LEXINGTON, Ky. – Police busted a TSA manager at the Blue Grass Airport and charged him with sexually abusing a coworker earlier this week.hinkle

According to court documents, the victim told police Shane A. Hinkle, 38, touched her breasts and put his hand down her pants twice on two separate occasions. The arrest report indicates the incidents all happened at the airport, and surveillance video captured some of the groping.

When I first read the arrest report, I couldn’t help but wonder what the big deal was. Perhaps he just thought he was doing a little on the job training.

In all seriousness, TSA agents across the United States subject hundreds of innocent Americans to this kind of behavior on a daily basis. In a very real sense, Hinkle went to jail charged with doing what he does at work every day. Only the fact that federal law and a badge authorizes his on the job behavior differentiates it from his alleged criminal acts. And in some weird parallel universe, that makes groping OK.

Wrap your head around this: a federal stamp of approval legitimizes sexual abuse.

I don’t mean to minimize the victim’s experience. I can’t imagine the humiliation and fear she must have felt. My point is that airline passengers who must endure strangers touching their breasts, butts and genitals at the airport feel degraded and humiliated as well.

Remember former Miss USA Susie Castillo? She was left in tears at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport checkpoint back in 2011.

“I’m sure this woman was just doing her job. But she, I mean she actually, felt, touched my vagina,” she said. “And so I think that’s why I’m crying; that’s what I’m so emotional, because I’m already so upset that they’re making me go – making me do this.  Making me choose to either get molested, because that’s what I feel like and, or, or, go through this machine that’s completely unhealthy and dangerous. I don’t want to go through it, and here I am crying.”

What Hinkle’s coworker said he did to her was not OK.

And what Hinkle did to airline passengers every day wasn’t either.

He should have gone to jail a long time ago, along with the lawmakers and bureaucrats that came up with the notion airline passengers should get groped.

We could stop this, you know. Several states have considered legislation to treat TSA groping like what it is – sexual abuse. The Texas legislature was on the verge of passing this legislation in 2011, but backed down when the feds threatened to turn the Lone Star State into a no-fly zone.

That’s just like an abuser. Bully the victim into submission.

Even a step short of arresting TSA agents could drastically inhibit these invasive pat-downs. Simply forbid state or local law enforcement officers from cooperating with TSA agents when they engage in this kind of behavior. The TSA has no arrest power. They have to call over the local law enforcement officer on duty at the check point to make an arrest, or even remove somebody from the airport.

Imagine – you refuse a TSA grope, the agent calls over the cop and he simply remains standing at his post. This would defang the TSA, and create,  as James Madison put it, “very serious impediments.”

Urge your state lawmakers to sponsor travel freedom legislation in your state. For more information and model legislation, click HERE.



Mike Maharrey

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