Mother Declared Terrorist Threat After Spanking Children on Airplane

225px-frontier_airlines_logoThere is growing concern over the use of the Patriot Act against passengers on air flights. In one case, Tamera Jo Freeman was declared a threat to national security and lost custody of her children after she spanked her children on a Frontier Airlines flight.

The incident occurred in 2007 after Freeman’s children began to quarrel on the flight and spilled her Bloody Mary in her lap. She swatted them on their thighs and then reacted badly when a flight attendant intervened by swearing at her and and tossing the remains of a can of tomato juice on the floor. She was arrested and convicted of a federal felony under the terrorism provisions of the Patriot Act. She spent three months in jail and then pleaded guilty.

It is not a unique case where bad conduct is being treated as a terrorist threat under the Patriot Act. It is an area that should be a priority for Congress in reevaluating the draconian laws and policies under the Bush Administration.

For the full story, click here.

28 thoughts on “Mother Declared Terrorist Threat After Spanking Children on Airplane”

  1. Further investigation meaning a quick PACER search. On federal cases that seem far fetched, lawyers are about as well advised to trust journalists as doctors would be to trust lawyers on what constitutes medical malpractice.

    The LA Times reporter was either dishonest, or charitably a sucker. Either way, the linked story is a disgrace, as Ken points out.

  2. When are Americans going to wake up? Without accountability you have no authority. This is the basis of Constitutional Law.

    You charge her with assault to minor if it was in fact that bad. This is NOT a national security threat. If the “authorities” can not think past their proverbial arse, then I am sorry, their authority is hereby relinquished.

    We need to wake up and realize WE are the government and that these idiots whether they are Bush or Obama Bureaucrats, and tell them their reign is over and a new republic needs to be formed.

    Radical yes, but it is what is needed to restore a constitutional republic.



  3. As a former child welfare toiler in NYC, the spanking as described is not child abuse. The stewardess was an over-officious person who overstepped her bounds and got away with it. While I never used spanking on my two daughters and don’t believe in its effectiveness, the facts here bespeak of officiousness gone wild.

    I think Gyges comment below gets to the heart of this:
    “What I’ve recently decided is that you give law enforcement the ability to determine any action as criminal, soon every action is criminal.”

    This is epitomized by the evil fostered by the Patriot Act and other legislative trends of the past three decades. The reasons for passing these invasive statutes always appear on their surface to be reasonable and necessary, but the foresight put into their drafting and their foreseeable consequences is usually ignored and/or lacking.

  4. Gypes, I suppose some could view the mother’s actions as “views different than their own.” After all, spanking has gotten to be a very controversial parental issue. I feel parents have the right (and obligation) to discipline their children as long as it is not abusive.

    I agree with this:

    “What I’ve recently decided is that you give law enforcement the ability to determine any action as criminal, soon every action is criminal.”

  5. Fed Up,

    I share your horror at this, what if they had taken their T-shirts off and made it into a turban? I know I’ll never recover from the horror of seeing someone in a T-shirt that proclaimed views different from my own.

  6. And I got on a recent flight, followed by two people wearing T shirts with “PALESTINE” and the shirts depicted men in foreign military garb and rocket blasters. Nobody did a thing but some of the passengers were visibly and vocally upset.

    Let’s get things into perspective here! Disciplining children and going through parental frustration does not come close to that. I would have much rather been onboard with this mother than the two I flew with.

  7. I got my share of spankings from my stepfather, but only after my sittings in the corner, or groundings, etc. did not change my misbehavior. I also got my first paddling by the principal while I was in 1st grade. I got a few more and my last one was in junior high. Hey, I was a frisky boy. I must confess that I deserved most, if not all, of my discipline.

    I also spanked my son on the bottom, but mostly “time-outs” worked for him. I think that it is unreasonable to equate a swat on the bottom with assault.

  8. puzzling:

    “There is no difference if the assault is carried out by a random stranger, a school administrator, a member of the clergy, or a parent.”


    Most states do not adopt this position and do permit parents to administer corporal punishment to discipline their children. Of course the right is limited and cannot involve serious injury or death. Twenty Three nations have abolished all forms of corporal punishment in accord with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but our Country is not a signatory. Yours may be the correct philosophical position but to butcher Shakespeare “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  9. Striking another individual is an assault. Striking defenseless children is an animalistic assault.

    There is no difference if the assault is carried out by a random stranger, a school administrator, a member of the clergy, or a parent. The physical act alone is an offense, and there can be no adequate justification for it.

    This act is not terrorism. It does not create fear in fellow passengers. It does not create fear in the crew. It is not for a political purpose. It is an assault on a child, made more outrageous by its naked appearance in front of a captive audience.

  10. I am not a big fan of “spanking” your children, but it isn’t terrorism. I agree with Jill that we can’t give any government such wide latitude on these pseudo terrorism cases. Gyges, you hit the nail on the head.

  11. Sally:

    Well to be truthful, that’s what I thought too when I first read it, but just throwing it on the floor doesn’t seem so bad. I agree there is spanking and there is beating, and we all know the difference. I am glad our salty stewardess didn’t make poor Ms. Freeman walk the plank.

  12. Mespo…

    That what happens when I read something, get distracted, and then go back to reading.

    The woman’s behavior towards the attendant wasn’t helpful to her case. No one should have the right to tell anyone how to parent.

    Unless this woman was beating her children (I think we all know the difference between a child being spanked and a child that is being beaten), the flight attendant should just mind her own business.

    I’m just waiting for Child Services to jump in and investigate child abuse charges…

  13. What I’ve recently decided is that you give law enforcement the ability to determine any action as criminal, soon every action is criminal.

  14. This is shitty behavior but it is NOT terrorism. In the article it said: “For decades, airline personnel and law enforcement have had wide latitude in prosecuting unruly passengers, not only for assaults or threats but also for any behavior, including arguing, that disrupts a flight or “lessens the ability” of crew members to perform their jobs.”

    Why don’t the old rules apply to this behavior? Flight attendants don’t need passengers throwing beverages on the floor. That’s disrespectful. It’s not their job. We’ve just seen what flight attendants really do and they should be honored, not mistreated.

    The govt. should not have broad discretion to detain and charge someone for terrorism. That should be a very narrow standard. Terrorism charges gives the govt. extra power over citizens. This power should be eliminated immediately.

  15. Sally:

    “…and then throwing her beverage at her.”


    I don’t think those were the facts. I read she threw it on the floor.

  16. The woman made a bad choice when it came to swearing at the attendant and then throwing her beverage at her. Sounds like she too, needed a swat.

    There’s nothing wrong with children getting a swat on the rear or thigh.

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