TSA Takes Disney Toy From 5 Year Old

This week the TSA confiscated a 5 year old’s Buzz Lightyear toy from Disney World. The boy cried as the TSA threw it away. (HT: Toqueville)

The boy’s father, David, said that his son was very excited when his uncle bought him a Buzz Lightyear toy during his first trip to Disney World. That joy was promptly ended however, on the families way back to Pennsylvania at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida.

Deemed a “replica firearm” by the TSA, David says agents took the toy claw out of a carry-on bag and threw it in the trash right in front of his son.

“Once he realized what was happening, that they weren’t giving his toy back, he immediately starts balling, just tears streaming down his face, crying,” David Zilka said. “…Taking a toy from a five year old doesn’t enhance national security.”

It should come as no surprise that the TSA is like the grinch who stole Christmas, they’ve confiscated toy pistols belonging to sock monkeys before too.

I’m not sure if confiscating stuffed toys from children is worse than manipulating screening devices to see passengers naked.

Of course these are just a few bad apples who in no way undermine the hard work that thousands of men and women at the TSA do to keep us safe, day in and day out.

We know that the TSA is completely ineffective at stopping weapons from passing through checkpoints.

TSA Agents in Charlotte Watch News of the TSA’s Failure to Detect Weapons and Bombs, Instead of Searching for Weapons and Bombs (HT: Toqueville)

And that their use of nude-o-scopes has actually been illegal. But what’s a few niceties like the law supposed to matter when the mission is security theater?

Someone FOIA’d the TSA employee manual. (HT: Flyertalk)

The TSA may seem like a big joke, but it’s a joke that gets more power and more funding when people get scared. So it’s important to remember that they aren’t merely ineffective they’re actually harmful to real security.

Update: Title has been modified and one paragraph removed so as not to levy criticisms that are unfair or inaccurate. The case against the TSA rests on its own merits without including erroneous pieces for sure.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Personally I think we should have everyone for themselves. Complete anarchy. I am not sure why I pay taxes for cops and fire. And why have a freaking army? I don’t care if the Chinese take over the US.

  2. TSA is an embarrassment. Watch how they handle the security lines here vs their counterparts in say, Vancouver or Paris, where they are completely focused and do the job with less visible manpower. If stuffed toys are prohibited, thats fine, but why throw it away when the child can see it. Disgusting. Hopefully that person is not a parent.

    I fly an average of 6 times a month. My biggest gripe lately is closed PreCheck lanes. When thats the case, its anybody’s guess to what extent they honor PreCheck procedures. I have learned that it varies by airport. At some, no need to remove anything. At others, leave the shoes on but remove liquids and computer. Its crazy inconsistent and you cant rely on the first agent to direct properly, if at all.

    I had an issue last Friday with a mouthy agent, who couldnt bring herself to simply say, “Im sorry, the agent up front made a mistake.” I never hesitate to step aside and grab a supervisor. In this case, he says “well we have a new crew.”

    Thats comforting, isn’t it?

  3. As much as it would give me a delicious schadenfreude if it were TSA employees who were on the watchlist, the linked article actually clearly says that the 73 workers on the watch list were “aviation” employees—i.e., “airline and vendor” employees, not TSA employees.

  4. Hey credit, you win the prize for most incoherent, childish post. Way to add gravitas to the comments.

  5. Hi Dom, I guess you see this sort of news on CNN or other outlets much? No, you don’t. So go bugger off and Thanks Gary for continuing to point out the idiocy, ineffectiveness, and downright dehumanization of our wonderful government.

  6. It’s ok, Dom was just off on his lunch break away from the nudoscope when he saw this post. He’ll be back in ten, to hassle that little old lady from Ottumwa about her colonoscopy bag and then laugh at the next kid coming through as he confiscates his Buzz Lightyear toy and pulls the parents aside for additional screening and a hefty fine for allowing their child to have a Kinder Surprise egg in their possession. All in a days works for the valiant protectors of Credit’s freedom.

  7. Gary, why don’t you start a petition to shut down the TSA at whitehouse.gov? I’m sure with your exposure you could get enough signatures.

  8. First off, I agree absolutely with your sentiment about the TSA, even if I don’t like its presentation.

    However, I would also question the parenting skills of the parents of children who allow them to carry toy weapons. It’s marginal allowing children to play with toy guns in the first place, but all games need to be contextualised. Flying is a zero weapons environment and children need to know that and pack accordingly. The toy weapons MUST go in the checked bags.

    That apart, one can absolutely trust the TSA to make a mountain out of a molehill – and, I fear, completely fail to spot the Himalayas.

  9. When I fly, I challenge anything that lacks common sense. Naturally, my fellow flyers cringe when I do that. Point is, if more flyers would protest when common sense goes out the window and stupidity reigns supreme we might see a more efficient and intelligent TSA. As many seem not to understand, these people are not law enforcement officials and they cannot arrest anyone.

  10. Pardon me for sounding offensive – however, that is my intent – but doesn’t the overwhelming bulk of TSA agents consist of marginalized, relatively uneducated, potentially formerly felonious guys (and gals) with Napoleonic complexes who were at some point in their careers deemed unfit for real jobs in the security sector and/or unable to pass the requirements and vetting to become officers in police or federal bureaus outfits?

    If that observation has no verisimilitude, it is due only to the TSA itself for failing to present an alternative face to the public.

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