The Corner

TSA Obergropinfuhrer of the Day

At a small airport the other day, I saw a passenger with a popular attitudinal T-shirt slogan patiently submitting to an enhanced gropedown from the TSA. It was a poignant image of the republic at twilight: a man in a “Don’t Tread On Me” T-shirt being trod all over. I wonder why more Americans aren’t outraged by this:

Her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.

Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search.

There is a term for regimes that submit law-abiding wheelchair-bound dying nonagenarians to public humiliations without probable cause and it isn’t “republic of limited government.” Given everybody’s touchiness over Kathryn’s North Korean comparisons, I’ll say only this: George III wouldn’t have done this to you.

Amy Alkon posts a response from a bureaucratic bozo to her own experience at the airport. Caution for sensitive types: The word “labia” is included. But that’s because in 21st century America the anatomical feature “labia” are included in a trip to the airport – and that’s what should concern you. As the crack TSA agent informs Miss Alkon, “We go thru sensitive areas with back of hand.”

That’s great news! Somewhere on page 273 of the handbook, there’s a graphic detailing the precise point on the upper thigh where the licensed state groper is obliged to invert his paw.

My weekend column concluded with some thoughts on American government’s culture of excess. Big Government – more-more-more money-no-object government — will by definition be profoundly stupid government. Lean, constrained government would not only be affordable but smarter. The bloated moronic airport security regime is a particularly ugly example. In a decade of existence, it has never stopped a single terrorist, but it can successfully cow a dying woman born during the Wilson Administration into removing her diaper.

We can all sleep easier knowing that.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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