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Fri Jan 15, 2016, 01:47 PM

 

Should 90 year old women be patted down just to "be fair"?

There was a lively thread a couple days ago about criticism of Islam and Islamaphobia. It got me thinking about something I saw a few years ago going through O'Hare on way east for a wedding: A woman, who appeared to be at least 90 years old, sitting in a chair on the other side of the metal director, being patted down.

The TSA website mentions "expedited screening through risk-based intelligence-driven security" for individuals 75 and older. When your read further, all that means is that those individuals may keep their shoes and a light jacket on during screening. Other than that, they are screened exactly the same way, including being no less likely to be randomly selected for a pat-down than someone who fits the profile of nearly every successful or unsuccessful plane hijacker of the last 40 years. Namely: a 20-40 year old male.

Namely: me.

I was not randomly screened that day, and to this day have not been.

My heart (which goes on nothing but my personal opinion) tells me it's unfair to single someone out based on their age, gender, or race. But my head, which can do math, tells me it's insanity for us, just to "be fair", to slow down our security processes and inconvenience someone who is 1) probably in the last years of their lives and 2) is of an age and gender of exactly 0 plane hijackers ever.

...while I am let through everytime presumably because, since I do fit the profile, they're too cowardly to actually check me for fear of profiling accusations.

Is the purpose of screening to prevent potential incidents, or to create the illusion of prevention while making sure not to offend?

It appears to me that we ultimately, ironically, tragically, and to our own potential demise, end up screening the people that every historical statistic tells us are the least likely to commit the act we're trying to prevent, and (for fear of offending) refuse to screen the people that every historical statistic tells us are the most likely to commit the act we're trying to prevent.

50 years from now, after (I fear) many more incidents of terrorism, are our descendants going to think fondly of us for refusing to offend, or are they going to think we were insane for refusing to acknowledge what was right in front of us?

46 replies, 3491 views

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Reply Should 90 year old women be patted down just to "be fair"? (Original post)
MadDAsHell Jan 2016 OP
1000words Jan 2016 #1
MadDAsHell Jan 2016 #3
Jim Beard Jan 2016 #20
MadDAsHell Jan 2016 #21
snooper2 Jan 2016 #2
MadDAsHell Jan 2016 #4
Kelvin Mace Jan 2016 #5
MadDAsHell Jan 2016 #7
Kelvin Mace Jan 2016 #34
Takket Jan 2016 #17
Kelvin Mace Jan 2016 #31
madinmaryland Jan 2016 #39
Dr. Strange Jan 2016 #40
madinmaryland Jan 2016 #42
Dr. Strange Jan 2016 #44
madinmaryland Jan 2016 #45
Snobblevitch Jan 2016 #6
madamesilverspurs Jan 2016 #8
FreakinDJ Jan 2016 #9
Liberal_in_LA Jan 2016 #33
FreakinDJ Jan 2016 #37
philosslayer Jan 2016 #10
MadDAsHell Jan 2016 #16
philosslayer Jan 2016 #18
MadDAsHell Jan 2016 #11
FLPanhandle Jan 2016 #12
TheBlackAdder Jan 2016 #13
MadDAsHell Jan 2016 #15
LittleBlue Jan 2016 #14
Takket Jan 2016 #19
saturnsring Jan 2016 #22
HockeyMom Jan 2016 #23
Jim Beard Jan 2016 #24
JI7 Jan 2016 #25
jberryhill Jan 2016 #26
The2ndWheel Jan 2016 #27
jberryhill Jan 2016 #28
SheilaT Jan 2016 #32
Jim Beard Jan 2016 #36
HassleCat Jan 2016 #29
MadDAsHell Jan 2016 #30
malthaussen Jan 2016 #35
bigwillq Jan 2016 #38
Nye Bevan Jan 2016 #41
Recursion Jan 2016 #43
GoneOffShore Jan 2016 #46

Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)


Response to 1000words (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 01:57 PM

3. I agree...but there has never been a hijacker even remotely that old, of either gender.

 

I'm simply saying that if the TSA claims it can use "risk-based intelligence-driven security" to adjust its screening processes, why can't it use the same "risk-based intelligence-driven security" to decide who is screened?

I have in the past been as guilty as anyone for wanting screening to be completely random and blind, but 1) do we really have the resources to do it that way and still be effective, and 2) would I feel the same way if Americans lose their lives to a young male hijacker who fit the profile of nearly ever previous hijacker but wasn't screened, while a 90-year old woman on the exact same flight was screened?

