What started out as a joke turned into a serious situation on Oct. 27, 2001 in the Greater New Orleans Airport. 14 Northern Kentucky University students flew to New Orleans to attend a media conference on Oct. 24. Jeff Miller, the sales manager from WNTV, was flagged and profiled to be searched at every security check point that we came to. To us, this was a joke, and if anyone who knows Jeff Miller knows that he turned the situation into a joke.
It started at the Greater Cincinnati Airport and we said if he was flagged to be searched again, that we were going to get footage of him being searched.
When leaving New Orleans on Oct. 27, we arrived at the Airport two hours early and sure enough, Jeff Miller was to report to the security checkpoint before he got on the plane. So I got out the WNTV camera and started to record.
All of the sudden, the flight attendant who was taking tickets came from behind the desk and swiftly approached me. She told me to turn the camera off, give her my ticket and come with her. She then asked me to give her the tape. “The tape,” I pleaded, “it has all of our footage from New Orleans.”
She didn’t care, she wanted that tape, but I wasn’t going to give it up.
She called the head of security who approached me saying that I had committed a federal crime. Federal crime, I thought. That’s concurrent prison time. No more kids. No more wife. No more college. I was scared to death. And all over something that started out as a joke.
I proceeded to tell the head of security that I was a college student on a media convention with NKU. He took my ticket from the flight attendant and punched in my information to indeed find out that I was telling the truth. Once again, he asked for the tape.
I changed the subject and slipped the tape into my front pocket. After a couple of minutes, which seemed like a couple of hours, I was finally let on the plane where I was greeted by my friends from WNTV and The Northerner. Security thought that I put the tape on the table, but I go on the plane with our tape.
Sept. 11 has truly changed America, but I’m not going to let a terrorist attack change me into being intimidated. To stop my progress in life. However, this situation has me questioning the mind-state of airport security. The head of security told me that he could drag me into a room for interrogation if he wanted to. Now come on, I think that’s taking it a bit too far, especially since the day we arrived in New Orleans a man boarded a plane with a gun.
I guess since Sept. 11 none of our lives will ever be the same. But I’m here to say I will fly again.