Isn’t it obvious?


Why was an 18-month-old toddler ordered off a plane?

Oh, come on. Don’t even argue with this one. She clearly looks Muslim.

You know you never have to worry about blonde babies.

Comments

  1. Trebuchet says

    From the article, it sounds like the target was the mother, not the baby. Because she was wearing a hijab. My guess is that another passenger saw that and complained about a “suspicious person” to the aircraft crew , who passed it on to the TSA, who quite properly investigated. The problem then would be with the other passenger and the crew.

    I’m not really defending the TSA hre, there’s clearly a LOT long with the agency. But in this case I don’t think it’s their fault.

  2. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I’m not really defending the TSA hre, there’s clearly a LOT long with the agency. But in this case I don’t think it’s their fault.

    How the fuck not?

    Can any asshole on a plane report someone as suspicious and then fuck that persons whole day up by calling down the TSA goons on them?

    The TSA has to have some discernment here.

  3. Louis says

    I for one support this action. Toddlers are weapons of mass destruction.

    My son turns 3 in a couple of weeks and there is no surface in our house below 6 feet which isn’t covered in saliva. Even if we do clean up after him. Also, he did something in his pants this morning at 4:30am (charming little bugger isn’t he?) that can only be deemed an extreme biohazard and certainly not suitable for any confined space.

    I’d have shot the kid. And the parents. Funny headscarf? Looking a bit Muslim? Having a child? Three strikes and it’s out, Osama. Don’t all you politically correct whiners tell me I’m wrong, and keep those gays and liberals away, I don’t want any hugging or hacky-sack going on when I’m shooting brown people and kids. In the face. With a very large and over powered gun that is in no way a compensation for anything.

    Louis

  4. jollywahlstrom says

    My guess is that the child’s name came up on the no fly list. Since everyone involved thinks like a bureaucrat, they couldn’t let her fly until someone up the ladder gave the OK. There are plenty of stories of adults that have names that are the same as someone on the no fly list and have problems flying every time.

  5. Matt Penfold says

    I’m not really defending the TSA hre, there’s clearly a LOT long with the agency. But in this case I don’t think it’s their fault.

    Apart from the TSA not telling the airline that wearing a hijab is not a reason to regard someone as suspicious. And the airline should have told the passenger who complained to get their bigoted backside of the aircraft.

  6. Alverant says

    The comments are pretty bad too. The whole “do not fly” list is bogus. You can’t find out if you’re on there, why you’re on there, or correct the mistake of putting you on there. PZ, I’m half surprised you’re not on it already.

  7. carlie says

    I really think the fashion world needs to get onto making the hijab the latest must-have fashion accessory, so that airports will just grind to a screeching halt what with all the “Muslims”.

  8. Louis says

    There was a case a while back in the UK where a planeload of people complained about some other passengers “looking a bit Muslim” and had them kicked off the flight. I can’t remember the details now, but I’ll find it if I google.

    Anyway, the correct response in cases like these is for the flight attendants/TSA to tell the complainers to SIT THE FUCK DOWN AND SHUT THE FUCK UP.

    If Mr and Mrs Lookabitmuslim are trying to ignite their shoes, check them. If Mr and Mrs Lookabitmuslim are just reading the in flight magazine, kill them, no one should read that shit. If Mr and Mrs Lookabitmuslim are chatting away, dandling their cute toddler on their knee and sucking a boiled sweet, then leave them alone you racist fucks.

    Is this somehow complicated?

    Louis

  9. carlie says

    Every time I hear a story like this, I think about how good we seem to be at turning people who don’t actually hate the US into people who do hate the US, all because of the way the US is treating them now.

  10. Matt Penfold says

    There are plenty of stories of adults that have names that are the same as someone on the no fly list and have problems flying every time.

    It seems incredible that the TSA cannot grasp that 1) people can have the same name as someone totally unrelated to them and 2) it is beyond the wit of terrorists to obtain a passport under a different name.

  11. says

    And so this is what happens when you turn “security” into fear of the other.

    Makes we want to go out and wear a hijab next time I fly, and I’m a guy.

  12. Randomfactor says

    Relatively easy way to fix situations like this. You report someone who gets taken off the plane, BOTH of you get taken off the plane so the cops can get the full story. If the person you reported gets arrested, you get a medal. If it turns out to be nothing, both of you can fly on the next available flight with apologies for the inconvenience.

