Ryan Thomas, developmentally delayed due to a premature birth, was forced to remove his leg braces and walk through a metal-detector by himself. He is 4. He cannot walk properly without the leg braces. Ryan Thomas was apparently suspected of being a threat. He is 4. He was later deemed to not be a threat. Again, Ryan Thomas is 4.
I’m writing this in simple phrases in case the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screener who forced Ryan to remove the offending braces is reading this. I don’t want the screener to misunderstand the complete asininity of what he did to that boy.
I understand the premise of not allowing metal objects onto a flight. This is not rocket science. Guns, knives, and other objects traditionally made with metal parts, would be a bad thing to carry onto any flight. However, unless it has been determined that a terrorist would fake being handicapped and in need of using leg braces to maintain his ruse, why would you target a 4-year old boy who had them? Is there some terrorist precedent that has not been made known public to America? Are there groups of terrorists who play upon the emotional sympathies of screeners worldwide to carry out their plans of death and martyrdom, by pretending to be handicapped?
This kid is 4-years old. He was with his parents. (Which could be proven simply by looking at ID.) He was on his way to Orlando, in March of 2009, to visit Mickey Mouse in celebration of his birthday. Have terrorists targeted Disney?
In this day and age of the Muslim extremist threat, I find it particularly offensive that a young American child would be subjected to such humiliation. Muslims are protesting body scans as it apparently goes against their religion.
Pardon me, not to be rude or anything, but is it not factions in your religion that blow people or themselves up, in some twisted and perverse quest for heavenly bliss, and you have the nerve to decry a procedure that even non-Muslims would have to endure? Instead of lamenting and whining about such things, you should instead devote your time and energy to rooting out and condemning those extremist factions, yes? Your religion has already made children like Ryan Thomas, who is 4, into targets and over-the-top suspicion. Your religion has made TSA into the debacle it is today.
After the whole brouhaha, the Thomases returned home to Camden after their trip to Disney, albeit Mr. Thomas was still a bit peeved. Even up until this month in 2010, he was angry.
However, TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis, said the boy never should have been told to remove his braces. The parents should have been allowed to escort their child to a private screening room where he could be properly swabbed for traces of explosive powders and materials. Davis also commented that she wishes Thomas would have contacted her sooner. “If screening is not properly done, we need to go back to that officer and offer retraining so it’s corrected.”
Bob Ellis, TSA security director at the Philadelphia airport, called Mr. Thomas last week to apologize. Thomas was appreciative, and said, “I’m just looking for things to be done right. And I just want to make sure this isn’t done to anyone else. Just abide by your standard operating procedures.”
Indeed, Mr. Thomas, indeed.