In the past I have defended the TSA for some of its aggressive tactics that have garnered public outrage. In general, I believe while there are a few bad agents on power trips in the bunch, for the most part, they're doing what they think they need to do to keep us safe while traveling through the air. A recent case in which an elderly woman was made to remove her adult diaper, however, is indefensible any way you look at it.
Jean Weber says her 95-year-old mother, whose name hasn't been released, was at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport June 18 when the incident occurred. Suffering from cancer, she was traveling to go see family in Michigan when agents said they felt something suspicious on her leg. After determining the item was her adult diaper, made firm because it was soaked with urine, TSA officials asked that she go to a restroom and remove it so they could perform a thorough pat down.
Weber didn't have an extra diaper with her (why I'm not sure), so her mother was forced to go through the airport with no underwear. I can only imagine how humiliated she was.
The TSA says protocol was followed, and there was no wrongdoing in a statement released today:
While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner. We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure.
I don't see how there was anything sensitive or respectful about it. Surely they could tell this frail, elderly woman was in no physical shape to overtake anyone. As for the possibility that her diaper could have contained explosives or whatever else they were worried about, there's got to be a better way. I know wet diapers, and they do NOT feel anything like a bomb.
It's just unfathomable to me that the only option here was to take this woman's diaper. At the very least, one would hope they would have helped her secure another one instead of putting her on a plane without one.
It's true no one has to fly, and while we can debate how effective such pat down and scanning methods are all day, right now they're all we have. And for the most part, I'd rather endure an aggressive pat down than be blown out of the sky. But this is outrageous, and no one should be subjected to such treatment. There's got to be some common sense and basic humanity built into these procedures and protocols, because what happened to this woman shows a strong lack of both.
Do you think the TSA was right to make this woman remove her adult diaper?
Image via YouTube