Sunday, December 5, 2010

TSA Grooms Children to Cooperate with Sexual Abusers

It's bad enough that the TSA demands to take naked pictures of us, or subjects us to invasive "pat downs", which includes fondling breasts and rubbing genitalia. Now they've truly outdone themselves.

TSA director, James Marchand recently issued an official directive to TSA agents ordering them to turn the "pat downs" into some kind of game for children.

"Try to make it as best you can for that child to come through. If you can come up with some kind of a game to play with a child, it makes it a lot easier."

He also said that making it a game would become a part of the TSA's training.

Child abuse experts are not amused. As Ken Wooden, founder of Child Lures Prevention, points out:

Telling a child that they are engaging in a game is one of the most common ways that sexual predators use to convince children to engage in inappropriate contact. Children don't have the sophistication to distinguish between a pat-down carried out by an airport security officer and an assault by a sexual predator. The TSA policy could desensitize children to inappropriate touch and ultimately make it easier for sexual offenders to prey on our children.

How can experts working at the TSA be so incredibly misinformed and misguided to suggest that full body pat downs for children be portrayed as a game? To do so is completely contrary to what we in the sexual abuse prevention field have been trying to accomplish for the past thirty years.

Whichever numskulls at the TSA came up with this idea should be fired. More importantly, the manner in which the TSA conducts all of its business needs to be closely examined.

Isaac Yeffet, who was formerly in charge of security for Israel's El Al Airlines has made it very clear that the TSA's entire approach is misguided. As a result, the TSA is actually endangering us, not making us safer.

El Al Airlines spends their time looking for people who might be a threat to us. They do this by determining common characteristics (including travel habits) of terrorists and then spending more time interviewing and searching the people who have those characteristics than other passengers.

The TSA on the other hand spends their time patting down 3 year old girls, taking dirty pictures of 40 year old nuns, and abusing 70 year old men with artificial limbs and colostomy bags looking for things. Sure, the TSA finds a lot of things -- shaving cream, shampoo bottles, and maybe even an occasional Lady Gillette. Have they ever caught a terrorist trying to board an airplane? No.

Things have gotten so bad that even Republican Congressmen who voted to create the TSA are now calling for it's abolition. I agree.

Airline security should be placed in the hands of the people who have the most to lose from a terrorist attack -- the airlines themselves. Banks, Armored Cars, and even shopping malls provide for their own security. Airlines should be allowed to do them same. We'd all be safer as a result.

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