Our government has become a serial groper. There's no part of our lives it won't touch. It insists on putting its insatiable hands on everything from our health care to the gas in our cars, from our light bulbs to our mortgages. Recently it has developed an alarming appetite for our children's affairs, fondling everything from elementary school bake sales to Happy Meal toys. And now it has declared that the only thing standing between you and a fiery death is its hands all over your kids.
Last week, America was aghast to witness a federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent perform an "enhanced screening" on a 6-year-old girl at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. "Such pretty hair you have," coaxed the TSA agent with the busy hands. This surely would have given Satchmo the blues.
We're nearly 10 years into the global war on terror - or is it an "overseas contingency operation"? The casual observer is forgiven for not knowing exactly upon whom America has declared "kinetic military action," but our commander in chief is not. Here's a clue: "Underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, "Times Square bomber" Faisal Shahzad, "Fort Hood shooter" Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan and "Portland Christmas tree bomber" Mohamed Osman Mohamud all have this in common: They are not6-year-old girls.
I was subjected to an enhanced groping myself just last week. My offense: cargo pockets.
We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who stands in the breach to protect us: the military, police, firefighters, first responders and, yes, TSA employees. The fault of this ridiculous "security theater" lies not with with them per se but with their bosses in the government. Ultimately, the balance between liberty and security hinges on the trustworthiness of our government. It claims the body scanners and enhanced pat-downs are necessary, and we desperately want to be able to believe it. However, the same administration that promised to cut the deficit in half and to hold unemployment below 8 percent, the same administration busybodies who can't keep their hands off every aspect of our lives, now swear these TSA grope-fests are needed.
Meanwhile, the government allows illegal immigrants to cross our borders quite literally by the millions. Surely, even our government can understand that this poses more of a threat to Americans than all the 6-year-old girls put together, even those with cargo pockets. Ask the family of Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar, whose murderer had no problem crossing our southern border from his home in Mexico.
Ask the family of 3-year-old Shakir West, who was killed in Cincinnati. Or the families of Alabamans Jeremy and Angel Seay, the newlyweds killed just weeks after taking their vows. Or the family of retired Lt. Col. Paul Krause, who was killed in Virgina. Or the family of Alyssa Holtzclaw and her 10-month-old son Tucker, who were killed in Texas. These poor souls and many others like them were lost not because of grope-free airport screenings but because of our open-borders policy.
Sadly, the airport head-fake continues. On cue, the media rush to the first traveler they can find who will say he doesn't like the screenings so much but it's better than being on a plane that blows up. Really? I can think of a whole host of things I'd rather undergo than being on a plane that blows up: a full-body cavity search, a Jack Bauer interrogation or even a Cher concert. Barely. So the government unleashes its body scanners and enhanced gropings.
But be careful what you wish for. The British are going where no man has gone before. They recently unveiled a rectal scanner given a name that demands your submission - you can't make this stuff up - BOSS (Body Orifice Security Scanner). So far, its use is limited to would-be prison smugglers, but just wait until the air-traveling terrorists graduate from shoes and underwear.
Blogger Glenn Reynolds offers some common-sense advice: Travelers will believe there really is a crisis when the people telling them there's a crisis start acting like there's a crisis. Americans, I suspect, would begrudgingly but probably overwhelmingly support an all-of-the-above approach to our security if the government would treat it with the seriousness it deserves. They should, first, break their addiction of unnecessarily groping every aspect of our lives where they don't belong and, second, secure our borders with at least as much urgency as they grope 6-year-old girls.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and President Obama's cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.