TSA goes too far with precautions


As the oft-invoked bit of Benjamin Franklin's wisdom goes, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." This statement has been applied fiercely to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ever since the institution of stricter airport security measures last year, and enemies of these measures now have a great example of what can happen when they go wrong. At New Orleans Armstrong International Airport on April 5, Scott and Selena Drexel watched as a security officer patted down their 6-year old daughter. Footage of the pat down has gone viral, and it is disturbing to watch. While it doesn't seem the TSA agent searching the girl is doing anything maliciously, it is nonetheless highly inappropriate for an adult to touch a 6-year-old child in such a manner, no matter the situation.

There's security, and then there's outright paranoia. The actions of the TSA in this case fall squarely in the latter camp. We understand that, in post-9/11 America, safety is a No. 1 priority, and that is completely acceptable. However, it is too often the safety measures taken are too extreme to be truly justifiable. Safety that comes at the price of near-molestation may as well not come at all.

What makes this case all the more disturbing is the fact that numerous adults voiced how uncomfortable and humiliating these pat downs are. Remember John Tyner, the man whose, "If you touch my junk, I'll have you arrested" threat to a TSA officer last year became a veritable slogan of the anti-enhanced pat down brigade? Think about it: If a 31-year-old male is uncomfortable with the security measures, how is a 6-year-old girl going to feel?

This particular instance isn't just embarrassing for the TSA but, because of the footage's popularity on the Internet, it has also become an embarrassment to the United States. It speaks volumes about our country's current state of mind. That is, everyone is a potential threat to society. We simply cannot go on living like this. Something needs to change.

According to an official statement from the TSA on the pat down, the organization is "exploring additional ways to focus its resources and move beyond a one-size-fits-all system." This is a good way to address any future incidents like this, but it will not lead to security measures that don't rob people of basic human dignity.


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