Thursday, November 11, 2010

Naked or Groped . . . Your Choice

Airport Body Scan Images -- Feel safer?
More than once, you have heard me rail here about the absurd, absurdly expensive, and demeaning process we law-abiding U.S. citizens go through so we can get on airplanes to go visit grandma. This is the last time I did so. You've also heard me bemoan the steady descent of this country into what can only be described as a place of increasingly paranoid fears. With each new "terrorist" threat that's thwarted, the citizens of the US are subjected to ratcheted up security procedures at the airports. What you see to the right are images of the full body scan devices that are employed at a lot of the nation's airports, and which will be employed at a lot more in the future. The TSA has now moved to a much more intrusive and invasive body pat-down if you are so unpatriotic as to refuse having yourself electronically strip searched by these machines. Flat of palm over every inch of your body, including genitals and breasts, regardless of sex. Horror stories abound. Here's one from a woman who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome. (This story and others can be found here.)
I was subjected to a TSA rub down in Pittsburgh in September. There is no patting happening. The officer ran her hands over every square inch of my body, firmly pressing into my flesh in every area when I declined to have myself irradiated. Being a recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome, I am extremely aware that my body needs protection from anything that is unnatural or unnecessary, and excess radiation is on my list of things to avoid. Unfortunately, the rub down elicited some trauma issues, and when I got upset and started crying, they started the "pat down" all over again. After I received my belongings, I attempted a photo of the TSA station and officers, at which point I was apprehended, my ID was taken and I had to delete my photos at their demand. Eventually when they realized I had no record, they told me to go get on the plane before I got into trouble. Why am I, a 49-year-old woman, employed for 28 years by IBM, mother of two teenagers, married for 27 years, being viewed as a terrorist? The trauma of the "pat down" has reactivated an autoimmune condition and I have spent the last 4 weeks working to bring my immune system back into balance. I can't imagine getting on an airplane with the possibility of this happening again. I would like to protest this invasion of privacy, but how?
There's a another story making the rounds today about young gal, Meg McClain, who works for a radio station in New Hampshire who "opted out" of the full body scan at the Ft Lauderdale airport and who also expressed her objection to being patted-down. Well, according to her, was set upon by several TSA agents and a squadron of local cops and subjected to various indignities, including handcuffing, having her airline ticket torn in half by a TSA goon, and being escorted from the airport. (If you look at the video TSA released of the incident, none of this seems to be borne out. Me, I don't trust the TSA.) The kind of abuse she reports does not surprise me at all. These people who work for TSA are suspect from the get-go. This terror of terrorism has spawned these people, and now the whole country is caught up in this ever-widening spiral of abuse from these people at every airport in the country. And every incident calls down more hell on our heads. First it was shoes, then you couldn't bring toothpaste and other liquids unless they were in little bitty containers, now you have to be virtually strip searched to get on a figging airplane.

When are the sheep in this country going to wake up? All this screeching about freedom and liberty, and this sort of blatant violation of our civil liberties happens hundreds of times every day at airports all over the country with hardly a peep. There's a movement for a national "opt out" day on the day before Thanksgiving to force the TSA to pat down every single passenger. I'll be interested in seeing how that goes. It's the first organized protest against these wholesale violation of our civil liberties. 
Post a Comment