One of the great questions of the long War on Terror is who offers the greater danger to Americans, terrorists who shoot up gay night clubs and chop people up for not knowing the Koran or TSA agents who reportedly beat up disabled women. For Hannah Cohen and her mother Shirley, the answer was decidedly the latter.

June 30, Hannah and her mom were in the security line at the Memphis AirPort to catch a plane back to their home in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hannah, as she has innumerable times before, had been getting radiation treatment at St.

Jude’s Hospital for a brain tumor. While she was in the security line, she set off one of the alarms. The TSA agents moved in to search her. That is where the trouble started.

According to the account by a local news channel, Shirley Cohen tried to warn the TSA agents that her daughter, being deaf, blind in one eye, paralyzed, and mentally disabled, was confused and frightened by the alarm and the scary people in uniforms closing in on her. Police officers kept her away while the TSA allegedly tried to forcibly search her.

Hannah resisted and was thrown to the floor, her head bloodied. She was arrested and sent to jail. The charges were quickly dismissed, and Hannah and Shirley were sent on their way, but not before they filed suit against the TSA, the Memphis Airport Police, and the Memphis Airport Authority.

The TSA had no comment but to suggest that Shirley should have called ahead at a helpline to alert them that her daughter needed special handling, meaning that she brought it on herself.

The alleged incident illustrates the ham-fisted theatrics that passes for airport security in modern America. The TSA stubbornly refuses to learn behavior profiling techniques that have been developed by the Israelis and other countries. If it had, agents would have figured out that a disabled woman in a wheelchair is not likely to blow up or seize and airliner. But, in any case, the TSA has given itself another black eye and is being sued by outraged passengers.

Will they face criminal charges for allegedly beating up a helpless, frightened disabled woman? Too soon to tell right now.

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