Last week I was on vacation. We were traveling as a family which included my obviously handicapped son. At the first checkpoint we had to show our proof of identification and flight information. The agent barely looked at us. We reached a further security checkpoint where the TSA agent barked orders at us. “Take off your shoes. Take off your belts. Take everything out of your pockets. Put everything on the belt.” If you’ve traveled you’ve heard him.
Fortunately, my son and I were allowed to choose whether to pass through the older, but more familiar metal detector. The agent scowled and snapped on gloves watching my son walk through. “He won’t take off his hat,” he growled to the adjacent agent and then confiscating the hat for further inspection.
My twenty-year-old college daughter passed through the back scatter machine but was then subject to a pat down anyway. This review of our person and our belongings took at least six agents.
Contrast this to our reentry to the US at the border crossing in Canada. The agent took our identification and matched them to each of us. He asked several pointed questions in rapid-fire succession. (Nothing hard: Where do you live? Where have you been? How long have you been there? Did you buy anything?, etc.) He looked at all of us while talking. It did not take long before we were allowed to pass. One agent.
No doubt the number of travelers crossing the border is miniscule to those flying by plane. And my family puts the safety of our flight at top priority. But perhaps a little less acting like a government employee working the cattle line and a little more profiling would accomplish the same thing.