“TSA Took My Baby!” Hoax?

Hi Folks — On Friday I wrote a piece based on a blog by a mom who said the TSA took her baby son while frisking her — and him, I guess. I said it sounded like the mom was hysterical and the TSA employees were rude.

The TSA then released a video of the incident which certainly makes it look as if the baby was never taken from the mom. It also looks like they did make the mom wait longer than necessary to be re-frisked. In other words: It sort of seems like the mom was hysterical, and the TSA employees were slow.

The mom’s original rambling blog is here. Her rambling apology is here. And mine is right here: I’m very sorry I trusted a blog written by a woman who was obviously distraught. Next thing you know I’ll trust a boy in a balloon! — Lenore

Are TSA Employees Really Molesting Our Babies?

Folks, this is one of those stories where I am appalled by both sides and, for good measure, by a lot of the reactions, too.

Long story short: A mom went through airport security with her baby. The baby’s pacifier clip set off the alarm. But rather than just saying , “These things happen,” and re-sending the clip through the metal detector, the TSA folks put mom and kid in some sort of holding pen. After quite some time (while mom understandably worried that she might miss her flight) the TSA people proceeded to take the baby away for several minutes, presumably to check him for…well, I’m not sure what. Bombs? Bullets? A dirty diaper that could fell us all?

By the mom’s account, which is realllllllly long, the TSA agents were worse than rude. They were jerks. But also by the mom’s account, the way I read it, the mom herself was hysterical. When her child was taken away, she reacted as if he had been abducted. She admits she is prone to panic attacks and panic she did,  but what I don’t understand is why so many of the people commenting on this case also feel that the TSA employees could easily have harbored nefarious baby intentions.

Seriously, folks: the vast vast vast VAST majority of humans have no interest in molesting babies. And they particularly have no interest on the job, surrounded by co-workers, cameras, and a zillion other people.

What would be great would be if all of us could treat each other with a little more  respect and a lot less knee-jerk suspicion, whether we are inclined to suspect terrorism or stranger danger.

Have a great weekend!  — Lenore

Speaking of Paranoia…

Here is a great quote, lifted from The Week (my favorite magazine*), which lifted it from David Iganatius in The Washington Post. It points out  that we have gotten so used to thinking in terms of preparing for the very worst, the very least likely scenarios, that that we don’t realize how overbearing (and often dumb) our safety measures have become. I was thinking the same thing today as I struggled to open the super-tamper-resistent seal on my can of whipped cream. I really was not that worried about someone tampering with my whipped cream. — L

This September, as we mark the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, let’s resolve to dial the paranoia meter back a notch. The Transportation Security Administration is so pervasive at airports that we forget how bizarre it is to see old ladies and pregnant mothers and 8-year-old kids frisked and searched as if they had just arrived from Waziristan. Does this really make sense? Every Cabinet secretary seems to have a security detail; so do governors and maors and prominent legislators. What are all these secruity officials protecting our officials from? Al Qaida? Hezbollah? Aggrieved constituents? Or is it something more ephemeral — a nameless, pervasive sene of danger? Surely, we have reached the point of diminishing returns for the fortress mentality.

Right on! Sometimes we get so concerned about safety that we forget what we are giving up. Like freedom. And resourcefulness. And using our common sense. Or even believing that common sense has any value at all.  — Lenore


*I also write a humor contest in The Week. But I was a subscriber long before they hired me!