Saturday, October 17, 2009

Time Out

It must be hoax week.

I was feeling a sort of primal rage as I read this mother's blog post titled TSA agents took my son. The post recounts a terrifying incident where a mother carried her infant son through a metal detector at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport and the baby's pacifier clip set off an alarm which then set off a series of shocking events. TSA agents did what nobody should ever attempt with any human or animal -- they took her child. They carried him away out of her sight, and as she screamed, all other security agents ignored her.

Separating a parent from his or her child is explicitly against TSA rules, but I have such a low opinion of airport security that I would not doubt the incompetence. I started to wonder if maybe there was a farm where TSA employees are bred and emerge from their pods looking exactly like humans but devoid of emotions.

But then TSA did something sensible and responded to the story with their own blog post which includes an 11 minute CCTV video of the incident. And it's not at all likes the mother's story!

We see her carry the child through the detector. She's still clutching the child as she waits inside some kind of dehumanizing acrylic holding cell (really, what the hell are those things?). Once security agents are ready to deal with her, she takes a seat still holding her child. Then it appears that an agent pats down the child while he is still on the mother's lap. Then the mother herself places the infant in his stroller and sits back down no more than two feet away from him. The agents take their sweet time patting down the mother, but finally both mother and son are free to go.

We have heard how eyewitness testimony can be unreliable, but this unreliable? Really? Somebody can't accurately remember their own personal experience 24 hours after the event?

I know that recent news stories (balloon boy, I'm looking at you now) don't merit hundreds of hours of MSM coverage, but they do serve as a real world MacGuffin -- something that catches our attention but is not the pertinent part of the story.

The issue here is that in the current era of reality television, some parents will lie, scheme, and shamelessly exploit their own children and the sympathy of others for a fleeting taste of fame and fortune.

1 comment:

Trung said...

with all these parents "crying wolf," i wonder how long it will be before a gresham's dynamic emerges from all of it.