By Hugh Clark
Last Saturday I noted the slap-on-the-wrist sentence for Dawn Nicole Keka, who had been covicted of stealing money while working as chief TSA screener at Kona’s Ke’aole Airport.
She was nabbed redhanded by an undercover federal official posing as a departing Japanese tourist. She was given two months in jail, according to a brief back page account in the Tribune-Herald. (If she was being targeted, she may well have been under suspicion for prior thefts.)
This quite inadequate AP story does not identify the court, the judge or describe the sentencing rationale.
Am I alone in finding this strange, if not special treatment for an official of a major federal agency — an onerous one that has different rules at each airport. It acts as if Hio airport and Honolulu airport are in different countries.
This is the second Hawaii-based screener to be caught and convicted of stealing from passengers. Where was Mufi Hanemann, Mike McCartney or George Applegate in all this.You need no doctorate in economics Â to know Hawaii’s main industry is extremely fragile. Why were Â the people being paid to protect this industry AWOL?
In post-retirement my passion and chief activity has been travel. I have visited about two dozen countries on four continents and can say without question the most abrasive and intrusive passenger screening occurs in the USA.
If we are expected to tolerate such human misbehavior the least we should expect is not to be ripped off by a crook wearing a sneer and a badge. Just two months â€” what about 20 years? Hell, an unemployed Puna pot grower would serve 10 times that after being caught by a cop in a whirly bird.
(Retired Honolulu Advertiser reporter and Big Island Press Club honorary member Hugh Clark is a friend and mentor to Big Island Chronicle.)