OPINION COLUMNS

Hands off

By Michael Reagan | Published Thursday, December 2, 2010

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Four years ago, I had hip replacement surgery – which involves a metal implant. And that means that every time I fly, which is often, a Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) employee passes a wand over my body to be sure I’m not concealing an explosive device on my person. I’m used to it, and I don’t complain. It’s the price we pay for airline safety.

Reagan_Michael.jpgI happened to fly on the day that the new, more invasive procedures took effect. As I went through the new pre-boarding process, the TSA inspector congratulated me for not “going commando,” as he put his hand into the waistband of my underwear. That’s about as intimate an action as anyone can commit without getting a violent reaction from me, but I managed to restrain myself.

As bad and embarrassing as this experience was for me, I wondered what government would even consider ordering a male or female employee to put his or her hands inside the pants of an airline passenger before they board a plane.

Wow, I thought. The ghost of Sept. 11 terrorist Mohammed Atta is probably laughing out loud over what he accomplished when he and his fellow murderers drove airliners into the World Trade Center towers. They not only killed 3,000 innocent people, but by their cowardly actions, they also provided a foreshadowing of the federal government curtailing our liberties once again. He must be happy over the results of his act of murderous terrorism as he bakes in the fires of hell. After all, he invented today’s TSA.

The sad truth is that he appears to have won – we are still not safe from the crazies, and it is the crazies who are at war with us.

In 1981 when my father, President Reagan, was shot I asked the Secret Service agent in charge of my protection detail that with their number of agents and their training, how was would-be assassin John Hinckley able to get off as many shots as he did and almost kill my father?

His answer was simply that there is no training that can protect you from all the crazies who are willing to die in attempts to kill their targets, and they are our dedicated foes. Abraham Lincoln knew this when he said that anyone who was willing to die in an attempt to kill a president could succeed, as John Wilkes Booth proved in that hideous night at Ford’s Theater.

Political correctness killed innocent people at Ft. Hood when Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan gunned down 13 people and wounded many others, despite the fact that his fellow officers were aware of his attachment to radical Islamism and all that it implied. It is the same political correctness that is stopping us today from doing what we truly need to be doing at airports and other public places: profiling all passengers.

I unconsciously profile strangers I encounter and so do you. It is well past time that President Obama and his TSA do it as well, and it’s just too darned bad if anyone is offended.

Mr. President, Israel’s El Al Airlines inspectors routinely profile passengers and keep their hands to themselves, and they haven’t allowed a single terrorist to board their planes. You should follow suit and tell your TSA people to keep their fumbling hands to themselves.

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan and a political consultant. He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. His column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc., newspaper syndicate.

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