Unsafe America

mcdonaldsfriesfront1 Last Friday in June. Time to clean out the queue of news stories.

Sleeping at the Airport

The TSA has fired eight of its screeners at Newark Airport “after they were captured by surveillance cameras sleeping or violating other standards.”

I have never thought that TSA screeners were the sharpest knives in the drawer, but this makes me wonder. Did they not know that their workplace was under video surveillance? You would think they would be familiar with airport security measures. Or perhaps they assumed that their colleague monitoring the video would be asleep too.

In what is apparently a separate incident, the Newark Star-Ledger

reports the TSA also is looking into photographs of screening supervisors who appear to be sleeping in front of monitors used for detecting explosives and other threats.

Two of the supervisors say they were not working at the time the photos were taken.

Exactly.

Dangerous Characters

By now, you have undoubtedly heard about Bad Elmo, the guy in the Elmo costume videoed ranting and cursing at New York’s Central Park Zoo. The CNN report is careful to refer to him as an Elmo impersonator, just to be clear that this is not the actual TV Elmo.

The cops took him away but did not arrest him. Until he serves the kids a soda over 16 ounces, no NY laws are being broken. But authorities thought that he might benefit from a visit to a nearby hospital and a chat with some friendly men in white coats.

Bad Elmo was back at his usual spot the next day, which allowed The Times to run a follow-up story, including an exclusive interview.

He said the doctors at Metropolitan told him he was “a little paranoid.” It was obvious from talking to him that he is troubled. But he told a lucid and detailed account of his life, and he told of his own dark past, one that might alarm parents whose children have posed with him. The tale he told underscored just how little is known about the men and women who dress as various children’s characters in tourist-clogged areas, looking for small tips. This tiny industry is unregulated.

Of course, this industry should be subject to regulation. I suggest the Feds, perhaps by a Bureau of Children’s Character Panhandlers. Normally, I would say that NYC could handle this themselves, but they are too busy keeping their citizens safe from dangerous food and drink.

Speaking of which….

Dangerous McDonald’s

A woman has been banned, apparently for life, from all the McDonald’s in the Chillicothe, Ohio area. According to Google Maps, that is four separate locations, although two of them are on opposite sides of the street out on Western Avenue, past the Central Center Shopping Center.

Apparently, her order at the “drive-thru” was not filled correctly, even on the second try. Instead of calling the police, Amy Corey foolishly took matters into her own hands. What exactly happened next is in dispute, but we do know that she threw the incorrectly prepared chicken sandwich through the drive-thru window. McDonald’s maintains that this dangerous projectile was aimed at an employee, although it concedes that it missed the alleged target.

According to reports “Employees contacted police, but declined to press charges.” That is in keeping with the tight-knit McDonald’s culture, which prefers to mete out justice internally. However, the controversy may not be settled. Cory went on local TV to complain "I threw a sandwich and it didn’t even hit the worker. Why would I be banned from McDonald’s? It’s wrong."

The very next day, while driving away from a Lowell, Massachusetts McDonald’s (the one on Plain Street, next to the Walgreens) a man threw a container of fries at his step-daughter, sitting in the back seat. Tragically, this time the flying food hit its target. According to police reports the potato shards hit the girl, 11, “in the face and chest area.” Miraculously, she was unhurt.

When the family arrived at home, Mom immediately called the police and the perpetrator “fled the residence on an old Honda Motorcycle with unknown NH plates.” After what was likely a multi-state manhunt, he was apprehended later that night and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Personally, I think that this madness has to stop, although I agree that calls for a three-day McDonald’s food purchase waiting period are premature. But it is past time that we kept our children away from these dangerous products. And McDonald’s itself could help. The pointy ends of fries are a tragedy in the making. Why not offer safer onion rings as an option?

[Photo: Borrowed from thesmokinggun.com. No idea where they got it.]

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