I’m a bit late, but I’d like to comment on last week’s incident at LAX airport where
a 56-year-old woman put her month-old grandson through an airport x-ray screening machine.
According to reports, crack TSA security guards noticed the outline of a baby as he wended his way through the X-ray conveyor belt along with your typical assortment of shoes, bags and god knows what else. Happily, the quick-thinking guard quickly extricated the tiny tot, who was rushed to the hospital and later released.
Doctors said he was "….exposed to as much radiation as he would naturally get from cosmic rays — or high energy from outer space — in a day."
So, in analyzing this absurd, but somehow not surprising, incident, I’ve been trying to decide who’s dumber: the incredibly naïve woman or the inattentive, incompetent and perpetually irritable TSA staff.
A TSA spokesperson said the agency "…..doesn’t have enough workers to constantly stand at tables in front of the screeners to coach passengers on what should or should not be sent through x-ray machines." That struck me as odd, since they always seem to find the time to take away my ‘oversized’ Crest Toothpaste and poor Edward M. "Teddy" Birkhahn’s hair gel.
Apparently, this is only the second time in nearly 20 years that anyone can recall a traveler mistakenly putting an infant through an airport x-ray machine.
I wonder what’s become of the original x-ray kid? Did she grow up to become Lindsey Lohan perhaps? Or, maybe he’s one of the eight or nine Cincinnati Bengals who’s been arrested and jailed this season? Or using his boxing skills to punch out people at University of Vermont parties?
Regardless of where the original x-ray baby is today, here’s hoping that x-ray baby number two has a happy and healthy life, and ends up a little more intelligent than either his grandmother or your average TSA guard.
To answer your question… X-Ray Baby #1 was Barry Bonds. Finally, the truth can be told: Victor Conte and BALCO had nothing to do with those 73 home runs. It was all the result of a careless TSA agent.
Lots of water-cooler talk re: this story has focused on how incredibly stupid the grandmother must be.
I’ll play devil’s advocate on behalf of granny. I have few if any facts to back up my hypothesizing here, but some of the news coverage has got me riled up enough that I’ll engage in this exercise despite the risk of incurring scorn.
How could she be so dumb? One way might be if by dumb we mean “not worldly.” Imagine you are not well off, that you do not speak the language, that you have NEVER traveled on a plane, and that you are heading from, say, a poor part of L.A. to one of the many, many poor parts of Mexico City. You’ve never been near a check-in line. An airport is like another world to you.
It could happen. It does happen. It just doesn’t always involve babies in an X-ray machine.
But not according to the oh-so-flippant local L.A. TV station reporter whose on-the-spot special report featured him holding up a bin and saying, “We all know what this is …”
Let’s keep our fingers pointed squarely at TSA, where they belong, and maybe save a little spite and incredulity for the management of LAX, which is not one of this nation’s better airports.
You’re right…they’re idiots…they do have enough workers to yell at us for bringing more than 3 ounces of something on board, but they don’t notice a child who obviously weighs more than 3 ounces? How can you possibly not notice a child? How come nobody else on line noticed what the grandmother was doing? It has to take a few seconds, at least, to put the child in the bin and push him through, right? And, nobody caught that? Geez…the fellow passengers are just as stupid.