    Why not? If you’re concerned enough about “safety,” why wouldn’t you put your own convenience on the line? That’s my same argument against Sam Harris’ profiling proposals: it doesn’t hurt EVERYONE enough; it makes it easy for one fraction of the public to infringe on the civil rights of another. That kind of stuff ought to HURT–in the pocketbook at the very least.

  13. eric says

    @3:

    My guess is that another passenger saw that and complained about a “suspicious person” to the aircraft crew , who passed it on to the TSA, who quite properly investigated.

    I’m with you until your first comma. I read the article differently after that. It sounded to me like JetBlue invoked ‘its a TSA security thing’ to do something on their own. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was JetBlue, rather than TSA, that gets spanked hard by the press and the courts as the details of this come out.

  14. says

    @randomfactor…

    An eminently sensible solution.

    The accused and the accuser have to get off the plane. That would certainly stop anonymous harassment of someone who is merely flying while brown.

  15. says

    She clearly looks Muslim.

    Huh. She looks like she could be my kid.

    *sigh* I am so sick of this shit. This little girl and her mom don’t deserve any of the bullshit that the other passengers and the TSA put them through. Government mandated bigotry, everyone! Ain’t it grand?

  16. says

    I’d also give the accused a first class seat and the accuser coach (back of the plane, middle seat, next to the johns) on the next flight out.

  17. says

    #22: You know, I’m not on the no-fly list, but somehow, every time, despite setting a seat preference when I book my flights, I always get that very seat…back row, next to the bathrooms. One variation, though, is that I’ll often get the aisle seat, so that as the bathroom line forms, I get presented everyone’s crotches in my face.

    I’ve long suspected that there’s someone deep in the Delta reservation system who really, really hates me.

  18. doktorzoom says

    PZ, you may be on the no-comfortable-flying list.

    What am I saying? We’re all on that one.

  19. Trebuchet says

    I’m with you until your first comma. I read the article differently after that. It sounded to me like JetBlue invoked ‘its a TSA security thing’ to do something on their own. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was JetBlue, rather than TSA, that gets spanked hard by the press and the courts as the details of this come out.

    The article does say the family was interviewed by the TSA. That’s the right thing for them to do if the airline says there’s someone suspicious on the plane. As you say, it’ll probably the airline that gets a well-deserved spanking out of this. They’re claiming the baby was on the no-fly list, TSA says that’s not true. So JetBlue is (probably) lying about it being a TSA request after they (probably) lied to the couple about the baby being the problem.

  20. mattandrews says

    And Sam Harris justifies humiliating this family with a 3000 word blog post in 3… 2.. 1…

  21. Trebuchet says

    Randomactor:

    Relatively easy way to fix situations like this. You report someone who gets taken off the plane, BOTH of you get taken off the plane so the cops can get the full story. If the person you reported gets arrested, you get a medal. If it turns out to be nothing, both of you can fly on the next available flight with apologies for the inconvenience.

    I agree with the first part. But if it turns out to be nothing, only the person who got reported gets to go on. The other jerk gets no refund on his ticket and sued by the airline for disrupting a flight.

  22. david73 says

    This is just another example of the abdication of decision making to a “zero tolerance” mindset. My favorite quote on this is from Eric Hoffer
    “Free men are aware of the imperfection inherent in human affairs,and they are willing to fight and die for that which is not perfect.
    They know that basic human problems can have no final solutions, that our freedom,justice, equality, etc. are far from absolute, and that the good life is compounded of half measures, compromises, lesser evils, and gropings toward the perfect.
    The rejection of approximations and the insistence on absolutes are the manifestation of a nihilism that loathes freedom,
    tolerance, and equity.”

  23. says

    No, I think Sam Harris would agree that this was a total waste of time and yet another example of egregious stupidity from TSA.

  24. mattandrews says

    @PZ Myers 30:

    That’s assuming that the story the kid was on the no-fly list is true. The more likely scenario, IMO, is that someone freaked when they saw her mom in a hijab, and everyone is using the TSA list as cover.

  25. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Huh. She looks like she could be my kid.

    Audley, you are clearly one of those atheist/muslim liberals that all right thinking, god fearing, true blue americans should be in mortal fear of.

  26. Matt Penfold says

    That’s assuming that the story the kid was on the no-fly list is true. The more likely scenario, IMO, is that someone freaked when they saw her mom in a hijab, and everyone is using the TSA list as cover.