Probably not.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:38 PM

20. I think the "thought" is that someone could use her to carry a small bomb. Being 90, she may not rea

 

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Response to Jim Beard (Reply #20)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:42 PM

21. I'd love to to think you're right, but I think that would be an easy excuse for the TSA.

 

I think the real reason is that they have to screen SOMEONE to keep up appearances, but their bigger goal is to avoid accusations of profiling while doing so, so they're basically going to select the opposite of what our naturally stereotyping selves would choose.

As another respondent said, I suspect the "they're trying to keep us safe" thing is an illusion. It's more like "they're trying to keep us placated to the extent they can without offending someone."

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 01:52 PM

2. Not sure actually, if someone is 70 or 80 they may just think, eh, had a good life, out with a bang!

 

Will terrorists start recruiting the elderly?


Beep Beep Beep! Sir step over here-

Oh, that is just my pace-maker.

Okay- move along...


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Response to snooper2 (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 01:58 PM

4. :) Actually, according to TSA screening guidelines, they're screened exactly the same...

 

when it comes to medical devices.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:00 PM

5. One of these days

 

terrorists are going to figure out that the best target in the world is the mass of people jammed up in line waiting to be screened. After that attack kills a few hundred people, what then? Move the screening point to the airport entrance and walk in naked?

What we are doing does NOT work and does NOT keep us safe. It is all theatre.

What does work is to STOP oppressing people to the point that the only option they fell they have left to fight back is to strap explosives to themselves.

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:08 PM

7. That's an interesting point about the line, I'd never thought of that.

 

I agree with the latter part to an extent. However, when someone (like the Boston Marathon bombers) has been in the country for 10 years+ (coming essentially as a child), gone to school with us, worked with us, etc., and still chooses to do this stuff, is it really "oppression" that is causing them to do it, or just pure insanity?

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Response to MadDAsHell (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 04:03 PM

34. The Boston bombing

 

was motivated, if the FBI is to be believed, by Islamic extremism. Can you think of anything the U.S. is doing that might have upset these people over the last decade or so?

Yes, they were living here, but that is no guarantee against terrorism, see Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolph.

Now those two examples would seem to point to people our foreign/domestic policy isn't hurting, but actually, that is not true. McVeigh was a veteran of our first war in Iraq, and Rudolph was kicked out of the Army for weed. Thus our failed policy of foreign intervention and our failed policy of drug interdiction, along with our failed policy on veterans mental health care and employment, and our failed policy on investigating domestic terrorists (anti-abortion religious fanatics are given a pass and rarely called terrorists) was influential in what these men did.

And, of course, you are right. Some people are just insane. But then that would fall into the category of our failed policy for dealing with the mentally ill.

So, if you want to stop 99.99% of terrorism:

1) Stop killing other people

2) Stop meddling in other people's affairs

3) Take care of sick people

4) Take care of the people you train to kill people (soldiers and police)

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:29 PM

17. wishful thinking

"What does work is to STOP oppressing people to the point that the only option they fell they have left to fight back is to strap explosives to themselves."

There is no such level of treatment that would achieve that result. Do away with security and someone WILL take down a plane no matter what laws/rules we have.

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Response to Takket (Reply #17)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:47 PM

31. Where did I say

 

"Do away with security"?

Also, if we were not meddling in other country's affairs, invading them, bombing them, overthrowing their governments, fomenting rebellions, and shipping in weapons by ship load, why would anyone want to attack us?

Also, please answer my question: When someone figures out that they can cause massive damage placing a bomb OUTSIDE the security area, what then?

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Response to Kelvin Mace (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 07:32 PM

39. I am interested in the naked part of your comment.

Then everyone would be flying naked!!

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Response to madinmaryland (Reply #39)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 08:07 PM

40. Thank you for my new sigline.

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Response to Dr. Strange (Reply #40)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 08:49 PM

42. Well why not?

Lets all fly naked!!!

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Response to madinmaryland (Reply #42)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 09:36 PM

44. You are now free to nude about the country!

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Response to Dr. Strange (Reply #44)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 09:44 PM

45. We started a new group on DU...

Or should I say a nude group on DU!!

I think midlo is part of it



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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:02 PM

6. I know a man who, six months after his wife of 50 years died,

he saw her on a 60 Minutes story about the TSA. She wasin her wheel chair and was being patted down.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:11 PM

8. Pat away!

Iím a 67-year-old white woman who walks with a cane and uses oxygen. I rarely travel, but when I do Iím X-rayed, have to take my shoes off, Iím patted down, and my oxygen machine is chemically checked. Iíve seen kids subjected to similar screening. Do they fit ďthe profileĒ? No. Do I? No.

