Homeland Security has time for even more nonsense

Monday, April 10, 2006 at 07:41 AM

Not only do our undermanned homeland security folks somehow still find time to confiscate packages of prescription medicine ordered from abroad by American citizens desperate to find drugs they can afford, but they apparently have time to harass a teacher's aide trying to direct traffic at his school.

A Jacksonville, FL television station reports that "Leander Pickett, a teacher's assistant at Englewood Elementary, said he was manhandled and handcuffed by two plain clothed Homeland Security officers in front of the school Tuesday for no reason at all."  Pickett was directing bus traffic at the school when he says that he asked the driver of a car that was parked in a no-parking area to leave.  The driver and a passenger turned out to be Homeland Security agents.

What followed is in dispute, but it ended with Pickett in handcuffs, in front of students and co-workers, for some 30 minutes, before being released.  Pickett and witnesses at the school say that the Homeland Security agents were simply asked to move and became belligerent.  One witness, a coach at the school is quoted as saying "Mr. Pickett asked the guy blocking the bus loading zone to move, and the guy told him he would move his car when he got ready to move it."

DHS says that Pickett was antagonizing the officers, who had pulled over to look at a map.  Nevertheless, DHS called the television station to say that "it considers all allegations seriously and the matter has been referred to a neutral investigative entity."

You know, even without deciding who you believe, wouldn't you think that DHS agents would be able to handle a confrontation like this without escalating it?  Wouldn't you think that the agents themselves would prefer to spend their time on something a little closer to the name of their agency, Homeland security?

And if Pickett's version is true.....well, I don't feel any more secure.