Cultural Revolutions

Airport Frisking

How many terrorists share a surname with a 19th-century American plutocrat famed for starting one of the country’s first investment banks and founding a technical university in the City of Brotherly Love?  How many terrorists hail from the Bluegrass State?  And finally, how many terrorists have yet to reach their seventh birthday?  If you answered none, none, and none again, then you will likely never be hired as a security screener at a domestic airport.  Your unwitting biases, blinding you to the obvious dangers posed by six-year-old fliers like Anna Drexel of Bowling Green, Kentucky, could imperil the nation’s air-transportation network.

In early April the suspicious Miss Drexel attempted to pass through security at the New Orleans airport.  Dressed in shady-looking jeans and a white sweatshirt embroidered with a figure of a ferocious kitty cat, Miss Drexel mimicked a sleepy child ready for naptime as she slid across the airport floor in her socks.  Security officials pulled her aside for an “enhanced pat-down” after she walked through the metal detector.  Her father filmed the subsequent frisking and posted it on the internet.  Within days, much of America had seen the video.  Not surprisingly, much of America then became enraged at the rough handling by government officials of a little girl while her mother looked on helplessly.

But the security system seems to have worked properly...

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