The TSA, as always, absolved themselves by alleging the woman “had other options.” Yes, indeed: Missing her flight — in this case not an option due to her precarious medical condition.
This, of course, follows a laundry list of in-your-face actions: In February, Alaska State Rep. Sharon Cissna, a breast cancer survivor with a recent mastectomy, was barred from flying home to Juneau from Seattle by the TSA when she refused to allow a screener to touch the scars from her operation. It wasn’t the first such incident. One couple, celebrating a second honeymoon after the wife had completed the ordeal of a mastectomy and chemotherapy, was treated similarly. The woman was so humiliated she was unable to make the voyage.
But May 7, 2011, took the cake — or so most people thought: a TSA agent undiapered a baby in the now-infamous “poop-photo” tweeted around the world.
But then came Mrs. Rupert, the 95-year-old potential “terrorist” dying of cancer.
The DEA has gotten its own share of negative press: The militarization of what once was routine police work has gone viral. And with it has come wrong house raids and dead pets, not to mention dead people.
Innocent folks generally react to someone blasting through their door by attempting to defend themselves. That is why on “hits,” or raids, psychologists train entry teams to wear black knit masks designed to “psychologically freeze people where they stand.”
In December 2007, members of a Minneapolis police SWAT team raided the wrong address because of bad information from an informant. According to the Associated Press story, legal immigrant Vang Khang grabbed his shotgun from a closet, knelt and fired a warning shot through his doorway as he heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Police fired some 22 bullets back.
“I have six kids, and only one mistake almost took my kids’ life,” said Khang’s wife Moua. “We will never forget this.”
In Pima County, Arizona, a 26-year-old, a Marine Corps veteran, Jose Guerenaho, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was shot and killed by a SWAT team on May 6 of this year, during a marijuana-related raid at his home. “Guerena was shot at least 60 times in about seven seconds; the officers, it was determined later, had the wrong house.”
In November 2007, an Accokeek, Maryland, couple was traumatized when Prince George’s County Sheriff’s deputies burst into their home and killed their dog. Turned out, again, the deputies went to the wrong address.
Not to be outdone, the U.S. Department of Education has apparently gotten into the act. This one is really hard to believe — a non-military federal agency with its own SWAT team executing warrants, bringing new meaning to the term “overbearing government.” The reason? To issue a warrant to the estranged husband of a student-loan defaulter! After the incident appeared in several news outlets, an update was issued and published inReason Magazine’s online outlet: According to the piece, the DOE spokesperson insisted that the SWAT raid was not carried out to collect on a delinquent loan, but as part of a criminal investigation that he couldn’t comment on. “We can say that the OIG [Office of the Inspector General] conducts about 30-35 search warrants a year on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.”
This will certainly come as a relief to Millenial deadbeats, but the notion that "bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds" is all it takes to get a paramilitary squad to bang down your door at 6 a.m., handcuff you in your boxers, and throw your three pre-teen children into the back seat of a squad car, all in the service of a warrant aimed at someone who no longer lives in your home, is frankly every bit as terrifying.
This brings up the point of why the Framers of our Constitution found it necessary to make reference to state militias, the nemesis of the Justice Department according to internal memos seen by this columnist. Weapons held by state militias (and, by extension, “the right of the people”) were deemed right and proper in the event an overbearing Federal government ever evolved. The Second Amendment states: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Clearly, our Founding Fathers had been there, seen that.
So, here’s how it stands on Independence Day, 2011:
In today’s politically correct environment (the old Soviet term was “politically reliable”), the TSA picked on the 95-year-old woman to demonstrate its commitment to across-the-board "equal treatment." Whether the mostly under-45 age group of TSA screeners recall (or ever learned) how police states get a toe-hold is difficult to say. But those at the top creating increasingly Draconian policies certainly know. "Terrorism" provides the perfect hook on which to hang their hat. Whatever President George W. Bush may have thought when he created the TSA as a federal agency is open to question, just as whatever the late President Richard M. Nixon was thinking when he created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the DEA is uncertain. Maybe both men simply fell victim, under the pressures of the office, to the Law of Unintended Consequences.
Well, no matter. Today, these agencies, taken together, are in the process of forming a pincer-like movement (a military maneuver consisting of a double, or even a triple, envelopment) that is squeezing the life out of the Constitution and innocent Americans, while having little or no effect on the problems they were initially charged with correcting. Americans shovel ever more tax dollars into these agencies to "improve" matters. This, in turn allows the hiring of additional bureaucrats, who churn out ever more rules in an effort to ingratiate themselves with a now very-far-left, unionized (i.e., “protected”) super-state. Other agencies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Child Protective Services (CPS), among others, soon learn they can go over-the-top, too — especially in a society increasingly clueless about the historical evolution of police states.
If we fail to see the many obvious warning signs such as the ones described above; if we fail to elect a new slate of legislators in 2012 who absolutely pledge to turn things around, and who will not be distracted from this task by other issues, then by 2016 there WILL BE NO OTHER ISSUES. Neither the economy nor unemployment, bad as they both are, will matter if no one is free of nonstop harassment, humiliation, and loss of life, liberty and property at the hands of a do-as-we-please state.
Beverly K. Eakman began her career as a teacher in 1968. She left to become a science writer for a NASA contractor, then editor-in-chief of NASA’s newspaper in Houston. She later served as a speechwriter and research-writer for the director of Voice of America and two other federal agencies, including the U.S. Dept. of Justice. She has since penned six books, scores of feature articles and op-eds covering education policy, mental-health, data-trafficking, science, privacy and political strategy. Her e-mail, a detailed bio, speaking appearances and links to her books all can be found on her website: www.BeverlyE.com.