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The Tally Ho

Monday, January 09, 2006

"Mental defectives"

Don't veterans have enough to worry about already? scottscidmore points us to a recent article in CQ.com which discusses the Transportation Security Administration's desire to scour DoD and VA databases for names of "mental defectives". Weeks before Rigoberto Alpizar was shot down on the runway for claiming he had a bomb, the TSA was soliciting contractors to gather the names of veterans with mental health problems for a special watch list. It's unclear how they would gather the information and what flight restrictions would be placed on the list. Lest you assume that they're specifically targeting veterans, the TSA's notice says that they plan to add two new data sources each year; the DoD and VA records may just be the easiest to obtain. Under the TSA's plans, I'm not sure how long it would be before the mental health history of the general public would come under scrutiny, and what criteria would be used to determine whether someone is safe to fly. Would my past prescription for Zoloft disqualify me at some point? Airport food is terrible. I'd rather take the train anyway.

I've never heard any evidence (or even any urban legends) that combat-fatigued veterans are posing a risk to airplanes or their passengers. This database idea is ludicrous.

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