EDITOR’S NOTE: The comment thread on this post wasn’t closed down because the frat boys were “rude and crude.” I have no problem with rude and crude. There’s a limit, of course, to everything. But I believe in free speech. And I’m an adult, not a tender 6-year-old or a pearl-clutching Pollyanna with delicate sensibilities. I don’t go creeping off into a corner to cry just because somebody calls me a “bad name.”
I closed the comment thread because we couldn’t keep up. We were getting overwhelmed, and we’ve had server problems here as it is. Readers will note that I left up all the so-called objectionable comments. Again, free speech. Being called a c*** is hardly going to ruin my life. And that thread was an anomaly. It’s the only time in the history of this blog that a comment thread has turned out like that. -LS
I wish I could say that this is a new low for the contemptible thugs in blue for whose equipment and “services” taxpayers pay billions of dollars every year. Sadly, it isn’t. It’s just par for the course; another Day in Despotism here in the Land of the Meek, Home of the Afraid.
In case you couldn’t bring yourself to watch this indisputable display of abuse — this disgusting mistreatment of a little girl and her family about which her mother (Annie Schulte) and father comment “look at her all dressing like a potential terrorist/drug trafficker; people who roll in on hot pink wheelchairs, wearing a gingerbread coat and clutching a stuffed baby lamb, are just begging to be harassed” — let me itemize the violations and absurdities at hand (perhaps you can identify more; as a mother myself, I’m too upset by what I just watched to further research the laws, statutory and logical):
First, there is the obvious Fourth Amendment violation against unwarranted search and seizure. I don’t care what kind of pretzel logic the TSA twists itself into parroting in order to justify groping a three-year-old in a wheelchair who’s on her way to Disney World: it’s a violation of her Constitutional rights. Period. Full stop.
And this should not stand. Not in the country that calls itself the United States of America. Citizens and residents who accept otherwise should not only be ashamed of themselves, but should, in my opinion, be constantly, and in strenuous terms, be made aware that they’re engaging in a kind of treason against the very freedoms the nation’s founders established (and countless fought for and died to protect), and thus, by extension, debasing the idea of America itself.
Second, travelers are indeed permitted to photograph and/or videotape the so-called “screening procedure” (more accurately, security theatre), including aggressive pat-downs that would be defined as sexual assault in any other context and nude photography of their bodies. The only subject matter exempt from passengers’ freedom-to-document are the screening machines themselves. As shown in the above video, these TSA screeners try to claim otherwise and keep harping on their imagined rule that the passengers can’t record the incident, even as the parents ask them to cite the actual law pertaining thereto.
Third, the tactics here are insensitive and unkind on their face, as well as pointless. Not only is this little girl so obviously terrified to the point of crying out loud, and desperately upset that her comfort toy — her stuffed animal — is being taken away, she is distraught that her parents’ attempts to protect her are being summarily ignored. Imagine how frightening that must be. If indeed the child “alarmed,” the screeners could have resolved the matter by allowing one of the cleared parents to carry her through the metal detector in their arms while they checked her wheelchair for hidden bombs, machetes, or fuselage-piercing grenade launchers.
What will it take for the American public to recognize how wrong this is, all of it, and demand that our so-called leaders put an end to it? Why are citizens not carrying out a full-on economic boycott of the airlines for all non-essential travel? What will it take, if not the unconstitutional persecution of a little child in a wheelchair?
UPDATE: This happened at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in Missouri. And we learn from this more detailed report that the family had already made it through the checkpoint with no problems, without alarming anything. Yet the blue-shirts pulled them aside anyway. “The TSA did not return phone calls or emails seeking comment.” Gee. Quelle surprise.
UPDATE #2: Read the TSA’s standard boilerplate fake apology here.