TSA Gave 19 Year Old Sorority Girl Full Pat Down Over Texas Tech Finger Guns Sign

Since the federal government took over airport security they’ve consistently missed 90% or more of the dangerous items going through checkpoints, but we’ve learned that two inch plastic guns that come attached to stuffed animals might be used to take down planes.

Apparently though you can’t even make a gun with your fingers.

Diana Durkin is a 19 year old Texas Tech sophomore from Houston. She took the last semester off to help her family recover from Hurricane Harvey. She was really excited to return to school. So when she saw another Texas Tech person in line at TSA she gave them the Texas Tech sign. Texas Tech fans give each other a finger gun salute. Their slogan is “wreck ‘em.” Just search the hash tag #gunsup.

So how did this 19 year old’s sign with her fingers go over at TSA?

She says a TSA agent called her out with a tap on the shoulder, “What are you doing? You can’t do that in an airport.”

She added that the agent followed up by giving her a full screening and pat down, nearly sending Durkin to tears.

“Oh my gosh, they think I’m a terrorist… Oh my gosh I’m going to jail,” Durkin remembered thinking. “I’m just sitting there, almost in tears, like, ‘No, I’m just really dumb, I’m not a terrorist!’”

She says she promised TSA that she had learned her lesson. Indeed this it seems is the face of terrorism in modern America.

My own working theory is that the finger gun was pretext for one of the TSA’s new ‘more intimate’ pat downs. It wouldn’t be the first time.

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. And where does it say anything about her being in a sorority? And how is that even remotely relevant to the story? Just more click bait from this author.

  2. You expect TSA agents to know that a gun hand signal is a college thing? What if it was an Arab man wearing a Texas Tech hoodie who did that sign? You still going to call TSA out on that?

  3. “Indeed this it seems is the face of terrorism in modern America.”

    Because she is a white sorority girl, she can’t be a terrorist?

    I don’t agree with what the TSA did here. But the way you portray her and using stereotypes for what a terrorist does / does not look like is it relevant to the story.

  4. Are you trying to say that white 19 year old sorority girls shouldn’t be subjected to TSA searches. It’s pretty clear that’s what you were implying with your snide comment:

    “Indeed this it seems is the face of terrorism in modern America.”

    I bet your article wouldn’t have had the same tone if the individual was a young Pakistani male making a gun sign.

  5. @Bob, it’s in the linked article. This again highlights the uselessness of most of what the TSA does. And these intimate TSA patdowns would be sexual assault in any other context. I underwent one when I accidentally had a restaurant receipt from the lunch I had just eaten in my pants pocket not long ago. I pulled it out and showed them. “No, you have to submit to the patdown.” They do these things because they can, not because it makes us safer in the slightest.

  6. The “face” of terrorism isn’t any single type of face. It can be anyone, anywhere. By using the argument that “this is the face of terrorism”, you’re conditioning us all to shrug off warning signs when we see them, and I disagree with this type of conditioning.

  7. American kids think they can be anything they wanted to be, but they need to be pampered and protected from the real world that snce it’s existence has all kinds of issues .

  8. What?
    The horror!
    A white sorority coed got a FULL PAT DOWN and a WARNING?!
    Can you IMAGINE?!!
    How we can even live with ourselves, knowing that we now live in a world where a full pat down and a warning are being given out to sorority girls!?

    A warning! She’ll be harmed by this for hours!

    This isn’t hard stuff. Don’t don’t mimic gun shooting, or talk about dropping a bomb in the airport bathroom, or how you’re about to lay waste to that flight attendant on twitter for being so mean to you. Don’t do it.

    Even if bloggers think you should get a pass for being a white coed (instead of, say, a brown male college student).
    Don’t do it.

  9. This is a non-story. She was given a regular pat down. There was nothing “intimate” about it. She just made a big deal out of nothing. If you make a gun sign toward someone at security, getting a pat down is no surprise!

  10. I agree with Gary. It is a fair guess that she was targeted on a pretense. There is nothing intimate about patting down a 19-year-old girl? Really? If it were your daughter? I’d get arrested for doing it, for the very reason that it is intimate, and offensive when done by someone with whom you are not intimate. I don’t feel any safer knowing that a finger sign from a 19-year-old college girl resulted in a pat down.

  11. China is a safe country without gun violence and they don’t even give you a pat down. They use metal detectors. Insane that a government agency is created and then they make their own rules and do what the hell they want like pat down your private parts or take your cell phone at the border and check it without a warrant.

  12. I agree with Gary. I think some TSA like to pat down beautiful girls.

    Total assault. Now her life is ruined forever. Her grades will suffer, she will start go out with the wrong kind of guy because of the TSA. When bad men come on to her, she won’t know what to say and date them for years because of the TSA. But when kind generous polite men come on to her, it will remind her of the evil TSA and she will rudely turn them away. I have been listening to these scripts forever.

