As we recently boarded a plane in Jamaica after a family vacation, our three small grandsons were patted down – twice – by security agents. After we landed, late at night, hauling exhausted children behind us, our baggage was selected for extra screening.
What possible reason could they have, we asked the agents. The response: We were “traveling together,” and that apparently sinister connection triggered a need for even closer scrutiny.
This is nuts, a stupid waste of taxpayer dollars and a needless distraction for security personnel. America is no safer because those agents decided to put the kids’ backpacks through yet another X-ray machine.
We understand that random searches are supposed to keep the bad guys guessing. But the real reason seems to be politics, deniability. If our grandsons can be searched, goes the government’s argument, it is not engaged in racial profiling. It is not specifically targeting the group that obviously poses the greatest threat to American security – young Muslim males.
As a Catholic-Jewish couple, we are deeply sensitive to the devastating effects of ethnic or religious stereotyping. Our own ancestors were once excluded from vital areas of American life and derided as less than loyal citizens.