The Littlest Terrorist
Terror has a name. They call him 'Mikey.'
By Craig Portwood
Thursday, January 14, 2010
He’s 8 years old. The New Jersey Cub Scout looks harmless enough to the untrained observer, but to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), he is marked as a potential threat. ‘Mikey’ Hicks is on their terrorist watch list.
The security agency first spotted him as a baby as he attempted to board a plane bound for Florida in 2004. He cried as he was frisked, but the T.S.A. was taking no chances. If a two year old has to be traumatized to make the nation safe from terror, then so be it. No price is to great to ensure American security. The Department of Homeland Security is suspicious of little Mikey and that's reason enough for the T.S.A. screeners. Common sense be damned. No explosives or weapons were found on the child during the search. Perhaps the screeners will get lucky during the boy's next travel attempt.
T.S.A. spokesman James Fotenos, said that as a rule, “there are no children on the no-fly or selectee lists,” but had no comment relative to the perceived threat Mikey presents.
Some, such as New Jersey Representative William J. Pascrell Jr., have voiced their dissent. “We can't just throw a bunch of names on these lists and call it security,” said Pascrell. “If we can't get an 8-year-old off the list, the whole list becomes suspect.” Pascrell's condemnation of T.S.A. practice has as of yet, found no support among other lawmakers.
The third grader knows the drill. He arrives early at the airport accompanied by parents, never forgetting his passport. Once at the counter, his parents give his name to the ticket agent. Instead of a boarding pass, he receives extra scrutiny as the red flags are raised. Eventually, he will be allowed to board the plane, but because of the extraordinary precaution, he and his family must generally board last. As a result, they can't always sit together.
Before the family's most recent vacation to the Bahamas, Mikey's mother contacted Congressman Pascrell, who arraigned for the family to meet personally with a T.S.A. agent at the airport. Despite these unusual measures, Mikey was again searched.
On the family's return trip to the United States last Friday, Mikey was again searched. As in the past, the search failed to turn up any dangerous items hidden on the boy's person. His mother made an attempt to photograph the incident but was told that recording the event is not allowed. And that is as it should be. Nothing is more apt to endanger American lives than a photograph of an eight year old child being treated like a criminal. Such an image might force Americans to rethink this and other hysterical policies put forth in the name of Homeland Security. Such questioning of the true intentions of a burgeoning police state would be dangerous.
Rest easy America. Your victory over terror is assured, even if Mikey's victory over terror is not.