New mothers are the fastest-growing demographic among potential terrorists. That’s why TSA officials at a Hawaii airport were suspicious of one young mom’s mechanical breast pump. That’s suspicious in and of itself. But they decided that “because the bottles in her carry-on were empty,” they needed to take a closer look.
The woman’s bottles were empty because the TSA does not allow liquids through security. Bottled water, soda, coffee, whatever. Dump it out before you get in line. There is an exception for breast milk, but the woman didn’t know that.
Long story short, the TSA made the woman use the pump to prove that it was genuine, and not a bomb:
“I asked him if there was a private place I could pump and he said no, you can go in the women’s bathroom. I had to stand in front of the mirrors and the sinks and pump my breast in front of every tourist that walked into that bathroom. I was embarrassed and humiliated and then angry that I was treated this way.”
This is a classic example of what Lenore Skenazy calls worst-first thinking. The TSA released a statement apologizing to the woman, which it rarely does in these types of cases. But they keep happening. When screeners see ordinary people, they assume the worst, first. This is not how one deals with a threat rarer than getting hit by lightning.