TSA holds 12 y.o. girl in wheelchair for 1 hour, for ‘explosives’ (video)

The TSA has done a mostly good job lately of staying out of the news for being complete idiots, but with the holiday season approaching, we may be hearing more soon. In this case, the TSA held a young girl – away from her parents – for an hour while trying to figure out why she tested positive for explosives.

For the millionth time, everyone wants to be safe, but is this type of behavior doing anything positive for the process? Common sense needs to play a much more important role with the TSA.

Was this really necessary?

The girl suffers from brittle bone disease and was flying to Tampa, Florida, for treatment on Sunday. But the TSA detained her in Terminal A of DFW Airport after randomly selecting her for an explosives test.

When a screener swabbed Walser’s palms and fingers, Daniels said her daughter tested positive for explosives…

Daniels said she couldn’t comfort her crying daughter because screeners ordered her to keep back during the hour it took bomb experts to settle the situation.

It’s interesting that the story cleans up the language of the TSA official talking to the young girl. Here’s what they say the official said:

“It’s okay, you didn’t do anything wrong, we’re going to get you on your way,” an official said to Shelbi Walser, 12, as she cried on a video her mother recorded.

Not quite. Here’s what he actually said:

“It’s okay, you don’t do nutt’n wrong.”

I raise this because it speaks to the level of training and education.

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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26 Responses to “TSA holds 12 y.o. girl in wheelchair for 1 hour, for ‘explosives’ (video)”

  1. amordecosmos says:

    Hey, if that twelve-year-old girl had been allowed to carry a Bushmaster assault rifle, maybe the TSA agent wouldn’t have been so quick to trample on her rights. NRA logic wins again!

  2. I’m sick of idiots. And by idiots I mean damn near everyone.

  3. Ednahilda says:

    For heaven’s sake, all of this is nothing more than security theater. It doesn’t keep anyone safe, it just reinforces our status as serfs.

  4. Jafafa Hots says:

    I have a relative who works for TSA.
    It’s the only job that lazy idiot has ever managed to hold down.

    He’s extremely proud of the TSA and buys the whole thing hook, line and sinker.

  5. I was a screener for over a year. When I heard this story, my thought was why didn’t they check the wheelchair. It’s very easy to get false positive readings in an airport. Like others have said, they should have checked the wheelchair to be safe. It would have cleared and then could have let the family pass.

    I hate to think that TSA has gotten worse since I left.

  6. Butch1 says:

    Exactly! They’re like uninvited guests.

  7. Butch1 says:


  8. karmanot says:

    Same wave length ! HA!! :)

  9. karmanot says:

    I’m sure a strip search of this old man would constitute a form of visual terrorism.

  10. Butch1 says:

    Ha! I’m too old for that and would scare the bejeesus out of everyone! I wouldn’t want them to shoot me by mistake. ;-)

  11. Max_1 says:

    The Courts ruled stripping naked at the checkpoint is a form of protected speech…

  12. Max_1 says:

    There’s money to be had at making little girls cry…

  13. Max_1 says:

    … Red flag!

  14. Butch1 says:

    Thanks to the “Shoe Bomber” we have to remove our shoes at the airport . . .sigh . . .

  15. karmanot says:

    What’s next: A law against wearing shoes?

  16. BeccaM says:

    This is why the whole system is ridiculous, broken security theater and nothing more.

    Sensible world: Swabs show positive for explosives. Screeners perform a close visual inspection of the wheelchair and the girl’s possessions, obviously not finding anything. Citing this as a clear case of a false-positive result, they clear her to go.

    Our world: Swabs show positive for explosives. Girl is left crying for an hour because the TSA screeners aren’t trained or authorized simply to perform a visual inspection and clear her for travel. Noooooo, they have to bring in a bomb expert and have everybody pretend like there might be an actual bomb.

    I’ll bet they didn’t even evacuate the concourse, because that’s what you’d do if you thought there was a genuine bomb, right?

  17. BeccaM says:

    We already don’t fly anywhere these days.

    The trouble is now the TSA wants to expand to trains and buses.

  18. lynchie says:

    It is all cosmetic. There is no actual attempt at security. But they have to show their diligence by routinely picking on someone who is harmless and won’t fight back with a law suit.

  19. Naja pallida says:

    Even the KGB wouldn’t have resorted to something this pathetic. They would have done their homework, and known everything about the child’s parents and condition, and that they posed no threat, about 15 minutes after they walked into the airport and would never have wasted any more time on them. Chances are they would never have even been stopped beyond showing the typical travel documents, much less been singled out for a random explosives test – a system that has thus far only inconvenienced and violated thousands of people with false positives, and has not caught nor contributed to catching a single person with actual explosives.

  20. Buford says:

    So her hands swabbed positive for explosives material, yet after detaining them for an hour they never inspected her wheelchair… the wheelchair with which her hands are in near-constant contact…!?!?!?

    Forget the humiliation aspect of this fiasco… what about the appalling lack of actual security…???!?!

  21. Butch1 says:

    The only problem is these parasites will follow us whatever transportation method we decide to use and then harass us on that method. It is THEY who are the terrorists and WE are not safe from THEM!

  22. karmanot says:

    “It’s okay, you don’t do nutt’n wrong.” “it speaks to the level of training and education.” Ya think?

  23. caphillprof says:

    To hell with the Fox induced “war on Christmas,” how about the Federal Government’s War on Children?

  24. angryspittle says:

    There has been a book published recently about the TSA, the author is Aaron James.

  25. guest1 says:

    People need to stop flying, fight em with your wallet

  26. lynchie says:

    The Gestapo and KGB weren’t necessarily well educated just were willing to follow orders don’t you know. Not that our police are necessarily the ones who think before reacting.

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