Amputee forced to remove prosthesis, expose residual limb, be separated from 4yo son

These stories just keep getting worse and worse. And this incident apparently took place earlier this year, before the "enhanced" procedures went into place:
"I had just been put in the Plexiglas screening booth," said Peggy. "My 4-year-old son was made to sit across from me, crying because they would not let him touch me. Everyone was looking at us. Then the TSA agent asked for my prosthetic leg. I knew they could wand my leg, but he insisted on taking it from me. And if that wasn't humiliating enough, he asked for the liner sock that covers my residual limb, saying I had to give it to him. I felt pressured to give him my liner even though it is critical to keep it sanitary. I was embarrassed to have my residual limb exposed in public."
Amputee Coalition of America Calls for Improved Screening Procedures for TSA


  1. Another one of these.

    We can argue all day about who took who into an isolated room and demanded to examine their prosthetic limb and contaminated a medical apparatus and we’ll just keep coming back around.

    I mean, we have this guys side of the story. For all we know, he made the TSA agent’s kid cry.

    The TSA and The Public: Let’s just agree to disagree.*

    *Please forward all TSA endorsement checks to my paypal account.

  2. This is a major hassle for many people wearing prosthetic devices with fittings that are designed to be difficult to remove so they do not come off during normal use. Placing them back on takes time and effort.

    Imagine you are a woman flying with a prosthetic leg. You might want to fly in a dress allowing you to simply hike up the dress to show the prosthetic device to the screeners. Now, with the latest pat down and inspection requirements, if you have to *remove* the prosthetic limb, this becomes a much more difficult affair and potentially much more embarrassing and humiliating. The TSA allows amputees and other individuals requesting private screening to go to a room, but most of the “private” screening areas are not truly private rooms, but are semi-public rooms where other TSA officials are walking in and out of.

    On top of this are the sanitary issues of maintaining cleanliness of prosthetic liners in a place where countless people are removing their footwear and walking barefoot.

    This new policy is neither well thought out or rational. Behavioral profiling by qualified, trained individuals is a much more acceptable solution than this security buffoonery.

    1. Although I agree it’s a major hassle for the public it’s not hard to argue for the other side to. Imagine this same women with the prosthetic leg walks through security and the TSA decides for the sake of humility, and inconvenience that they would just wand it and let it pass.

      What happens (and I’m just entertaining this argument) if there was a chemical bomb inside her prosthesis? Would the public now be outraged that the TSA missed something so glaring obvious?

      Or what if the TSA could give a private room to each individual and give every bumbling idiot (cause you know there are tons of those travelling) all the time and patience in the world? People would only start to complain about missed flights, and overzealous measures.

      1. The procedure is supposed to be the prosthesis is examined in situ, not forcing the person to remove medical equipment and remove sanitary coverings and then resterilise the area and put the stuff back together. I can guaran-damn-tee that there is a higher likelihood of someone getting an infection from exposing an area usually kept in a liner or an additional injury after a TSA agent damages their prosthesis than there is of someone managing to bring down a plane with what they can stash in a prosthetic limb. Hell, if you want to know what’s in a prosthesis, use a puffer, a sniffer dog, or even a sniffer rat(easy to train, cheaper to keep, don’t imprint on their handlers as much so they’re easy to transfer from place to place). They’ll tell you if there are explosives or drugs.

        This is just too much. We don’t force these kinds of searches on people using buses or trains even after 7/7. There’s a point where unwarranted searches are invasive enough to have a chilling effect on people’s freedom of movement. And no, cross country driving, bussing or train riding for a week isn’t an option.

        I mean, fuck, if I wanted to crash a plane into somewhere in the US, I’d hijack a Mexican plane. Dare the US Air Force to blow me and all those innocent civilians out of the sky.

