Apparently bored with leering at airline passengers they find attractive following full body scans, agents of the Transportation Security Administration are now focused on harassing disabled flyers. During 2012, a total of 26 complaints were filed on behalf of disabled airline passengers at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport alone, accusing TSA agents of conducting inappropriate and humiliating screenings.
One complaint was filed by an 82-year-old woman in a wheelchair who was reportedly required to take out her prosthetic breast while passing through a TSA security checkpoint before boarding a flight to London. In a separate incident, a breast cancer survivor complained that an agent ordered a pat-down of her prosthetic breast and refused to conduct the search in a private area.
Nationally, there were 920 complaints filed against the TSA between October 2009 and June 2012 from people alleging discrimination on the basis of disabilities and medical conditions, according to a Government Accountability Office. One complaint came from a Marine who lost his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan. He said he was asked to remove his prosthetic legs so that agents could check his wheelchair for explosives.
And these are only the people who have filed complaints. There is probably a far greater number of disabled folks who, despite being upset about their treatment at airports by TSA agents, chose not to go through the hassle of filing a report.
Yes, we obviously need to have security at our nation’s airports. The 9/11 terrorists proved that we were lacking in that area and we don’t want a repeat. But the key word here is “terrorists.” How about if we focus on them and not harass clearly innocent civilians, especially those who have life difficult enough due to their disabilities?
Have you ever been treated rudely or subjected to an unnecessary search by a TSA agent? If so, I’d love to hear about it.