Shadi Petosky incident is a pointless destruction of liberty

TSA mistreats a trans-woman in the latest of a string of abuses

Since the inception of the Transportation Security Authority (TSA), its history has been marked by massive inefficiency and constant scandal.

The latest controversial incident occurred in Orlando, Florida when TSA repeatedly interrogated Shadi Petosky, a trans-woman, for 40 minutes. Petosky missed her flight.

The TSA held Petosky because the full-body scanner flagged what officers called “an anomaly” in her groin area. Even after explaining her situation, Petosky was detained in a private screening room while officers argued about what to do with her, subjected her to multiple pat-downs and searched her luggage.

Petosky tearfully tweeted the entire situation from start to finish. She was distressed, pleading for her release and held for no reason whatsoever. The TSA later released a statement saying its agents acted according to TSA policy and did nothing wrong.

Because Petosky missed her flight, she was made to buy another ticket for $700.

Liberty for none.

The complete lack of awareness, understanding and common sense of the TSA agents raises questions about their training. Such a situation should never have happened and the fact the detention happened while agents puzzled over what to do with something not in the norm should enrage people. As it stands now, the TSA has the right to detain people because something about their body seems off.

American Airlines handled the situation poorly. Forcing Petosky to buy another ticket because the TSA discriminated against her comes off as tasteless and typical of the terrible customer service peculiar to airlines.

Training needs to be put into place – for both the TSA and airlines. Diversity in this country needs to stop being treated as criminal.

This incident, as awful as it appears, comes as only one problem in a long line of problems the TSA exhibits. We have traded our privacy for full-body scanners and ludicrous other security measures that do little to nothing.

TSA employees have been accused of sexual harassment, sleeping on the job, failing to check luggage, invasive screening procedures on children, removing nipple rings with pliers, theft from passengers and other myriad crimes. Studies have shown that people would rather drive than be subjected to these lackluster security measures.

Petosky’s subjection by the TSA to an embarrassing and humiliating inquisition is indicative of the need for change. The TSA has served as an important guard against terrorism in the post-Sept. 11 world. But it should also be aware that our nation is one of diverse cultures and worldviews and understanding of people’s differences.