Should a woman have been arrested for yelling and swearing at a government employee?
While I have no respect for the organization or those who work in it, I am not one who would ever cuss out a Transportation Security Agency (TSA) clerk and cannot condone such action. I try to treat others the way I want to be treated and fail to recognize any constructive reason to curse out a poor addlebrained soul who is is “privileged” to work for second most hated government agency in America (behind the Internal Revenue Service).
Andrea Fornella Abbott, A 41-year mother on her way to Baltimore from Nashville wanted no part of the TSA security theatre and made her wishes known…loudly and clearly. TSA wanted to run her young daughter through a full body scanner and after the mother refused, making a reasonable argument that the TSA had no business seeing naked pictures of her daughter, became belligerent when the TSA told her they would have to pat down her daughter.
Yelling that her little girl shouldn’t have her “crotch grabbed,” Abbott made quite a scene, loudly cussing out TSA employees before being arrested by Nashville police and booked on disorderly conduct charges. She even pulled out her mobile phone to film the incident, but was quickly forced ot put it away by the TSA. Abbott is now out on bail, but should she have been arrested in the first place?
Simple answer: no.
While the first amendment does not affirm an unlimited right of free speech, the spirit of the amendment protects the right of citizens to express their grievances against the government. While Abbott should have been more tactful, I do not see how her actions could be construed as disorderly conduct. There has been no indication thus far that she touched any of the officers or that she inhibited others from passing through the security checkpoint.
To me, the TSA in this case seems like George Wallace releasing dogs on a non-violent protester. Surely, a woman has a right to express concern over her Hobson’s choice of enduring TSA abuse and degradation or not traveling.
And once again we see the TSA doing their best to prohibit passengers from filming TSA checkpoints. The TSA ought to be ashamed of itself for this latest embarrassing story.