Saturday, October 27, 2007

My 80 y.o. Dad Arrested-We are Safer Now

Breathe easy, we are a bit safer now. Late last Friday afternoon, my almost 81 year old dad was arrested and hand-cuffed at JFK airport, frog-marched through the terminal, put in a patrol car and jailed, and you can't say that this wasn't another body blow to the terrorists. Please follow me for the details. Then perhaps we could all let out a primal scream...

Last Friday, my father (81 in December, can still play me in tennis, life-long liberal democrat, sharp as a ...) was in the process of going through security at JFK. He had made a quick overnight trip to N.Y. from Florida for a cousin's funeral, and before he left his house in N.Y., he threw in his carry-on bag an old brass knuckle he once bought at a flea market. Having seen the aforementioned brass knuckle on his desk for years, holding down piles of papers and other such detritus, I can attest, yes , your honor, he used it as a paper weight and it was being transferred to his desk in Florida where it would be resuming it's non-nefarious avocation.

Understandably, the TSA worker saw the knuckle and my dad said, sorry, just take it. No, they have to call their supervisor. Supervisor comes, Dad says, sorry, I use it as a paperweight, just take it. No, she has to call the police. Police come, first a woman and then a guy, a schmuck who was a Sergeant. The Sergeant said "book him and cuff him" and apparently the policewoman protested to him because my father heard him say to her "don't you know you're being monitored!" So, back to where we began-my almost 81 year dad was frogmarched through the terminal with the cop's hand on his shoulder (when he asked the policewoman if she could remove her hand, that it was embarrassing, she said she had to keep it there.) He was taken in the back of a patrol car somewhere (he didn't know) and put in a cell, alone with just a mattress. I should interject that my dad said that the "under-cops" were clearly upset and embarrassed by what was happening-the jailer even kind of apologized and the other 2 (women) made eye contact and communicated their feelings to him. The Sergeant, on the other hand was a real nasty one. He yelled at my dad at one point to shut up or he'd be in even more trouble than he already was in and he'd lock him in a cell with other criminals until Monday. My dad was completely cooperative, and though I know he had to be scared, he kept his wits about him, even making a decision not to make a phone call, gambling that the less fuss he made the sooner he would get out. Oy. Well, the asshole, after asking my father some questions, and discovering that my dad knew the boss of the place his father-in-law worked, left for a few minutes, and reappeared with a paper and said "I am going to do something amazing for you-if you sign this paper, I'll let you out." My dad said he must have signed something stating that he received his personal affects back (oh yeah-since he was a flight/suicide risk they took his belt and shoelaces). No charges. This was 3 hours later. Two policewomen drove him back to Kennedy, in the front seat this time, and he was able to get another plane.

I've been reading (mostly lurking) Daily Kos since 2003, I learned the truth from my parents about what our country was doing in Vietnam when I was in Jr. High, a long, long time ago, and I've been a progressive and active politically since then. In other words, like most of us here, I thought I knew my way around the block and nothing that this administration/crime syndicate could do would surprise me. However, I was wrong. We're hoping he writes this up and gets his story out, and we want to nail the nasty Sergeant. Meanwhile, what would have happened if my dad wasn't white and educated and and upper-middle class? What if he were a ...Muslim?

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