Recently, I flew to Spain and had my first taste of 'enhanced airport security.' It's not a very dignified experience.
Normally I think somebody should have at least bought me a drink before they demand I whip my belt off.
Nevertheless, I guess this is a sacrifice we all have to make.
After all, there are only a few things I need to make a long-haul flight enjoyable (gin and tonic, peanuts, an in-flight movie not starring Robert Pattinson) but not exploding is the one thing I'm unwilling to compromise on.
But even my cheerful compliance gets tested when I read about this – a six-year-old girl getting frisked by airport security.
This poor kid had some complete stranger grope her in sensitive places, and run her hands around the inside of her waistband, all to make sure she wasn't carrying a bomb in her Huggies.
The search involved the sort of adult/child interaction that normally gets somebody a sexual assault rap and a spot on the Sex Offender's register. Apparently the poor kid burst into tears afterwards because she thought she'd done something wrong.
It's disgusting, for so many reasons. First off, I'm not a member of Homeland Security but I'm willing to place a bet that the primary danger to domestic flights doesn't come from blue-eyed, blond-haired little girls from Kentucky.
Secondly, given how we drill our kids to tell an adult if somebody touches ever them in 'sensitive' areas, it's wrong that the TSA should expect these kids to put up with exactly that same inappropriate behavior - and even demand that their parents stand there and obediently allow it to happen.
But perhaps even more revolting that all that is how this 'enhanced' airport security is so focused on feeling up little girls that they miss much more serious security issues - and allow things like this to happen just a few feet outside the security gates: A 26-year–old women got raped in the middle of the Denver airport concourse.
Apparently this poor woman, forced to spend the night at the airport because she missed a connecting flight, was held down and raped by a stranger while janitors strolled obviously past and security cameras blindly recorded her assault. It was only when two mechanics saw the assault through the concourse window that they pulled the rapist off the poor woman.
So on one hand, we've got such tight security at airports that 6-year-old little girls can't get through the system without being felt up – while simultaneously, airport security is so lax that a woman can get raped in a public concourse in plain view of security cameras and airport employees.
Personally, if I was an opportunistic terrorist, I'd quit plans to fit a pre-schooler with an explosive vest prior to take off and instead throw a backpack full of explosives into a crowded airport concourse.
Apparently the TSA is so focused on the minutiae of airline security that they've left the rest of the airport wide-open and defenseless.