TSA does right things; too bad it’s directed at the WRONG man

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Image: Saul Young/ Knoxville News Sentinel

A Knoxville veterinarian is worried about Obama’s recent proposal to prevent gun purchases by those on the Transportation Security Administration’s no-fly list.

Dr. Patrick Stephen Hackett has been caught in a government cycle for years as he has tried repeatedly to remove his name from the list.

“I don’t know how I got on the list, and I don’t know how to get off the list,” Hackett said, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

President of the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, named Outstanding Practitioner of the Year in 1992 by the Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association, and lifelong resident of Knoxville, Hackett has never been arrested or traveled to countries with terrorist ties.

Yet, he has found himself on the TSA’s no-fly list, denied boarding on planes, scrutinized by security and even spent time in a foreign jail. All because he shares the same name as Patrick Joseph Hackett, the Irish Republican Army terrorist who was jailed in the 1970s for planting bombs in Britain.

Never mind that the terrorist Hackett is missing an arm and leg from a bomb explosion, while vet Hackett has his limbs intact. Since 2004, when he found himself on the federal watch list after being denied clearance at an airport gate, Hackett filled forms and contacted TSA in an effort to clear his name.

Though the federal agency gave him a “letter of duress” to present whenever he was questioned, Hackett said it only served to draw more attention, as his boarding pass would be marked and he would be subjected to complete – and sometimes invasive – searches, according to the Sentinel.

Hackett worried about losing his constitutional right to purchase a gun and, after the president’s proposal to ban gun sales to those on the list, he decided to reach out to his congressman, U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr.

In a statement, Duncan said,  “I would consider a gun ban for people on this list if I felt that it was limited to people who were truly terrorists.”

“Unfortunately, as the New York Times reported, the no-fly list has ‘run amok’ and is ‘vastly overbroad.’ Even the late (U.S. Sen.) Ted Kennedy ended up on a watch list in 2004. This effort to turn the no-fly list into a no-gun list is just a political gimmick that is being used by the far left to try to impose gun control on law-abiding Americans following (the recent mass shooting in) San Bernardino, (Calif.).”

Frieda Powers

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