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The Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

web posted August 12, 2002

Perfect security is impossible to achieve even under totalitarian regimes. That means preventing future terrorist attacks in the United States is at best an exercise in hope. That hasn't prevented some of America's hardworking security guards from doing everything they can to make us as safe as possible. Unfortunately that also means that security personnel are a little too zealous occasionally.

Elizabeth McGarryElizabeth McGarry learned that lesson all to well on April 2 of this year. In an incident that wasn't reported until last week, McGarry told WABC's Ron Kuby and Curtis Sliwa that security guards at New York's JFK Airport forced her to drink her own breast milk in front of other passengers to prove she wasn't carrying dangerous chemicals.

"It was very uncomfortable and very embarrassing and very disgusting," said McGarry. "I'm all for security and everything, but that was a little much."

As the New York Post reported:

An accountant who lives in Oceanside, McGarry was bound for Florida on a Delta flight when she was singled out for a random search before boarding.

After her baby daughter, Maggie, was taken out of her arms, a male guard went through her bag, and asked what was in three bottles, she claimed.

"I said, ‘That's the milk for the baby.' And he said, ‘You have to drink it.' And I said, ‘I can't, it's breast milk,' " McGarry recalled. "He said, ‘You have to drink it, or you can't get on the plane.' "

The guard refused her offer to daub some milk on her arm, and lick it off herself, she claimed.

"He said, ‘You have to drink from all three bottles," she said.

She did so, taking several sips from each.

In response, Kuby stated: "I'm all for random searches . . . but I do think the number of Caucasian, lactating mothers who have passed through al Qaeda training camps is negligible."

Remarkably, McGarry isn't the only woman to be challenged like this. Back in January, a Dallas lawyer named Colleen Carboy was ordered to drink from a bottle of breast milk that she was carrying onto a plane in Austin, Texas. Carboy said she refused, but was allowed to board after a female security supervisor intervened.

A spokesman for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration admitted that screeners have occasionally asked people to drink out of a container of fluid despite being ordered recently not to.

Extremism in the pursuit of liberty may be no sin but paranoia certainly is.

The Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.


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