Response to “Father Outraged at TSA for Pat-Down of 10-Year-Old Daughter”

The first time I flew was a magical experience.  I was five years old in the summer of 1987, and my aunt had recently moved to the edge of Lake Mead near Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam.  The feeling of being in the air was breathtaking, and I’ve loved flying ever since.  I have so many vivid memories of that trip.

My Shirt Tales Raccoon backpack was filled with die-cast cars and trucks, and it beeped as it ran through the metal detector.  The attendant smiled at me and asked sweetly, “You have some toys in there for your trip?”  I don’t know why I’ve always remembered that.  At the time, it was innocent enough.  Today, that scenario would replay with a screen clearly showing the contents of my bag, but in the eighties, it was simply a metal detector, and she didn’t even look in my pack.  In hindsight, that’s a bit scary.  It could’ve been a gun.  It could’ve been a grenade.  A knife.  A bomb.  It could’ve been anything.  But there was no paranoia then, and no legitimate threat either.  Terrorism wasn’t a part of life; it was a plot device for bad television movies.

Recently, a story hit my news feed of a father who was up in arms because a TSA agent frisked his 10-year-old daughter.  I don’t know all the particulars about the incident, and I don’t care.  All that’s important here is that an agent whose job it is to help ensure the safety of air travel did said job.  If a precedent is set that frisking or detaining a child is off limits, it will shine like a glimmering beacon to would-be terrorists, and you’ll see the next attack involve a bomb-toting pre-teen who whisked through security untouched. That’s not okay.

Let’s be clear here: No one is forced to fly.  Everyone who chooses that method of travel is free to choose a train, a boat, or a car to reach their destination instead. Flying is convenient and fast, which is why it’s popular.  But there are concessions one must make in order to fly:  Your seat will be cramped, and so will your leg room.  Your air will be dry, causing your nasal passages discomfort.  The restroom is a nightmare.  The elevation changes can hurt your ears, or cause nausea.  And yes, you will have to pass security checkpoints.  None of these conditions of air travel are negotiable (with the exception of first class upgrades for physical comfort).

If you don’t want your children to be frisked, don’t fly.  If you don’t want to take your shoes off, don’t fly.  If you want to be able to carry your gun, don’t fly.  I don’t care about whatever it is that caused you to whine.  I want to be safe when I fly, and so does everyone else.

Comply. Or you could walk.

-J

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~ by hamiltonjacobs on January 12, 2016.

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