        Hell, you people have a shooting spree every couple of months, but you write of these deaths as acceptable to keep the Second Amedment freedoms. Why can’t we just keep reinforced cabin doors and accept that some human bottle rocket or Mr Sizzlypants might just barely have a shot at blowing his own arse off mid-flight? Why aren’t they using puffers or sniffers instead of this rubbish?

      2. Was the public “outraged” about 9/11?

        Or did they line up behind their Dear Leader, and anybody who said boo about it quickly lost their media jobs …

        Failing to stop terrorism doesn’t lead to public outrage, it leads to a big political opportunity for the authorities. Stopping the terrorism is what gets “outrage” from the opposition party, since there aren’t actually any bodies lying around and they feel safe blaming the big guy for not stopping it early enough.

  3. Just wait until we start reading about victims of violent sexual assault loosing their shit at the hands of these embarrassing TSA toadies’ gropes.

    Send those therapy bills to Homeland Security.

  4. Can you create a Boing Boing special feature that has a running list of only the TSA posts and all of the TSA posts? Maybe a seperate feed? It would be nice to have them all in one place for future reference. And no I’m not proposing this to get them off of the front page, I like to watch Rome burn.

  5. Now wait a minute..
    A woman, I’m guessing aged somewhere between 20 and 40, with her “son” AND a prosthetic limb?
    That sounds a little too innocuous and not-at-all-threatening-in-any-way for my liking. Very clever of the TSA to spot that.

  6. Roger Ebert already exposed the story of a TSA agent forcing a flight attendant who was also a breast cancer survivor to remove her prosthetic breast for examination.

    And #3, Noodlehead, rape survivors have already been traumatized. (And others refuse to fly except in the most dire circumstances, in order to avoid triggering situations.)

    There’s also the 3 year old little kid who was violated by a TSA agent while her mother held her down and her news reporter father videotaped it. Imagine the cognitive dissonance this kid felt, thinking her parents could/would protect her from bad-touch strangers, and then having that happen. Also, y’know, great training for kids to get about how they should trust uniformed authority figures.

  7. Seems like there’s any easy solution to this: Anyone with any kind of prosthetic or other non-natural item in their bodies–including prostheses, metal plates, surgical screws used to repair a broken limb, or even fillings in their teeth–should just be put on the no-fly list. (Don’t underestimate the potential destruction from a single molar bomb.) Problem solved!

    Also, everyone who’s left has to fast for at least 36 hours before their flight. We don’t want you hiding anything in your bowels.

  8. @e:

    Or, what if this same woman with the chemical bomb in her prosthesis were to board a train, or a bus? We should screen all those vehicles too.

    Or what if she were to just go to some crowded place, like Times Square, where she could kill hundreds of people from a street corner? Or what if she went to an elementary school, where she could take out dozens of innocent little kids? We should seal off those places as well.

    As a matter of fact, let’s not let anyone go anywhere or do anything for any reason. Because, you know, they might be plotting to kill someone.

    Honesty — how “safe” do some people need to feel?

  9. The logical conclusion of TSA’s approach to security is that since practically anything can be used as a weapon on a flight, every passenger must be chained up like Hannibal Lecter for their own safety as well as everyone else’s. There also needs to be a second flight solely for luggage, that way no one can try to get a bomb in a bag past the luggage screeners and threaten the safety of the passenger flight in that manner.

  10. Could be worse. Here in Toronto at the G20 photo-op the cops told a guy sitting in the park (the one they had told the protesters to go to on the previous day) with a false leg to quickly jump up and run away (destination unspecified as he was completely surrounded) and when he didn’t do it fast enough they arrested him. Seeing as the leg was clearly a potentially deadly weapon they relieved him of it. Then they dragged him into the squad car and hence to the pokey. The charge was “resisting arrest” because they had to drag him into the cruiser.

  11. If I wanted to blow up a plane, I would put a bomb is a prosthetic leg. He’ll I’d have it rigged to blow up in the airport if was taken off too. Blowing up a crowded security checkpoint works just as well, if not a bit better from the fear aspect.

