Dan’s Papers November 26, 2010 danspapers.com Page 21
Pat, Pat, Pat Getting on a Plane in America Just Doesn’t Feel the Same By Dan Rattiner I haven’t flown out on an airplane in awhile. Now, with the holiday season upon us, I’m thinking about visiting family here and there. There have been lots of horror stories about recent improvements in airport security. There’s the full body scan x-ray machine where these strangers in uniform can gather around and snicker at what passes for your pathetic version of a human body. You can say “I’d rather die than go through that,” and I suppose there are some elderly bluehaired ladies who might actually mean that, but to save you from that possibility—and you have the right to refuse the x-ray scan—they then pat you down. And that can be hard to take too. There was a front-page article about this in The
New York Times last Friday. “I didn’t really expect her to touch my vagina through my pants,” the article quotes one woman as saying. The Times identifies her. She is Kaya McLaren, an elementary schoolteacher from Cle Elum, Washington and it was this pat down at the Fort Worth International Airport that got her this 15 minutes of fame. The Times is nothing but accurate. There is a photo of a woman getting a pat down accompanying this article. She is not identified, nor is the uniformed woman patting her down, but the uniformed woman clearly has one gloved hand on this woman’s bosom, checking around there. The patdownee appears to be wearing a sort of hospital gown over her clothes—with the string in the front—which is
much too large for her. I suppose it is one size fits all and it has to be big enough for those who have to buy two seats, and they use it over and over. I think the rule is not only that if you want the pat down you can get the pat down but also if you go through the look-at-you-naked machine (doesn’t every boy wish to have such a thing?) and they see something suspicious, like a balled-up tissue or something, then it’s off to the pat down. By the way, and I’m not complaining here, but all the failed suicide bomb attempts in recent times have not been due to the efforts of airport security, but to the ineptness of the bombers. We had the shoe bomber who’s match would not stay lit. We had the underpants bomber, whose pants did not go off as violently as intended for one rea(continued on next page)
NO PLACE TO SLEEP IN THE HAMPTONS By T.J. Clemente At a time when so many are giving small thanks for so much, I visited a place where a few were giving huge thanks for so little. With air mattresses on the floor with clean sheets and blankets in a warm room, 13 souls waited for lights out to get a good sleep at the Maureen’s Haven homeless shelter, located that night at The First Methodist Church of East Hampton. The situation at local shelters has intensified dramatically and desperately, despite the fact that we’re in the balmy late fall weather rather that the ice and cold of winter. Homeless people are being turned away at both Maureen’s Haven shelter locations and by the Suffolk County Emergency Services facilities. There is simply no more room—no more beds available. This year, the demand for shelter at the church in
East Hampton has doubled from the same time last year—up from around 17 people per night to 35, on average. Brian Conforti, with his well-weathered smile, was one of the lucky ones Friday. He got a bed for the night With a smile and a tear, he asked me to write into this article that all the volunteers have been “wonderful” to him. Emotions run high at the shelters. But the fact is that, for about 88 people, the next few months will involve riding the County S92 bus to a Maureen’s Haven shelter. Bill Maddock is an employee there who “screens” guests (deeming them non-threatening). He believes that between 600-800 souls on the East End sleep in cars, abandoned boats and other desperate locations. Maddock’s job is to find them and get them to a warm place.
Visiting one of the 17 locations that Maureen’s Haven uses I met the volunteers, whose mission, according to East Hampton Coordinator Barbara Jordan, is “to do something hands on.” Mary Bush, who had just assisted in preparing meals at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton for the Friday visitors at the Methodist Church, simply said, “this is part of what we do.” In less than a decade, Maureen’s Haven has become an important part of the social safety net in Suffolk County—from Riverhead eastward, on both forks. Director Tracey Lutz said that many houses of worship have stepped up to the plate, providing facilities, volunteers and funds. The need for more facilities with proper insurance, safety features and space is becoming (continued on next page)
Published on Nov 26, 2010
Published on Nov 26, 2010
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