Friday, November 26, 2010

Want to bring a bomb on board, ask a nice woman to carry it for you

A Thanksgiving Day story from the Associated Press about the disabled and air travel security sent shivers down my spine.

“For air passengers already fed up with being hauled off to the side of the security line for a pat-down or facing aggressive questions about bulky clothing or odd items in their luggage, advocates for the disabled have this to say: Welcome to our lives.
“For the disabled and infirmed — many forced to go through security lines in wheelchairs with ample hiding places for contraband, wearing prosthetic limbs that could harbor drugs or explosives or lugging oxygen tanks that could really contain god-knows-what — the added discomfort and inconvenience that many travelers are now experiencing is something they've put up with for years.”

But what really caught my eye is this-

"I didn't mind; it wasn't really that bad," 89-year-old Marquerite Aswad, who
uses a wheelchair, said Tuesday after arriving at Newark Liberty International
Airport from Fort Myers, Fla. "It was a lady, and she didn't pat me very hard.
She said, 'You look like a nice woman; I don't think you're hiding anything in

Is the TSA kidding? Looking “like a nice woman” brings gentility in the scanning or search process? What kind of stupidity is this? OK, you terrorists, get yourself an old lady in a wheelchair and get a free ride to martyrdom.

Seriously, don’t they know at the TSA training sessions that one’s level of niceness has nothing to do with the security process? Instead of forcing the wheelchair-bound into pat downs, or the removal of artificial legs, why don’t the TSA folks learn how to question people like Mrs. Aswad before they board a flight.

“How long have you lived in Fort Myers? Where did you live before? Who helped you pack your luggage? Did anyone give you anything to bring with you? Why are you traveling to Newark? Who are you visiting? Where do they live? Where are the gifts you are bringing them? Where did you buy them? Who drove you to the airport?”

These are the types of questions I’ve been asked on international air travel before and since our Muslim brothers turned American airliners into missiles. The purpose of this type of questioning is to not only hear what the traveler has to say, but to watch how he answers. It’s the style of answer—maybe you’re too pat in your reply, and the body language—maybe the glance away, that leads to further questioning and examination of your luggage and private parts.

I know it’s not going to happen soon, but maybe, just maybe, one day the folks at TSA will wake up and realize that the present system is just plain silly.

Read the full story.

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