Among the TSA's "secret" list of threats, apparently lurks the horror of a two-year-old kid with a "taggie" blanket. I'm sure of this now following my latest trip with the family to Florida. My little two-year-old daughter, who freaks at the sound of thunder, jets, lawn mowers, moronic adults driving cars with loud mufflers and is generally highly apprehensive at the airport, was clinging to "daddy" gnawing at high frequency on her "passy" and gripping her trusty taggie as we approached the security check points at the airport. Although she's flown a lot- and even has her own SWA Rapid Rewards card, the check points still spook her. Still, she told daddy "shoes off" and pointed toward her little feet, wanting to comply with one of TSA's most pointless exercises just like the rest of us. Yet what came next was even more pointless as the TSA person pointed to her taggie and said
"That's gotta go through the X-Ray too."
"NO!" said the little one with a growl and a frown that could actually be considered a weapon.
"It has to go through too" the TSA officer repeated- this time addressing me and not my kid.
Of course not wanting to be charged with one of those TSA "Disorderly Conduct" crimes, I obediently took hold of the well-worn one foot square piece of felt and ripped it from the death-grip that my little girl had upon it and tossed it into the bin on the belt.
"NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOO!" my little girl cried as the big machine seemed to eat her little one foot square of felt security. Apparently she wasn't thinking of the disorderly conduct charges or the tiny orange jumpsuit they'd likely put her in as they ship her off to one of the now empty cells at Gitmo. Screaming and clawing she melted down as her taggie was "screened" and I noticed that the TSA officer seemed to get some sort of a sadistic glee from the process. Of course taggie came through and her favorite blue silk tag, the one she titoes her nose with when she wants to go to sleep, was still attached.
Whew- I feel a lot safer knowing that TSA was watching out for toddlers with taggies. I mean, what is the point here, other than terrorizing a little kid by a demonstration of TSA's ultimate power at the airport? Did TSA get some sort of alert that Al-Qaeda is recruiting midgets to make a coordinated attack on an airliner headed for Disney World and they would use little felt taggie blankets as their primary weapon?
When TSA was formed a lot of people thought that the days of morons screening people at the airport would be gone because the rent-a-screener contract security was gone. Yep- the Federal Government can do it better and smarter... right? Well things did get better, but the TSA has squeezed out one of the most important ingredients on good working security- the ability of the screener to use common sense. Like the common sense that says a one foot square kids taggie blanke held by a child isn't a weapon! It cannot be formed into a weapon, it cannot conceal a weapon- at least not one that will make it through the arch.
I personally think that TSA is "profiling" taggie carriers. The kid's rapid sucking on that passie shows nervousness. Those rapidly darting eyes are suspicious too and what about those diapers... what is really in there? Is it really pee pee? or is it some liquid chemical that the kid will take into the aircraft's LAV, squeeze from the diaper and mix with the chemical smuggled aboard by a baby accomplice and then formed into a mixture that they will then use to... well... smear all over the walls. Gad Zooks! what a threat!! Yep- you gotta profile those kids... you never know.
Now you may think that this is an isolated and recent incident. The fact is I went through the same nonsense with our first child and her taggie three years ago. Now, three years later we go through the same thing every time we fly with the younger one. For a while I pondered if it may not be easier to sneak the taggie away from her and just put it into my checked bag. Then the image flashed into my brain of the TSA officer who rummages through your checked luggage suddenly being confronted with A TAGGIE! AKKK! Next thing ya' know one of my bags is being trucked to an isolated part of the airport by a SWAT team and blown up... just to be safe.