by J. D. Heyes
The Transportation Security Administration is already known for being one of the most, if not the most, inept, incompetent and criminal of all the federal agencies. Now we can add cruel and heartless to the growing list of TSA outrages.
John Gross of Indianapolis suffered unbelievable humiliation at the hands of a female TSA agent at the airport in Orlando, Fla., after she insisted on opening a jar containing his grandfather’s remains. When doing her “inspection,” she promptly spilled them on the floor.
Before the “accident,” Gross pleaded with the agent to “be careful.”
“They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please, be careful. These are my grandpa’s ashes,” he told a local ABC News affiliate.
“She picked up the jar. She opened it up,” Gross said. Then she dropped them.
The remains of Gross’ grandfather, who was 91 when he passed, had been divided up among family members after he died a decade ago. Gross had been given his portion by his uncle during his trip.
Here’s the rub – the agency wasn’t even supposed to open the jar
The jar was clearly marked “Human Remains” and was in a tightly sealed jar.
Gross said one-third to one-half of his grandfather’s ashes spilled; worse, he said, the agent laughed as he worked to recover what he could.
“She didn’t apologize. She started laughing,” Gross told the station. “I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn’t pick up all, everything that was lost. I mean, there was a long line behind me.”
Talk about adding insult to injury.
What’s even worse is that – as usual – checking those remains was against the TSA’s rules.
According to the TSA’s own Web site, “Passengers are allowed to carry a crematory container as part of their carry-on luggage, but the container must pass through the X-ray machine.”
Continuing, the site says: “Out of respect to the deceased and their family and friends, under no circumstances will an officer open the container even if the passenger requests this be done. Documentation from the funeral home is not sufficient to carry a crematory container through security and onto a plane without screening.”
What the agency was supposed to do was put the remains through an X-ray machine.
So why did that female TSA agent open the remains? Does she not know the rules? Does she care?
Gross wants to see some contrition, and he’s absolutely right to demand it.
“I want an apology,” he said. “I want an apology from TSA. I want an apology from the lady who opened the jar and laughed at me. I want them to help me understand where they get off treating people like this.”
As of this writing, Gross has yet to receive an apology.
TSA needs to be out of the security business
The TSA has such an awful history, it’s pathetic. Why this agency still exists is – well, Congress’ fault.
“TSA needs to immediately remove themselves from the human resource business. This report details highly disturbing cases where pedophiles and child pornographers wearing federal law enforcement uniforms are not only patting down unsuspecting travelers, but in many cases stealing valuables from their bags,” U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said recently in a highly critical report about the agency.
“Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to step in and demand accountability from Administrator (John) Pistole,” she said.
She wants the TSA out of the “security” business altogether, if not out of American airports.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky wants the TSA gone as well.
“The American people shouldn’t be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane,” Paul said in May.