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Just because you haven’t heard much about it does not mean it has gone away. Airport security in the United States still sucks. For some reason, the Transportation Security Administration continues to hire minimum wage inexperienced lackeys that do not have the critical skill of common sense. And they cannot admit when they are wrong.
A Florida woman complained over the weekend after her 95-year old mother was forced by security personnel to remove her adult diaper. The TSA released a statement Sunday defending its agents’ actions at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport. “While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner,” the federal agency said. “We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure.”
Jean Weber told news outlets on Sunday that the security officers may have been procedurally correct to search her mother who has cancer, but she still does not believe they were justified, especially given her mother’s frail condition.”If this is your procedure — which I do understand — I also feel that your procedure needs to be changed,” she said.
Weber said the two were traveling June 18 from northwest Florida to Michigan, so her mother could move in with relatives before eventually going to an assisted living facility. “My mother is very ill, she has a form of leukemia,” Weber said. “She had a blood transfusion the week before, just to bolster up her strength for this travel.”
Weber’s mother was taken by a TSA officer into a glassed-in area and received a pat down, according to Weber. An agent stated that “they felt something suspicious on (her mother’s) leg and they couldn’t determine what it was.” A TSA agent told Weber that her mother’s adult diaper could not be checked thoroughly. Weber and her mother left to find a bathroom at the TSA officer’s request to take off the adult diaper.
Airport security has been in the news often over the past year. Most recently, a video surfaced showing a 6-year old passenger being patted down last April. Although, just last year the TSA reported only children over the age of 12 would be subject to the screenings.
The TSA addressed this controversy at a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee meeting last week, explaining the pat-down was ordered because the child had moved while passing through a body imaging machine. The next day, TSA spokesman Greg Soule said that the new policy — which will apply to children age 12 and younger — is in the process of being rolled out. It will give security officers “more options,” but does not eliminate pat-downs as one of them.
All of these reactive measures do not solve anything or prevent any further damages. Technology and invasive procedures are not a catch all. Common sense should prevail. A 6-year old girl or a 95-year old woman in a wheelchair probably should not be our targets. But, someone with a one-way ticket and no luggage should alert some astute security. It isn’t that way though. The TSA hires poorly trained individuals to follow a very specific guidelines, instead of using logic and rational. All the shoe removing, scanning, and pat-downs isn’t going to help if security does not use their brains.