Airport Security, Aunt Bee and Me

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Ever since my lengthy coverage (aka, justified meltdown) of the Napolitano/Obama airport screening mandates for the TSA back before Thanksgiving, I have wondered how my own holiday travels would transpire once it was time for my family to fly across the country from New York to California for Christmas.  Well, yesterday marked the first leg of the journey, and I am happy, though somewhat perplexed, to report that I have no out-of-our-ordinary travel experiences to report.

We arrived nice and early at the airport, expecting a longer wait thanks to holiday travels and heightened security procedures.  We approached the security checkpoint.  We saw the scanners.  We saw travelers that looked like they could have been regulars on “The Andy Griffith Show,” their arms outstretched, being scanned.  We saw travelers ushered aside for pat-downs.  My kids asked if they would be patted down.  My kids asked if they would be strip searched.  My kids knew that if I was patted down, I would hope for something entirely inappropriate to occur.

We approached the podium for preliminary TSA vetting of our paperwork.   We were deemed fit for boarding. We walked to the familiar conveyor belt and began the procedure we have done a thousand times before like a well-oiled machine: removing shoes and jackets; taking computers out of carry-ons; throwing belts, watches and small containers of liquids into the gray bins.  We were ushered one by one through the metal detector…..and…..that was it.  “Thanks very much,” said the burly TSA agent standing at the finish line as he directed us back to our long line of belongings waiting for us on the conveyor belt.  Okay then. No scanning, no pat-downs, no strip searches for us.

It was not so pleasant an experience for everyone in our line, however. As we were reassembling our carry-ons and pulling on boots, we watched the progress of an elderly woman – a grandma-type who could have easily played Aunt Bee on the old “Andy Griffith Show” – as she traversed the security gauntlet.  She was ushered through the metal detector, then scanned in the scanner (which just a few days ago failed to reveal a gun a Pakistani man had on his person), then patted down physically, then sent through the metal detector again. Apparently Aunt Bee has been targeted by Obama and minion Napolitano as a serious threat to the national security of the United States.

Our spirits daunted a bit by what we had just witnessed, we reached our gate and learned from the cable news being broadcast there that the lame-duck session of the 111th record-low-approval-rating Congress had finally called it quits for the year after furiously setting a record in the lame-duck passage of bills. “Thank God!” I exclaimed. Looking back, I guess it’s fortunate I didn’t hear that news before going through security, or I would no doubt have found myself receiving the Aunt-Bee security treatment, as well.

Airport Insanity Update

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After reading my post of November 13, a friend of mine commented that perhaps I am being a bit extreme in suggesting that TSA airport security might be the dream job for a pedophile.  Surely children would be exempt from new procedures that involve naked photography and the full-body fondling of airline passengers.

What a coincidence, then, that less than 24 hours later, I would stumble upon the story of a 3-year-old who had a meltdown when she was subjected to a full-body patdown by a TSA agent in San Diego.  The toddler’s dad happens to be a local San Diego news broadcaster, who made sure his daughter’s experience would not be forgotten or denied.

So, dear friend of mine, no, children are not exempt.  But you have to assume they are confused.  Parents, schools and pediatricians expend much time and effort teaching children how to guard against strangers and improper touches.  Consider then those children who are properly schooled in the fine art of self-protection, only to find themselves fondled by strangers in TSA uniforms at the airport.

Of course common sense has no place in the America of Barack Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano – at least in those areas of government where they still have some authority.  As if to thumb their noses (yet again) at an America that refuses to cooperate with a wholesale leftwing transformation of the United States, they tweak their policies daily, almost as though they are trying to see just how severely they can punish and humiliate the American people.

For example, today we learned that if you intend to wear sweatpants, pajamas or similarly loose-fitting leggings on your flight, you will literally find TSA hands down your pants.  And in the wake of the Muslim community’s demands that their women be exempted from full-body patdowns, Napolitano has stated that “adjustments” will be made, and “with respect to that particular issue, I think there will be more to come.”  I don’t think Janet herself even knows what she means (or what she’s doing), but I certainly hope it doesn’t mean what I think it means.  If it does, the response will not be pretty.

The irony at the root of this madness is that most would-be terrorists on planes since 9/11 have been foiled, not by TSA prevention policies, but by passengers on those planes who did not hesitate to jump in.  Even on the day of 9/11 itself, the heroic passengers of Flight 93, knowing the fate of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and knowing what awaited them, refused to go down without a fight.

Since that terrible day, the majority of us have become more vigilant, more observant, and more willing to take necessary action.  Despite what one might glean from the behavior of far too many of our elected and administrative officials, the vast majority of us have become far less politically correct, as well.  In other words, we know that traumatizing 3-year-olds and naked pictures of Grandma are not the answer.

Happy New Year, One Day Late

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January 2, 2010 | Comments

Welcome 2010. Glad to bid farewell to 2009 (I don’t have the energy or the inclination to rehash the reasons, but I know I’m not alone in that), even though I’m doing so here a day late. My delay is not because of delays experienced flying from one coast to the other in the midst of post-terrorist chaos/denial (which, according to this administration, is all George Bush’s fault). Oh, we felt perfectly safe as we watched two wheelchair-bound grandmas in the San Fancisco Bay Area get the full-boar anti-terrorist security treatment. They didn’t at all strike me as would-be believers in Sharia law, but you can’t be too careful now, can you. Dog person that I am, I did love seeing all the dogs on duty, and I thanked them and their handlers for truly keeping us safe.

No, my delay here was not related to homeland security; it was viral and respiratory in nature. Now that I’m on the mend, I look back at this Christmas, this New Year’s, and I have to believe it was different for families all over the country. Our own family visits, despite our best efforts to keep the Christmas in Christmas and avoid certain incendiary topics, did have momentary erruptions into the political arena. As my husband said, this probably happened in households all over the country, despite best efforts to keep the conversation from turning in that direction. Things are running way too hot right now for political neutrality. The palpable fury, sparked at the summer’s tea parties, in Washington, D.C., on September 12th, and coursing through the veins of those Americans who know we are not being represented by our government, that fury just won’t be contained. No matter how we might try.

So now, armed with that fury, we greet the year about which so many have spoken for months: 2010. Despite my own disgust with this administration, this Congress and the blatant disregard for our Constitution, I greet this new year with confidence that the will of our founders and the true spirit of America will prevail. We have no choice but to believe that. The alternative is to see the destruction of our nation, and I will not even give life to such a thought. So happy 2010, America. Thy will be done.

Betsy Siino | Comments