The thing is, those who wish to do us harm arenít going to show up in an airport security line wearing Isis gear or sporting Al Qaeda literature; but they are known to strap explosives onto people who clearly donít fit ďthe profileĒ.

So, as much as I donít enjoy the X-ray, the pat down, the taking shoes off or the checking of my travel concentrator, I choose to accept and endure the inconvenience and delay, simply because I want to be able to be a travelling 68-year-old woman who walks with a cane and uses oxygen.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:12 PM

9. Fuck No

 

My father at 94 yrs old WWII veteran Stroke survivor with a pace maker installed had his cane taken away by an over zealous TSA agent

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Response to FreakinDJ (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:48 PM

33. Definitely more sensitivity is needed towards everyone

 

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Response to Liberal_in_LA (Reply #33)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 06:08 PM

37. How about some semblance of intelligence

 

94yr old veterans don't make good terrorist

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:13 PM

10. I oppose profiling

 

Any kind of profiling, whether it be by age, gender, or race. We should all be treated equally.

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Response to philosslayer (Reply #10)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:29 PM

16. Devil's advocate: your dearest loved one is a high frequency traveler going back and forth...

 

from the US to the Middle East. You get to pick the type of plane that she/he will travel on for every trip for the rest of her/his life:


Plane 1 - All passengers, each and every flight, are profiled against characteristics of known previous hijackers.

Plane 2 - The TSA picks random seats for pat-down each flight based on current pat-down frequency (I don't know whether they're doing extra pat-downs on 2 people per flight or 22 right now)


Are you saying you would for sure pick Plane 2? If so props to you; I have a feeling you're more principle'd than about 90% of your fellow Americans.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Reply #16)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:36 PM

18. Since when is profiling acceptable?

 

This is from the Democratic party platform on Civil Rights:

"Racial and religious profiling is wrong and we will work to stamp it out."

The TSA checks each and every person already who go through security (whether through pat down or scanners), and I trust the TSA (certainly more than the private screeners we had pre-9/11.

So to answer your question, obviously I can't choose the type of plane I would get on in such a circumstance, but in my "perfect world", Plane 2 is how things should operate.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:15 PM

11. Very interested in opinions on this, but I suspect many DUers are uncomfortable with the topic...

 

There's no easy answer on this.

You say yes and people accuse you of being the "loony left" who are willing to put everyone's safety at risk for the sake of political correctness.

You say no and you're a filthy, bigoted racist.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:15 PM

12. As a frequent flyer, PROFILE.

I don't care if it's PC. Don't randomly select, profile the highest risk people.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:15 PM

13. Watch 'Adam Ruins Everything' the one about Safety. It's all an illusion. nt

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Response to TheBlackAdder (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:24 PM

15. Never heard of it but will check it out, thanks. nt

 

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:20 PM

14. No

 

There have been no old woman airplane suicide hijackers. We shouldn't search people just to give the appearance that we aren't racially profiling, which we are obviously doing.

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Response to LittleBlue (Reply #14)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:36 PM

19. ^^^This

I believe profiling is going on, off the record. Sort of like "We can't profile, but these are people to be on the lookout for."

When I travel with my wife, who is disabled (and appears to be a threat to no one), and we go to Florida, we never get additional screening. When I travel alone, and a few times I've flown to a site and back the same day, I know it arouses suspicion, and I always get "randomly" chosen for extra screening. Its usually just swabbing my hands and putting the cloth in the sensing devices that looks for explosive compounds, but its happened enough times that it can't be a random coincidence.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:50 PM

22. when the patting down started the right was saying to pat down only people who looked like middle-

 

eastern young men and the left was saying that was profiling and that everyone needed to be patted down. the Idea being if we patted down only middle eastern looking men then the terrorists would find someone who didn't fit that descrption

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:55 PM

23. Few pointers from a frequent flyer on Jet Blue

Pre Board online. People who have this go on a separate security line. You do not have to take off your shoes and outerwear. If you have a laptop, it does not have to come out of the bag. I have never seen any random searches with this "special" line. Once on this line, I was alone with only the Flight Crew. I fly back and forth from Florida (SW Florida International) to NY (JFK) several times a year.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 02:59 PM

24. Time saver gone wrong

 

I made a round trip flight, one hour each way, two weeks ago. I make this trip twice a year so I know the routine, first the jacket, then the shoes, pockets emptied, watch, belt, glasses and enter the scanner. I wear pants suspenders so I always choose a pat down. Its no problem to me and a damn sight better than having to take them off.

Well, my return trip originates in Dallas so there are lots of people and lines. I show my boarding pass and drivers license to the TSA lady, she looks at the computer and tells me to get in a much shorter line. I suspect that I am somewhat of a frequent flyer is the reason.

