Green Room

TSA agent opens and spills jar of human ashes, laughs

posted at 3:31 pm on June 28, 2012 by

The Transportation and Security Administration has cultivated something of a reputation in recent years for treating passengers—especially the very young, the very old, and the infirm—inhospitably. Among their more memorable acts of moronic incivility was their confiscation of a 6-inch plastic hammer from a severely mentally challenged man, claiming that the toy cum security blanket could be used as a weapon. And who can forget the young woman who was patted down so aggressively that her blouse was pulled off, exposing her breasts? Or the callous stripping away of a soiled adult diaper from a 95-year-old wheelchair-bound cancer patient?

Now the agency has extended its abusive policies beyond the living. Indianapolis ABC affiliate RTV reports:

A man’s attempt to bring the ashes of his grandfather home to Indianapolis ended with an angry scene in a Florida airport, with the ashes spilled on the terminal floor.

John Gross, a resident of Indianapolis’ south side, was leaving Florida with the remains of his grandfather—Mario Mark Marcaletti, a Sicilian immigrant who worked for the Penn Central Railroad in central Indiana—in a tightly sealed jar marked ‘Human Remains.’

Gross told reporters he didn’t think he’d have a problem, which causes one to ask what planet he’s been living on. Did he really believe that the TSA’s stringent prohibition against its agents’ opening containers marked in this manner would prevent the screener at Orlando International Airport from doing just that? Did he somehow expect once the jar was unsealed that the screener would not desecrate the remains by digging her fingers into and through them? That once she had accidentally tipped the jar on its side, strewing ashes all of over the terminal floor, that he would receive an apology? Or an offer of help as he tried frantically to retrieve the jar’s precious cargo?

Surely, Gross had a right to expect that the woman would at least treat the situation with appropriate sobriety. She did not. “She started laughing,” Gross told the television 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.”

Sari Koshetz, a TSA spokeswoman in Miami, tells the Orlando Sentinel that the agency is investigating the incident. “Circumstances as described in some reports are inconsistent with what we believe transpired,” Koshetz wrote in an email to the paper.

We’ll see. But judging from the TSA’s past boorishness and their stubborn refusal to apologize for their agents’ indiscretions, I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

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Life imitates Sacha Baron Cohen.

pedestrian on June 28, 2012 at 3:55 PM

Our government doesn’t respect human life–it’s hardly surprising that they don’t respect the deceased either.

Mr. Prodigy on June 28, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Why does anyone even fly anymore?

Bitter Clinger on June 28, 2012 at 6:13 PM

I want TSA shut down. The new Congress needs to get on that immediately. I’m serious.

J.E. Dyer on June 28, 2012 at 6:48 PM

J.E. Dyer on June 28, 2012 at 6:48 PM

I am with you completely on this issue.

katee bayer on June 28, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Why does anyone even fly anymore?

Bitter Clinger on June 28, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Not that I’m a huge fan of Amtrak, but we actually planned our family vacation this year around taking the auto train to and from Florida. It was cheaper than flying our family of 5 down there and we don’t have to deal with the psychotic TSA harassing us – especially my sensory-issue-prone younger son. Win-win.

This is an absolutely horrible story. Bullies on a power trip. I feel less safe with the TSA around than I do without. Shut them down!

Anna on June 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

…we don’t have to deal with the psychotic TSA harassing us…

Anna on June 28, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Yet. They are working hard to bring TSA to trains and automobiles, too.

GWB on June 29, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Yet. They are working hard to bring TSA to trains and automobiles, too.

GWB on June 29, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Automobiles! How would that work? Life imitating South Park perhaps? Can TSA monitored toilets really be far behind?

CityFish on June 29, 2012 at 12:03 PM

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