TSA's Strip Searches of 3 Elderly Women Should Be Last Straw

airport terminal entranceTraveling during the holidays is harrowing enough without having to worry that the Transportation Security Administration is going to strip search you for absolutely no good reason. Not one but three elderly women had to endure horrifying, embarrassing episodes while going through security at JFK Airport on their way to South Florida during Thanksgiving week.

You may have heard about 84-year-old Lenore Zimmerman who reported that TSA officials took her to a private room and made her remove her pants. Due to the ordeal, she missed her flight and suffered an injury. Now, 88-year-old Ruth Sherman and 66-year-old Linda Kallish, who were both in the same terminal as Zimmerman, have come forward to say they were also humiliated with pre-flight strip-downs.


All three women were likely made targets for their special medical equipment (Zimmerman uses a defibrillator, wheelchair, and back brace; Sherman uses a colostomy bag; and Kallish uses a glucose monitor and an insulin pump for her diabetes).

It's hard to imagine all three of these women are making this up or exaggerating the details of what they went through in the same terminal during the same time frame. So, it's pretty obvious their TSA horror stories highlight a disturbing trend.

Aside from being totally inhumane, sick, and ridiculous to subject these women to this, how totally crazy is it that the TSA at JFK was wasting their time doing this during one of the busiest flying times of the year?! The fact is that the TSA's policy on special medical equipment is to check any devices that might set off alarms. Okay, fair enough, but this is something they could have accomplished and usually accomplish with a regular pat-down (you know, not the super-invasive ones they've been known to give on occasion!). I'm not sure what about three senior women would require anything beyond that.

If the TSA wants to pass off these emotionally scarring strip-searches as legit safety measures, good luck to them! There's no way around it. What happened to these women is inexcusable, and it should be the last straw necessary to prove something has to be done about how the TSA functions. These women -- and airline passengers in general -- deserve better.

What do you make of these women's horror stories?


Image via ECP/Flickr

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