First, I have a question for the reader. Which one of these two individuals should have the most trouble flying out of the Asheville, N.C. regional airport? If you guessed Bin Laden, you are wrong and here lies the serious problem with United States airport security.
I agree with all Americans who favor real airport security, but from our local experience, which I’m sure is multiplied daily all across the US, federalizing airport security personnel will only make a serious situation more dangerous for the flying public.
First, remember that the federally mandated airport security arrangements prior to 9/11 were no more than a welcome mat to the terrorist attackers. Not one terrorist was caught, harassed or apprehended before the attack. Now the feds want to federalize and institutionalize the incompetent staff all across the US which allowed 9/11 to take place and since that date have not apprehended to my knowledge one person in the act of terrorism.
Why Federalize and Institutionalize Perverse Incompetence? — I know you’ve heard all of the horror stories about sexually oriented searches, obnoxious or sleeping guards, turned off x-ray machines, interminable waits, and callous threats to any of the flying public who question the assaults on our personal privacy and civil liberties in our airports. I figured this was just the price we had to pay to defend our nation against terrorist assault, but no more! I thought these were exaggerated claims of improper behavior and incompetence, but no longer. I have seen the system close up and watched helplessly as my wife was threatened, mauled, and molested. Enough!
America was founded on personal privacy and individual freedom, but now they are threatened by an often out of control and incompetent rabble masquerading as airport security.
Fire Them Now! — The bottom line is we should get rid of the incompetent, power hungry, perverse employees. We cannot allow a job as important as airline security to become another federal bureaucracy with government mandated hiring quotas, double dipping federal employees, and sexual predators all wanting to parasitically live off our tax dollars on the federal payroll.
Now, I ask you, does Tami look like a “Middle Eastern terrorist,” a threat to airline security or a travel threat? Obviously not, then why has she been harassed and threatened with arrest and assault charges by vindictive local security personnel? The answer is she is attractive and has stood her ground against personal assaults by obese, burly female airport security personnel out to flaunt their power.
Both my wife and I fly quite a lot separately in our work, and when she first mentioned to me how airport security personnel were deliberately harassing her on her flights, I took it with a grain of salt. When I fly, no security people ever look at me twice and I'm over 6’2″ and 210 pounds.
I Didn’t Take Her Seriously At First — I really thought Tami was joking when she first said, “Ron, they think I'm a domestic terrorist.” While she had mentioned several times about always being singled out for special treatment and inspection on most flights, I didn’t give it a second thought.
Yes, airport security is a joke and considering they've never even caught a terrorist, means a real person attempting to do harm on an airplane would probably have more to fear from a stray bolt of lightening than these “security personnel.” Still I understood the system. It is and always has been a make-work project designed to hire people unable to compete in the private sector. I passed off her concerns as just a function of her overall dislike of useless government bureaucrats. After all, bureaucrats will always be bureaucrats and I often think of Cicero's quote. I didn't thank about her complaints until early one morning in May 2002.
A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures? ~ Cicero
The First Incident — On this very rainy morning, we were both scheduled to fly together to Las Vegas as she was coordinating the FEE National Convention and I would appear on two workshops. We were loaded down with suitcases, banners, and boxes for the trip and I helped unload the car at curbside before driving to the long-term parking area of the Asheville airport.
When I finally returned to the terminal, Tami was almost in tears. Due to the driving rain, she had been trying to carry some of the bags and boxes just inside the terminal door, when a large, burly security guard came running up to her yelling at the top of her voice, “Ma'am, you cannot leave your bags unattended.” Tami’s polite response, “Well I have some bags outside the door, see there through the glass, and then these on this side of the glass, which bags do you want me to leave unattended? How about watching these bags while I get the others?” No answer from the irate guard as she stomped off in the other direction.
I arrived as Tami finally had her bags up to the check-in counter where a very professional airline person went carefully through each bag, checking the contents, our IDs, and then the bags in question went down the conveyor belt and we headed through the security screening process without any delay or problems to the gate area.