    1. EXACTLY!

      What TSA and Homeland Security appear to not understand is that the goal is terror. If you want to blow up a bunch of people, you don’t much care whether it’s 35,000 feet in the air or crowded together like cattle in a security line. Which do *you* think is actually more terrifying?

  12. Where are the posters who think he should simply learn to be more comfortable with his body? I remember them deriding the concept of modesty in some of the other TSA stories; surely they realized that would include amputees.

    1. This gives me an idea!

      You know those things that (supposedly) detect increased blood flow to the genitals and, therefore, are supposed to detect arousal in suspected perverts while they watch videos of children, etc.?

      Every official TSA government-sanctioned molester should be required to wear a genitalia blood flow detector “chastity belt”. If the device detects increased blood flow to their genitalia while little Jimmy or anyone else gets the pat down, the booby belt will sound an alarm with flashing lights emitting from their genitals. It’ll alert everyone within the pervert-zone that the TSA worker is aroused and appropriate action can be taken.

      Surely, you TSA workers and others here who think sacrificing a little privacy for security will eagerly support this safety measure that protects us all. It’ll also protect the TSA workers who have nothing to hide so they aren’t falsely accused of being excited while feeling up Americans.


      BTW, If any of you run into any apologists for the enhanced pat downs, be sure and tell them this idea. If they scoff at this idea, then smack them in the head for being hypocritical assholes… you have my permission.

  13. That’s funny, this doesn’t feel like enhanced freedom to me.

    Maybe I just don’t understand how freedom works. I guess nowadays the ultimate freedom is when you’re naked and in chains so you couldn’t possibly hurt yourself or others by accident or otherwise.

    Well, many of the top corporatists secretly pay dominatrixes in expensive dungeons to do things like this to them for years, so I guess they just want to share their expensive fun with everyone else with our tax money. Fair’s fair…

    1. A minor edit:

      “The corporations and lobbyists that make money from security theater and porno-scanners haven’t made enough money yet. As long as they haven’t made enough money, nothing will change (at least not for the better).”

  14. As someone will already have said in another post somewhere:

    We have security procedures known to detect certain threats and known to NOT detect certain threats. Our procedures do not detect devices hidden inside a body cavity, such as the rectum. Thus, terrorists can hide devices where they know we will not search for them.

    The risk (of infection, or injury, or radiation exposure) of the search method HAS to be compared to the risk of the threat it is supposed to prevent. If the increased radiation exposure kills 1 out of a million travelers each year, and there’s only a one in a million chance of dying in a terrorist plot which would be prevented by that search method, you’ve just changed the agent of your demise.

    The false positive rate on these searches has not adequately been documented. If we have 1 in 10,000 false positive rate, and a one in a million chance of a terrorist plot which would be thwarted by the search, and a 100% detection rate of actual devices (which we don’t), for every single terrorist device spotted, we will have 100 false alarms.

    The system fails on SO many levels:

    Terrorists already know how to evade it.
    It doesn’t do a good job of detecting terrorists who DON’T know how to evade it.
    It doesn’t clearly reduce the risk (i.e. death) that it was designed to prevent.

    Maybe you could argue for a demoralizing, humiliating, degrading procedure if it was EFFECTIVE, but it’s a lot harder to argue for it when it DOESN’T WORK.

  15. My husband wears leg braces and knows all the laws regarding assistive devices better than most TSA agents. TSA agents legally CANNOT force you to remove your limb or braces; they do pull you aside and do bomb residue tests on them, but they cannot force you to remove them.

    TSA agents in big airports seem to handle this without a problem but in small airports we have had to explain our rights. In Oklahoma City, they had no idea what to do. Ignorance does not excuse this kind of bullying! Stand up for your rights!

  16. These TSA jobs are the worse..the only thing worse than working for the TSA is flipping burgers at McDonalds. These TSA Douche bags love to bust everfyone’s chops… This is what they do. Common Sense ? They have non… Good Luck…

Comments are closed.