In a time of war, lax airport security is not a viable option. We should be engaged in smart security measures, not harassing our young and elderly. Instead of following a political correct policy of groping passengers least likely to bomb a plane, we should be profiling suspected terrorists for additional security measures. A more sensible approach would involve the use of bomb sniffing dogs not expensive and invasive naked body scanners, which are actually being sold by the former Director of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Obviously, this is a conflict of interest which should be investigated and not tolerated.
This week there were a series of very disturbing incidents involving TSA officials. In Nashville, a mother was arrested for loudly complaining about her daughter being groped by TSA officials. At the Greater Rochester International Airport in New York, a disabled coupled was “search raped” by TSA agents, who offered no apology for their actions. The worst case occurred at the Raleigh/Durham airport where a 94 year old woman, Marian Peterson, was removed from her wheelchair and subjected to an almost unimaginable sexual assault in front of other passengers.
According to her son Joe Peterson, “They groped her, all of her body, her crotch, her breasts and everything else." Ms. Peterson was also forced to endure radiation from a naked body scanner and required to stand up for almost ten minutes. For a wheelchair bound 94 year old, such treatment is beyond despicable. At one point during the process, Ms. Peterson was worried that she may collapse on the floor in pain.
Such intimate touching would be considered sexual assault anywhere else but the airport. Who is doing this intense form of frisking? Well, many of our TSA agents are not exactly our best and brightest Americans. There have been examples of TSA agents who have been hired despite criminal records. Others are being arrested for committing crimes right at the airport. In Fort Lauderdale’s airport, TSA agent Nelson Santiago Serrano was stealing electronic equipment from passengers and selling it on E-bay before the end of the work day. He was finally caught with a passenger’s expensive I-pad stuffed in his pants.
In response to these outrages, TSA offers platitudes, not real change. Congress should take immediate action to dismantle the TSA and return airport security to the private sector where agents will not target our senior citizens or our children, two vulnerable groups that should be protected, not abused.
If the present system of harassment continues, the airline industry and the overall economy will suffer. Who will want to subject themselves to such aggravation? In the future, potential passengers will eventually decline air travel and use other modes of transportation.
It is amazing that in America today, our young children are being touched and our elderly are being abused at our airports. None of these invasive personal searches have produced one terrorist, just plenty of aggravation.
In America today we are no longer flying the friendly skies. There is nothing friendly about what the TSA is doing to passengers, sacrificing our human dignity and constitutional rights all in the name of demented form of politically correct security.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].
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