Sunday, April 02, 2006

The face of a terrorist?

The airports in the United States are being controlled by nasty, power mad, petty bureaucrats. It is one reason I try to avoid flying in the US. The last time I went through three US airports each one of them was staffed by the most unpleasant, authoritarian officials you could imagine. One official at LAX was demanding that the people he had backed up stand in a "straight line against the wall". If the line wasn't straight he said he'd refuse to admit anyone even those who were standing in a straight. He was treating adults like children while he was the one acting like a school yard bully.

The people I saw working security didn't strike me as particularly intelligent. But then it is a government job and those positions rarely attract quality workers. Take the case of what happened to an 84 year old woman in Denver. Bernice Bogart had a hip replaced, she had surgery for cancer, and she had a recent stroke. She is confined to a wheel chair. Under doctor's orders she is not to walk or stand up. She is incapable of that. Airline officials had assured her daughter that if Bernice travelled she would not be forced out of the wheel chair. But then airlines are trying to win customers and keep people happy. And they can't be held accountable for the low-lifes that the Feds have put in charge of airport security.

Bernice was with two daughters. One was required to stand aside because she was not flying with them. The other daughter was with her mother and started to put their belongings through the scanner. When she turned around she was horrified to see that the woman staffing the security point had forced her mother out of the wheel chair and was making her walk to an area for "additional" searches. Unaided the elderly woman was trying to grab on to a small ledge to hold herself up. The daughter, Sally Moon, knew the dangers if her mother fell. She could break another hip. So Sally reached out to try to help hold her mother up. The screener screamed at her (my experience is that they love to scream at people): "Don't touch her1"

Sally tried to explain her mother's medical condition and that she was not to stand up at all under doctor's orders. The thug staffing the station threatened Sally for this: "You'd better change your attitude. Or do you want me to make it so you don't fly today?" These little people have the federal government's permission to stop anyone from flying. People who challenge their surly, unpleasant actions can not only have their trip cancelled by these little minds but they can be arrested for questioning how they are treated.

Bernice can not raise her arms due to the surgery for breast cancer that she had. The screener demanded that she do so. No doubt to make sure she didn't have bin Laden hidden in her armpit. When Bernice could not lift her arms the screener pulled them up herself. When Sally started to protest she was against threatened and she says: "I know she [the bureaucrat] prolonger her search because she was mad at me." Sally wanted to file a complaint and asked for this bureaucrat's name but she and her supervisor refused to provide that information.

Airport officials were horrified and said they can not understand why an old woman in this condition was treated this way. But they say that they are powerless to do anything as the federal government has taken control of security at the airport and the airport itself can not run things the way they would prefer.

Remember the 5th of November!