ACLU files suit over woman's
arrest at Detroit Metro Airport.
hen I was young, if my moth-
er thought someone was not
telling the truth, she would
quote Sir Walter Scott's adage: "Oh, what
a tangled web we weave, when first we
practice to deceive:'
She emphasized the word "tangle" to
impart the distinct feeling one gets when
caught in a lie. We may toler-
ate deception in our daily
lives because we often don't
know how to respond to it or
we minimize its severity.
Truth, by its very nature,
is incorruptible; there is no
need to embellish in order to
make the truth acceptable.
Parents, teachers and clergy
long have admonished us
not to lie. Yet, we sometimes
succeed by lying. When our
lie is challenged, we may
attempt to cover it up with
more lies until we can no
longer remember where the truth began.
Ensnared by such an experience, we real-
ize that it is always easier to stick to the
truth rather than attempt to keep pace
with ever-changing falsehoods.
One common way we deceive is by
denying any knowledge of suspected
wrongdoing (think Erkel saying: "Did I
do that?") or by not admitting guilt at all.
Feigning or pleading ignorance forces an
interrogator to seek answers from anoth-
er source. We see this when children
tattle on a sibling or friend to redirect
attention away from their own guilt; they
may even blame a toy, imaginary friends
or a pet for their own misbehavior. While
this ploy may be effective in the short
term, its repetition increases suspicion
and compromises the trust of others.
When a child is obviously lying, some
parents inform him or her that noth-
ing bad will happen if he or she simply
comes clean. However, if there are more
lies, the punishment will be more severe.
Surprisingly, some children will still
hold to their story even when presented
with evidence of their guilt. Amazingly,
a child who digs him or herself deep into
this hole may believe that a parent or an
18 January 31 • 2013
authority figure magically will disregard
their deception. Letting a child off scot-
free will perpetuate the deceit — and the
lack of the judgment necessary to avoid
being tempted to lie again.
Another frequent way we deceive
occurs when we agree to do something
but never get around to it. Of course, we
fervently promise to do what has
been asked. Yet, as distractions
occur and time runs out, we feel
the pang of guilt as we admit
that we have not performed as
requested. Rationalizing our
failure avoids blame and reduces
the letdown that inevitably fol-
lows. After hours or even days,
the requester will remind us
about the time we've lost or an
opportunity missed. Sheepishly,
we may respond with the non-
sensical: "My bad!" Instead, we
readily need to admit when we
make an error and willingly
accept responsibility for the damage or
delays we cause.
Despite the immediacy of CNN and
the pervasiveness of the Internet, we
still are inundated by media that distort
truth. This recalls Goebbels' notion that
if you repeat a lie often enough, people
will believe it, or Lenin's belief that a lie
told often becomes the truth. We must be
vigilant so we don't fall into this age-old
Our families, friends and society need
to be truth-telling role models. We must
teach our children a healthy skepticism
so they can discern whether what they
know is accurate, and if uncertain, where
to go to find the truth.
Lies cannot find a safe haven if they
are challenged. Therefore, we must
encourage our children to tell the truth
and call out those who try to deceive. You
can believe me on this.
Dr. Daniel Rosenbaum is a clinical social
worker at Counseling Associates Inc. in West
Bloomfield, where he counsels children, teens
and adults experiencing family or personal
psychological problems. Reach him at (248)
n Ohio mother of two who
says she was unlawfully
arrested, detained and strip
searched because of her ethnic-
ity filed a lawsuit Jan. 22 against
Frontier Airlines, Detroit Metro
Airport officials and federal authori-
Shoshana Hebshi, 36, was born
and raised in California. Her mother
is Jewish and her late father emigrat-
ed from Saudi Arabia to the United
States. On Sept. 11, 2011 — the 10th
anniversary of 9-11 — she was forc-
ibly removed from an airplane in
handcuffs, strip searched and held
for four hours in a small cell even
though she had done nothing suspi-
"I was frightened and humiliated,
and my rights were clearly violated
solely because of my ethnicity," said
Hebshi, a freelance journalist who
lives in Sylvania, Ohio, with her hus-
band and twin boys. She had worked
for j., the Jewish newsweekly of
northern California as a copy editor
and writer. And, in 2002, traveled to
Israel for the paper.
As an American citizen and a
mom, I'm really concerned about
my children growing up in a country
where your skin color and name can
put your freedom and liberty at risk
at any time. This kind of discrimina-
tion should not be tolerated."
On Sept. 11, 2011, Hebshi was
traveling to Detroit Metro Airport
after visiting her sister in California.
She was seated next to two men of
South Asian descent, who she did
not know. When the plane landed,
armed agents boarded the flight and
Hebshi and the two men were hand-
cuffed and ordered off the flight at
gunpoint. Officers refused to explain
the arrest, and she didn't know when
she would be able to call her family.
She was placed in a cell and
ordered to strip naked, squat and
cough; then an officer searched her
hair, eyelids and mouth. She was
released four hours later after being
According to a Detroit Free Press
story, the FBI Detroit spokesman
declined to comment.
"The illegal arrest and strip search
of Ms. Hebshi is ... a predictable
consequence of institutionalizing
racial stereotypes and mass suspi-
cion as law enforcement tactics,"
said Sarah Mehta, ACLU of Michigan
staff attorney. "Racial profiling is
unconstitutional and counterpro-
ductive. No one is safer because an
innocent mother of two was dragged
off a flight, strip searched and held
for several hours"
Through public records, the ACLU
discovered that Hebshi was removed
from the flight because she was seat-
ed next to the men and because of
her ethnic name. A small number of
passengers noticed the two men go
to the bathroom in succession and
complained to the flight crew. The
two men were cleared of any wrong-
doing and were also released from
custody later that evening.
The complaint cites several viola-
tions, including unreasonable search
and seizure prohibited by the Fourth
Amendment and discrimination pro-
hibited by federal civil rights laws.
The lawsuit was filed against
Frontier Airlines as well as offi-
cials with the Transportation
Security Administration (TSA),
Wayne County Airport Authority,
Detroit Metro Airport Police, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI), Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and
Border Patrol (CBP).
The lawsuit was filed in U.S.
District Court for the Eastern
District of Michigan by the
American Civil Liberties Union, the
ACLU of Michigan, the Detroit law
firm of Goodman & Hurwitz and the
Washington, D.C., office of the law
firm of Covington & Burling.