Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Liberty and/or/nor Safety

I found this story so troubling. Yesterday, ABCNews.com reported that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at a Florida airport made a cancer-stricken and wheelchair bound 95-year old woman traveling with her daughter to be with family, remove her adult diaper to receive a security screening pat-down in order to board their flight. While I’m usually the first to say security first when it comes to air travel, I can’t believe that we’ve come to this. There has to be a point where we draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. Is it security at any expense? For those that would say, if you don’t like it, don’t fly; I say would you be okay with these actions if it wasn’t some nameless, faceless woman in the crowd, how about if it was your frail and sick mother enduring the shame and indignity of these actions? As if life and the disease she’s fighting hadn’t already taken enough from this poor woman, these agents come along and add insult to injury. I understand that agents are just following protocol, but there has to be some wiggle room for using plain old common sense. If we’re willing to pay any price for safety, then what’s next, what other rights and liberties will we be asked to give up in the name of security?

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying:
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
While I don't wholeheartedly agree with that statement, because the times do call for a certain measure of compromise, I do hope that cases like this one being brought to light promote an honest dialogue and review of protocols, so that TSA agents can serve and protect our citizens while guaranteeing our most basic of rights of respect and dignity for all, as well as safeguarding the liberties thousands of U.S. soldiers over the ages have lost their life over protecting for us.