First, they came for the water.
Then, they came for the shoes.
Then, they came for the pretzels.
Pretty soon, the TSA won't have anything left to come for.
Beyond its usual gropey song and dance routine, the TSA has now decided travellers' snacks are fair game for special inspection, according to the Washington Post.
Passengers at airports across the country — including all three of the Washington region's major airports — are reporting a rise in TSA agents instructing them to remove their snacks and other food items from their carry-ons and place them in those ubiquitous plastic bins for a separate screening.
Travellers have reported having to rifle through their bags for everything from trail mix to Goldfish trackers under this latest crackdown, which the TSA says "is part of an effort to better detect explosives on planes."
With Mark still on assignment (or stalled in a security line trying to find a box of raisins at the bottom of his carry-on bag), here's a piece he wrote back when nonagenarians, rather than snack foods, were the TSA's target:
At a small airport the other day, I saw a passenger with a popular attitudinal T-shirt slogan patiently submitting to an enhanced gropedown from the TSA. It was a poignant image of the republic at twilight: a man in a "Don't Tread On Me" T-shirt being trod all over. I wonder why more Americans aren't outraged by this:
Her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.
Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search.
There is a term for regimes that submit law-abiding wheelchair-bound dying nonagenarians to public humiliations without probable cause and it isn't "republic of limited government." Given everybody's touchiness over Kathryn's North Korean comparisons, I'll say only this: George III wouldn't have done this to you.
Amy Alkon posts a response from a bureaucratic bozo to her own experience at the airport. Caution for sensitive types: The word "labia" is included. But that's because in 21st century America the anatomical feature "labia" are included in a trip to the airport – and that's what should concern you. As the crack TSA agent informs Miss Alkon, "We go thru sensitive areas with back of hand."
That's great news! Somewhere on page 273 of the handbook, there's a graphic detailing the precise point on the upper thigh where the licensed state groper is obliged to invert his paw.
My weekend column concluded with some thoughts on American government's culture of excess. Big Government – more-more-more money-no-object government — will by definition be profoundly stupid government. Lean, constrained government would not only be affordable but smarter. The bloated moronic airport security regime is a particularly ugly example. In a decade of existence, it has never stopped a single terrorist, but it can successfully cow a dying woman born during the Wilson Administration into removing her diaper.
We can all sleep easier knowing that.
If you haven't yet experienced the delights of The Mark Steyn Club, you'll find more information here. And, don't forget to book now for the inaugural Mark Steyn Club Cruise from Montreal to Boston this September at the height of foliage season. We will have a grand time.