    How do you say: mountain out of a mole hill, Rape of the Lock, blowing something out of all proportions, drama city, make a big thing out of nothing…..

    BTW. I was patted down three times in a row last month in the LGA TSA pre-check line, and I ain’t young or handsome. They say it is random. It ruined my life. The memory of it all: the horror.

  13. @attila
    “f it were your daughter? I’d get arrested for doing it, for the very reason that it is intimate, and offensive when done by someone with whom you are not intimate”

    Yes, but you do not represent neither the government, nor the airport operator or any airline staff member.

    When you book a flight you CHOSE to do so, its your choice to fly and you know that taking a flight also means a security screening. You do have every right to take any other sort of transportation, meaning you can chose to not get a pat down.

    Now you as a stranger doing a pat down on my daughter wouldn’t be ok since nobody ever agreed on it. So again, its mandatory vs. voluntary.

    And I also think we need a different perspective on this. Its not about a college girl who did what, its about a person in the U.S. who is flying, agreed to the security terms and acted (doing a gun sign) that could be interpreted by the authorities as an act / sign.
    Its not she got arrested, what they did was searching her, meaning they investigated.
    She was not charged nor asked to pay any fee, so there really is no loss or damages on her side.

    I’m sure you are also allowed to not accept a pat down and leave the premises and not fly, again, thats your choice then.

  14. I wear a ‘necklace’ with a pill ‘fob’ (carrier), containing heart medications. (Better there, than in a pocket, because the medication deteriorates with heat). Dublin Airport security determined that my pill fob looked too much like a bullet and confiscated it. WTF? About as obviously NOT a bullet as a finger is NOT a gun. TSA and their ilk are taking themselves too seriously. Maybe their field manual teaches them to be officious. The whole operation is just sand in the gears of the economy.

  15. I’m a Red Raider, class of 2008, and I’ve probably committed this heinous crime in an airport or two… Though it probably isn’t quite as much fun to pat me down, so alas, my guns go unchecked.

  16. Sorry Jon but this is just stupidity and a poor excuse for a Harvey Weinstein molestation by TSA agents (they can’t afford the suites at the Peninsula, whaddya gonna do?)

    They also felt up my kids when they were 1 and 4 because they decided they had to pat down my whole family in Phoenix (don’t recall the excuse but I have photos) – again just simple abuse of power for minimum wage drones who otherwise have no power to wield in life.

    Yes, it would be stupid for anyone to joke “I have a bomb in my bag” but pointing a finger gun at someone is completely innocuous (unless of course you are a narco-smuggler…)

  17. @veejay she was flying out of Houston. Yes, I expect any TSA agent in Texas to be very familiar with the Texas Tech ‘guns up’ hand signal.

  18. Just like the lame video that Gary pulls out of his fat ass once in a while when mocking the TSA, anybody that’s not inbred knows not to yell, “Hi, Jack!” to your friend across the terminal. Well, they also know that gun gestures are nothing to joke about either. To show there’s but one tiny step from retarded to whiny little bitch, she cries about a pat down.

    If you can’t handle the realities of life, just check out. You will not be missed.

  19. It’s a new year, so maybe TSA needs a re-branding exercise:

    TSA – Stamping out common sense since 2001
    TSA – The sadism agency
    Tansportation Security Administration – Only one of the words in our name actually applies. Guess which?
    The name you trust in security theater: TSA
    ‘Terrorizing students always’

    No re-branding would be complete without a token celebrity spokes-person. Imagine the presentation, drum-roll begins, the curtains roll back, and out walks a man we’re all familiar with attired in standard TSA uniform – Harvey Weinstein! Next up, an actor is brought onto the stage to help act out the standard TSA routine we’ve all come to know and love:

    Harvey: I’m sorry, but your hand gesture poses a grave threat to national security. Please step over here behind the curtain so that I can personally inspect you for weapons. I know what you’re thinking – the metal detector and advanced imaging devices are all for show. It’s the personal touch that counts!
    Hapless Traveller: Gee thanks, I’m so happy to comply.

  20. I could deal with the overzealousness of the TSA if they acutally caught 90% of the items that shouldn’t go through. I dodn’t think a plastic gun or finger ever brought down a plane. As for it being a white female, I don’t know how many of them ever brought down a plane but I’m aware of several middle east men who have and killled over 3,000 people in the process. Everyone wants to be politically correct but as the line from “Up in the air” goes, ” I’m like my mother, I stereotype. It’s faster. ” and I’d add that it’s usually more accurate. How many 7 year old kids or 70 year old grandmas have taken down a plane or killed thousands of people? If the TSA was any other group, no one would put up with the crap they do. We’re all just turning into a bunch of sheeple….

  21. @Geno TSA *is* in Dublin and dozens of foreign airports. Dublin even has a pre-clearance facility for U.S. passengers. You might want to actually think before you comment.

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