Catherine Forsythe

Catherine Forsythe
know a bit about computer security, dogs, horses, skiing, medicine and making risotto. My nickname in real life/online is "Noggie" - I'm on Twitter, with the @dogreader account.

OCTOBER 15, 2011 1:50PM

93 Year Old Grandmother an Unlikely Radicalized Terrorist

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Emily Curlew is a Canadian grandmother. She is 93 with a heart problem and thyroid concerns. She is on medication for both. On a recent trip from Calgary to Victoria, British Columbia, she had some problems with airport security. She had contravened one of the rules for flying:

"...  when flying to Vancouver Island to spend a couple of weeks with her children, was to try boarding her Calgary to-Victoria flight last Tuesday with her medication sorted into one of those plastic pill organizers that elderly people use. No way, she was told. The pills should be in prescription containers with a name matching that on the ticket.

So security staff made Curlew travel without her medication. She then had to contact her doctor in Calgary and refill the prescriptions once on the Island."

Many people, including seniors, use such a system to remember their medication schedule. Nevertheless, airport security seized and destroyed Emily Curlew's medication.

The regularity of Emily Curlew's medication schedule may have been crucial. The conditions of travel, with the changes in altitude, may have effected her adversely. Just the excitement of seeing family member again may have had an unwanted consequence. It is possible to speculate upon the danger that this 93 year old woman faced without her medication.

The probability of Emily Curlew being a radicalized terrorist are minuscule. How is unlabelled medication in the hands of a senior citizen a security risk? Emily Curlew may not have searched the internet for an update of the latest security regulations. She may not have read the most recent, changing literature about what airline passengers are allowed to have when flying. There is no question, however, that airport security put Emily Curlew health and welfare at risk - and presumably for the sake of security.

It seems that airport security cannot exercise common sense and rather would put a senior citizen at risk. The security personnel always can fall back on the old adage of "I was only following the rules". 

Catherine Forsythe  

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The security obsession in the U.S. has gone way beyond the point of absurdity. Anyone who travels anywhere else in the world knows that other countries manage very well without this nonsense-- but then, most Americans don't even have a passport.

I posted on the issue last week: "Before Booking that Flight...."
why am i not shocked?
This is insane and to think Air Canada did this.. Blows me away.
One trip on a plane there was me and a nun held back to be searched.
Where in the rule book is the section on "exercising common sense." What if this woman's health depended on taking a certain pill at a certain time. There is such a thing as taking a good thing too far, and I think this situation illustrates it perfectly.
I was flying once and witnessed the random screening of bags process. No detective work -- just eenie meenie minie moe.

I have always contended that the 9/11 hijackers would have never gotten through without some basic airport screening. However, the need to change EVERYTHING to instill a sense of security was an inevitable overreaction.
It's the biggest joke in the world. They screen us like we are all carrying copies of Jihad for Dummies with us. And yet, they don't even bother to take a look at what's going into the cargo hold if it's from a known shipper.

You know that Saturday Night Live skit, where they debated whether a turkey sandwich could be a liquid of a gel? That's the level of stupidity that travelers are routinely subject to.

What everyone seems to miss is that one of the hijackers on September 11 was subjected to secondary screening on that day and guess what? He still hijacked the plane.

Up next? You can't say hello to your friend Jack at the airport. Because if you say "hi, Jack" you clearly are a terrorist!