Hugh-isms — Am I Alone?; Regarding The Kona TSA Worker’s Inadequate Sentencing

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  to know Hawaii’s main industry is extremely fragile. Why were  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 — 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.)

10 replies
  1. Jan
    Jan says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, Hugh…..I am sure HVB wanted this as low key as could be….back page….the media put it on the back page……HTH protectionism once again….Many people don’t even bother to read the back page……

  2. dickkopf
    dickkopf says:

    It’s stories like this, and remarks such as yours, Hugh, that make me proud to be an American! Right.

  3. Tom Lackey
    Tom Lackey says:

    There are not to many things that I agree with when it comes to Hugh…..but this is one of them. The TSA needs to be groped, poked, and frisked after each screening one day a week by a handicapped passenger. Maybe that would give them a feeling of what they put us travelers through every time we go anywhere.

    The fact of having a TSA thief on the payroll should have outraged our government to the point that they should have made an example out of this thief. Why was it not done….because somebody was saving face….pure and simple. Look for who would take the biggest hit on this and you will find the real squirrel. [Who is at the top of homeland security?]

    The lack

  4. Russell Ruderman
    Russell Ruderman says:

    It’s a pleasure to find myself agreeing with Hugh & the Lack!
    TSA in Hawaii is outrageous, unlike the respectful staff found in most airports. There’s little real risk of terrorism here, and they use their position to fulfill their childhood bully dreams, and to rip off visitors at great expense to the rest of us. I have been personally insulted and abused by an aggressive, rude Hilo TSA agent while on the way to my Mom’s funeral. Thanks for keeping me safe, guys!

  5. mark
    mark says:

    Hugh, you are spot on with this one. This TSA employee should be held to the highest standard, a Federal Employee entrusted with powers that go way beyond even Police powers and she abused them by stealing money. Unfortunately the Court only judged her on that particular sting case of $200. If the sum total of all of her thefts were considered she would have probably gotten a much stiffer penalty. I suppose the TSA Union is very strong and protects it’s own.

  6. Ken
    Ken says:

    The first mistake here is assuming TSA provides anything remotely close to airline security – while the second mistake here is assuming this particular guard is any different from the rest.

    I travel A LOT! (Unfortunately way too much time off island!)

    When America as a Country, as a Government, and as political body grasps that airline security can be nothing more than ethnic/racial profiling – we will get somewhere with airline security. Take the lead from Israel. Interview each traveler for about 2 minutes, watch body language and have about 3 dozen laser sighted sharp shooters in place throughout the airport.

    The sad reality of this is her “theft” was more than her gross wages for the day.

  7. Brian Jordan
    Brian Jordan says:

    Hold om yo your chest Hugh we agree! Ive had the TSA rob my bags, open my brother ashes after Dodo Mortuary and the TSA approved the urn. After descrating my brothers ashes they destroyed my new bags zipper.
    When I pointed it’s damage out, the Senior Fascist tried to intimidate me. If we want to save money and the Country get rid of the TSA amd the Patriot act. A LAW BOTH PARTIES RENEWED. THOUGH I BLAME gop SEN LINDSET GRAHAM OF SC. I want unregulated airlines. In Amsterdam , the PRC, and Israel they can gety it right. Under the new misnamed Patriot Act
    OUR PC’s OUR Phones Our shopping and travel are all monitored by RFID and magnetic xcanners the Govt. monitors you everyday.

  8. dd
    dd says:

    I almost fell over cause I agree with some I usually don’t. My fishing poles were broken and when I got to NZ I found out. the thug in hilo would not let me repack the holder when they were done ripping it up. In Auckland the NZ security was nice and polite. Then you went around the corner and the U.S. tsa was in the Auckland airport. They dumped peoples bags on the table and then left you to hurry up and repack. Some kiwis were in tears as they had never faced tsa before.
    Tsa a unregulated agency on false assumptions that we are the bad ones.

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