    Your scenario is not actually any better. If anything it is an even worse indictment of both the airline and the TSA.

  27. Matt Penfold says

    One question I have, is why the no-fly list is only implemented at the airport ? In order to buy plane tickets you have to provide the name and date of birth of the people flying. If one of the names was to match a name on the no-fly list then why not stop the purchase of the ticket at that point ? There is also the possible benefit that someone who has the same name as someone on the list can be given extra-scrutiny at this stage, so when they get to the airport there is a flag on their record saying the checks have already been done and they good to fly.

  28. mattandrews says

    @ Matt Penfold #34:

    You are right. However, it addresses the scenario of reporting people who “look Muslim”, which some authors have been promoting as common sense on the web over last week or so.

  29. robro says

    This sort of thing is just crazy. Is the passenger who reported the “suspicious” persons assuming they managed to slip through the TSA checkpoint? Is JetBlue thinking they weren’t screened? Is the TSA admitting that they don’t screen everybody? If the final arbiter of who “looks” suspicious is one or more passengers on a plane, then why bother with all that mess at the checkpoint. Just get all the passengers together at the gate and do a survey for who looks suspicious.

    In any case, I’m considering that the next time I’m on a airplane I’ll report someone as looking suspiciously WASP. We can’t have those white savages riding on our airplanes. There a bunch of terrorist from way back. Do you have any idea what they did to Welch people? Jeez.

    And as a 6′ 2″ tall person, I’m permanently on the no-comfort list so when I fly I’m just grumpy enough to do this.

    PZ: You better be careful. Flying with a beard…could be Muslim. You’re definitely not Christian, right?

  30. says

    Also, remember people that Islamophobia doesn’t exist. It’s a made up word. Nobody would ever discriminate against people just because they’re muslims. There’s a sensible reason why this toddler was taken off the plane or it was just a mistake and it has nothing to do with the fact that they look muslim.
    Also, the mother suspects it’s because she wears a hijab. See, if we’d finally liberate her by forcing her to take it off such things wouldn’t happen again. Although, of course, them looking muslim has nothing to do with this whole affair.

  31. Trebuchet says

    PZ:

    I’ve long suspected that there’s someone deep in the Delta reservation system who really, really hates me.

    Porco Dio:

    I hope you’re no longer flying Delta after they pulled Daily Show adds because of vagina mangers.

    I’m guessing PZ has little or no choice. He lives in Minnesota, where the market was for many decades owned by Northwest (AKA Northworst) Airlines. NWA is now Delta, so PZ is stuck.

  32. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    A hijab is a head scarf. They are ridiculously common and often aren’t even recognised as hijabs. They’re worn by many women for various reasons (and not a few men, but the queers will do anything for fashion). Call me crazy, but I can’t imagine why anyone would find a head scarf suspicious (okay, that’s facetious, I can, sadly). Hijabs don’t even necessarily cover one’s bloody face!

    And the matter of the baby? Really? Even if the child’s name were on the no-fly list, it is obvious that the child cannot be the same person as the one the no-fly list.

    Absolute lunacy and clear bigotry.

  33. DLC says

    Read further into the story. TSA spokesperson points out that they were issued boarding passes, which means they were already cleared through security. The finger of blame falls squarely on JetBlue. Methinks I’ll be adding JetBlue to the list of airlines which will not receive my business in the future. Right next to Spirit Airlines and Air France.

  34. truthspeaker says

    jollywahlstrom says:
    10 May 2012 at 9:31 am

    My guess is that the child’s name came up on the no fly list. Since everyone involved thinks like a bureaucrat, they couldn’t let her fly until someone up the ladder gave the OK.

    Despite the TSA and the airlines both claiming, repeatedly, that if a child’s name matches a name on the no-fly list, it’s obviously not the same person, and their employees would use their common sense to figure that out.

    Seems some employees still haven’t gotten the memo.

  35. says

    Never met a toddler that wasn’t an unholy terror.

    Joking aside, I think there’s probably more to this than “cute kid kicked off plane”.

  36. Matt Penfold says

    Joking aside, I think there’s probably more to this than “cute kid kicked off plane”.

    In a sane would you would probably be right, but the world of airports, airplanes and the TSA is anything but sane.

