Mark Grimm

 

Albany Airport Tries to Ground 1st Amendment

Think airport security is a pain in the neck? Well, in Albany, even the 1st Amendment gets strip searched.

When two young people tried to videotape handing out flyers explaining the right to opt-out of the body scanner, airport spokesman Doug Myers tried to shut them down. Fortunately, Albany County Sheriff Deputy Stan Lenic stood up for individual rights. Witness this for yourself.

You need a $1 million insurance policy to exercise your 1st Amendment rights? Keep in mind, the airport is public property so this is the government acting to curtail free expression. The Founding Fathers really had a problem with that. So should all of us.

Deputy Lenic did what all law enforcement are sworn to do, protect our rights. His measured, fair minded response reflects well on him and his department. Myers is another story. His insistence on the $1 million policy was pure intimidation and would likely have scared off most people. These young journalists are not most people. They stood their ground. Bravo!

The airport has some explaining to do. Far too often, in the name of “security,” some passengers and visitors feel they have been unfairly treated by airport personnel across America. This case is Exhibit One.

An apology is needed. Fast. The Bill of Rights is not excess baggage.

The writer is a former news anchor/reporter, radio host and adjunct media professor at the College of St. Rose.