I have refrained from spilling my thoughts about the aggressive pat downs by the TSA for a number of reasons. The fact that plenty of others were expressing my feelings so well that I didn't see a reason to chime in was one of the main reasons.
The second was the fact that we travel enough that drawing unnecessary attention to ourselves didn't seem like such a great idea. Especially as reports began to surface that the TSA was singling out those that complain for their most invasive tactics.
I am still not going to throw stones but I did observe something today worth passing on.
Odie is flying home today in order to be home for my niece Deidre's high school graduation. She was going through TSA security before 5 AM in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They normally go over Odie, her wheelchair, canes or walker with a fine tooth comb and this morning was no exception.
We have no complaints about that really but it does seem a tad excessive since instances of 25 year old female, handicapped, American citizens hijacking airplanes are pretty rare.
I saw something else while watching them take Odie through that blew me away. (Bad pun obviously intended) A family was going through the scanners while Odie was taking off her boots and jacket and placing her things on the conveyor.
TSA chose one of the boys (maybe 10 years old) to go into the full body scanner. I didn't notice which line the rest of the family went through.
The young man stepped right into the machine and raised his hands and placed his feet in the proper position. It was then that the TSA agent noticed the boy had his ball cap on. She asked for the cap and he handed it to her. She was standing on the gate side of the scanner.
The scan was over in a couple of seconds. The boy stepped out, the TSA agent handed him his hat and off he went to join his family on a flight. The hat went on that flight without going through Xray at all!
I have seen agents hand an item back across and run it through Xray but this TSA agent had that boys hat in her hands for all of 3-4 seconds. No hat check at all. (I know, another bad pun)
Now I am sure that boy is as innocent as any 10 year old. I am also confident that his hat was not concealing a bomb, any explosive material or an Muslim jihadist.
But the point is, it could have been! They are so focused on shoes, liquids, box cutters, belts and explosives hidden in underwear that they are looking past the obvious. They rely on full body scans and aggressive pat downs to catch what a little common sense could plainly see. They allowed a potential terrorist to give his bomb to the TSA to hold while he was scanned for explosives hidden on his body.
Ridiculous? Maybe, but the moment a Muslim extremest (Let's be honest, they are the only ones trying to blow up our planes) is wrestled to the ground by passengers as he tries to light his hat, all hats will be banned within three miles of an airport. Turbans will be the only exception to the ban of course.
Just something to think about. Leave your thoughts in the comments.