The Transportation Security Administration has had its share of flubs, such as when it cleared a passenger for takeoff despite his being 9 years old, unaccompanied by an adult, and without a boarding pass. The agency has also made attempts to eliminate some of the headaches of airport screenings, by, for example, allowing passengers to bypass the regular security protocol by paying a premium.
Now it is seeking to make nice with its youngest victims by charming them with a cartoon video (h/t AmericaBlog). In principle there is nothing wrong with preparing children for the rigors of airport security, so long as it done in an honest and above-board manner. Though you wouldn’t expect the kiddie’s video (which features dogs in place of humans) to show an hysterical toddler undergoing a pat-down by a total stranger, you would have expected that by now the TSA was past that sort of idiocy. That they are not was evidenced last December when a child with a crippling bone disease was detained for an hour when a swab turned up traces of explosives on her hands. When it was determined that the child lived on a farm and handled fertilizer (which tests positive), she was waved through. What remains unexplained about the incident is why the child was patted down in defiance of the TSA’s expressed policy (hinted at in the video) that children under 12 are exempted from pat-downs.
The video is not the TSA’s first effort to seem less bogeyman-like to children. In 2010, the agency resorted to the ploy of telling children that pat-downs are “a game.” That insidious technique was abandoned after child safety experts advised that the touching-is-a-game line is commonly used among sexual predators to initiate inappropriate contact.
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