3 reasons the terrorists are laughing at us now (thanks, TSA)

Aaron Amat/Shuttestock
Nothing will wipe a grin off your face faster than a squad of Navy SEALs rappelling into your anonymous compound from a Black Hawk. But while Osama Bin Laden is dead and gone, and unable to mock America’s clumsy efforts to protect its planes from our Homeland-fueled fantasies, his disciples are more than capable of laughing at us.

And laugh they do. How could they not? We’ve given them a lot of material, thanks to the Transportation Security Administration.

Shelbi Walser, seventh-grade jihadist?

Consider the case of Shelbi Walser, the Texas seventh-grader with a genetic bone disorder who was flying to Florida for medical treatment last week. TSA agents detained her at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, claiming she had “bomb residue” on her hands. After a 45-minute wait, agents simply let her go without conducting any further screening.

What’s so funny about it: Walser was obviously a scared little girl, not a junior suicide bomber. The punchline isn’t that she was that a sick child in a wheelchair was held by the TSA, but that the agents just let her roll on to the terminal without testing her wheelchair, which Walser later confessed had probably come into contact with fertilizer. What’s laughable is that millions of Americans now believe that somewhere in a Yemeni warehouse, giddy terrorists are building their latest weapon: an exploding wheelchair. That’s so 1990s.

Andy Ramirez covets your iPad

You’ve probably seen this video of TSA screener Andy Ramirez, who is accused of swiping an iPad at Orlando International Airport. The device was left in the terminal by ABC News, and a few days later, it came calling for the iPad with a camera crew. Ramirez hemmed and hawed before handing over the tablet computer, which had been tracked to his house. He’s been fired.

What’s so funny about it: TSA agents taking iPads from passengers is only funny in the sense that it’s ironic — the very people who are supposed to be protecting us are stealing from us. What’s leaving the terrorists in stitches is the fact that Ramirez apparently didn’t know iPads can be tracked. And he’s supposed to be screening passengers for weapons and explosives? Hilarious.

Cancer patients could be hijackers

Michelle Dunaj is dying of leukemia. The Michigan woman wanted to make one final trip to Hawaii, but the TSA screeners in Seattle had a few questions for her before she boarded her flight to the islands. Like, what’s with all those prescription drugs you’re carrying? What are these saline bags? Oops, did we just break one? Sorry. And could you please lift your shirt in public so we can get a closer look at the feeding tubes?

What’s so funny about it: The terrorists aren’t laughing at Dunaj. After all, they probably know a thing or two about pain and suffering. No, it’s the fact that she’s become the poster girl for TSA harassment. Going after a cancer patient is a new low, even for the bad guys, and despite it all, the TSA still hasn’t caught a single terrorist. Not one.

The radical Islamists who attacked the United States on 9/11 didn’t just succeed in bringing down a few planes and buildings. They made an entire country overreact, say critics, and America willingly sacrificed some of its most fundamental constitutional rights in order to have the illusion of safety. Observers now believe we’ve created an overfunded, ineffective federal agency called the TSA that harasses children and terminally ill passengers and steals from travelers.

We can do better. The TSA needs to slim down, get smarter about how it screens passengers, and stop the airport theatrics, as many experts have already suggested.

Today’s TSA is a joke. Unfortunately, the only ones laughing are the terrorists.

Who will have the last laugh?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • User921394932

    My point is spending an hour+ on a handicap little girl in a wheel chair rather than looking at/for more potential threats is ludicrous!

  • User921394932

    We should have a TSA check point screening station, outside of everyone’s house then, to ensure they are not leaving with a weapon or bomb.

  • User921394932

    I’m not buying this store, National Guardsmen have not jurisdiction to conduct traffic stops.

  • Carolyn

    Did we expect anything less from a government run agency???

  • Nikki

    They did in the days after 9/11 – they were allowed to stop anyone that came close to the airport. So if you’re not buying it, good. I’m not selling it. It happened. There were enough witnesses that saw it happen, so the meanderings of an Internet troll doesn’t mean much to me, 11 years later.

  • Nikki

    Tony – I’m in GA now… this happened while I was living in eastern PA. I did move to FL in 2002 – that was definitely much less xenophobic. Just hated that if I had to deal with it, I knew there were many more that had to, and in worse forms.

  • Nikki

    He already did.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    Tupac4Eva, in theory that’s fine; that’s sensible. But “guys named Mohamed, Jamal, Anwar, etc.” does not equal “potential threats.”

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    Tupac4Eva, jurisdiction doesn’t mean sh*t since 9/11. The Patriot Act, the NDAA, DHS, NSA, TSA, unwarranted surveillance, unwarranted search and seizure, on and on.

