Junior TSA badges for young fliers

Neal Stephenson snapped a pic of this Junior TSA badge during his REAMDE tour. He notes, "Remember when we used to give them little pilots' wings?"

Junior TSA badge (via Beth Pratt)


  1. “The songs, the processions, the banners, the hiking, the drilling with dummy rifles, the yelling of slogans, the worship of Big Brother–it was all a sort of glorious game to them. All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.”

  2. My kids got those last time we flew, except the stickers were shiny and badge-like.  I didn’t say anything, just wanted to observe their reaction.  They took the stickers, said thanks, then promptly forgot about them and started playing their Nintendo DSes as soon as we sat down in the waiting area.  Stickers and wings are such a non-event now.  If the TSA really wanted to brainwash youngsters, they’d hand out TSA DS game cartridges or app store download coupons.

  3. So do these junior TSA officers have the same right to feel up female passengers as the adult ones do? Because if they do, that would guarantee that every teenage boy in America would want to get one of these badges. C’mon, Washington, here’s your opportunity to interest an entire generation of boys in government service!

  4. “If I catch you kids playing “enhanced screening” again, I’m going to have to phone Emily’s mother. “

  5. Anyone who has ever had their teenage daughter felt up by an adult male TSA screener for the crime of wearing a baggy sweatshirt ought to get an “anger control” merit badge.  That was the same trip our snowglobe was confiscated at the fifth airport we went through.  Although it was a European trip, the perverts and snowglobe confiscators were of course in the US. 

    1. I’d suggest you file a complaint about the violation of the rules about having to use same sex people, but I am sure the TSA once again would not give a damn.

      Shame there wasn’t an actual law enforcement person around at the time, you could have easily pointed out that the male rent-a-cop was copping a feel on your daughter and isn’t that a crime.

  6. Eighty years ago they were giving out junior G-Man badges; it’s not like this is some revolutionary new tyrannical development.

    I have never had a problem philosophically or politically with the TSA or increasing security/inspections at airports. You’re entering what is potentially an extremely dangerous environment with a bunch of strangers, an environment that’s been taken advantage of over and over again by crazy people

    “BUT – BUT I GOT _FELT_ _UP_!!! MY RIGHTS TRAMPLED, MY UTOPIAN INNOCENCE, RIPPED FROM ME!” Grow up. Yes, your man-tits are just that erotic. I’m sure that bored community college grad rushed to the restroom to jerk off after grappling your supple curves. When did we all become such pussies? They’re doing a cursory check for guns and bombs and knives and shit, for crying out loud, and I’m sure 99.99999% of them don’t like it any more than you do. If you genuinely live in fear and contempt of that .00001% of fuckin weirdos who actually can remember one thing about you ten seconds after you’re gone, then I don’t know how you handle the mall, or the public lavatory. “OH GOD A STRANGER NEXT TO ME AT THE URINAL, HIS BEADY EYES FIXATED ON MY GENITALIA!!”

    The underlying issue (in my opinion) is that due to population increase (and corresponding decrease in living space, particularly in metro markets), and media encroachment into every corner of our lives, our concepts of personal space are constantly being adjusted downwards, to the point that we’re resentful and hypersensitive of _anyone_ entering said personal space against our wishes. Yeah it sucks, but this mental image some folks seem to have of the TSA squatting serenely over a copy of our Constitution with newspaper in hand, it’s ridiculous. When you get on a plane, you take a (totally passive) role (along with a hundred or more other people) in the launching of a huge 375-ton metal missile that’s going to cruise through the sky at around six hundred miles an hour. There is a small but absolutely undeniable chance for total catastrophe. Perhaps some day in our future we’ll have little individual Jetsonesque private saucers, but until then, it’s called precautions, and it’s really not a big deal unless you have some weird issue with people touching you, which I would classify as a :you: problem, not an :everybody: problem.

    P.S. I don’t know anyone who died in 9/11, I didn’t vote for Bush, and I think the color-coded Terror Alerts have been a transparent and laughable scare tactic. I don’t think we’re UNDER RISK EVERY SECOND FROM THE TALIBAN HORDES, I just don’t have a problem with them checking people over. If it’s that horrible and offensive, if the grotesquely Orwellian implications are just too much to stomach, then take a fucking train.

    1. To be clear, this isn’t really in response to anything here, just a general and overcompensating bitch ‘n’ moan, because I’ve listened to a lot of people flip their wigs over TSA searches over the last couple years and haven’t said anything.

    2. The TSA wants to make the same kind of searches for train passengers.  (And in some places they already do.)

      I expect that they will soon want random vehicle searches.  Given the right “Fear Event” they might even find a big enough excuse.

    3. It would be about precautions if such checks were actually effective in increasing security. Instead it is a security kabuki whose main result is making people LESS secure by offering an incentive to go by a car instead of by air, which is an orders of magnitude higher risk of loss of life.

      The security is ineffective, the handling of people is offensive, the rules are nonsensical.

      Bruce Schneier talks about these things much better than I ever could. Refer to his blog.

    4. One of my cousins, her husband and their two daughters were killed on 9/11.

      I still don’t want some random person with a badge grabbing my breasts in the name of “public security”, especially since by their own reckoning, they’ve not caught a SINGLE terrorist since their inception.

    5. 20,000 people are killed on the highway every year, more than half alcohol-related.  if saving lives is the main object, it would make more sense to have Breathalyser- enabled ignition in every car than some thug bombarding you with X-Rays and then feeling you up every time you got on a plane

  7. That would be cool if these badges were like the wings they used to hand out, with the little stick pin on the back.  Then they could confiscate them because of the pins.  It would save a bundle in taxpayer dollars.

  8. “Remember when we used to give them little pilots’ wings?”

    Yeah, but pilots don’t have an image problem.

  9. They just don’t want to reward all the 6-year-old terrorists that have been bringing down planes by hiding complex explosives in their tiny little Nikes. I mean, they’ve had enough of that…

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