I don't know much about the details of the latest incident involving a parent's objection to the TSA patting down a female child, but I am seeing what appears to be a disturbing trend. That is, the notion that angry verbal reaction can be deemed a crime.
Look at this report in the Tennessean newspaper of Nashville about the arrest of a 41-year-old woman, Andrea Abbott, in such a case. In particular, note the comments from one Sabrina Birge, sloppily described (will local reporters ever learn specificity?) as "an airport security officer." The italics are mine. (And again, the incident involves a Southwest Airlines gate area)
"(She) told me in a very stern voice with quite a bit of attitude that they were not going through that X-ray,” Sabrina Birge, an airport security officer, told police.
"`No, it’s not an X-ray,' she told Abbott. `It is 10,000 times safer than your cell phone and uses the same type of radio waves as a sonogram.'
“`I still don’t want someone to see our bodies naked,'" Abbott said, according to the police report.
"At one point, Abbott tried unsuccessfully to take a video with her cellphone."
Let's leave aside the risible idea that anyone should have faith in the assurances of a TSA screener about the scientific properties of a whole-body scanner, whether one that uses X-ray or radio waves. The offenses for which the woman was arrested appear to be these: "Stern voice with quite a bit of attitude" and trying to take a video with her cellphone.
Again, we have a dispute that appears to center on an overreach of authority by security officers at an airport, who evidently are allowed to operate in the misguided notion that they are the speech police and that they can prevent someone from taking a video or a photograph as they go about their jobs.
Again, we have a local newspaper feebly regurgitating only what it has been informed by the authorities. The woman was "belligerent and verbally abusive," we are informed.
And how, exactly, is that defined? And where, exactly, is "verbally abusive" listed as a crime?
Obviously, "disorderly conduct" is the usual catch-all for a bad arrest in a dispute. Someone needs to ask the TSA, the reaction-inclined Southwest Airlines and the Nashville airport to explain themselves.