After 9/11, airport security quite rightly became an issue of paramount concern. Yet since its creation in 2001, the Transport Security Administration has repeatedly walked a fine line between vital vigilance and gratuitous intrusion. Security expert Bruce Schneier famously referred to the current system as bordering on “security theater,” in which the measures taken are more officious than efficient. This tendency toward such blunt theatrics has only been magnified by the “enhanced screening procedures” introduced in November 2010. Ron Paul, ever the champion of the individual, described the new system as “appalling” and “abusive.” There is no doubt that many of those who have fallen afoul of its excesses would agree.
1. Disabled four-year-old Ryan Thomas was on the way to Disney World when he was accosted by TSA agents at Philadelphia Airport and forced to walk through the scanner without his leg-braces. This wasn’t the easiest request to honor, as Ryan’s “ankles [were] malformed and his legs [had] little or no muscle tone.” His mother’s attempts to explain this to the screeners fell on deaf ears. The TSA eventually conceded that Ryan should have been privately checked, but only after the boy’s father got the Philadelphia Enquirer involved.
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