After a test on a stroller set of an explosive detection alarm, agents proceeded to pat down an infant last Saturday.
Jacob Jester snapped a photo and posted it on his Twitter account with the following message.
“Just saw #tsa agents patting down a little baby at @KCIAirport. Pretty sure that’s extreme.”
The photo quickly went viral.
“I took the picture because I wouldn’t want that to happen to my own son. Not because I was furious, not because I was irate, not because I was gettin’ ready to throw down at the airport, but basically because what I watched is something I wouldn’t want to take place to my own son,” Jester said in an interview with Kansas City TV station KY-3.
This is the third high profile incident involving airport screening agents performing invasive pat-downs in the last several weeks. In early April, a father videotaped an agent in New Orleans running her hands all over his visibly upset daughter. He says after the search, his daughter began crying, fearing she’d done something wrong. A few weeks later, former Miss USA Susie Castillo made a tearful video after agents touched her genitalia during a pat-down. She said she came away feeling violated.
Now we have an 8-month-old getting groped.
In a statement, the TSA said agents, who work for a private contractor but follow TSA protocol, followed proper procedures.
They always say that.
Which indicates perhaps the procedures should change.
The state of Texas has taken steps to do just that. Rep. David Simpson introduced two bills in March. One would make full-body scanners illegal in Texas and the other would make it a criminal offense to:
as part of a search performed to grant access to a publicly accessible building or form of transportation, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly: (A) searches another person without probable cause to believe the person committed an offense; and (B) touches the anus, sexual organ, or breasts of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touches the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.
After nearly dying, both bills unanimously passed out committee on May 9 and will go before the full House in the near future.
Other states need to follow suit.
We can’t expect Washington D.C. to solve the problem. The Congress that created the TSA isn’t likely to offer up any viable solutions. Thomas Jefferson points us to the rightful remedy.
Opponents will continue to argue that TSA searches don’t violate the Fourth Amendment because Americans don’t enjoy a right to fly. By the same logic, Americans presumably don’t enjoy a right to drive either, so perhaps we should allow for searches before getting into our cars. We have a right to expect safe highways, don’t we? Or safe sidewalks for that matter. Is pedestrian screening in our future?
In fact, most proponents base their support of invasive TSA screenings on fear. Mary Stanek-Havron Moeller, a poster to the KY-3 TV website provides a vivid example.
“If anyone has a better solution to the problem of people carrying bombs onto an airplances, (sic) please post it, or better yet submit it to the TSA. Terrorists are not afraid to die!!!! They believe they go to heaven and being a human bomb is an honor for them. You think they wouldn’t use a baby or small child? You all have comments but no solutions. If you were sitting next to the underwear bomber on Christmas Day 2011, you would be complaining that not enough was being done to protect your safety. Well now that it is your (sic) complaining about that. DRIVE!”
I’ll let Benjamin Franklin handle my response.
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
–HB1938, which would ban TSA scanners in Texas, passed out of committee on 05-09-11. the Vote was 8-0, with 3 abstaining.
–HB1937, which would ban TSA searches without probable cause (as per the 4th amendment), passed out of committee on 05-09-11. The vote was 8-0, with 1 abstaining.
Both bills are expected for a floor vote in the Texas house soon.
CLICK HERE to track all TSA-nullification bills around the country.