Brace Yourself for a Hoot

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Honestly, does anyone other than politicians and bureaucrats take the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) seriously?

The agency, renowned for its Totally Senseless Actions by Tremendously Stupid Airheads, pulled another boner last Thursday. It seems a woman wearing a metal leg brace triggered the metal detectors at Oakland International Airport. The brace should have been a clue for anyone of even vegetative intelligence. Naturally, that exempts TSA screeners. Lots of terrorists these days are females wearing leg braces, so they pulled her aside for what the Airheads euphemize as a “secondary screening.” The lady was late for her flight. She hobbled away before they could feel her up.

Let’s pause to savor this Keystone Kops moment. The victim’s wearing a brace, there are how many able-bodied screeners standing around paid to suspend their rationality and act as if she’s a terrorist because said brace rang alarms, yet when she’s had enough of their nonsense, off she stumps, bum leg and all.

It gets better. The TSA announced a manhunt. This shut down both terminals of Oakland’s airport. Apparently, screeners were not only unable to stop a terrorist who had difficulty walking, they also failed to note the direction in which she was limping. Oakland’s cops joined the search. Even so — or perhaps because of that — their quarry was still at large after almost an hour’s hunt. We who fear the surveillance state can take heart: it’s remarkably easy to elude it.

And it gets still better. During the interval between our heroine’s disappearance and the time the search started, five flights left the airport. Eventually, given the “suspect’s” complaint that she would miss her plane’s imminent departure, it dawned on even the Airheads that perhaps she’d escaped completely: she and her brace were on the loose in the air, aboard one of those flights! And what action do you suppose the Airheads then took to secure American aviation? Yes! They re-screened the passengers from those five flights when they landed. I’d like to have been privy to the decision-making on this one: “Gee, I don’t know. Maybe she’ll detonate that brace while those planes are airborne. What’ll we do?” (Pause for deep thought. Snap of fingers.) “Got it! We’ll grope ‘em all over again when they land. Every one of ‘em, too, on all those flights. No reason I can see to search only women with leg braces. Think of the precedent!” Indeed. Apparently, the TSA can harass us now whether we are trying to enter or escape the gulags masquerading as airports.

As ludicrous as the incident itself is the gravity with which the Airheads are treating the aftermath. Fred Lau, the Federal Security Director for Oakland International, is beating himself up over it, though not for his sheer inanity and utter idiocy. No, he’s upset that a paying customer made her flight and deprived screeners of a good grope. Fred intoned to the Bay City News, “The ultimate responsibility rests with me.” Then Fred got tough. “At the very least there will be some retraining,” he threatened. Psst, Fred: why not include the rudiments of courtesy this time around? Tell your thugs that upon encountering an injured person, one does not take advantage of her handicap to molest her. Rather, one calls for a wheelchair and a redcap to assist her to her gate.

But Fred’s best line crackles with the smarts that have made him a Federal Security Director: “We wanted to make sure we did all we could after the incident to make sure people were safe.”

Ah, the TSA. A laugh a day as they strip our freedom away.

Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.

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