One man’s tropical paradise is another man’s prison. Imagine being “stuck” on Oahu. I’m sure you could think of worse situations, but really stop and think about the following true and evolving situation. You’re a “normal” 34 year-old guy, live on the U.S. mainland in Gulfport, Mississippi, and recently married a woman who is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy stationed in Okinawa.
You’re a citizen of the United States and possess a valid U.S. issued passport. You’re not a criminal and have no history of felony or misdemeanor convictions. In fact, you recently passed a background check to own and carry a firearm in Mississippi. You are, however, an outspoken patriot for the United States Constitution.
You miss your bride of eight months, and decide to fly to Okinawa to visit her. Because you are the “dependent” of an active duty member of the U.S. military, you make arrangements to fly from San Francisco to Okinawa on a military aircraft. You must still have a ticket, pass the screening procedures similar or even more stringent than those flying on normal commercial airlines. After the screening at the airport, you board the plane and settle in for your flight, counting down the hours until you are reunited with your wife.
The plane lands in Hawaii as scheduled for refueling and maintenance. It is here, after re-boarding the aircraft, that two heavily-armed military guards confront you and tell you that you must leave the plane. They take you to a small room at the military base and advise you that you are on the U.S. “No-Fly” list. You’re not under arrest, but you’re not free to go until they decide what to do with you. You watch as your plane, as well as your hopes of seeing your bride vanish into the air while under the careful watch of two heavily armed military police officials.
What’s going on?
As you sit in a small room, thoughts race through your mind. Why am I here? It must be some mistake. I’ve committed no crime. Like any “normal” American, You expect the matter to be resolved as there must be some mix-up. Then, an official with the Customs and Border Enforcement arrives and tells you that there is no mix-up. The official rattles off your name, date of birth, social security number and complete identifying information. It’s you alright, and you are officially on the “No-Fly” list.
“How did you get on that plane?” asks the Customs and Border Enforcement official. You reply that you had a normal ticket, passed through the screening process and boarded the plane normally and without incident. You are told that you should not have been permitted to fly. Again, you are on the “No-Fly” list. You reply that there has to be a mistake, and are met with the stern reply of the official: there is no mistake.
You then ask why you are on the “No-Fly” list and are told that you are not permitted to know. At this point, they tell you that you are free to go, but you cannot fly anywhere by orders of the United States government. And there you are, in “paradise” but unable to leave.
Meet Wade Hicks, Jr
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