Disabled elderly man detained by TSA, misses flight

by Lisa Simeone on July 20, 2012


There’s been so much abuse by the TSA over the past several days it’s hard to keep up. From the deaf man who was mocked to the Make-A-Wish child who was hassled to the woman who was strip-searched and whose feeding tube was contaminated to the whole host of disabled people who’ve been abused, we now add the story of an elderly disabled man traveling with an oxygen machine who was detained, grilled, scanned three times, and made to miss his flight. Oh, and his daughter was threatened for good measure.     

Primo Meza and his stepdaughter were going through security at the Des Moines airport when Meza’s pacemaker apparently set off an alarm. The crack team of TSA clerks immediately suspected him of nefarious intent:

In the time it took agents to determine Meza was not a security threat, his batteries depleted to the point where it was not safe for him to fly home. His daughter says she tried to plug in the machine during the screening process, but was told she couldn’t.

“When I tried to walk towards him they surrounded me and told me I couldn’t touch him and I said I need . . . I told them like five times I needed to plug him in so that he didn’t lose his battery life,” Tonya Gahagan said, “and they adamantly said I could not.”

And why couldn’t she? Because those electrical outlets are special. They can be used only for screening purposes, not for, oh, say, saving a man’s life.

Just think of the possibilities: a whole cadre of elderly disabled people from Florida, like Meza, could be armed to the teeth and descend on a checkpoint en masse, all claiming that the batteries to their oxygen machines have run out. Why, if the TSA let them all plug their weaponized machines into the outlets, everything could go kaboom!

We can’t allow that. Not in the Land of the Free.

Any bets on how long it takes until the TSA comes out with a public statement that “proper procedures were followed”?

So what if Meza missed his plane? After all, you know the saying: Anything For Safety!

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/vintagedept)

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