Fourth Amendment Hero Aaron Tobey Is a Crappy Grandson

Jeanne Sager

tsaWhat I wouldn't do to be a fly on the wall at Aaron Tobey's next family gathering. He's the University of Cincinnati student currently suing the TSA for $250,000 for what he says was false imprisonment and malicious prosecution at the Richmond International Airport last year. He says he was handcuffed and questioned for 90 minutes when he should have been boarding his flight to his grandfather's funeral, and for that he wants the government to pay up.

Wait, did I just say, "ON THE WAY TO HIS GRANDFATHER'S FUNERAL?" Why yes, I did. He chose the trip to Wisconsin for the family's big send-off to make a big splash against the TSA, penning the words to the Fourth Amendment (that's the one about illegal search and seizure for those of you who aren't up on your amendments) across his chest.

Court papers filed on Tobey's behalf claim that when he started stripping for his pat-down, the TSA agents went berserko. They read the words of the Constitution, realized they don't really jive with their practices, and they got a little nutty. They allegedly frog-marched him into interrogation and treated him like a possible terrorist.

In all fairness, if what he says happened happened, he's right. They had no right to detain him. We retain a right to protest in this country, and a right to freedom of speech -- even if it's in the form of black marker on the skin. But can we get back to Grandpa's funeral? And the HUGE risk Tobey took in trying to play Fourth Amendment hero?

He had to know something was going to happen. Which is not to offer a defense for what the TSA did, mind you. But he knew that by standing up, he was probably going to raise some eyebrows, if not land his butt in a chair in a back room while he was questioned by Homeland Security agents.

And he chose the trip TO Gramps' funeral to do all this? Did he just really not want to go? I can dig it; going to my grandmother's funeral was one of the saddest times of my life.

Frankly, he got lucky. They let him go in time to get on the plane and vamoose to Wisconsin. He now has what seems like a pretty good claim against the TSA. But oooh boy, I can just see his parents on the other end of that flight, shaking their heads and sucking their teeth. He risked missing his Grandpa's funeral ... and for what? He still had a plane ride home when he could have pulled his stunt! What if he actually HAD missed the plane? All that and no goodbye to Grandpa?

Aaron Tobey made a big splash and might change things for travelers, but the way he did it comes off awfully tacky.

What do you think? What would you have said if this was your kid missing Grandpa's funeral?


Image via smemon87/Flickr

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