We’ve all heard the reports. A grandmother in a wheelchair is asked to remove her adult diaper as she tries to go through airport security. A nun is pulled aside for an additional pat-down. Children are subjected to being touched and groped while adults are not. The incidents are endless, and now it appears that the Department of Homeland Security may have gotten the message as new screening policies are about to be unveiled.
In testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Sec. Janet Napolitano said that children “12 years old and younger soon will no longer be required to remove their shoes at airport security checkpoints.” In addition, the policy “also includes other ways to screen young children without resorting to a pat-down that involves touching private areas on the body.”
It’s about time! Do we really need children subject to pat-downs such as this, especially when known pedophiles have been caught as TSA screeners?
According to the Associated Press story on GOPUSA, “Many travelers have complained that the TSA does not use common sense when it screens all air travelers the same way, including young children and the elderly. Criticism escalated last year when the government began using a pat-down more invasive than what had been used in the past, one that involves screeners feeling a traveler’s genital and breast areas.”
Earlier this year, TSA Administrator John Pistole instructed screeners to make every effort to screen young children without giving them the new pat-down. Pistole had called for a more aggressive pat-down when he took over the agency last year because he thought it gave screeners the best chance at stopping a suicide bomber like the one who nearly brought down an airliner over Detroit in 2009 with a bomb tucked in his pants.
Instead of patting down a young child, screeners will soon be told to send children through metal detectors or the walk-through imaging machines multiple times to capture a clear picture and use more explosive trace detection tools such as hand swabs, according to the TSA.
I’m sure, if asked, all of us would agree that we want airline travel to be safe, and none of us want a repeat of 9/11. But the question that should be asked is “Do the invasive screenings make America safer?” Does it really help America to be screening elderly people and children?
We’ve seen it all too often in society…. common sense is not quite so common anymore. Maybe this is a step in the right direction.