Thursday, April 14, 2011

Six-Year-Old Girl Patted Down at New Orleans Airport

After being shown on Fox News, uploaded as cellphone video to YouTube, and then reported on WWL TV, New Orleans, this story's gone viral:
Outrage after TSA pats down 6-year-old at N.O. Airport
NEW ORLEANS -- Some civil rights advocates are outraged after a 6-year-old girl received an intense pat-down at Armstrong International Airport security on April 5. ... Someone caught the pat-down on video, and it's making its way around the Internet. ... It has many asking, are the intense security screenings really necessary, especially for a little girl? ... “A child who is visibly, audibly complaining, ‘I don't want to do this,’ should at the very least be given some privacy,” said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU Louisiana.
This happened in my hometown, but I've been so busy I heard about it on Facebook from Lisa Durden, a New Jersey talk-show host. She said the following:
Hmmm, I conflicted, while I am disturbed that a little girl got a body pat down at the airport, but unfortunately, people have & do stash Contraband & bombs on children. So I was glad to see that it was a female TSA agent who explained to the girl where she was gonna touch her. These are the times we live in so the parents should have prepped her before hand.
Some people interviewed in the news footage had similar opinions. Since the TSA can choose to scan some passengers and physically pat down others, the complaint from parents is that perhaps TSA should be more selective and only scan children, not physically touch them.

In the video at YouTube, you can hear a child complaining, but it's not the little girl who is being searched.


Gloria said...

Oh, good for you for doing a post on this! OK, here's my take on the situation... First of all, if anyone put a finger on my boy when he was little if we were at the airport, they would be dead now. (Please note: he is now 20 years old.) BUT, now-a-days, we cannot keep on with old ideas, such as "this pat-down of this little girl is outrageous" because OF THE WAY TIMES HAVE CHANGED. I just discussed this with my 20-year old son the other day when that situation happened. I told him: "Years ago, when you were little, I would have not stood for that. It would have been crazy to do that to a little kid -- but, if you were a little boy NOW and we were traveling, I would say to the airport person: "Go ahead--search my son, do you want me to tell him to take off his shirt? We MUST comply so that no contraband/explosives/whatever will be found on children." I know that there ARE crazy people out there who WOULD use a child to hide explosives or whatever. So if I were travelling with my small child, I would AGREE to their pat down so as to make it safe for myself and my child and everyone else. EVERYONE should get a search. But, AND THIS IS THE IMPORTANT THING: Parents should PREPARE their child BEFORE traveling and 'practice' and tell the child what will happen at the airport and that it is for everyone's safety. I know DAMN WELL that this is what I would have said to my son if he were young and we were travelling on an airplane now. So, if that little girl was uncomfortable, it was the parent's fault for not PREPARING the child for what might have happened at the airport. Everyone knows that this is what is done now!! It is not for anything else but for EVERYONE'S SAFETY. And to prove my point: Who would have ever thought of the World Trade Center EVER being under attack? And being DESTROYED? So there you go...
Thank you for your timely post, and for giving me the opportunity to speak my mind.

Gloria said...

P.S. I see how long my comment is now, and it is quite embarrassing for its length, so may I thank you again for posting my opinion!

Vérité Parlant said...

Thanks, Gloria.

Reggie said...

Ya know, people do use children as drug mules. Personally I see no problem in our government (and that's basically what it is) meticulously screening people who are flying.

It would be advantageous to film all people being searched though, just in case someone complained about sexual assault or a little too much attention.

There are other modes of transportation available to be sure.

I remember flying down to Miami not long after 9/11 and hearing a woman complain about being singled out to be searched. Hell, I was the hell outta her......please.

Carolyn Moon said...

Thanks for this post. You've given me another way to view this incident which is my credo.

We are living in times when people are so desperate and so duty bound to live out their political ideologies/rants in such destructive ways that all of us are made to suffer the collateral damage.

Parents are the key as Gloria pointed out to making pat and search less intimidating for this child and others by preparing them. Some sensitivity on the part of security also showed grace in the midst of tumult.

BTW...I'm so glad I was introduced to your blog via other sites.
Take care...