She tells me to leave my jacket and shoes on take metal objects out of my pocket. By this time I am confused about what is going on and forget my watch and glasses and am buzzed back three times and then they realize I was wearing suspenders, my jacket covered the straps.

It was a waste of time for them, I wasn't in a hurry. Apparently they thought I could qualify for the fast line in screening but the suspenders blew it. Any way, they tried and they were courteous, as usual. I fought it at first but San Bernadino has made me more understanding.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:04 PM

25. what if terrorists plant something on her

If they knew certain types would not be searched they could try to use that .

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:10 PM

26. Plant bombs on old people then

 


It's not about whether the passenger is a hijacker.

If there is a rule of "don't search old people", then I'm going to bump into them and slip something into their pocket.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:11 PM

27. Theory vs. Reality

The battle goes back a long way. It causes plenty of problems. Both ways. When theory doesn't match reality, and when reality doesn't match theory. It involves every side of the political debate as well. Nobody is immune. That's why there's a counter-example for every example.

My guess would be that 50 years from now, people will have plenty of problems to deal with, and they'll also involve the theory vs. reality struggle. It'll be no different than looking back 50 years ago from today.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:12 PM

28. How old is Robert Dear?

 

How old was the unabomber?


How old was the guy who shot up the holocauat museum?

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #28)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:48 PM

32. Robert Dear is 57.

 

The unabomber started sending off his bombs when he was 33. He was 52 when apprehended.

The guy who shot up the holocaust museum was unusually old, 88 at the time.

But none of them were women, and most significantly younger than 90.

I was an airline employee starting back before any security at all, and I am utterly unimpressed with the TSA security theater these days. I very rarely fly, because I don't want to put up with the bullshit, and I'm willing to drive for a couple of days if necessary. Heck, almost any drive time less than 10 hours is probably faster than getting to an airport that's an hour away two hours ahead of the departure time, and then driving another hour from the destination airport to wherever I'm headed. Plus, I have my car with me.

A year and a half ago I took Amtrak from New Mexico to Portland OR, and just wish there were many more routes to travel by train.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #32)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 04:30 PM

36. I agree about rail transportation

 

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:21 PM

29. A fair question

 

"Is the purpose of screening to prevent potential incidents, or to create the illusion of prevention while making sure not to offend?"

Some of it is real security, and some of it is "security theater," the illusion of security. Most people are unable to tell one from the other. In fact, most of the people doing the screening don't know the difference. More importantly, the people trying to blow up airlines don't know the difference. Between real security and the impression of security, the system appears difficult to circumvent, although we all know it's possible to do so. The objective is to keep terrorists guessing, to keep them confused, to show them multiple layers of security that discourages them.

As far as offending, we in the United States have no choice. Our constitution and legal system prevent us from profiling of any kind, so everyone must be screened to the same standard, although that may mean different specific procedures for people of various ages, genders, etc. Other nations do use profiling with great success. Israel, for example, profiles heavily, and uses profiling in combination with behavioral observation. Not only does our legal system prevent us from following their example, but our circumstances are different, so profiling would not work for us.

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Response to HassleCat (Reply #29)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 03:26 PM

30. Very well written! Thanks for your thoughts. nt

 

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 04:08 PM

35. If the purpose of random pat-downs really were to make smuggling more difficult...

... then none should be exempt, simply because a baby or a 90-year old could be exploited as a mule for terrorists (or drug smugglers, if it comes to that).

If the purpose of random pat-downs is something other (to accustom citizens to authority, for example), then those selected might follow different demographics.

In either case, "fairness" doesn't enter into it.

-- Mal

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 06:17 PM

38. If you pat one person, you should pat them all

 

regardless of age or gender, imo.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 08:46 PM

41. I'm totally in favor of profiling.

A family from Nebraska on their way to Disney World for a vacation that they booked eight months ago should be viewed very differently by the TSA compared to a 25-year old guy flying to Yemen on a 1-way ticket that he paid for in cash two days ago. Yeah I know, that makes me a horrible racist and bad person and stuff, but El Al profiles and they haven't lost a passenger yet.

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 08:51 PM

43. I don't know about "to be fair" as much as "because they might be smuggling stuff"



I'm not a fan of pat-downs, but if we have them and then leave out some of the population there's no real point at all. (Not that there's much point to begin with.)

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Response to MadDAsHell (Original post)

Fri Jan 15, 2016, 09:48 PM

46. It's 'Security Theatre' plain and simple.

The pat downs, the scanners, the shoe removal, the water ban, do nothing but make the Kettles (as in Ma & Pa Kettle) who don't travel a lot, 'feel' safe.

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