The Transportation Security Administration continued to earn its reputation for inefficiency and a dearth of common sense recently with its unconscionable treatment of a disabled Marine.
According to a complaint letter written by Republican California Rep. Duncan Hunter, the Marine – still on active duty despite losing both legs to an improvised explosive device – received shabby service from his arrival at the checkpoint at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Ariz.
“The individual escorting this Marine asked the TSA officer which of the two checkpoints to enter and received the response, ‘either one,’” his letter contends, noting they were later informed they picked the wrong line.
“As a result, a TSA officer asked the Marine to stand and walk to an alternate area,” he wrote, an obviously ridiculous request given his situation.
The soldier, instead of being treated with the respect such a hero deserves, was then forced to remove and reattach his prothetic legs “only to advance to a secondary screening location where he was asked again to stand, with extraordinary difficulty, while his wheelchair was examined for explosives.”
While undercover TSA agents are able to sneak mock explosives through checkpoints without being detected, at least we can rest assured that those who risk life and limb to protect our interests overseas are having their privacy invaded by these self-important government employees.
This unfortunate incident further illustrates the shameful trajectory of this nation in recent years. Individuals who should be viewed as suspect by anyone with a modicum of common sense escape scrutiny in an effort to avoid profiling while those like a disabled Marine, a toddler, or a great-grandmother are relentlessly prodded and treated like a criminal.
Along with Hunter, I agree prospective airline passengers should be screened prior to boarding; but I also stand with his advocacy for smarter use of such resources.
“I am concerned by the apparent lack of situational awareness and respect among TSA officers,” he said, “specifically when it comes to the treatment of war wounded.”
Though the TSA might be among the most high-profile agency showing such signs of idiocy, I’m afraid this is just a symptom of a much large problem. There is a huge “lack of situational awareness” whenever the federal government is involved.