Oops, the TSA does it again. What is it this time? More breast milk fiascos? Concerns that an IUD could be used to blow up a plane, when it's implanted in someone's uterus?
Close. This time it sounds like the TSA is guilty of male chauvinism.
A few months ago, Kathy Parker made the mistake of being an unaccompanied married woman trying to board a flight from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Charlotte, North Carolina.
After she had passed through the metal detectors, she was selected for a more in-depth search. After being wanded, she proceeded to the bag search area, where she saw that the agents were already going through her purse and her wallet.
One agent asked if her prescription diet pills were working. Then she was questioned about a number of checks that accompanied a deposit slip. The checks were made out to both her and her husband.
The story gets a little complicated here but ended with the police, yes the police, trying to reach her husband on his cell phone to confirm that nothing was amiss. He missed the call but the authorities allowed Kathy to continue.
The police’s concern? That Kathy was embezzling the money. Or worse, as they told her husband when they finally spoke to him on the phone, they thought it was a “divorce situation.” That the couple was on the outs and that she was stealing money from her soon-to-be-ex-husband.
Since when were the TSA and local law enforcement agents trained as forensic accountants? What’s going to happen next? Are they going to read my diary? Maybe I’ve written about a tall swarthy foreign man. Does that make me an adulterer having an affair with a terrorist?
Or maybe I've written an erotic novella about being groped and wanded by both male and female agents. Does that make me suspect? No, but it could mean I've got some issues with authority.
Maybe Kathy Parker should have gotten a permission slip from her husband to travel with checks made out to both of them. Doesn't she know that women aren't allowed to handle large sums of money?
The more that these types of stories make it into the media, the less desire I have to fly.
But if I do fly in the near future, and fly without my husband, I’ll be sure that I get a notarized letter with his signature verifying that, yes, I am travelling with a few hundred of our dollars. And, yes, I am allowed to buy a $3.95 bottle of Fiji water if I am so inclined.
Do you think that women are treated differently by the TSA?
Image via Fabio Mascarenhas/Flickr