  37. says

    Every time I hear a story like this, I think about how good we seem to be at turning people who don’t actually hate the US into people who do hate the US, all because of the way the US is treating them now.

    That.

    And seriously: what?

    I mean, sure, I always pretty much regarded the no-fly list as a clusterfuck. But this… This is more like ‘mass clusterfuck’ or somethin’…

    ‘Yes, ma’am… I’m afraid she’s on the no-fly list…

    ‘Also her teddy bear. Yeah, Mr. Bigglesworth, I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with us.’

    (/And note to self: next time I opine to the feds that what we need here is more ‘engagement’, be more specific.)

  38. chigau (違う) says

    What kind of 18-month-old names their teddy bear “Mr. Bigglesworth”?
    Obviously a midgit* deep undercover.

    *FSM reference.

  39. says

    What kind of 18-month-old names their teddy bear “Mr. Bigglesworth”?

    Well, in fairness, maybe the TSA guy just misread that one…

    (/… and sure, ‘Mr. Wiggles‘ probably belongs on there, fair and square.)

  40. philat100 says

    robro:

    Do you have any idea what they did to Welch people?

    My god no! She wasn’t that bad in One Million Years BC…

  41. Rich Woods says

    @AJ Milne #51:

    What kind of 18-month-old names their teddy bear “Mr. Bigglesworth”?

    Well, in fairness, maybe the TSA guy just misread that one…

    Yeah, ‘cos after all, Biggles was a famous World War One flying ace and perfectly capable of taking over an airplane and flying it into a target on the ground.

    *shakes head*

    Oops, sorry, my bizarre and only semi-rational interpretation of reality has blended into badly misunderstood fiction. So not at all like the TSA then.

  42. madscientist says

    The TSA done Sam Harris proud. They must also have some special powers – the kid doesn’t look muslim to me.

  43. crowepps says

    The hijab doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Lots of women undergoing chemotherapy wear them as well.

  44. birgerjohansson says

    “Perhaps someone involved in all this has mistaken Stewie Griffin and his antics for real life.”

    But if someone tried to do this to Stewie Griffin they would be dead within five minutes.

  45. says

    I’m guessing PZ has little or no choice. He lives in Minnesota, where the market was for many decades owned by Northwest (AKA Northworst) Airlines. NWA is now Delta, so PZ is stuck.

    if he flies out of Minneapolis, he’s got a bit of a choice; not much, but still. Flying out of ND on the other hand…

  46. Muz says

    Going with the theory that it was another passenger who said something and the airline had to think up a reason for a moment; I wonder if anyone who said “They make me uncomfortable” about another passenger has been told “Well, they’ve been cleared. You’re welcome to get the fuck off the plane and walk”.
    I hope so (maybe not in those words exactly).

  47. says

    I suspect that part of the problem is that the TSA workers are bound by rules that they can’t get around. I’m sure they realized that an 18-month-old on the no fly list was a mistake or just someone with the same name, but they may have been powerless to do anything about it. But the problem lies also in allowing people to make judgment calls. How will we react when someone makes the wrong call? It’s easy to say the TSA sucks, but not so easy to figure out a better method.

  48. julietdefarge says

    Other families who are not Muslim have found their children have the same names as people on the no-fly list. Similar cases have been going on for years. One of the best known is Mickey Hicks.

  49. Just_A_Lurker says

    scottplumer

    It’s easy to say the TSA sucks, but not so easy to figure out a better method.

    This is a load of horseshit. Yes, it fucking is. There are plenty of fucking ideas and people that have planned it out to make it viable. There is no damn reason to have the TSA as is, except for this damn attitude in this country regarding brown people.

    Research it some before spouting shit. It will save you a lot of trouble.

    I don’t fucking appreciate this, it just screams “stop criticizing it since you can’t fix it”. Even if we didn’t have plausible better ideas, we still have every fucking right to rip a shitty idea to shreds, especially when it’s fucking racist.

  50. pramod says

    Do these people know that there are plenty of blonde hijaab wearing muslims in Turkey and Eastern Europe? Besides the obvious racism, it’s the utter cluelessness about non-western cultures that irks me.

  51. totalretard says

    This just proves Sam Harris’s point. Just looking at her, there’s no mistaking that even at this tender age, she’s a committed terrorist. And she’s intentionally trying to blend in by not wearing a hijab.

    Congratulations TSA and JetBlue for being on your toes and defusing this potential threat.