TSA Doesn’t Negotiate with Terrorists, or Grandmas

Posted on June 28, 2011


On Sunday, a Florida woman complained when TSA airport agents patted down her 95-year-old mother and insisted she remove her adult diaper.  The story spread quickly through social media as an example of overreaching government officials wasting resources scrutinizing a harmless elderly woman while the most likely elderly threats like Larry King continue to roam free.

Our first instinct is to knock the TSA, but we all would have been furious if this 95-year-old woman had used her diaper to hijack the plane and fly it into a HomeTown Buffet.  Everyone seems astounded that they would consider this 95-year-old woman as a potential terrorist, just because she was old, but I’m surprised the elderly community isn’t flattered to be considered still capable of terrorism, like being ID’d for alcohol when you’re decades past 21.

“Sorry, ma’am.  We need to see that diaper.”
“What?  Me?  A terrorist?  Why bless your heart.  I haven’t tried to hijack a plane in 30 years.  You just made my day.”

Who are we to say our elderly community should fade away into retirement and that they aren’t capable of activities enjoyed by youth like sports, dancing, and terrorism?  Actress Jessica Tandy didn’t win an Oscar until she was 80 years old.  A 76-year-old man recently scaled Mt. Everest.  Who are we to say this 95-year-old woman isn’t capable of terrorism?

Face of a terrorist?

Now the TSA side of the story has surfaced, and it appears the agents had sufficient reason to be suspicious as she displayed similar behavior to a terrorist.  Apparently, the agents were playing baseball and one of them hit the ball over the security counter, and it landed in the woman’s luggage, and she refused to give the ball back.  This 95-year-old, supposedly harmless woman, made a long list of demands that must be met or they would never see their ball again.  The agents were unable to meet her demands since they were under strict orders never to negotiate.  In the midst of the standoff, security took a closer look at her background and found a lengthy history of neighborhood boys complaining they had hit balls into her backyard and those balls were never seen again.

The woman made the following demands on behalf of the elderly:

All “Senior Discounts” should be discontinued and replaced with “Youth Surcharges”.

J.K. Rowling must be forced to write senior versions of the Harry Potter books focusing less on wizardry and more on what happened “back in my day…”

Fines will be assessed for those who don’t speak up when talking.

The government must create a panel to investigate and determine a conclusive answer to the question: What’s the matter with kids today?

Technological words must be consolidated.  For example, email, webpages, browsers, computers, webcams, chatting, Facebook, and Twitter will now be referred to as “the Internet”.  “Internetting” is the acceptable word for using any of these technologies.

Her story as the world’s oldest potential terrorist may seem inspirational, but we can’t give in to her demands and set a precedent for other senior citizens to force social change through terrorism, especially when they already get everything they want by voting in record numbers.