    You probably also don’t know about VIPR:

    So, as Nikki says, don’t buy it if you don’t want. Doesn’t mean it’s not out there.

  • EdB

    Tupac, check out the Posse Comitatus Act. It does allow the National Guard to operate as local police under direction of state authority.

    Wikipedia has a nice overview of it.

  • LadySiren

    So sorry, Nikki. I get similar reactions (also of Polynesian descent) but I didn’t have it near as bad as you after 9/11. What irony that we feel almost as unsafe with those in the employ of our government as we do with those looking to do us and our nation harm.

  • User921394932

    If this was the case they’d be stopping every cab in New York all the time even if they had passengers in it. Pretty sure I would have heard/seen about that if it was the case.

    Plus our National Guardsmen are more professional than to say I’m pulling you over because your not American looking enough, and if they did do that then you should have reported it to a superior officer.

  • Nikki

    How do you know I didn’t? That information wasn’t relevant to my post – so it wasn’t included. As a matter of fact, that fellow WAS disciplined by his superiors, more than a year later.

    I’m nothing like you – I don’t make blanket statements about particular groups and assume they’re all like that. (Seriously? Anyone with an “Islamic sounding” name is a potential terrorist?) Even I knew not all National Guardsmen are like the guy that harassed me – there’s been enough family members, past and present, that have served in all branches of the US Armed Forces AND the National Guard, so there would have been no reason for me to think that.

    And on top of that… do you really, really know all there is to know about news in the world?… even the local stuff?… the rural area I lived in didn’t even have an online presence until well after 9/11, so I’m just not surprised that you wouldn’t have heard anything about it.

    You probably should consider changing your online handle. I think a smart man like Tupac would be ashamed of the way you handle yourself. I have more than a few suggestions that would fit, but they’re not appropriate for a family site.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    Ah, so because you haven’t “heard/seen about that if it was the case,” therefore it didn’t happen. What logic!

  • User921394932

    Ah ha! So you admit that was a lone employee, not following standard procedure. In your OP you were making it sound like the National Guard a a whole were pulling over non-American looking people.

  • Nikki

    Evidently you don’t read or comprehend very well. I said nothing about that, nor did I ever imply that. That was one individual acting on his own – as I found out much later.

    Try again, troll.

  • Saul B

    Is bigotry a congenital disease or did you acquire it later in life?

  • Mundane Lustrator

    I agree with you, Hal, but just a minor correction. It’s the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T Act, as in “Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001.” You’ll see this kind of not-so-subtle PR spin used in other government bills and programs (such as the “Trusted Traveler” program – so, everyone else is “untrusted?!)

  • Bill___A

    It appears the TSA stole a luggage strap from me last week. I assure you, it wouldn’t have “come off”. I fly 50,000 miles a year and the only time I am missing something is with the TSA,. (the other 47,000 miles weren’t in TSA territory.)

  • Tacmarine1

    al Qaeda has changed it’s name to TSA.

  • TestJeff Pierce

    POLLRESULTS as of when I write this: 1091 out of 1183 voted “Terrorists”. That is amazingly high even for a biased poll. And this website gets lots of experienced travelers who are more concerned about impinging on their “time” then they are with the fundamental violations of our Constitution (scanners and criminal touching of our bodies, not talking about metal detectors).

  • TestJeff Pierce

    We might as well let all houses be searched by TSA. Since they are civilians – NOT law enforcement – the courts will say it is legal for them to look for prohibited items as part of a “administrative search.”

    So, the TSA can do MORE than allowed police and criminals have more right than innocent Americans.

    That’s the way we roll, living in the country of Homeland…..

  • EdB

    The 4th amendment protects from unreasonable searches by the government, not just law enforcement. Since TSA is a government organization, the courts would not say it was legal.

    Administrative searches are used for verification of regulatory or statutory enforcement. In People v Madison, it was ruled that the government cannot use administrative searches as a pretext to search for criminal evidence.

  • EdB

    I believe what Hal is trying to point out is exactly what you were saying. The PR spin on the word PATRIOT was intended to get people to support it because of the “cleverly” created name. Anyone not supporting something labeled as PATRIOT, even though the term does not mean what the word does, would be viewed as non-patriotic and this is what makes it unpatriotic.

  • Mundane Lustrator

    Right. That’s what I was trying to say, but must not have said it very well.

  • Donovan

    I wonder when we will connect the simple dots, that almost 100% of the mass homicides are already on psychiatric drugs — most having NO PRIOR HISTORY of violence or suicidal thoughts before they were medicated with the very profitable psycho-active pharmaceuticals pushed by psychiatrists and their cozy relationships with Big Pharma.