TSA in the Land of Oz

TSA agents in Wichita, KS, reached a new low in their terror campaign against the flying public: subjecting a 4-year girl and her family to a brutal confrontation, including threats to shut down the entire airport and cancel all flights due to the little girl’s being—in their words—a “high security threat.”

The Daily Mail reports that while traveling home from a family wedding, four year-old Isabella Brademeyer’s grandmother set off the security alarm at the Wichita airport. Apparently seeking to reassure her grandmother, Isabella, who had already cleared security with her parents, ran over to her grandmother to give her a hug.

TSA agents, as is their wont, couldn’t handle normal human behavior and instead interpreted the contact as sinister, declaring that the grandmother had passed a gun to the little girl during the exchange. One officer repeatedly said she had “seen a gun in a teddy bear” in the past.

That’s their story and they are sticking to it:

When asked about the overbearing treatment the girl received, a TSA spokesman did not apologise and insisted that correct procedures had been followed.

Not surprisingly, the agents’ antics drove the little girl to hysterics, which the agents dealt with, again brilliantly, by ordering her to stop crying. Yes, TSA, ordering a 4-year old to stop crying works every time: great training there! Unable to execute a full-body assault on the terrorized little girl, two big strong agents called for backup saying, “The suspect is not cooperating.” The “suspect,” of course, being a 4-year old girl who likes to dress up as a princess.

A native of Wichita, I travel there regularly, and some PR maven has decided that the “Wizard of Oz” is a clever tie-in, with the airport gift shop chock-a-block with Oz kitsch.

But they’ve gone too far in modeling TSA agents after the scarecrow, tinman, and lion: No brains, no heart, no courage.

Yes, TSA is a humbug—and it’s well past time to just abolish it.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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