0
I was in full uniform a while back going through security. A lady said to me "Sure glad you guys have to go through this too." As long as we have a scared, mindless public traveling this typed of crap will continue. We've been conditioned to be afraid of the boogey man hiding around every corner. Thus no one speaks up.
MACGSO
MACGSO 0
"I was only following orders!" Memories of Nuremburg....
JetMech24
JetMech24 0
That is the most idiotic comparison I have ever heard, comparing the murder of millions to a bunch of over rated mall cops.
MACGSO
MACGSO 2
I should think it would be obvious that I was comparing the mindset, not the actions. Perhaps a little too subtle for some?
hbarkhof
henk barkhof -5
Untill you are trapped on a plain with a guy who mis-used his child to get a wapen on board start shooting. You would blame TSA for not checking.
preacher1
preacher1 1
You have been? When, where?
NewNole2001
Ashley Grant 0
Well, given that a simple metal detector that has been in use for years can detect a gun without all the security theater BS of the TSA, I think I'm okay with taking my chances.

Also, what's to stop that guy from just shooting up the twenty-plus minute long security line without ever going through a single security checkpoint? This is going to happen one day, and the TSA will have the blood of those would-be passengers on its hands for the simple reason that if their pointless security theater did not cause such a bottleneck, there would not have been crowd of people at the checkpoint.
JetMech24
JetMech24 1
Will never happen, not as theatrical as a plane blowing up or crashing into something, which is what terrorists like.

[This poster has been suspended.]

NewNole2001
Ashley Grant 3
Did the TSA pay you to post your illiterate comment twice under different usernames?
stickman69
Mike Stinnett 2
Are YOU a 4 year old? "until", "weapon". A four year old could have formed a better statement.
preacher1
preacher1 2
You have been? When, where? Just curious?
mikejpete
A couple of years ago I was catching a flight in Belfast Northern Ireland. I had just gone through security when there was a big STOP shout from one of the security officers. An Asian family were going through the scanner when their little boy just ran through without stopping. For me everything just slowed down as I watched the faces on the security. After what seemed like ages he was persuaded to go back. I often wonder what could have happened to that boy.