On Nov. 13 at Atlantic City International Airport, my mother, who is a 74-year-old, four-time cancer survivor and retired schoolteacher with a hip replacement, was accused by TSA of having explosives on her hands. After being told that she was going to be searched extensively, they did ask if she wanted to do that in a private setting. Knowing that she would be alone, she declined. They then proceeded to search her, not gently. As she stood there, crying, at no point did one agent treat her with respect or common decency.
I understand the responsibility that TSA agents have. I also know that there is no excuse for the kind of treatment to which my mother was subjected. There needs to be a balance between the responsibility to public safety and the courteous, humane treatment of passengers. My mother received the kind of treatment that should be reserved for people who have actually done something wrong. Now, I also understand that her screening indicated an element of concern, but the protocol that follows that kind of indication needs to include some common sense. When she was finally able to articulate 24 hours later what had happened to her, she was still crying. That is unacceptable. This tells me that we have an issue with how we train TSA agents to deal with passengers.
Grateful to LoBiondo
I’m grateful to Rep. Frank LoBiondo for voting against the recent House version of the tax reform bill, although it passed anyway. That is in the interest of middle and working-class people because this bill is a complete giveaway to the richest people at the expense of everyone else.
The reform this bill offers is for corporations and their wealthy owners. However, taxes eventually would rise for those making under $75,000 a year. A $1.5 trillion revenue loss is expected. This would be the deepest fiscal crisis in the country’s history, all for giving a tax break to billionaires.
This bill is a payback to the donor base of the Republican Party, people like Sheldon Adelson, David and Charles Koch and Robert Mercer. The resulting public debt would burden the country for many generations and allow China to leave this country behind. Meanwhile, Congress keeps allowing hugely profitable companies like Amazon and Apple to hide their profits in foreign tax shelters.
Regarding the Nov. 19 Inside Story column by Kevin Post, “Newspapers and their communities of readers still need each other”:
My mother always said educated people read newspapers. If you considered yourself educated, you read a paper every day, and we did starting with the comic page as soon as we could read.
In college, I had a nun who insisted that reading a good newspaper every day and researching the places, words and information you did not know about for one year was the equivalent of a college degree.
Maybe it is time for newspapers to give their subscribers and local college students big buttons to wear that say “Educated people read newspapers!”