Airport Revenge — We were about to board the plane when the first security guard noticed Tami and said, “Hey, you, over here for more inspection, as your bags were left unattended.” Tami replied, “Well, they were all searched and are now on the plane.” Then the five foot tall, square shouldered security guard went through the drill of making her take off her shoes, checking her watch, looking in her shoes, basically flaunting her power, then she said, “now I am going to wand you and where ever it beeps, I will touch you there.”
Tami looked at the menacing guard and said, “I don’t think so.” The female guard became really upset, yelling at Tami, “ma'am, if you don’t let me touch you, I’ll call security and have you placed under arrest.” Tami replied, “well, go ahead, but you are not going to touch me.”
A Flash For Airport Freedom — She starts wanding Tami, down her back, her legs, her waist, and finally at her bra, the wand starts beeping. “Ma'am, do you have on a wired bra?” Tami, “Yes, obviously I do.” "Then I must touch you there because people can put razor blades in the bras.” Tami said, “You will not touch me there.”
The guard's authority had been questioned, and all the passengers in the boarding area were now watching. The outraged combination linebacker and Gestapo agent fired back. “I will feel you there or I’ll call security and have you arrested" and she lunged for Tami’s breast as Tami backed up. “You will not touch me,” Tami said, and as the guard started yelling for security, Tami pulled up her blouse and said “Here, you can look at my bra, but you damn well will not touch me!” Then the guard went bonkers, yelling, “You can’t do that here.”
Tami’s response, “You damn well will not touch me” and she walked through the other security agents down the gang way to the plane as the guard just stood there frozen by Tami’s brave but somewhat unconventional response. It was obvious the guard was used to getting her way, but on this day she would not. I watched all of this surrounded by security guards myself, not fully aware until Tami’s Flash For Freedom. So score Round One Tami “1,” Guard “0.”
Enough Is Enough — Why should Americans with no ethnic similarity to Middle Eastern terrorists have to submit to this type of behavior? Even those of Middle Eastern origin should be screened in a professional and courteous manner unlike the type of behavior my wife was subjected to.
If we as Americans allow this kind of behavior and outrage to continue, we risk losing the protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Individual rights and liberties will be lost as the Bill of Rights and Constitution now hanging by a thread anyway will be lost.
I am sure these kind of tactics are used everyday against unlucky airline passengers, and I am proud of Tami’s “Flash For Freedom"against overzealous, vindictive airport security bureaucrats, but this is not the end of the story.
The Second Incident — A few weeks later, Tami was again flying out of Asheville, this time up to New York City, but I stayed home. This time, everything went smoothly until she reached the gate area and was getting ready to board the plane. The same security guard waddles up and says, “You will require a personal inspection.” Again, in front of all the passengers she is getting ready to wand Tami and orders her to take off her shoes in her gruff, low voice. Apparently determined to avenge Tami’s outsmarting her the month before, she shouts, “Ma'am, take off your shoes now if you want to get on this plane.”
Tami answered, “This is ridiculous,” but following orders removed her shoes, dropping both on the floor in front of the guard from a height of maybe 3 feet. One shoe brushed the pompous guard, who began yelling, “You have assaulted me, assault, assault,” as she called the airport police in addition to other security guards. “Ma'am, I will have you charged for assault and thrown in jail.”
Once again, the boarding area is filled with cops and security guards as they forced Tami to sit down and they surrounded her. Another cop gets right in her face and yells, “You had better behave as we are calling the head of airport security here and he will decide if you fly, go home or go to jail.” Thank goodness, Tami once worked at the airport and has been a frequent flyer for years, and the head of airport security apparently remembered Tami and quickly sized up the situation, and let her board the plane. Now the score was Tami “2,” Guard “0.”
But what if Tami hadn’t formerly worked at the airport, what about the many other passengers who are forced to submit to this kind of behavior and have no alternative but to submit? I say enough is enough and Americans need to take back their airports from these out of control, incompetent, power hungry bureaucrats.
I am certain there is profiling going on in almost every airport in this nation. But not the type we need to have in order to reduce the risk of future terrorist attacks. Guards target and harass, threaten, and sexually intimidate women, mothers with children, and others r seen as easy marks. It is the federal government in action. One thing I know for sure: America needs more Tamis.
June 28, 2002