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Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 03/20/2012

TSA pats down toddler in wheelchair


Shoes, no service. (Natalie Behring - GETTY IMAGES)
The headline says it all. No wonder the two-year-old video footage went viral.

We have successfully isolated the extreme case.

It’s not just cantankerous men with iPhones or members of the Paul family who are being patted down. It’s toddlers. In wheelchairs. With leg casts.

Well done, TSA!

You never know what those toddlers are hiding. I mistrust them myself. Have you ever stepped, barefoot, on a Lego? My point is, they are dangerous and should not be allowed anywhere, certainly not on planes.

They always scuttle off when I approach them with routine questions from citizenship tests. Their grammar is suspect. Asked to draw pictures of American flags and turkeys, they produce suspicious drawings of blue blobs and their own hands. They sometimes eat crayons, but refuse broccoli. They do not remember what we fought for in Korea. To my knowledge, no toddler has ever served in the U.S. military. I wouldn’t vote for one for president, and neither should you. And have you heard the way they butcher the national anthem? We have no reason to trust them.

What I don’t understand is why they allow any children onto planes at all.

Sure, the TSA has had some pretty great pat-down “gets” over the years. Elderly gentlemen and decorated veterans with steel plates in their heads. U. S. senators. This was only fair. Have you ever been on an airplane with an aged, decorated veteran? They are frighteningly loquacious and often tap you on the shoulder to ask what is motivating Ryan Gosling’s character in the in-flight presentation of “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

Senators? They’re from the only branch of the government capable of giving the TSA a run for its money in terms of unpopularity. No one wants to associate with them.

But now the TSA is modifying even that, allowing 75-and-ups to board comparatively unmolested. Opt out of pat-downs? Keep on their shoes? Leave outerwear on? What is this, the Clinton era? We’ve gone soft.

I’ve been on airplanes with some menacing figures in my time. Babies, of course, are by far more menacing than toddlers. But I see what the TSA was after here. A toddler is nothing but a reformed baby, and really, are humans capable of reform?

Some suggest that this is the absolute limit, that it is stupid and misguided and shows exactly why the present policy is so absurd. They point out that going to the airport is a more invasive process than almost anything other than Being A Woman In Certain States. You don’t even remove your shoes to enter certain shrines. But just try getting on an airplane.

To them I say, as everyone says in these cases, “Nonsense! It is for our own good. Freedom is slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Prevail, Oceania!”

Sure, the TSA points out that children twelve and under are no longer required to remove their shoes. But fortunately, the fact that the toddler in question was in a wheelchair and cast probably means that he would still have to undergo some fairly involved thumping-down, just as demonstrated in the footage.

And he richly deserved it!

If you think toddlers are not menaces to airplane travelers, you have not been on a plane with one as he screams and kicks your seat. I would not go so far as to put them on par with terrorists, because that would be completely absurd. But, clearly, tailoring its approach to target terrorists is no longer on the TSA’s mind. They have more important things to tackle: babies.

By  |  08:00 AM ET, 03/20/2012

Tags:  airport security, TSA

 
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